Feature: Obama's First National Drug Strategy -- The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly

A leaked draft of the overdue 2010 National Drug Strategy was published by Newsweek over the weekend, and it reveals some positive shifts away from Bush-era drug policy paradigms and toward more progressive and pragmatic approaches. But there is a lot of continuity as well, and despite the Obama administration's rhetorical shift away from the "war on drugs," the drug war juggernaut is still rolling along.

http://www.stopthedrugwar.org/files/wasitwalters.jpg
sign of the leaker?
That doesn't quite jibe with Office of National Drug Control Policy (ONDCP -- the drug czar's office) director Gil Kerlikowske's words when he announced in April 2009 that the phrase "war on drugs" was no longer in favor. "Regardless of how you try to explain to people it's a 'war on drugs' or a 'war on a product,' people see a war as a war on them. We're not at war with people in this country."

The leak was reported by long-time Washington insider and Newsweek columnist Michael Isikoff, who mentioned it almost off-handedly in a piece asserting "The White House Drug Czar's Diminished Status." Isikoff asserted in the piece that the unveiling of the strategy had been delayed because Kerlikowske didn't have the clout to get President Obama to schedule a joint appearance to release it. His office had been downgraded from cabinet level, Isikoff noted.

That sparked an angry retort from UCLA professor Mark Kleiman, a burr under the saddle to prohibitionists and anti-prohibitionists alike for his heterodox views on drug policy. In a blog post, Kleiman seemed personally offended at the leak, twice referring to the leaker as "a jerk," defending the new drug strategy as innovative if bound by interagency politics, and deriding Isikoff's article as "gossipy."

Kleiman also suggested strongly that the leaker was none other than former John Walters on the basis of an editing mark on the document that had his name on it. But Walters has not confirmed that, and others have point out it could have been a current staffer who is using the same computer Walters used while in office.

On the plus side, the draft strategy embraces some harm reduction programs, such as needle exchanges and the use of naloxone to prevent overdoses, although without ever uttering the words "harm reduction." There is also a renewed emphasis on prevention and treatment, with slight spending increases. But again reality fails to live up to rhetoric, with overall federal drug control spending maintaining the long-lived 2:1 ration in spending for law enforcement, eradication, and interdiction versus that for treatment and prevention.

The strategy also promotes alternatives to incarceration, such drug courts, community courts and the like and for the first time hints that it recognizes the harms that can be caused by the punitive approach to drug policy. And it explicitly calls for reform of the sentencing disparity for crack and powder cocaine offenses.

It sets a number of measurable goals related to reducing drug use. By 2015, ONDCP vows to cut last month drug use by young adults by 10% and cut last month use by teens, lifetime use by 8th graders, and the number of chronic drug users by 15%.

The 2010 goals of a 15% reduction reflect diminishing expectations after years of more ambitious drug use reduction goals followed by the drug policy establishment's inability to achieve them. That could inoculate the Obama administration from the kind of criticism faced by the Clinton administration back in the 1990s when it did set much more ambitious goals.

The Clinton administration's 1998 National Drug Control Strategy called for a "ten-year conceptual framework to reduce drug use and drug availability by 50%." That didn't happen. That strategy put the number of drug users at 13.5 million, but instead of decreasing, according to the 2008 National Household Survey on Drug Abuse and Health, by 2007 the number of drug users was at 20.1 million.

While Clinton took criticism from Republicans that his goals were not ambitious enough -- Newt Gingrich said we should just wipe out drugs -- the Bush administration set similar goals, and achieved similarly modest results. The Bush administration's 2002 National Drug Control Strategy sought a 25% reduction in drug use by both teenagers and adults within five years. While teen drug use declined from 11.6% in 2002 to 9.3% in 2007, then drug czar Walters missed his goal. He did less well with adult use almost unchanged, at 6.3% in 2000 and 5.9% in 2007.

