POLITICS
05/20/2014 12:23 pm ET Updated May 20, 2014

Just Say No: 'Dancing On The Ashes Of The Drug War'

Documentary filmmaker Eugene Jarecki told the performers in his new video to imagine they were "dancing on the ashes of the drug war," he says.

The short was launched to coincide with the legislative push for the Smarter Sentencing Act, a bill sponsored by Sens. Richard Durbin (D-Ill.) and Mike Lee (R-Utah) that would reduce the length of mandatory minimum sentences for some drug offenses, and would free thousands of people currently serving sentences handed down during a period of harsh crackdowns and dramatic racial disparities in sentencing and enforcement.

The bill is backed by the Obama administration as well as elements of the tea party, of which Lee is a leader, but the law enforcement community has rallied against it, with leading prosecutors sending a letter condemning it to the Senate claiming "many of us once served on the front lines of justice."

The boast was roundly mocked, but reflects law enforcement hostility to reform that has only been dialed back slightly thanks to an intervention from Attorney General Eric Holder.

Jarecki's digital short highlights many troubling statistics: the U.S. has spent over $1 trillion fighting the war on drugs, 45 million drug-related arrests have been made, and the U.S. has a higher imprisonment rate for drug crimes than both China and Russia -- all while drug overdose deaths are at an all time high. Jarecki sat with HuffPost Live recently, where he applauded the Obama administration for making "significant moves" to draw down the drug war.

Jarecki has created a tool that allows voters to send letters to Congress regarding the Smarter Sentencing Act.

Learn more about the bill at FireDogLake.com's FAQ.

HuffPost

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