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February 2015
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Open Thread

bullet image OK, this is certainly interesting…

Remember that in-depth article at Huffpost about how we as a country are failing addicts that I discussed recently? Again, it’s nowhere near where we need to be headed (read “Chasing the Scream” for what we should be doing), but it was at least a wake-up call for some of the worst practices we have been conducting in this country.

Apparently, it struck a nerve.

Federal Government Set To Crack Down On Drug Courts That Fail Addicts

The federal government is cracking down on drug courts that refuse to let opioid addicts access medical treatments such as Suboxone, said Michael Botticelli, acting director of the White House’s Office of National Drug Control Policy, on Thursday.

Drug courts that receive federal dollars will no longer be allowed to ban the kinds of medication-assisted treatments that doctors and scientists view as the most effective care for opioid addicts, Botticelli announced in a conference call with reporters.

Again, this isn’t the actual solution, but it’s an awareness that is huge to be coming from the federal government.


bullet image In another moment of federal shifting…

U.S. Surgeon General Vivek Murthy Says Marijuana ‘Can Be Helpful’ For Some Medical Conditions

“We have some preliminary data that for certain medical conditions and symptoms, that marijuana can be helpful,” Murthy said during a Wednesday interview on “CBS This Morning” in response to a question about his stance on marijuana legalization.

While Murthy didn’t take the opportunity to endorse legalization of marijuana for medical or recreational purposes, he did add that he believes U.S. marijuana policy should be driven by science and what it reveals about the efficacy of using the plant for medical purposes.

“I think we’re going to get a lot more data about that,” Murthy said. “I’m very interested to see where that takes us.”

That’s a good step, and once again has raised a lot of questions in the press about how it can continued to classified in Schedule 1.

Naturally, after some likely behind-the-scenes pressure, the statement appeared to be walked back slightly yesterday evening in a statement attributed to Murthy…

Marijuana policy — and all public health policies — should be driven by science. I believe that marijuana should be subjected to the same, rigorous clinical trials and scientific scrutiny that the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) applies to all new medications. The Federal Government has and continues to fund research on possible health benefits of marijuana and its components. While clinical trials for certain components of marijuana appear promising for some medical conditions, neither the FDA nor the Institute of Medicine have found smoked marijuana to meet the standards for safe and effective medicine for any condition to date.

Yet today, HHS’s twitter feed was actually promoting his original statements: Feds appear to stand by surgeon general’s comments that “marijuana can be helpful”


And federal drug policy tap dances its way along the edge of testing the idea of moving out of the dark ages. Next thing you know, they’ll admit that the earth isn’t flat.

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28 comments to Open Thread

  • Matt

    Suboxone and Methadone are not medical treatments, they are substitution therapy. It is just a way of being seen to be doing something under the guise of caring about opiate users, whilst still persecuting them for use of their drug of choice, morphine. It is also about forcing them to buy morphine (usually in the form of heroin) from the black market, by preventing a safe, certified and “legal” supply of the drug. It is a propaganda mainstay that opiate addiction is a disease that only deviant members of society are afflicted by. A disease that needs “treatment”. If you give opiate users a safe supply of their drug, there is no issue.

  • The dominoes are falling almost daily. I can only hope that all of these news items will not escape the notice of Judge Mueller of California’s East District Federal Court. We have discussed here, that hers is the responsibility to rule on the constitutionality of cannabis prohibition in California. While having the burden of “weighing all the evidence” would presumably preclude one from ever reaching a final decision, I hope she keeps up with these new developments, and comes out with her verdict soon.

  • jean valjean

    Posted this on the last thread in answer to Duncan, but as we’re still discussing Michael Botticelli I took the liberty of re-posting it on the current thread:

    Botticelli did face questioning in congress last year. When Rep Blumenauer asked about legalization and medical cannabis he said that “DEA has not changed its position on this.” He’s been put up by the drug war cohort because he has a winsome smile while dispensing the usual bad news. It’s the typical Obama administration use of minorities (he’s openly gay like Melinda Haag) to convince the information poor that he’s actually a liberal. I wonder how quickly AA meetings empty when he walks in. I for one would not feel at all safe talking about illegal drug use in front of him.

