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The debate over decriminalization or legalization continues to heat up as states decide on what they want to do and families continue to object to their loved ones being criminalized over the use of marijuana and other illegal drugs. It is a question that needs the right answer but still is a long way off. View this CNN piece by David Nathan, Board certified psychiatrist and director of Continuing Medical Education for Princeton Health Care Why Marijuana Should be Legal for Adults – CNN.com.
Rethinking the War on Drugs – The Wall Street Journal, Mark Kleiman, Jonathan Caulkins and Angela Hawken. Link by Tom M. The U.S. has reached a dead end in trying to fight drug use by treating every offender as a serious criminal. Blanket drug legalization has some superficial charm—it fits nicely into a sound-bite or tweet—but it can’t stand up to serious analysis. Mark Kleiman has ideas that provide an answer which history shows always falls somewhere in a middle ground. It is a realty based proposition; facts! View Frontline’s BUSTED, America’s War on Marijuana. and view Huffington Post’s online archive of Mark’s publications
When I think of out spoken anti drug war activist, Charmie Gholson, I think of a group of Mom’s from Southern California, a fountainhead of activists who have reintroduced a vintage term very few of us remember, prohibition. Moms United is bringing to light the impact of today’s prohibition on drug use and why the war on drugs has to end. To make it clear, today’s prohibition is the drug war. What President Nixon signed into law in 1971 turned out to be a war on our own people. Charmie is a Michigan activist. She founded Michigan Moms United to End the War of Drugs. Mother’s Day is a big day for Moms United and last mother’s day Charmie wrote this: What I want for Mother’s Day: Stop Stealing our Sex Toys and go get Rapists.
Denise Cullen has lived through one of the worst tragedies a mother can experience She lost her child. But if there is anything worse than losing a child, it is losing a child to a drug overdose, because grief is accompanied by stigma and blame. Read her account by the NC Harm Reduction Coalition in Daily Kos: The Stigma of Drug Overdose: A Mother’s Story.
Nora Volkow, Director of the National Institute on Drug Abuse explains why addicts should be treated the same as anyone with a debilitating disease. View her interview in Why Addicts Shouldn’t be Criminalized by Nora Volkow Fareed Zakria, a CNN journalist talks about the over-incarceration of addicts in Incarceration Nation Ten years ago, Portugal moved a national policy forward to decriminalize drugs. Studies now shows a large decrease in drug addiction in Portugal. Read 10 years after… For a very studied case on why we move to the decriminalization and classifying addiction as an addiction read the compelling Global Commission Report
With professionals like Nora Volkow bringing addiction science into mainstream visibility, how can we go wrong? She is a revolutionary! With blood ties to the infamous Leon Trotsky, this boldness is a trait we need to overcome obstacles that keep us from pushing through the big roadblocks to solving an insidious problem. She is a medical doctor with residency in psychiatry and passion for addiction science. Nora is committed to unlocking the mystery of addiction. In 2003, She was appointed the Director of the National Institute of Drug Abuse, NIDA. Nora Volkow is a rock star. She attracts a lot of attention and many hope that she will make a huge difference in one of the biggest public health concerns the U.S. has known. 25 million Americans deal with addiction. She recently received an Award in Psychiatry by Baylor College of Medicine. The New York Times calls her a General in the Drug War. That’s about as mainstream as it gets, as the scourge of addiction moves closer to achieving the coveted title of a genuine medical problem; enabling the help so many addicts have been with out. Go Nora!
Four decades ago, on 17 July 1971, President Richard Nixon declared what has come to be called the “war on drugs“. Nixon told Congress that drug addiction had “assumed the dimensions of a national emergency”, and asked Capitol Hill for an initial $84m (£52m) for “emergency measures”. “Our president has said very clearly that this is the time for a deep analysis of what has happened over the past 40 years, and to learn the lessons of the mistakes that have been made,” Rodríguez said in an interview with the Observer last week. “And we have to evaluate every alternative, without excluding any possibility – from complete legalisation to a second, different, war on drugs.”