The draft strategy, however, remains wedded to law enforcement, eradication, and interdiction, calls for strong federal support for local drug task forces, and explicitly rejects marijuana legalization. It also seeks to make drugged driving a top priority, which would be especially problematic if the administration adopts per se zero tolerance measures (meaning the presence of any metabolites of a controlled substance could result in a driver's arrest whether he was actually impaired or not).

Still, while the draft strategy is definitely a mixed bag, a pair of keen observers of ONDCP and federal drug policy pronounced themselves fairly pleased overall. While still heavy on the law enforcement side, the first Obama national drug strategy is a far cry from the propaganda-driven documents of Bush era drug czar John Walters.

The Good

"This is somewhat of a surprise, because for the first time they have included reducing the funds associated with the drug war in their strategy, although not in a big way, they're calling for reform of the crack/powder cocaine sentencing disparity, and they are calling for the reform of laws that penalize people," said Bill Piper, national affairs director for the Drug Policy Alliance. "This is the first time they've included anything recognizing that some of our policies are creating harm," he added.

"The stuff about syringe exchange and naloxone for overdose prevention is pretty good. It's the first time they've embraced any part of harm reduction, even though they don't use that name," Piper noted.

"I'm also impressed with the section on alternatives to incarceration," said Piper. "They basically said most drug users don't belong in jail, and a lot of dealers don't, either. It's still wedded to the criminal justice system, but it's good that they looked at so many different things -- drug courts, community courts, Operation Highpoint (warning dealers to desist instead of just arresting them as a means of breaking up open-air drug markets), programs for veterans. They seem interested in finding out what works, which is an evidence-based approach that had been lacking in previous strategies."

The Status Quo

"Drug war reformers have eagerly been waiting the release of President Obama's first National Drug Control Strategy," noted Matthew Robinson, professor of Government and Justice Studies at Appalachian State University and coauthor (with Renee Scherlen) of "Lies, Damned Lies, and Drug War Statistics: A Critical Analysis of Claims Made by the ONDCP." "Would it put Obama's and Kerlikowske's words into action, or would it be more of the same in terms of federal drug control policy? The answer is yes. And no. There is real, meaningful, exciting change proposed in the 2010 Strategy. But there's a lot of the status quo, too," he said.

"The first sentence of the Strategy hints at status quo approaches to federal drug control policy; it announces 'a blueprint for reducing illicit drug use and its harmful consequences in America,'" Robinson said. "That ONDCP will still focus on drug use (as opposed to abuse) is unfortunate, for the fact remains that most drug use is normal, recreational, pro-social, and even beneficial to users; it does not usually lead to bad outcomes for users, including abuse or addiction," he said.

"Just like under the leadership of Director John Walters, Kerlikowske's ONDCP characterizes its drug control approaches as 'balanced,' yet FY 2011 federal drug control spending is still imbalanced in favor of supply side measures (64%), while the demand side measures of treatment and prevention will only receive 36% of the budget," Robinson pointed out. "In FY 2010, the percentages were 65% and 35%, respectively. Perhaps when Barack Obama said 'Change we can believe in,' what he really meant was 'Change you can believe in, one percentage point at a time.'"

There is also much of the status quo in funding levels, Robinson said. "There will also be plenty of drug war funding left in this 'non-war on drugs.' For example, FY 2011 federal drug control spending includes $3.8 billion for the Department of Homeland Security (which includes Customs and Border Protection spending), more than $3.4 billion for the Department of Justice (which includes Drug Enforcement Agency spending), and nearly $1.6 billion for the Department of Defense (which includes military spending). Thus, the drug war will continue on under President Obama even if White House officials do not refer to federal drug control policy as a 'war on drugs,'" he noted.

