Release mounts powerful anniversary exhibition

Release is marking its 50th anniversary with a pop-up exhibition showing the impact of drug policies on communities worldwide. The Museum of Drug Policy comes to London in November after exhibiting in New York and Montreal.

The free exhibition, which is supported by the Open Society Foundations, features more than 60 artworks from eight countries, including a powerful installation about overdose deaths in the UK. It will also feature interactive discussions on public health, criminal justice and human rights, as well as a live performance of the Sex Workers Opera, a multimedia production written and performed by sex workers and their friends.

An opportunity to elevate the drug policy debate

‘This is a particularly poignant time in the UK to be showcasing the impact of current drug policies,” said Release executive director Niamh Eastwood. ‘ 

Drug-related deaths in this country have reached the highest rate on record, and thousands of people who use drugs have been criminalised instead of getting the help they need. The museum is an excellent opportunity to elevate the drug policy debate, using art to highlight the relationship between drug policy and issues of social control – especially in relation to class and race – in ways our government refuses to address.’

‘These artistic expressions remind us that people affected by drug policies are our friends, sisters, colleagues and that they exist as members of families and communities,’ added Open Society Global Drug Policy Program director Kasia Malinowska. ‘The museum’s powerful photographs, sculptures, installations, and performances highlight the human cost of drug policies and contribute to conversations about reform.’

The Museum of Drug Policy will be at 47-49 Tanner Street, London SE1, from 3-5 November. More information at