My Nonprofit Reviews
Review for Erowid Center, Grass Valley, CA, USA
Erowid is one of the few places people can go to find decent information about an exceptionally wide variety of recreational narcotics. The site provides a valuable service, educating people about the recommended dosage, effects, legal implications, and physical risks involved in experimenting with drugs.
While governments across the globe invest large amounts of money in fighting the war on drugs, I don't believe that they're making much of a difference for people who would like to experiment with drugs. Instead they push the trade into the hands of criminal organisations where quality control, ethics and accountability hold no value. As a result, people who could otherwise experience a pleasurable experience are marginalised, criminalised and placed in harm's way.
Institutions like Erowid take a far more practical approach: Education and harm reduction. The site takes pains to highlight the risks involved with using drugs. This allows people to make informed decisions, hopefully in safer in environments.
The war on drugs is history's greatest exercise in futility. It's had the exact oposite of its intended effect. Instead of a reduction in the amount of available narcotics. We've witnessed a veritable proliferation of new designer drugs - designed to beat drug laws - while entering the market for human consumption completely untested placing hundreds of thousands of people in potential danger.
Without Erowid, I cannot think of a reasonable source of unbiased information on substances we may or may not put in our body.
In summation, I believe Erowid is one of the few organisations that are taking a practical approach to dealing with the human psyche and it's often self destructive nature by providing free information which allows people to make more informed decisions about what they stick in their body.
If I had to make changes to this organization, I would...
Erowid's biggest problem is also it's biggest asset - its website. The information contained on the site is invaluable, but the site itself is difficult to use. It can be a challenge to find information from the home page. If I were to change anything about Erowid, it would be the site's information architecture and usability to make it as easy as possible for people to find the information they need. I would also revise the site's look and feel to something a little more modern & approachable.
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