Chronicle AM: New Obama Opioid Initiative, DOJ Backtracks on Forfeiture Reform, More... (3/29/16)

The drug czar uses a recycled and updated version of the gateway theory to oppose marijuana legalization, the Justice Department restarts its Equitable Sharing asset forfeiture program, the president announces a new package of initiatives to fight heroin and opioid death and addiction, and more.

Obama has plans for fighting heroin and prescription opioid death and addiction. (wikimedia.org)
Marijuana Policy

Drug Czar Leans On Gateway Theory Variant to Explain Opposition to Legalization. In a hearing before the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform last week, Office of National Drug Control Policy head Michael Botticelli reaffirmed the Obama administration's opposition to marijuana legalization, using a familiar, if discredited, argument to do so: "I think the evidence is pretty clear that early use of alcohol, tobacco and marijuana -- often used together -- significantly increases the probability that someone will develop a more significant addictive disorder later in their life," he said. "Early substance use actually effects brain development and predisposes people for more significant vulnerabilities later in their life." That sounds a whole lot like an updated version of the roundly criticized gateway theory.

Hawaii Resolution Seeks Study on Marijuana and Driving. Rep. Cindy Evans (D-North Kona) and 15 other lawmakers have introduced a resolution asking the state health department to study the effect of marijuana on driving. State law bans people from driving under the influence of impairing drugs, but there is no threshold set for marijuana because there is no widespread consensus on what an acceptable level might be.

Heroin and Prescription Opioids

Obama Announces New Moves to Fight Heroin and Opioid Abuse. In a speech in Atlanta today, President Obama unveiled a package of new initiatives to help stem the tide of death and addiction from prescription and non-prescription opioids. These initiatives are above and beyond the $1.1 billion in new spending he proposed last month. The package includes expanded access to medication-assisted treatment (methadone, buprenorphine) for addicted users, doubling the cap on the number of patients to whom a doctor may prescribe buprenorphine, increasing the number of doctors who can prescribe it, funding an increase in access to the overdose reversal drug naloxone (Narcan), ensuring that substance abuse and mental health benefits are offered for Medicaid and the Children's Health Insurance Program, and $7 million for the Justice Department to conduct law enforcement operations aimed at heroin distribution.

Asset Forfeiture

Justice Department Resumes Equitable Sharing Program -- More Money for Cops. The Justice Department has announced it is resuming its program that allows state and local law enforcement agencies to do an end run around state asset forfeiture laws by handing investigations over to the feds. State laws may mandate that seized funds go in the general fund or other specified funds, but under the federal program, 80% of the seized funds go to the seizing law enforcement agency, not the state's general or other specified funds. Law enforcement lobbying groups had been loudly protesting the program's shutdown last fall, claiming they needed the windfalls to do their jobs. Now, the program is back on line.

Harm Reduction

Overdose Reversal Drug Naloxone Has Saved 2,500 Lives in North Carolina. In less than three years, some 2,500 North Carolinians have had their heroin or prescription opioid overdoses reversed by people using naloxone (Narcan), the North Carolina Harm Reduction Center reported today. As of today, the number stands at 2,503. "Through distributing naloxone with NCHRC, I have been able to save the lives of many of my friends, loved ones and peers," says Kendra, a volunteer distributor in Wilmington. "Without this amazing group of people and this life-saving drug, many people who are very close to me may not have had a second chance at life. In the last few months alone I have had close to 100 reversals reported to me personally and many of those people are now in recovery because they were ready to make a change in their lives after overdosing."

International

Mexican Popular Support for Marijuana Legalization Rising, But Still Low. This year's officially-supported debate on marijuana legalization appears to be having an impact. Mexico has never been a legalization-friendly country, and in October, daily polls had support for legalization at only 7%, with 92% opposed. But six months later, after the issue has been publicly debated, pro-legalization sentiment has increased four-fold, to 29%, with opposition dropping to 66%. The trend is in the right direction, but there's still a long way to go.

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war on pain patients

Well, isnt this special? Obama who is now 94 million, or more, to help the addicts that have caused the so called opiate epidemic, not helping the legitimate chronic pain patients! So because obviously, it makes a lot more money for the government agencies involved! Pain patients, legitimate people in pain are made to suffer because some addicts are abusing opiates? Should we take cars away from people , all people, because people who drink and drive and cause accidents and death? The only people who it is affecting are pain patients, not the addicts who just move on to another drug, . Should we take and ban smoking of any kind, because it causes health problems? No to either, they make too much money for the government by lobbyists, along with the people now controlling and making opiate laws, which are not by the waY, suggested policies, but ones that are reinforced with scare tacticts  to the poor dr who is terrified to even be looked at for possible wrongdoing , and just being in the fda/dea spotlight, will have deadly consequences, and have all they own confiscated! They need not be doing anything wrong! But guess who gets there belongings along with any and all money?  Yup, the government agencies! Also PROP who is supposed to be looking for our "welfare" has monetary interests in the rehab biz and big Pharma?  Just follow the money as always! Its not about our well being, its control the money! Check for yourself, they stand to make billions from this "war on drugs"! Even mj, which regulated makes so much in tax revenue! Why is the government and obama  telling us what we should or shouldnt use/consume, because THEY decide for us what is bad? Are we idiots or children to be manipulated into thinking they have "our" interests at heart? Dont be fooled. Research what im saying, if you choose to believe the yellow journalism stories who are being told how to slant the news! By, saying that drug addicts are more important than the hard working citizen who happened to be now in chronic 24/7  pain, that are being penalized and called drug addicts and cannot now get relief, quit working, have to go on disabilty, on the "dole" or worse, go to the streets or commit suicide because they no longer have any quality of life? But suicide by patients are being thrown in with addicts as abusers of opiates, Yes they are not seperated, so if i commit suicide, do you think anyone will "know" that i did it because of the suffering i could no longer live in, or will it be, 1. just another suicide, or 2, opiate involved? the government has many hoodwinked by controlling the statistics, to put what ever spin on it they want! But, no one wants to think badly of our self interested official. Keep those blinders on folks, and "they" will do everything for you!
 

 

ll, it seems that obama is stillt rying to help line pockets of the various government dept! Giving more than what 94 million to help addicts., but, what about what is happening to the lowly chronic pain patiens who , because the government  is now controlling the drs, b

like minded!!

Hope your situation is less difficult than when you initially posted your comment. It has been over 2yrs with little change to give the MD's back their Prescribing freedom, as if the DEA or DOJ has more insight into the Pharmocological/Physiological and Psychologic impact that opioid treatment has on a patient with pain. The hubristic audacity of  the ignorant that dare assume superior intellect about the binding of opaite receptors within a human being. 

rebuttals?

Thats my .02 on what is going on, lets see if it gets ok'd. . Any questions?

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