The Bad

"ONDCP repeatedly stresses the importance of reducing supply of drugs into the United States through crop eradication and interdiction efforts, international collaboration, disruption of drug smuggling organizations, and so forth," Robinson noted. "It still promotes efforts like Plan Colombia, the Southwest Border Counternarcotics Strategy, and many other similar programs aimed at eradicating drugs in foreign countries and preventing them from entering the United States. The bottom line here is that the 'non war on drugs' will still look and feel like a war on drugs under President Obama, especially to citizens of the foreign nations where the United States does the bulk of its drug war fighting."

"They are still wedded to interdiction and eradication," said Piper. "There is no recognition that they aren't very effective and do more harm than good. Coming only a couple of weeks after the drug czar testified under oath that eradication in Colombia and Afghanistan and elsewhere had no impact on the availability of drugs in the US, to then put out a strategy embracing what he said was least effective is quite disturbing."

"The ringing endorsement of per se standards for drugged driving is potentially troubling," said Piper. "It looks a lot like zero tolerance. We have to look at this also in the context of new performance measures, which are missing from the draft. In the introduction, they talk about setting goals for reducing drug use and that they went to set other performance measures, such as for reducing drug overdoses and drugged driving. If they actually say they're going to reduce drugged driving by such and such an amount with a certain number of years, that will be more important. We'll have to see what makes it into the final draft."

"They took a gratuitous shot at marijuana reform," Piper noted. "It was unfortunate they felt the need to bash something that half of Americans support and to do it in the way they did, listing a litany of Reefer Madness allegations and connecting marijuana to virtually every problem in America. That was really unfortunate."

More Good

There are some changes in spending priorities. "Spending on prevention will grow 13.4% from FY 2010 to FY 2011, while spending on treatment will grow 3.7%," Robinson noted. "The growth in treatment is surprisingly small given that ONDCP notes that 90% of people who need treatment do not receive it. Increases are much smaller for spending on interdiction (an increase of 2.4%), domestic law enforcement (an increase of 1.9%), and international spending (an increase of 0.9%). This is evidence of a shift in federal drug control strategy under President Obama; there will be a greater effort to prevent drug use in the first place as well as treat those that become addicted to drugs than there ever was under President Bush."

Robinson also lauded the Obama administration for more clarity in the strategy than was evident under either Clinton or Bush. "Obama's first Strategy clearly states its guiding principles, each of which is followed by a specific set of actions to be initiated and implemented over time to achieve goals and objectives related to its principles. Of course, this is Obama's first Strategy, so in subsequent years, there will be more data presented for evaluation purposes, and it should become easier to decipher the ideology that will drive the 'non war on drugs' under President Obama," he said.

But he suggested that ideology still plays too big a role. "ONDCP hints at its ideology when it claims that programs such as 'interdiction, anti-trafficking initiatives, drug crop reduction, intelligence sharing and partner nation capacity building... have proven effective in the past.' It offers almost no evidence that this is the case other than some very limited, short-term data on potential cocaine production in Colombia. ONDCP claims it is declining, yet only offers data from 2007 to 2008. Kerlikowske's ONDCP seems ready to accept the dominant drug war ideology of Walters that supply side measures work -- even when long-term data show they do not."

Robinson also lauded ONDCP's apparent revelation that drug addiction is a disease. "Obama's first strategy embraces a new approach to achieving federal drug control goals of 'reducing illicit drug consumption' and 'reducing the consequences of illicit drug use in the United States,' one that is evidence-based and public health oriented," Robinson said. "ONDCP recognizes that drug addiction is a disease and it specifies that federal drug control policy should be assisted by parties in all of the systems that relate to drug use and abuse, including families, schools, communities, faith-based organizations, the medical profession, and so forth. This is certainly a change from the Bush Administration, which repeatedly characterized drug use as a moral or personal failing."

