Reps Urge New Direction with Drug Czar Pick

Five Democratic members of Congress are calling on President Obama to use the nomination of a new drug czar as an opportunity to take a big step toward fully embracing a drug policy based on science, reason, and facts. The five representatives made their call in a letter sent to the White House Thursday.

The White House Office of National Drug Control Policy (the drug czar's office) is charged with advising the president on drug control issues, setting federal drug control policy, and producing an annual report on national drug control strategy. Its current head, former Seattle police chief Gil Kerlikowske, is resigning to take on the position of commissioner of Customs and Border Protection.

"We commend you and your Administration on the recent steps you have taken to pursue smarter sentencing and policies that respect state laws regarding marijuana," the congressmen wrote. "We urge you to nominate a new director of ONDCP who will develop policies based on science rather than ideology and move away from the failed policy of criminalizing marijuana. The new director should promote fact-based education and use medical science and behavioral research to end the questionable practice of equating marijuana with dangerous drugs like heroin, crack, and methamphetamine."

The signatories are US Representatives Steve Cohen (D-TN), Earl Blumenauer (D-OR), Sam Farr (D-CA), Mark Pocan (D-WI), and Jared Polis (D-CO).

The congressmen noted that the position of drug czar has historically been filled by individuals with law enforcement backgrounds who have viewed drug policy as a matter of criminal enforcement rather than as a matter of public health -- regardless of the medical science and public research available. That needs to change, they said.

"We ask that you break from this tradition and nominate someone with a background in science," the letter said. "Particularly in light of the rapidly growing public support for marijuana legalization and broader drug policy reform, it would be a mistake for you to appoint someone who merely continues to prosecute the failed war on drugs."

Instead, they wrote, "the new director of ONDCP should promote scientific research into the benefits and risks of marijuana legalization and be guided by the results of those findings. He or she should take note of the growing movement at the state level to make marijuana legal for medical or personal use and help shape national policies based on the lessons learned in those states. At a minimum the new director should urge strict adherence to the recent DOJ guidelines regarding criminal enforcement in those states."

It has been nearly six weeks since Kerlikowske's pending resignation was announced, but there has so far been little hint of who the White House has in mind to replace him. The congressmen are suggesting that it's time to break the mold and head in a new direction.

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Drew B's picture

Please refresh my memory of

Please refresh my memory of who will be on the committee who interviews the nominee. TIA

NEW DRUG CZAR

 I agree with the congressmen 100 % on this : "We commend you and your Administration on the recent steps you have taken to pursue smarter sentencing and policies that respect state laws regarding marijuana," the congressmen wrote. "We urge you to nominate a new director of ONDCP who will develop policies based on science rather than ideology and move away from the failed policy of criminalizing marijuana. The new director should promote fact-based education and use medical science and behavioral research to end the questionable practice of equating marijuana with dangerous drugs like heroin, crack, and methamphetamine."

Drug Czar

We need a director of drug policy who understands civil liberties and has a more informed understanding of controlled substances.  A Czar should not be considered and the President should abandon the war metaphor.

How about using education/science for opinions?

they said:

 

"We commend you and your Administration on the recent steps you have taken to pursue smarter sentencing and policies that respect state laws regarding marijuana," the congressmen wrote. "We urge you to nominate a new director of ONDCP who will develop policies based on science rather than ideology and move away from the failed policy of criminalizing marijuana. The new director should promote fact-based education and use medical science and behavioral research to end the questionable practice of equating marijuana with dangerous drugs like heroin, crack, and methamphetamine."

 

what about fact based education, medical science etc. etc. when making statements about other drugs? Like heroin - please please please anybody out there reading this whose got any interest in drug (not just pot) policy youtube the following "the truth about heroin documentary" and watch it.

 

I can't tell you how many times I've read statements from doctors explaining how essentially harmless heroin is and how NOT dangerous it is and how it can be used over a whole lifetime with relatively no risk of harm.

 

I can't speak on crack and meth, though I definitely enjoy the former on occassion with a lil lemon juice or vinegar but I think this very complicated matter is often very simply explained: its my body, my choices. Alcohol is by far worse for you than any of the so called "hard drugs" and yet I see advertisements for it everyday in my wonderful homeless heroin user life in NYC.

