Press Release  | 10/07/2013

Sir Richard Branson and Senator Sheldon Whitehouse to Discuss More Humane Approach to Drug Addiction

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Event Will Feature Special Screening of  Film ‘Breaking the Taboo

Film Narrated by Morgan Freeman, Features Interviews with Bill Clinton, Jimmy Carter, Former Presidents of Brazil, Colombia, Mexico and Sweden, Victims of Drug War, Leading Experts and Advocates

Sundog Pictures announced today it will be holding a special screening of its groundbreaking documentary “Breaking the Taboo,” about the war on drugs, in Washington DC. The screening will be held at 5.30pm on Wednesday, October 9th at the National Press Club at 529 14th St. NW, Holeman Lounge, Washington DC.

The special screening will be followed by a panel discussion from 6.15 until 7pm about opportunities to help drug offenders get back on the right path and reduce the burden that drug convictions place on American prison systems. The discussion will feature Virgin Founder Sir Richard Branson, Senator Sheldon Whitehouse [D-RI], Ethan Nadelmann of the Drug Policy Alliance and A.T. Wall, Director of the Rhode Island Department of Corrections.

Sir Richard, who sits on the board of the Global Commission on Drug Policy said, “The timing of this event in Washington DC couldn’t be better. It’s time to refocus our resources by investing in people addicted to drugs, looking towards a more humane approach for treatment, and changing existing laws not just in the United States but around the world. I am thrilled to join Senator Whitehouse for this discussion.”

Added Senator Whitehouse, “As a former prosecutor, I’m keenly aware of the damage drugs cause in our communities, but I’ve also seen how commonsense reforms can benefit both drug offenders and their families.  In Rhode Island, we’ve seen how drug courts for low-level offenders can help addicts get the treatment they need while also reducing the burden on our prison system.  At the federal level, I’ve encouraged broader use of drug courts, and I’m pleased that the Senate is considering smarter sentencing policies and more effective re-entry programs.  I look forward to discussing these important issues.”

Narrated by Oscar winning actor Morgan Freeman, “Breaking the Taboo,” takes a critical look at how after 50 years of prohibition, illicit drugs are now the third most valuable industry in the world after food and oil. Speaking during the documentary former US President Bill Clinton says, “Obviously if the expected results were that we would eliminate serious drug use in America and eliminate the narco-trafficking networks, it hasn’t worked.”

“Breaking the Taboo” was filmed in 8 countries; conducted interviews with over 176 people; and has the support of 4 former Presidents & The Global Commission on Drug Policy.

The film calls for an honest and open debate about drug laws, encouraging viewers to break the taboo on a subject that has been ignored for too long.

“Breaking the Taboo” has also garnered the support of Virgin founder Sir Richard Branson and Oscar winning actor Morgan Freeman, who have recorded viral announcements encouraging the public to “Break the Taboo” on the war on drugs. Virals can be viewed and the campaign followed on: #BreakTheTaboo. Follow @TabooBreakers #BreakTheTaboo #WaronDrugs

“Breaking the Taboo” is produced by Sam Branson’s indie Sundog Pictures and Brazilian co-production partner Spray Filmes and was directed by Cosmo Fielding Mellen and Fernando Grostein Andrade.

Future screenings of “Breaking the Taboo” this year are planned for Uruguay, Ghana, Switzerland, Hong Kong, Thailand and Australia.

Media wishing to attend the event should email Nicolla Hewitt Communications at NH [at] NicollaHewitt [dot] com.

Contact: Tony Newman 646-335-5384 or Anthony Papa 646-420-7290

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