While the Obama drug strategy may have its faults, said Robinson, it is a qualitative improvement over Bush era drug strategies. "Under the Bush Administration, ONDCP came across as downright dismissive of data, evidence, and science, unless it was used to generate fear and increased punitive responses to drug-related behaviors. Honestly, there is very little of this in Obama's first strategy, aside from the usual drugs produce crime, disorder, family disruption, illness, addiction, death, and terrorism argument that has for so long been employed by ONDCP," he said. "Instead, the Strategy is hopeful in tone and lays out dozens of concrete programs and policies that aim to prevent drug use among young people (through public education programs, mentoring initiatives, increasing collaboration between public health and safety organizations); treat adults who have developed drug abuse and addiction problems (though screening and intervention by medical personnel, increased investments in addiction treatment, new treatment medications); and, for the first time, invest heavily in recovery efforts that are restorative in nature and aimed at giving addicts a new lease on life," he noted.

"ONDCP also seems to suddenly have a better grasp on why the vast majority of people who need treatment do not get it," said Robinson. "Under Walters, ONDCP claimed that drug users were in denial and needed to be compassionately coerced to seek treatment. In the 2010 Strategy, ONDCP outlines numerous problems with delivery of treatment services including problems with the nation's health care systems generally. The 2010 Strategy seems so much better informed about the realities of drug treatment than previous Strategy reports," he added.

"The strategy also repeatedly calls for meaningful change in areas such as alternatives to incarceration for nonviolent, low-level drug offenders; drug testing in courts (and schools, unfortunately, in spite of data showing it is ineffective); and reentry programs for inmates who need help finding jobs and places to live upon release from prison or jail. ONDCP also implicitly acknowledges that that federal drug control policy imposes costs on families (including the break-up of families), and shows with real data that costs are greater economically for imprisonment of mothers and foster care for their children than family-based treatment," Robinson noted.

"ONDCP makes the case that we are wasting a lot of money dealing with the consequences of drug use and abuse when this money would be better spent preventing use and abuse in the first place. Drug policy reformers will embrace this claim," Robinson predicted.

"The strategy also calls for a renewed emphasis on prescription drug abuse, which it calls 'the fastest growing drug problem in the United States,'" Robinson pointed out. "Here, as in the past, ONDCP suggests regulation is the answer because prescription drugs have legitimate uses that should not be restricted merely because some people use them illegally. And, as in the past, ONDCP does not consider this approach for marijuana, which also has legitimate medicinal users in spite of the fact that some people use it illegally," he said.

The Verdict

"President Obama's first National Drug Control Strategy offers real, meaningful, exciting change," Robinson summed up. "Whether this change amounts to 'change we can believe in' will be debated by drug policy reformers. For those who support demand side measures, many will embrace the 2010 Strategy and call for even greater funding for prevention and treatment. For those who support harm reduction measures such as needled exchange, methadone maintenance and so forth, there will be celebration. Yet, for those who support real alternatives to federal drug control policy such as legalization or decriminalization, all will be disappointed. And even if Obama officials will not refer to its drug control policies as a 'war on drugs,' they still amount to just that."

Permission to Reprint: This article is licensed under a modified Creative Commons Attribution license.
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meanwhile the FDA lets GSK

meanwhile the FDA lets GSK sell Avandia and kill 85,000 Americans and they dont say shit. 500 people were dying every month and the fda let gsk sell poison to Americans. Where are the cops who are sworn to protect and serve...when will this double standard bullshit cease ? I DEMAND IT

drug wars

It still makes me mad to see that not much is changing. We live near the border with Mexico and the retoric and damages by out drug laws are seen here on a daily basisi.
When will we ever learn. I used to think I would live long enough to see the end of the WOD but at 75 years, I doubt it.
Lets keep rattling their cages.

pot or alchohol

god made pot man made alchohol whom do u trust y is pot in schedual 1, and alchohol is not, if i drink to much i feel invincible, and drive drunk. so i dont drink anymore. if i smoke to much weed i am afraid to drive. had to quit pot so i can keep my job driving a truck, yet drivers come to work every day hung over which means that thier blood alchohol level is well over 0.4 which in illinois the limit if u have a comercial drivers liscence, yet if i got high saturday i can loose my job anytime for 2 weeks , still there is some good progress here so the people should be thankful.

