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July 2005
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A new appointment to the Drug Czar’s office

President Bush has sent a new nomination to the Senate for confirmation as Deputy Director for Demand Reduction, ONDCP to replace Andrea Barthwell. (Note: the word “vice” also means “to replace” — just seems odd to use it there.)
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The nominee is Bertha K. Madras, a researcher with Harvard Medical School. Her expertise appears to be in neurobiology, and she focuses on dopamine, finding drugs to cure cocaine addiction, the neurobiology of ADHD, Parkinson’s and others (including primate work), along with specialized forms of brain imaging. She’s done some cameos for the Drug Czar in the past, and she’s been involved in some educational outreach programs related to addiction. She’s also received the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) Public Service award, presented by Nora Volkow, director of NIDA.
I don’t know too much about her, but despite her strong ties to prohibitionist shills, her scientific credentials seem legit. What I don’t understand is why she’d give up her research work to go parrot the czar’s propaganda.
And does she know that working for the Drug Czar seems to corrupt people? When Andrea Barthwell went to work for Walters, she talked about wanting to make a difference in terms of shifting drug policy more toward treatment instead of prohibition. And colleagues of hers (whom I know) thought highly of her back then. They say she changed. Clearly not for the better.
Do you really want this job, Bertha?

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