 

Oh the most ridiculous piece of BS I saw recently was on the 1 train, trying to stay nice and warm on a colder NYC day, I looked up from my nod and what do I see but a row of Bud Light advertisements "refreshing!" etc. etc. and then squashed in the middle "Do you have a problem with Heroin? take part in a Colombia University study" .... I was so mad I laughed til I cried.

 

Every night in NYC in a certain part of town there's pretty much nightly action in terms of bars... you know, some Manhattan neighborhoods aren't happening every night, they pretty much shut down, but some parts don't and can be counted on to be loaded with obnoxious drunks.... but the part I'm homeless in is the one most populated by homeless heroin users. So every night I witness the paradox of the loud, obnoxious, completely ridiculous, often violent, senseless drunks, dressed to the nines, with more money than they know what to do with, meanwhile the quiet, peaceful, happy heroin user sits in ridiculous amounts of pain from walking all day or just standing on concrete all day, sleeping on cardboard ontop of concrete every night, beaten down from starvation etc. etc. etc. and I know for a fact that if you were forced to, if one member from the drunks and from the junkies was taken and brought before a panel, the panel would absolutely say the drunk was the one on the dangerous, morally horrific etc. etc. substance.

 

This injustice knows no bounds.....and nothing is more mortifying than drunk cops. drunk, undercover narc cops. rock on NFL, bud light and doing what you're told.

Columbia drug studies

Hey, CJ, that Columbia heroin study might be worth checking out! Stopthedrugwar recently featured a book review of "High Price" by Carl Hart, a scientist doing some interesting drug studies at Columbia. In the studies I read about, crack users agreed to stay in a hospital for a couple weeks where every day they got the choice of either a dose of crack or a small amount of cash. And the research team isn't trying to prove all this drug hysteria bullshit, they are exposing the truth about drug users and proving that they make rational choices about their use.

 

Anyway, if this heroin study is run by the same people, free room and board for a couple of weeks plus free heroin and money, as well as helping educate the public, could be a sweet deal. Just saying.

cj, i second what 'f' had to

cj, i second what 'f' had to say about looking into being a participant in a scientific study affiliated with columbia. i've been reading carl hart's book; almost finished, and i highly recommend it. if this study is being run by mr. hart, as it may well be, u should rest assured that it's purpose is to promote (sur)real scientific knowledge and understanding, rather than being just another biased 'war on drugs' bit of junk science.

and thanks for the recommendation of the heroin documentary; i'll check it out. for i've long known that the surreal problem we have here in amerikkka (and throughout the world) is not with 'drugs', but with dogmas (defined as beliefs that are not supported by facts or sound logic). indeed, it is rampant dogma abuse that is behind the whole 'war on drugs', as well as many other social ills. indeed, practically everything that is wrongly said about 'drugs', things like 'there is no legitimate use, only abuse', actually is true when applied to dogmas. instead of a war on 'drugs', what we could use is a war on dogmas. just say no to dogmas!

Rick was sent to prison for life for 1 non-violent drug charge

 

Richard Wershe Jr is serving a LIFE sentence for one *non-violent* drug charge he got when he was a minor (*17 years old*) back in May of 1987. Three years prior at the age of 14 yrs old Rick was recruited by the Federal Agents,  DEA and the Detroit police to work as a teenage undercover drug informant. Free Rick Wershe!!! http://www.deadlinedetroit.com/articles/6344/michigan_parole_board_s_crime_against_white_boy_rick http://www.thefix.com/content/story-white-boy-rick-richard-wershe-detroit-corruption70041?page=all http://www.theoaklandpress.com/articles/2013/07/13/news/local_news/doc51e1d832e4707481873639.txt?viewmode=fullstory https://www.facebook.com/freewhiteboyrickwershehttp://freerickwershe.com/Home_Page.htmlhttps://twitter.com/freerickwershe Letter from Ex Detroit cop -> https://sphotos-a-iad.xx.fbcdn.net/hphotos-frc1/76647_10151152598368558_295049953_n.jpg Letter from a former Federal agent who worked with Rick:Page 1: https://fbcdn-sphotos-e-a.akamaihd.net/hphotos-ak-prn2/9311_10151152598418558_1532565032_n.jpgPage 2: https://fbcdn-sphotos-g-a.akamaihd.net/hphotos-ak-ash2/552411_10151152598473558_1538415208_n.jpgPage 3: https://fbcdn-sphotos-d-a.akamaihd.net/hphotos-ak-prn2/197393_10151152598523558_1957473128_n.jpgPage 4: https://fbcdn-sphotos-h-a.akamaihd.net/hphotos-ak-prn1/400232_10151152598273558_1473341454_n.jpg http://articles.latimes.com/1991-05-23/news/mn-3263_1_detroit-policehttp://www.nytimes.com/1991/02/12/us/detroit-police-chief-and-former-deputy-charged-with-theft.htmlhttp://www.nytimes.com/1992/05/08/us/former-detroit-police-chief-convicted-of-embezzlement.html