As U.S drug policy continues to rely on a counterproductive drug war, resistance to moving towards decriminalizing addiction, persists. Of course, the losers are young addicts that can and should be rehabilitated. many are on the road to become criminalized addicts, if not already there. Some have a hustle; others fill our jails. Make no mistake, many are our children and relatives.
Public and private treatment institutions remain effectively, insignificant in dealing with the populations that need their services. The realty is that it takes money to recover and isolation from the outside world for a typical addict. Treatment professionals agree that a long period of abstinence is necessary for the restoration of naturally occurring dopamine and receptor functioning. Without this transformation and internment, an addict exists in an emotional black hole. The loss of 7 million Americans to addiction each year is very significant. An alcohol and drug dependent America is dragging us down. With exception to the Veterans Administration and federally funded programs, our insurance and healthcare policies are ineffective. They do not deal with co-existing mental disorders or proper treatment. Typical insurance and health care policies consistently demonstrate rejection of proper substance use disorder (SUD) treatment. Except for sparse and difficult public funding, insurance companies rarely pay for basic replacement drug therapy which is relatively cheap.
We live in a world that hates addictive behavior, yet silently condones the biggest drug dependent and alcoholic population on earth. People like Governor Scott of Florida ditch prescription databases over privacy and business rights. How does that even fit? Our government claims to want to eradicate demand and source, yet have at least enabled or created a situation in which more pharmaceutical opiates are available than ever and our budget to fight the drug war in Mexico is as counterproductive as our U.S. job eating trade deficit. Instead we jail addicts. Addicts who are not violent, should be screened and sequestered in an environment geared to treatment. Dollars spent to accomplish this can come from otherwise, redundant incarceration. Addicts are human beings that need to be rehabilitated. Jails and prisons are good at warehousing and worsening criminal behavior. With an exception to federal prisons, what is missing, is the willful intent to screen and rehabilitate.
The House I Live in updates a 40-year-old unsolved problem.
The drug war is a problem that tears apart Americans. The victims are millions of family members who care about someone trapped in addiction. What it does to an addict is a torment words can’t adequately describe. This is really a war, not on drugs, but on all of us. It is a parasitical phenomena that relies on public silence while demanding massive cash flow; the taxpayer its host. Dealing with addiction and ending drug demand is antithetical to its existence. See the film, The House I live in. link by Monica
“Methadone Maintenace is disdained by many in the treatment industry as a therapy that simply replaces addiction to one drug for another… critics charge that methadone programs are mostly successful at controlling the social costs of opiate addiction, doing little to promote actual recovery from the disease”… Ted Jackson, Treatment Magazine. View the rest of Ted’s article here: America’s Methadone King With so many opiate addicts in the U.S., methadone is becoming a business magnet. Buprenorphine is very likely to follow. Ted Jackson’s article portrays CRC as controlling the largest number of clinics. 61 out of a total of 1050 clinics in the U.S receiving roughly 1.3 million dollars in annual revenue per clinic. CMG is 2nd place with 50 clinics. Using CRC’s revenue formula the potential for methadone sales in the U.S approaches a billion dollars. Obviously, public funded facilities will not disappear tomorrow, but their tax base is something that states continue to cut. Bain Capital’s CRC and… other big interests in methadone
Mexican election could mean drug war strategy shift, U.S. officials say – CNN.com. View this CNN article for a glimpse into what may start turning around U.S. drug war policy for better or worse.
The continuous rise of drug-related criminal activity in the United States indicates that current reform policies simply are not working. Many examining the existence of crime www.criminology.com are puzzled by the problem that drugs create and how best to stop the trade without affirming the behavior. Incarceration and other forms of corporal punishment for drug offenses are not only costly, but are also proving largely ineffective. Re-offenses are very common, and there is no evidence that the threat of imprisonment serves as any sort of real deterrent. The current state of American drug-related crime calls for an approach to the problem that is grounded in treatment and scientific research. Read more here: Drug Addiction and Criminology
Host, Larry Golbom of PAR Radio, has it out for big pharma who market addictive narcotic drugs to America. In fact, anyone who has watched the destruction addiction has had on their families, feel the same. Read OxyContin and Purdue Pharma – Diabolical Beyond Comprehension The genesis is what Larry Golbom calls the marketing of pain as a disease, which has been stunningly epidemic in his home state of Florida. Not long ago, pain was treated as an underlying symptom of a disease and the real disease was addressed. What we have now is pain as the most over treated “contrived” disease in medical history and addiction as one of the most untreated “denied” of diseases. For insight into the making of this phenomena, read this 2001 New York Times piece Pain, The Disease.
