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.
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 Houseâ€™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.
In another moment of federal shifting…
“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.