    • Duncan20903

      .
      .

      I get it jean. You’re unable to differentiate one prohibitionist from the other, while I don’t objectify people. So what’s so funny about peace love and understanding? Seriously, it’s almost like you can’t stand the idea that I haven’t seen the same rotten core of evil in Mr. Botticelli that (I think) we both agree is obvious in the (lack of) character in Mr. Walters and Ms. Haag. Feel free to point to some specific examples if you have them. But know this…stand alone rhetoric doesn’t qualify as far as I’m concerned.

      • jean valjean

        Nothing at all wrong with peace love and understanding Duncan. The only reason I mentioned your name in the above post was so that others could locate the thread. Your earlier comment about Botticelli’s rise through the hierarchy of drug enforcement and the indication that he is an “extremist” hawk was duly noted. Don’t quite know why you think I am maligning you when the object of my disapproval was Michael Botticelli and the ONDCP’s spin and P.R. ?

  • CJ

    hey Matt, have you been around other sites? are you new to reform? You remind me of a friend of mine, he was very active in reform, he ran a blog called Opiophile too but he disappeared, I hope he’s okay. Are you familiar with the works of Thomas Wayburn? He is an incredible man. Just incase you didn’t know this, before the Drug Policy Alliance was what it is today, it used to be the DPC and he was with them. He was saying things about heroin at a time when reform was at its lowest, during the insanity of Reagan/Bush/Clinton/Bush drug policies and before. But particularly as an opiate addict. He’s an older guy now, but he actually has given me permission to reprint/use/manage any/all of his works [i do have the email where he gave me said permissions]. I highly recommend you or anybody really look into his writings. But what you said it’s true. I’ve been saying it for years anywhere and everywhere I can. At the beginning it was brutal, I think things have changed quite a lot the past 5 years. At first, every site *almost* that I went to, well, I had no idea about reform, I had no idea about anything really. I was arrested and in a bad situation at the time and suddenly I had alot of time on my hands and some computer access so I learned all I could about everything, history, pharmacology, reform etc. But alot of sites at that time were just talking about pot and anything else was like, heretical. It was brutal. Lots of ignorance. Lots of me, ranting for huge paragraph/run-on sentences pleading the case for opiates. You must know about Jane Say’s Syndrome? I made that term up, it’s when you know how it is, opiate users, un-enlightened to the facts of the drug prohibition situation and tough love and everything else and every time they cop they say to themselves “This is it. I’m done. I’m quitting tomorrow. I can’t do this anymore” etc. etc. etc. You know this I have no doubt. I call that Jane Say’s Syndrome (the song goes “im gonna kick tomorrow” but we wont and the key is reconizing this and embracing it and thus embracing yourself and what you do.) I think Jane Says Syndrome is one of the true hurtles to climb over amongst the opiate users in opiate prohibition. It’s always great to see someone who has gotten over that, that’s when you’re in a real position to get knee deep in the crap of this and actually do something. I would lastly say to check out Heroin Helper even though its not active anymore. He wrote a great book called The Heroin Users Handbook. I have it I highly recommend it. But this is a great site, it is alot better than alot of places in online reform and Pete is dead on and he gets it which is the most important thing. As he pointed out here in this article at the top. Most reform places will just run that story but theyre not gonna make the critical point that Pete has that it’s not enough, it’s not even quite in the right direction (as I’ve said, buprenorphine is actually a step in the wrong direction) but the point is it is a beginning of sorts. It’s good. Yes though Methadone and Buprenorphine aren’t the answer. Off the top of my head I’ll just say I know that when Methadone went toe to toe with heroin maintenance the results were 67% success rate [meaning the patient continued treatment, did not steal, did not get into legal trouble, began managing life affairs, rebuilding relationships, getting work etc.] for methadone patients and 88-92% success rate for heroin maintenance users. Buprenorphine is the drug from hell. As Ive said many many times it’s totally synthetic and any drug designer that creates a totally synthetic drug knowing FULL WELL KNOWING that it has the potential to cause precipated withdrawals and the suicide inducing pain that precipitated withdrawals can cause, well, that’s just evil.