Legalization unlikely now or ever, in my opinion

In my opinion, any hope of the legalization of marijuana is just as distant as it has ever been. In the immortal words of The Who "meet the new boss, same as the old boss". Sadly, I don't think I will live to see the days of a sane and reasonable drug policy, especially with regard to marijuana. Marijuana should be no different than alcohol. You should be able to purchase it at retail outlets, you should be able to grow a certain amount for personal consumption, and legal use should be restricted to adults. I don't believe it will ever happen. There is too much big money somewhere keeping it from happening. That's the only logical explanation as to how this insanity could have gone on unchecked for more than 70 years. Just the thought that we continue to incarcerate citizens for possession and consumption of a leaf staggers the imagination.

Continuing Ignorance

It's about money, let's be serious.

No one can provide one good reason as to why an adult in this country cannot grow and smoke cannabis. This is especially the case considering the structure and content of our Constitution.

Corrections and police jobs lost, jail beds empty, drug dogs chasing squirrels. loss of confiscation revenue. The pigs and prudes will not give up their (sole chance at) livelihood without a fight. We will continue to pay for their bullshit, because we are too lazy to demand our own implicit rights.

Cowards, we are.

NOW is the time.

NOW is the time to contact the administration with well reasoned, articulate suggestions for improvement:

http://www.whitehouse.gov/contact

They know drug war violates laws, show them in writing which ones!

Tenth Amendment - States' and People's Rights include any not enumerated in the Constitution
Article III, Section 3 - War on US is treason
Also:
False Claims Act
Monopoly
Restraint of Trade
Felony Perjury
Suppression of Exculpatory Evidence
and much, much more apply . . .

see also: http://ihydrocarbon.com/solutions/

Wage Peace!

Reassuring response to previous bleak comment

For a Sane and Reasonable "Drug" Policy: substitute Dosage for Drug and you have the answer. Dosage determines whether something is an Herb or a Drug. Hot burning overdose $igarettes and their relatives "joint", "blunt" etc., that may contain cannabis, both inflict heat shock, carbon monoxide, combustion toxins, etc., producing "dopy" symptoms that are ignorantly blamed on the cannabis when that is used. These same symptoms also strike tobacco-only inhaling smokers, but are masked by the pseudo "alertness"- and "concentration"-fostering effects of nicotine. (The usual $igarette smoker is just as stupid as you but seems less so because wider awake, which helps fool a girlfriend into thinking he can be trusted to make money, fool the boss into thinking he/she's working, stay awake all night cramming to pass the test, etc. A performance-enhancing drug for an obsolescent meritocracy. And, yes, they die sooner; may be interpreted as self-sacrifice out of duty to the $$ dependents.)

"Head shops" have fallaciously marketed wide-bowl pipes to cannabis users (who intend to inhale) even though the standard tobacco-related use of wide-bowl pipes has mainly involved non-inhaling-- the traditiional guys like Einstein and Lord Russell puff the smoke around their nasal cavity and absorb nicotine into the brain through the mucous membrane, instead of sucking it down into the bloodstream like $igarette addicts and cannabis users do.

The thing inhalant cannabis users can do, since inhaling "is the point", is to turn away from hot burning overdose smoking methods and inhale from either a VAPORIZER (soon pays for itself by delivering more THC per dollar) or a narrow, screened ONE-HITTER, and once you are expert at use of same, demonstrate it to friends. Once abusive hot burning procedures disappear from the cannabis use repertory, the prohibitionist faction loses its underlying argument based on attributing hot burning overdose harms to cannabis itself. (The Obama administration wants to avoid getting caught in this fight and will let things happen incrementally.)