No New Drug Czar

Haven’t we had enough of this?  Can’t we just let the ONDCP die peacefully on its death bed?  It’s time is over, and its lifetime of error and treachery does not merit its recovery. 

The ONDCP’s chief mission, coordinating drug policy and drug interdictions between various agencies of the government, is not a job a scientist or medical practitioner on the level of the Surgeon General would want.  As director of the ONDCP, they can’t change the laws.  They’re obligated to lie about drugs.  The job is contrary to everything any scientist does on a professional level.  Which is why it has to go.

So open that crypt, or grab that shovel.  Bury the ONDCP before it starts to stink any more than it already does.. 

drug czar's job description

 "the new director of ONDCP should promote scientific research into the benefits and risks of marijuana legalization and be guided by the results of those findings. He or she should take note of the growing movement at the state level to make marijuana legal for medical or personal use and help shape national policies based on the lessons learned in those states. At a minimum the new director should urge strict adherence to the recent DOJ guidelines regarding criminal enforcement in those states."

Obviously good advice. But then there is this, that the Drug Czaris not permitted to do this by law.:

According to Title VII Office of National Drug Control Policy Reauthorization Act of 1998: H11225:
Responsibilities. –The Director– [...]

    (12) shall ensure that NO FEDERAL FUNDS APPROPRIATED TO THE OFFICE OF NATIONAL DRUG CONTROL POLICY SHALL BE EXPENDED FOR ANY STUDY OR CONTRACT RELATING TO THE LEGALIZATION (FOR A MEDICAL USE OR ANY OTHER USE) OF A SUBSTANCE LISTED IN SCHEDULE I OF section 202 of the Controlled Substances Act (21 U.S.C. 812) and take such actions as necessary to oppose any attempt to legalize the use of a substance (in any form) that–  is listed in schedule I of section 202 of the Controlled Substances Act (21 U.S.C. 812); and has not been approved for use for medical purposes by the Food and Drug Administration;

Orifice of the Drug Czar.

   This is yet another little crevice that the anti-pot forces crammed a control into. It's purpose may be to shore up the current policies, and make it all that much harder to change the status quo, from the sick, nonsense laden malicious policy we have been force fed for over half a century. It is clear to me, that they in no way want this to change, EVER, and to do that is for them to admit they made a mistake (Heaven forbid!), or worse, they were WRONG. We all know that politicians are wrong as often as the government lies to us. Wait.. Umm...

How about...

A Doctor with some brains, or maybe another retired Police Chief that happens to be a member of LEAP? That would go a long way to fulfilling the seemingly endless need (of the government) to have the non-health oriented police running and making policy for this travesty of a failed policy on, ALL of us. It would make up for all of the studies, that have been paid for by taxpayer dollars, purposefully ignored and thrown out the window (LEADING TO MORE WASTED MONEY) just to keep this sinking ship of a drug war alive.

 

SUPPORT JURY NULLIFICATION!

Any "drug policy based on

Any "drug policy based on science, reason, and facts," runs into the problem that IF one understands government ITSELF using "science, reason, and facts," it becomes clear that government is simply the best organized form of crime, controlled by the best organized gang of criminals. That is WHY drug policies are systematically the OPPOSITE of based on "science, reason and facts!"

The history of the creation of "government" was through warfare. Success in warfare was based on deceits, backed by destruction. Warfare is organized crime on a large scale. In order to understand the drug wars, one has to understand war in general. Governments have all their powers due to the history of warfare, selecting for the surviving countries to emerge with their claims to "sovereignty." However, those powers are simply an expression of organized lies, operating organized robberies. Throughout most of history, political economy was mostly based on some system of slavery. To understand the "drug wars" requires understanding how the history of slavery and racism gradually segued into the war on SOME drugs.