    • Matt

      Hi CJ, I have seen many of the other sites. I dont use any drugs myself, including alc and caffeine. I worked for a time as an alcohol and other drug worker. Drugs fascinate me. I am just sick of the “drug war” and what it does to people. I am constantly incensed by man’s inhumanity to man. I saw the light about ten years ago regards “fatal heroin overdose”. Once you realise it is a myth/lie, it becomes very easy to understand what is going on. The drug war is just a corporate welfare scheme amongst other things. It has absolutely nothing to do with protecting the populace from dangerous drugs. The populace (and incidentally the law makers) happen to use the two most dangerous drugs which are alcohol and tobacco. My information is that Bup is made from thebaine (a component of opium) and it is technically a semi-synthetic partial agonist. Good luck with everything. You have a right to be very angry.

  • claygooding

    And to sweeten the pot other bureaucracies are joining in,,HHS is tweeting the same “helpful” message about marijuana.

    PLEASE keep all limbs inside the vehicle at all times,,falling debris!!!

    Bowlofchili just got through guaranteeing CA LE that marijuana was locked into Schedule 1 so it isn’t a sure sign it will be removed from Schedule 1 or he gave the speech before the decision was made based on some info the feds got,,for them to ignore the medical efficacy this long and suddenly yank the steering wheel it must be one humdinger of a study.

  • CJ

    OH SORRY lol I forgot I wanted to mention something to the forum fam here. Im glad I remembered so listen to this I know youll all get a kick out of this. Yesterday morning doing the usual, I had to take the train up to the heart of the Bronx its been brutal riding trains in NYC this passed week [it’s because there was a snow storm last week that hasnt thawed out and listen, this city, supposedly the beacon of America right, well in my younger days before things…..became how they are… I’d the priviledge of visiting Europe, particularly England, Amsterdam and Kyev [Ukraine] and I’m telling you right now the trains in Europe make the NYC MTA look third world straight up] and so when I got off I’m walking down and some photographer is there, he’s all geared up looking like a professional and taking professional style pictures. Hes got the lighting all set up, he’s got the big camera he’s doing the job you know? So I’m looking and trying to see, he’s photographing something that’s in the window of a bodega on the corner… It’s an add… Here in NYC just for those who dont know, we have this “corner stores” [and theres a joke, how do you know when youre in a bad neighborhood? when the corner stores are in the middle of the street] which are these like, hybrid delis that sell and make deli sandwiches, coffee, millions of candy bars, newspapers and cold drinks. Between these corner stores and pizza places and starbucks, they must make up like 80% of NYC’s real estate market seriously. But anyway they are famous for always having advertisements of half naked girls promoting something or other [it used to be bikini clad girls promoting New Port cigarettes.]

    Anyway hes photographing a big poster of a girl in a bikini on the beach. She’s got a green string bikini on and on her breast bikini coverings and crotch bikini covering is a white embroidered MARIJUANA LEAF. And then above this woman are these words:

    “They laugh at me because I’m different. I laugh at them because they’re all the same.”

    So I’m thinking what the heck is this about? And it’s an add apparently for something called “CANNABIS ENERGY DRINK” so have you guys heard about this? Is this maybe a NYC thing? Cannabis energy drink. From what I understand these energy drinks are similar to amphetamines/uppers. Isn’t his idea of Cannabis Energy an oxy moron???