ludicris drug czar

I saw an television interview on MSNBC with the Director of the White House Office of Drug Control Policy, the Drug Czar, Mr. Gil Kerlikowske. On the subject of State governments getting revenue from marijuana sales, he claimed the idea was ludicrous. The host said to Mr. Kerlikowske, “ Shouldn’t we just try to figure how to get a cut of the money exchanged ( from marijuana sales).” Mr. Kerlikowske replied, “”Well, the debate would make very little sense for a whole lot of reasons. First the Rand Corporation took a hard look at what California said they could actually tax and make on this and they have huge questions and find that foundation weak. For instance alcohol, we get about a dollar in taxes and spend about eight dollars in social and healthcare and criminal justice costs. To think that we would make money or someone would make money is ludicrous.”
I almost do not know where to begin! Taken as they are Mr. Kerlikowske’s comments are as clear as mud. What Rand Corporation study? California’s legislators and economists estimate 1.4 billion dollars in revenue yearly. I find it hard to believe California’s experts could be 100% wrong in their estimates. Mr. Kerlikowske goes on to cite the social costs of alcohol. That would be relevant if we were talking about alcohol, but we weren’t, we were talking about marijuana. A drug that results in zero overdose deaths per year. A drug that despite 14 years of medical marijuana in California has resulted in no increase in domestic violence or traffic accidents. As far as criminal justice costs, there will be none with legalization.
I have to agree with what Mr. Kerlikowske said in the beginning of the interview about the debate on making revenue off marijuana sales to be one that makes little sense. The way I see it Mr. Kerlikowske’s comments on the debate and the whole issue of marijuana are what make little sense. I realize the Drug Czar has a hard job. Being required to say things about something that you know not to be true is always difficult.
Were it not that the Drug Czar is required to lie, by the 1970 Controlled Substances Act, about any drug that is listed as schedule 1, as marijuana is, we might be able to believe what he says but as it is now , everything he says on the subject is circumspect.
The Federal Government’s position on marijuana and the lengths it is willing to go to keep up the charade of marijuana prohibition is what is truly ludicrous!

Nice work, and a bit of accidental info on the leak

Thanks for the thoughtful article -- nice to see an even-handed take on what is moving forward and what is not, please keep it up.

Through an odd coincidence, I have personal knowledge that I offer as fodder for conspiracy theorists regarding the leak (Personally, I blame the Freemasons). I was in ONDCP for a meeting late last year, and a group of us stood at the elevators for about a decade before we went up and again on the way down. As we were leaving I saw why: They had several of the elevators blocked because a tech team was going through and replacing every computer in the building. No idea who leaked the strategy, but the "leftover computer" explanation can't be correct.

Re "legalization unlikely" post: let's wait and see what happens

in November in California. Thank goodness for direct democracy.
I'm still waiting to see who leads the campaign there against the legalization initiative. Brown and Whitman are opposed, but busy trying to get elected, CA law enforcement is probably willing to play that role but I'm not sure CA public opinion will appreciate having those who serve the public try to tell the public how to vote on this. Law enforcement officials and the DEA were vocal in Colorado in the 2006 campaign and drew flak even from some fellow prohibs for interfering in the voters' decision. Hopefully that flak would be heavier and more widespread this year, in California.

For the People?

wasn't this country "for the people by the people"? WTF happend to that? oh yes... we've evolved into the "For the corporations by the government" people can go fuck themselves pretty much in America nowadays. It's all about money and only money, nothing else (cept maybe more power which = more money). People are only important in this giant circle of wealth (drug prohibition, FDA, pharmaceutical drug companies, food industry [additives such as free glutamic acid, preservatives]) because we work for a living, spend our money on food which makes us sick, then spend our money on LEGAL medications from the drug companies (convenient right) to treat but never cure our illnesses.

"We the people" give all our money and lives to these corporations. Anyone is free to argue me on this... when popular vote matters. Grats America, we live in a complex corporation-led communistic-dictatorship.