The established drug laws are so far away from being based on "science, reason, and facts" that they almost represent a Bizarro Mirror World, where the drugs that are the most harmful tend to be legal, while drugs that are the least harmful tend to have the law applied against them the most. Consider the difference between marijuana and tobacco. One is treated as being almost as bad as murder, and takes up about 75% of the total drug war, despite the fact that it has never killed anyone, ever. The other is treated as being legal, and was for a long time one of the most profitable legal business, despite that it has killed millions and millions of people.

Basing "drug policy on science, reason and facts" should be done within the context of understanding government on the basis of "science, reason, and facts." However, when one does that, it becomes clear that civilizations are actually controlled by the people who are the best at being dishonest, and backing that up with violence. That is WHY drug laws are grossly unscientific, and based on irrational risk assessments, and continue to deliberately ignore the facts in extremely evil ways.

Backing up to gain perspective on the REAL political processes should be done by following the money to its SOURCE. However, when one does that one ends up looking at the international bankers, who actually are the biggest gangsters, the banksters. They control civilization in ways which are almost inconceivably crazy and corrupt, because the REAL history was that the powers of the War Kings, that made sovereign states, were covertly taken over by the Fraud Kings, or the banksters. To understand how it is possible for things like the single best plant on the planet for people, which is hemp, for food, fiber, fun and medicine, to become "marijuana, that is almost as bad as murder," one has to look at the history of the funding of the political processes. When one does that, one discovers that our whole society is controlled by the best professional liars and immaculate hypocrites, who lie about almost everything, all the time. The majority of our laws have become legalized lies, backed by legalized violence. The drug wars are simply a set of some of the most extraordinarily extreme examples of that!

The REAL funding of the political processes were mostly the profit from fraud being reinvested in more fraud, through the development of politics in a social pyramid system, where those who formed governments could legalize their own lies, simply because nobody else could stop them, and they could legalize the violence to enforce their lies, again simply because nobody else could stop them. In that context, it is always ironic, to say the least, to ASK for drug policies which are scientifically based on evidence and logical arguments. The reasons for that irony are that a scientific understanding of government ITSELF, as an energy system, demonstrates the points that were made above, that claims that we live in a "democratic society," which respects "freedom," are actually nothing more than cruel jokes.

In fact, we live in a society which is already more than 99% the result of the past forms of successful political corruption, which created the monetary and taxation systems, and made and maintained the schools and mass media systems, as propaganda factories, engaged in brainwashing. The mass media only tell the people the truth about trivial things. The more important something is, the more the mass media lie about it. That works all too well since the school systems have also become complicit in the same overall indoctrination to teach people to believe in huge lies. Since the WAR ON DRUGS was always based on HUGE LIES & GROSSLY IRRATIONAL RISK ASSESSMENTS, asking for drug policies to be become "based on science, reason and facts" amounts to asking for a series of political miracles to happen!

Its a good idea. Obama will

Its a good idea. Obama will appoint another participant to the drug war, but it is still a good idea. I expect someone from HHS or the NIH that receive Drug War dollars that the ONDCP has historically directed would be appointed. Someone from the 'treatment Industries". Hopefully not the same participants that have 'volunteered' to run Election Campaign Funds for recent Presidential candidates in exchange for continued Drug War financing, which goes to everybody including the HHS and NIH.

Then the fight will be to keep 600,000 people a year from having to undergo 'counseling' rather than arrest. That's an improvement and the funding that helps get Presidents elected would still flow... from our tax dollars...

Maybe not such a good idea. maybe the 'war' needs to be won on the merits people should not be harassed at all for a choice in inebriates. Jail or forced 'counseling care' will not be an answer and Obama still owes organizations that helped get him elected. ie: 50 Billion a year. Clinton and R. Paul have already made their deal on Mj/War on drugs =tax dollars allotments so don't expect help there either as they wish to be President also.

There is no easy answer to getting the ONDCP and company out of Mj demonization by a "changing of the guard" as all the potential nominees come from the same place.(50 Billion a year). There is no assurance the ONDCP will not continue to send their people into each State supporting with illegally used tax dollars, candidates that support them as those candidates run for State office.

There is only the vote of the people. That is best idea.

Old_Cowboy's picture

Drug Czar

I nominate Carl Hart.

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