    It reminds me too. Being homeless down in the LES [lower east side] every night can be a circus, especially by St Marks Place. But two summers ago over there every night there used to come this big van and it had all these pot leafs painted all over it and people standing outside hawking something. They were hawking these “marijuana lollipops” they’d call them. This was right before Colorado and Washington legalized. And what they were selling was NOT illegal. I’m not sure what it was. But the thing is, even as a version of legal pot, what they were doing didnt help the cause because just a few of these lollipops costed like 300 dollars about. Of course the unreasonably high prices of drugs on the black market is what leads to the true horrors of drug prohibition.

  • claygooding

    The SEC is allowing another company to sell stocks on the exchange,,choo choo mfrs.

    http://tinyurl.com/k5udk9l

    • Duncan20903

      .
      .

      Oh BTW, how long has GW Pharmaceuticals been trading on any of the SEC regulated stock markets? I know that my shares are at least 4 1/2 years old. There’s no doubt that GW Pharm is growing cannabis. It was the company that dubbed itself GW Pharm rather than GW Pharma.

    • Servetus

      Here’s Bill Bennett’s new vomitus about marijuana just published in the Wall Street Journal. (If you go here and move down to “William Bennett and Robert White: Legal Pot is a Public…”, you can bypass the WSJ paywall.) Bennett even evokes the ghost of Mark Kleiman:

      Mark A.R. Kleiman, a professor of public policy at the University of California, Los Angeles, has estimated that legalization can be expected to increase marijuana consumption by four to six times. Today’s 2.7 million marijuana dependents (addicts) would thus expand to as many as 16.2 million with nationwide legalization. That should alarm any parent, teacher or policy maker.

      What else can we expect from an old booze hound like Bill Bennett? All those martini breakfasts appear to have taken their toll.

  • Servetus

    With regard to Suboxone medical maintenance for addictions, Michael Botticelli’s reliance upon the collective consciousness of drug consumers, instead of his army of pathological sadomoralists occupying key positions in drug enforcement, is a positive step in the right direction.

    Unlike Bill Bennett, Robert A. White, or John Walters, most drug aficionados really do possess a working conscience. As a group they are an authentic, experienced, well informed resource upon which to rely when it comes to drug topics and policies. Botticelli’s recent directive gives hope to the possibility that someday there will be liberty and justice for all. On that eventful day, prohibitionists will be left with only themselves to condemn and discriminate against. Drug consumers and other dissidents will be off limits.

  • Here is certainly some interesting breaking news, since we are speaking of Mr Botticelli:
    http://tinyurl.com/q8sox5r , http://tinyurl.com/ooe8349

  • QuaxMercy

    New idea for tonight’s open thread: How the aggressive power-hugging Ignorants are continuing to use their disability to pluck power & wield unfair advantage.

    All is justified by the purity of their wrath. They keep themselves pure by avoiding contamination with any contact with the information, the facts, the evidence – the feedback. Their Righteousness must obscure (I’ve just seen Sen. Cotton’s committee performance from earlier today) the Fact that, in their enthusiasm for their own position, they’ve totally failed to address or even acknowledge their adversaries legitimate concerns, which, when this is pointed out to them, they also ignore. Using their disability. Ignorance: It Can’t Not Work – It never doesn’t, ever, so far

    • B. Snow

      Yeppers = seems like Young Tommy Cotton’s a special kinda stupid, ain’t he?

      For those that might’ve missed it, his latest most famous incident of being “dumb in public” (in the Senate no less) was centered on why we should just fill up Gitmo -to the very brim- and that’ll magically end terrorism… or Something?

      Because, you know throwing people in prison for being gang members, has worked so spectacularly well in the past!

      (Don’t tell that to Cotton though, ’cause he was in the military = and it didn’t fuck him up at all!)
      Here’s a small recap
      No disrespect to Veteran’s, it’s just that some of them come back with *ahem* issues that don’t lend well to them becoming public servants – (among other things) and this fucker is in the Senate, making McCain look rational and well adjusted no less…
      (His website has that traditional teabagger flair and that “taking our country back” language. I wish someone would tell these folks something like:

      Hey fucker -yeah you- = You and your friends can have all of the “country parts” to yourselves = IF, you promise to keep your ignorant, bigoted asses outta the cities & suburbs, unless you have a Doctor’s note and a Minder to accompany you during your visit!