I totally agree with that! I

I totally agree with that! I just wished the sheepol would see this, it's called New World Order

McD's picture

Prohibition=Slavery

Prohibition is just an extension of slavery.

New Drug Policy

I worked for years as a Program Physician in drug-addiction clinics of Philadelphia, as well as in "detox" and "rehab" departments of a general hospital. Truth be told (as it always should be) that I have seen plenty of severe physical dependence and no less severe withdrawal from controlled prescription drugs such as opiates (Heroin, Morphine, Percoset, Oxycontin) or benzodiazepines (Valium, Xanax, Klonopin). The latter substances cause severe physical dependencies with withdrawal seizures, hallucinations, severe anxiety and even death. I have seen over and over how life long addiction careers started with doctors' over-prescribing these substances with resultant chronic methadone maintenance for opiate addicts and repeated "revolving doors" "detoxes" and "rehabs" for benzodiazepine addicts.
But then, lo and behold - marijuana is blamed as a "gateway drug" although it has nothing to do with severe addictions just referred to. In fact, marijuana has NO documented physical withdrawal and no overdose deaths, and medical marijuana were finally recognized and used, we would see much less addiction to the prescription drugs just described. This is precisely the reason why I campaign so forcefully to reclassify marijuana and to use it medically, because then the doses and the duration of treatment with the highly addictive controlled prescription drugs could be reduced; the time is not far off when the Feds will see it this way because it is so very obvious that the trick is not to see it, but to admit to what one is seeing.

this is not a set back, keep

this is not a set back, keep fighting, continue the civil disobedience. create a network of like minded indiviudals and to do what you have to do until prohibition has ended. slowly the feds are realizing that throwing money at it wont solve the criminal problem. no matter what the feds, state or local agencies do, they cannot stop the demand. we will continue to smoke and continue to disobey until the system cannot afford keep people in jail for using marijuana responsibly. we are almost there! do not stop the fight for the cause.
state and local budgets are almost bankrupt with the amount of people in jail, and the amount of resources that are thrown towards drug enforcement or should i say marijuana enforcement. its only illegal if you get cought, so become familiar with your civil rights. sooner or later someone like Ron Paul will get elected to office and make some much needed changes.
otherwise continue the fight... not even the romans could stop the will of the people.

This scares me

This new drug policy really frightens me. I am still personally peeved by the "regulation" our government came up with to control the sale of OTC cold remedies. If I want to by OTC Mucinex-D, I have to go to the pharmacy counter and show my picture ID and sign a statement that goes to the federal government stating that I will not abuse this drug.... This "regulation" came about because some drug dealers were extracting the pseudoephedrine from common cold remedies and making illegal drugs. I am not looking to do anything illegal with this drug. I just want to get rid of my sinus congestion. Why do I have to show my ID? (Of course there are other OTC cold remedies on the shelves, but they don't have the pseudoephedrine and don't work as well.)

Now, they want to "regulate the use of prescription drugs"? As a hospice nurse, this really scares me! In hospice, we sometimes have to use very high doses of pain medications and anti-anxiety medications to control symptoms at the end-of-life. As it is now, some doctors are afraid to prescribe Schedule II narcotics. We have to fight to get our patients the medications they need so they may be comfortable in their last days and hours. This Monday, I had an MD give me an order for Tylenol for a patient with breast and bone cancer who was screaming in pain. The doctor stated that the patient was elderly and anything stronger would make her too drowsy. I had to ask our medical director to write an order for something stronger. Fortunately, he did. If new regulations make it harder for patients to get the meds they need, who will write the order next time?

Who exactly will be doing this "regulating"? Does this mean that doctors will no longer be the ones who determine how much medication a patient can have? Will the doctor be questioned if he prescribes tooo much Percocet for a patient with breast cancer? Will there be a limit on how much morphine or methadone we can use on them? What about the patient who is severely agitated and anxious? Will there be a limit on the amount of Ativan?

