Bush Appoints Interim Drug Czar

Speculation about Obama’s as yet unknown choice for drug czar just got a little more interesting. Today, the White House  announced that ONDCP’s acting Deputy Director Patrick Ward will be promoted to acting director. In other words, the much-anticipated next drug czar will be…Patrick Ward.

He’s a former Air Force guy who joined the federal drug office to run foreign interdiction efforts:

… Mr. Ward is in frequent and close contact with relevant officials from the Drug Enforcement Administration, the United States Coast Guard, the Central Intelligence Agency, and departments of Defense, Homeland Security, State, and Justice. Mr. Ward co-chairs the relevant National Security Council Policy Coordinating Committee on International Drug Control, and represents ONDCP at meetings of the NSC Deputies.

To put it mildly, Ward isn’t a public health specialist. He’s a drug warrior who knows how to fly fighter planes. He’s everything we’re hoping to avoid with Obama’s theoretically pending drug czar nomination.

So what the hell is going on here? I have no idea. With only a week left in office, there’s no way Bush did this without a nod from the Obama camp. It’s become increasingly clear that Obama isn’t ready to fill the position, so I guess someone’s gotta do it. An interim appointment suggests that we’ll be waiting a while for Obama’s choice, and in the meantime, we’ll have a full-blown drug warrior running the show.

That sucks, and it’s Obama’s fault, but what can really be said about it? Jim Ramstad’s name was floating around, but mounting opposition appears to have disqualified him for good reasons. I’ll take a couple months of Patrick Ward if it means we get someone better down the road, but it’s still hard to imagine Obama selecting someone I could support.

If nothing else, the fact that the drug czar appointment process has gotten so drawn out and confusing is certainly a result of the potent controversy now surrounding the position itself. I believe Obama recognizes that ONDCP is a seriously flawed institution and he’s trying to reconcile that with his perceived political obligations. That’s fine, but the longer he leaves the same people calling the shots at the drug czar’s office, the further he’ll find himself from the drug policy "paradigm shift" he proposed on the campaign trail.

Update: Pete Guither reminds me that this won’t be the first time we’ve had a temporary drug czar, so maybe it’s not as odd as I’ve made it sound. Still, I think it’s interesting that drug czar appointments get handled this way. The position just isn’t taken that seriously, either by the administration or the press. Maybe it wouldn’t be that way if there were a greater perception of flexibility in our drug policy, such that one drug czar could be really different than another.

Fortunately, this time the policy issues at stake are more visible than ever before. The President-elect has made some pretty strong statements about our drug policy and the madness of the last 8 years has solidified numerous coalitions that will vigorously oppose anyone who doesn’t promise big changes at the drug czar’s office.

Permission to Reprint: This article is licensed under a modified Creative Commons Attribution license.
Looking for the easiest way to join the anti-drug war movement? You've found it!


This guy only has a masters in business administration and national security and probably has never come face to face with a person with a drug addiction. Just another stupid functionary.

Corrupt Public Servants

The behavior of U.S. public servants is so outrageously out of line and "We the people" are powerless, left with only the ability to complain to our public servants, begging them not to violate their oath of office to uphold the U.S. Constitution.

The result? Over 75,000 pages of federal regulations, plus a tax code weighing in at over 1,000,000 words, plus state and local regulations. This isn't an unalienable Right to Liberty. This is public servants controlling "We the people".

This is what happens when you have a miserable educational system that doesn't teach the undeniably priceless value of the unalienable Right to Liberty, and the Constitution that puts that Right into legal form to at least protect us from such outrageous public servant behavior.

This is what happens when a large chunk of the population believes politicians who claim deregulation is a major problem, taking an outrageous amount of our money (i.e. power) to supposedly fix that problem.

The solution is simple. "We the people" lack power, and that has to end now.

The challenge is how do we best achieve that power?

While appreciative of the hard work done so far, the reform movement clearly does not have enough power to achieve stated goals, and shows no acknowledgment of that fact, including the need to have that power before focusing resources on convincing our obviously corrupt public servants.

