Monday, December 28, 2009

The Winds of Change (US):

“Swapping Politics for Science on Drug Policy” is the headline of an article in The Nation, 21 Dec 09. It’s an overview that gives cause for optimism that US drug policy may indeed be brought into line with what long-standing evidence shows is effective – and hope that policies that are based entirely on unsupported (disproven!) dogma will finally be dumped. Inevitably there is wording with which some will find misleading - if not downright inaccurate. Overall, however, a comprehensive and well-written and compelling piece.

The concluding quote from Ethan Nadelmann, executive director of Drug Policy Alliance, sums up the cause for optimism: "If you take Obama's commitment, of no longer subordinating science to politics, and if you apply that seriously to drug policy, then there is no legitimate basis whatsoever for the federal government not to be supporting heroin maintenance and safe injection--research, at least--in the way that these other countries have. There's no legitimate basis whatsoever." On the down side: the history of the health "reform" legislation makes it painfully clear that regardless of the commitment of the President and top-level members of the Administration and a significant number of legislators, it's plain old politics that determines what happens - and that is a chilling prospect indeed!

Full article:


At 4:25 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I am one of the people who would qualify for a prescribed heroin program.

By that I mean I have a 32 + year history of trying everything that's ever been available for the treatment of opiate addiction. It has included 21 day Methadone detoxes, Multiple years of Methadone maintenance, acupunture, long term therapeutic communities Multiple years of abstinence through the support of 12-step programs,multiple 28 day inpatient programs, and on and on always punctuated with multiple relapses back to Heroin. Right now I'm on a city funded Suboxone maintenance and it's going well. I refuse to give up trying.

But when my doctor told me that there is now talk about doing such a thing here in the US as setting up these programs, well I'm still trying to process all the emotions that have welled up inside me.
It's a combination of sadness and grief, mixed with anger for all the suffering I've endured because of the legal and social stigmatism that has been applied to addiction and of course we addicts. I say we, because I know that I am far from alone. I have been self medicating my severe chronic depression for a very long time, and I refuse to think of myself as a criminal because I choose to seek relief from my pain.

The war on drugs has been one of the most wasteful approaches imaginable to treat, what is clearly a public health and NOT a criminal issue. Unfortunately, as we've seen in the recent health care debates (and institutions like Fox news), there is still a very strong sense of moralizing from the Right that grows meaner in spirit all the time. I'm not going to hold my breath but I hope that I can see some social progress in this country before I die. : )


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