It REALLY scares me to think that some policy-maker in Washington will be "regulating the use of prescription drugs'! I do understand that legitimate medications are abused in the community and some doctors are crooks who write phone scripts. But, I'm more concerned that the government will step in and determine exactly how much medication a patient can take. I know the article doesn't say anything like that, but you know that saying.... "give them an inch they'll take a mile...."

Well thougth out!

I was going through different articles on the new plan, and accidentally found out there will be a new initiative to get doctors who "over-prescribe". I guess, there will be a few more doctors becoming forcibly retired, for trying to take compassionate care of their patients.

And you are right! There will be far fewer doctors, who will prescribe what is needed for the patients suffering from the excruciating pain of terminal cancer!

Glad I can't practice, anymore! I could not do that! Just call me Dr K! I see where it would be better to die than go with untreated 24/7 pain! Luckily, my chronic pain is not to that point yet. But, I never have tried to have it treated. I think most doctors would be too ignorant to to do the job, right!

I hate it that the politicians and law enforcement representatives know better how to treat the patients, than the doctors! This is so screwed up in so many ways!

Obama = CHANGE

Seems like the more things CHANGE, the more things stay the SAME. We live in the most corrupt country in the world and its all legal baby!

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Drug War Issues

Criminal JusticeAsset Forfeiture, Collateral Sanctions (College Aid, Drug Taxes, Housing, Welfare), Court Rulings, Drug Courts, Due Process, Felony Disenfranchisement, Incarceration, Policing (2011 Drug War Killings, 2012 Drug War Killings, 2013 Drug War Killings, 2014 Drug War Killings, Arrests, Eradication, Informants, Interdiction, Lowest Priority Policies, Police Corruption, Police Raids, Profiling, Search and Seizure, SWAT/Paramilitarization, Task Forces, Undercover Work), Probation or Parole, Prosecution, Reentry/Rehabilitation, Sentencing (Alternatives to Incarceration, Clemency and Pardon, Crack/Powder Cocaine Disparity, Death Penalty, Decriminalization, Defelonization, Drug Free Zones, Mandatory Minimums, Rockefeller Drug Laws, Sentencing Guidelines)CultureArt, Celebrities, Counter-Culture, Music, Poetry/Literature, Television, TheaterDrug UseParaphernalia, ViolenceIntersecting IssuesCollateral Sanctions (College Aid, Drug Taxes, Housing, Welfare), Violence, Border, Budgets/Taxes/Economics, Business, Civil Rights, Driving, Economics, Education (College Aid), Employment, Environment, Families, Free Speech, Gun Policy, Human Rights, Immigration, Militarization, Money Laundering, Pregnancy, Privacy (Search and Seizure, Drug Testing), Race, Religion, Science, Sports, Women's IssuesMarijuana PolicyGateway Theory, Hemp, Marijuana -- Personal Use, Marijuana Industry, Medical MarijuanaMedicineMedical Marijuana, Science of Drugs, Under-treatment of PainPublic HealthAddiction, Addiction Treatment (Science of Drugs), Drug Education, Drug Prevention, Drug-Related AIDS/HIV or Hepatitis C, Harm Reduction (Methadone & Other Opiate Maintenance, Needle Exchange, Overdose Prevention, Safe Injection Sites)Source and Transit CountriesAndean Drug War, Coca, Hashish, Mexican Drug War, Opium ProductionSpecific DrugsAlcohol, Ayahuasca, Cocaine (Crack Cocaine), Ecstasy, Heroin, Ibogaine, ketamine, Khat, Marijuana (Gateway Theory, Marijuana -- Personal Use, Medical Marijuana, Hashish), Methamphetamine, New Synthetic Drugs (Synthetic Cannabinoids, Synthetic Stimulants), Nicotine, Prescription Opiates (Fentanyl, Oxycontin), Psychedelics (LSD, Mescaline, Peyote, Salvia Divinorum)YouthGrade School, Post-Secondary School, Raves, Secondary School