We have to firmly engage in a perpetual blitz to gain major public support by simply showing them that we are working for a better society (create a positive image for ourselves), while politely discrediting the traitors of Liberty who clearly don't care that drug prohibition is unconstitutional.

Sufficiently-passionate major public support is critical.

We can continue via business as usual, gradually pulling in that public support which is thankfully growing.

Or we can redirect the effort and focus hard on public support, not corrupt public servant support.

Get Used To It

Scott, for the life of me, I cannot understand why you would've expected any deviation from the official *punitive* approach to drug use and abuse. In addition to the fact that the U.S. barely has a public health system or a "public" anything else, Obama is, at best, a centrist. Despite the feel-good rhetoric of his prepared speeches, the man has not demonstrated any actual courage whatsoever, at least not insofar as the term is used in the context of standing up to entrenched interests. His reversal on FISA alone, much less telecom immunity, should have been all you needed to understand what's coming down the pike.

If you want to replace your unfounded "hope" and optimism with a more realistic idea of what to expect, the most you can hope for is "Bill Clinton." Whoop-eeee.

CHANGE: It's the new same.

I am used to it.

I work in drug policy. I don't need lessons in political reality. If you reread my post, you'll notice that I never claimed to "expect" anything.

Still, while I share your cynicism, I'm certainly not going to use my blog to spread hopelessness. Obama has made some very positive statements and I will evaluate his actions in light of the views he has expressed.

If you REALLY want change

You MUST support the Libertarian movement, neither the Democrats nor the Republicans are EVER going to change, they will keep on doing the same old authoritarian/statist, welfare/warfare things. Only by embracing the REAL freedom fighters (libertarians) will we get the changes we need and want. Support such sites as LewRockwell,com, FFF.org, the Independent.org, self-gov.org and others like them. These are the people truly fighting for our freedoms, unlike the authoritarian duopoly that currently holds power with an iron fist.

"Obama applauded the steps

"Obama applauded the steps taken by Calderon to improve security in Mexico, including that country’s widening use of assistance provided under Washington’s $1.4 billion Merida Initiative."




Marijuana, Inc.

"Marijuana, Inc." a one hour documentary will be aired on CNBC this month. It will be January 22nd and 25th, at 9:00 AM and 1:00 AM (EST). Meanwhile, it would be nice for all the marijuana friends getting this to go to the You Tube video and leave a positive comment on this subject, which you can do by going to: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lUQOQyNx-rU – that is of course – if you have something positive to say.
Send this to everyone on your email list for them to add their positive comments on this subject also.

Ward Bio Pullled from ONDCP Website

I just clicked on the link the original post to see Patrick Ward's bio, and I see that it has been deleted in the last couple days.
So has the link to it on the ONDCP staff bio page.
You can still see a copy of it from Google's Cache of the BIO and the Staff Bio Page which clearly shows the link and his bio was removed.

Here's a JPG screen shot of his super sekret bio.

Post new comment

The content of this field is kept private and will not be shown publicly.
  • Web page addresses and e-mail addresses turn into links automatically.
  • Allowed HTML tags: <a> <em> <strong> <cite> <code> <ul> <ol> <li> <dl> <dt> <dd> <i> <blockquote> <p> <address> <pre> <h1> <h2> <h3> <h4> <h5> <h6> <br> <b>

More information about formatting options

This question is for testing whether you are a human visitor and to prevent automated spam submissions.

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, 2015 Drug War Killings, 2016 Drug War Killings, 2017 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, Vaping, 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, Pill Testing, Safer 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, Kratom, Marijuana (Gateway Theory, Marijuana -- Personal Use, Medical Marijuana, Hashish), Methamphetamine, New Synthetic Drugs (Synthetic Cannabinoids, Synthetic Stimulants), Nicotine, Prescription Opiates (Fentanyl, Oxycontin), Psilocybin / Magic Mushrooms, Psychedelics (LSD, Mescaline, Peyote, Salvia Divinorum)YouthGrade School, Post-Secondary School, Raves, Secondary School