      Sorry, I’m severely allergic to that flavor of crazy jackass – and when they’re on CSPAN, my Political Tourette’s acts up something fierce, my apologies…

  • Mr_Alex

    The Government needs to concede that the Drug War is lost

    • B. Snow

      They can’t admit “defeat”… But they could recognize their current policies are inefficient & decide to “attack the problem” (sorry pun intended) – approach the issue from a totally new angle!

      And no, Not from the “public health issue” route = Why you ask?
      Because, the *small gov’ment* gang won’t even accept that rationale as a reason to vaccinate their kids to protect them from the measles, +mumps & rubella!

      That’s is practically the definition of a successful public health issue, and while I’m not a “fan” of vaccinations – the measles/mumps/rubella shot, is one that they got right = about 40 years ago

      Maybe further back, seems like they’d gotten that nailed down back in the late 70’s – was about 3 (or 4?) when they had a commercial w/ R2-D2 and C3PO aimed at convinced kids to not be afraid of getting their shots…
      I only vaguely recall it – but for years & years my Dad was always tickled to bring it up = to both embarrass me AND brag on me not – and my being very good about going to the doctor to get shots and whatnot… Normally whenever someone was talking about someone, (a cousin or friend of the family) being really bad about going and getting theirs.

      Anywho, the “anti-vaxers” are an excellent opportunity to point out how the – “treat it as a public health issue” pioneered by Joe Biden in Delaware.

      I truly believe that adopting this B.S. policy – (along with expanding the use of drug courts) – was one a condition/ultimatum on Biden’s part to join the 2008 Dem ticket as the VP candidate.

      Because – on just one day prior to his accepting the VP offer from Barry = Joe had adamantly denied wanting to have anything to do with becoming the VP candidate.
      He was interviewed in his driveway and was quoted (in print & shown on camera IIRC) saying = “No, I’m not that guy.”

      And the general concensus was that for his refusing the spot was that he’d seen the clip from 2004 w/ Obama running for Senate and talking decriminalization of marijuana.

      PLUS – his famous answer on the then/now (post Bill Clinton) standard question: “Have have you ever inhaled?”

      And even if you think that was just an off-the-cuff answer, you’d be right = if you mean he may as well have had it written on one of his shirt cuffs.

      Obama, gave that same answer several times (with variations in the following sentences “it was a stupid mistake”, I’m not proud of it”, etc. (Very few of which made the news-clips in the following days/weeks.)

      While some folks loved the answer (in a classic case of ‘political signaling’) it many hated it, and it no stretch to think the 40 years in the Senate “tough on drugs” Dem – who was responsible for publically noting that “we need a Drug Czar” – when discussing the “alarming drug problems” of the early 80’s and thus *coining the term*

      It’s also the reason he has ZERO chance in hell of beating anyone else with a pulse in the 2016 Dem Primary…

      UNLESS – He has a *come to Jesus* moment = in the sense of publicly admitting that, after 30-40 years of working to trying to go at ‘problem drug use’ – its finally apparent that trying the same thing repeatedly all these years =has indeed become insane.
      (He can note the large shift in public & some professional opinions on the issue, and go with the *LEAP route* = Having seen what our policy has done from an inside view – he can no longer sit hopefully and watching, expecting that *This Time* we’ll achieve different results.

      I wouldn’t bet on Biden doing that, I really do expect to see numerous versions of this from other candidates in all sorts of Elections in 2016 and beyond.

  • Mr_Alex

    Kevin Sabet are you ready to watch your credibility plummet?

    • DdC

      Bahá’u’lláh Kevin Abraham Sabet-Sharghi and any word resembling credibility is an Oxymoron. Sabeteur SAM is a segmented worm that belongs to the phylum Annelida and comprise the subclass Hirudinea. Like the oligochaetes he shares a clitellum and is a hermaphrodite. He’s a Leech.