10/29/2012 09:07 am ET Updated Dec 29, 2012

Richard Branson and Deepak Chopra Co-Chair re:FORM Art Benefit at C24 Gallery

On Friday November 2 The Drug Policy Alliance (DPA), the nation's leading organization promoting alternatives to the drug war grounded in science, compassion, health and human rights, will host its fifth re:FORM, art auction and cocktail benefit at C24 Gallery in New York City. Contributing artists of this event will include Louise Lawler, Donald Baechler, Swoon and include over 50 other artists.

re:FORM is inspired by artists who have used art as a vehicle for social change. This is a concept that I strongly believe in as a visual artist who has been using the vehicle of art to fight the war on drugs. Following four successful art events which have featured supporters like Darren Aronofsky, Peter Lewis, George Soros and Elizabeth Sackler, who have served as event leaders for past New York re:FORM auctions, Paulette Cole, CEO and creative director of ABC Home, Richard Branson and Deepak Chopra have joined as co-chairs for this re:FORM art auction.

Richard Branson, founder of the Virgin Group, who has been an outspoken advocate against the war on drugs, has stepped forward in his ongoing contention that the drug war is a failure and has joined DPA in support of this event. Branson is a member of the Global Commission, a group of world leaders which issued an historic report that maintained that the global war on drugs has failed, with devastating consequences for individuals and societies around the world.

Branson is joined by Deepak Chopra, who is the author of Spiritual Solutions and more than 60 books translated into over 35 languages, including numerous New York Times bestsellers in both the fiction and nonfiction categories. He is founder of The Chopra Foundation. Time magazine heralds Deepak Chopra as one of the top 100 heroes and icons of the century and credits him as "the poet-prophet of alternative medicine."

The Drug Policy Alliance is leading the way to advance policies and attitudes that best reduce the harms of both drug use and drug prohibition, and to promote the sovereignty of individuals over their minds and bodies. Few public policies have undermined fundamental civil rights and liberties, social justice and public health to such an extent as the drug war. The U.S. now has the highest incarceration rate in the world -- one adult American out of every 100 is currently behind bars. Representing less than five percent of the world's population, the U.S. holds close to 25 percent of the world's incarcerated population. More than half a million people are behind bars for nothing more than nonviolent drug law violations. Over 750,000 Americans were arrested last year for simple marijuana possession alone. The drug war even targets sick and dying Americans, thousands of whom are regularly denied access to medical marijuana, despite its proven medical benefits for the treatment of a wide range of serious illnesses and conditions.

Visit the Drug Policy Alliance for more information and a full list of participating artists.

Richard Branson and Deepak Chopra Co-Chair re:FORM art auction at C24 Gallery