Drug Policy Reform – Treatment Magazine Ted Jackson is the editor and publisher of Treatment Magazine, the nation’s leading trade publication covering the addiction treatment industry. Ted writes regularly denouncing the absurdity of the War on Drugs while promoting treatment as the answer to the addiction problem. This current article about reform indicates a growing call for a complete reversal of how America deals with an epidemic of drug addiction that is tearing the hearts out of our families and children while our governments and prison lobbies use the disease of addiction as a pork barrel.
How to fight addiction at grassroot level – USATODAY.com. Even a statesman was touched by the scourge of addiction. George McGovern is on fire for solutions as he discusses a grassroots view to fighting a gripping national epidemic that took his own daughter 17 years ago. George McGovern points out that, on the federal level, not a single government agency working in this area bears the word “recovery” in its name. George McGovern is a former U.S. senator and Democratic nominee for president
Addiction now defined as chronic brain disorder – Health – Addictions – msnbc.com. This is what we at a grassroots and professional level have been talking about. Addiction needs a medical classification so we can simply deal with it at the right scale. In a nation governed by a voting population, majority rules and the majority votes for legislators that say in many ways; let the addicts rot. Can we afford to keep looking at a medical condition in this manner? Even if 10% of the population deals directly with the impact of addiction, that’s 30 million people; addicts and their immediate family. We argue, that when you calculate prison, emergency rooms, homelessness, deaths, lost productivity the costs start to look something like a cabinet level budget. We spend hundreds of billion of dollars annually on the disease by not dealing with it; so why not accept it and deal with it humanely. It is chronic problem that doesn’t go away on its own. Msnbc link by Tom G.
I have always had my doubts about the broader effectiveness of drug courts. I know some programs work, but I can’t disagree with some of what Margret Dooley-Sammuli and the Drug Policy Alliance says about the larger picture.
Washington, D.C. – At two briefings on Capitol Hill today, the Drug Policy Alliance released a groundbreaking new report, Drug Courts are Not the Answer: Toward a Health-Centered Approach to Drug Use (www.drugpolicy.org/drugcourts <http://www.drugpolicy.org/drugcourts> ), which finds that drug courts have not demonstrated cost savings, reduced incarceration, or improved public safety; leave many people worse off for trying; and have actually made the criminal justice system more punitive toward addiction – not less.
“The drug court phenomenon is, in large part, a case of good intentions being mistaken for a good idea,” said Margaret Dooley-Sammuli, deputy state director in Southern California for the Drug Policy Alliance, who contributed to the report. “Drug courts have helped many people, but they have also failed many others, focused resources on people who could be better treated outside the criminal justice system and in some cases even led to increased incarceration. As long as they focus on people whose only crime is their health condition, drug courts will be part of the problem – not the solution – created by drug war policies.”
“Even if drug courts were able to take in all 1.4 million people arrested for just drug possession each year, over 500,000 to 1 million people would be kicked out and sentenced conventionally,” Dooley-Sammuli added.
“Far from being a cure for the systemic problems of mass drug arrests and incarceration, drug courts are not even a stopgap,” said Daniel Abrahamson, Drug Policy Alliance’s Director of Legal Affairs, who also contributed to the report. “Drug courts have actually helped to increase, not decrease, the criminal justice entanglement of people who struggle with drugs and have failed to provide quality treatment. Only sentencing reform and expanded investment in health approaches to drug use will stem the flow of drug arrests and incarceration. The feel-good nature of drug courts hasn’t translated into results. U.S. drug policy must be based not on good intentions, but on robust, reliable research.”