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Biden’s Drug Czar Must Be Someone Willing to Diverge From Our Country’s Failed Drug War

Originally published at http://www.commondreams.org/views/2020/12/22/bidens-drug-czar-must-be-someone-willing-diverge-our-countrys-failed-drug-war

All of this willfully blind optimism about Biden and what he ‘should’ do, might do, etc is starting to annoy me.

Have you been paying any attention to the people he’s gathering around himself?
He will be to the Reich of Saint Barack as (I believe) BigB pointed out in another thread

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As someone heavily engaged in the political reality of the drug war, one thing I can tell you is that the very position of a “drug czar” can’t exist outside of the eager willingness to fight that “war”, phony as it is.

The position itself is a complete misunderstanding of drug use in general as well as a diversion from the reality of why drugs are consumed the way they are in the US.

Some of the best candidates for this position would actually be libertarian Republicans out there who are true believers in the elimination of the concept of federal policing in general. They’ve certainly been among my most reliable allies in my own efforts and they take seriously the concept that if you’re going to live in a property rights-based society, among the most important of those rights is the ownership of one’s own body.

But Biden would never do such a thing. Much of his reputation and legislative legacy is as a mass imprisoner of human beings. He would never agree to ending the criminalization of drug consumption, and he’ll largely be willing to expand the pool of illicit behaviors and actions that agencies like the DEA would recommend.

You’re going to have to get a far different politician to achieve this very important dream.

Edit: Phred, apologies for piggybacking on your post. this one should’ve stood alone. So whatever you do, don’t take this as a direct response to your thoughts here. :))

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IMHO an ideal “drug czar” would be one who would consider the pre-Thatcher UK approach of treating drug addiction as a medical issue, and offer a way out of it, perhaps by Medicaid, instead of criminalizing the end user. The drug war, like any war, has civilian casualties. Those on the other side, the distributing perpetrators of street drugs, should be treated like the well-poisoners they are. There also is the problem of prescription drugs and their misuse. Efforts already under way to control this should be increased, and any war has propaganda involved - it should be considered a priority, so that people are cautioned about deleterious effects of many of these drugs when misused.

The problem goes beyond the individual. In a society not offering opportunity or hope, resort to escape from reality is likely for many. As a society, we have to improve in so many ways before this seems the only option.

If these are considered by the coming “drug czar”, perhaps the drug war will not seem so phony and pointless to so many as it does now.

If the Country (Biden) was
Willing to Diverge From Our Country’s Failed Drug War

Would we still need a Drug Czar ?

Does Portugal have a Drug Czar?

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You can’t treat drug addiction as a medical issue when you have a broken, failed medical system. The UK had the NHS to integrate into a national drug plan, the US has what? The expense of healthcare is one of the causes of US people becoming drug addicts in the first place. American drug management healthcare is a doctor getting someone hooked on Oxy because pharma is pushing it as a miracle cure, people then switch to heroin because they still have to manage the pain along with the now added addiction, followed by a downward move to fentanyl when heroin becomes too expensive. Their only treatment is being sent to jail where they can kick the habit cold turkey or overdose.

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Drug Czar. Sounds Russian. Putin must be behind it. :frowning_face:

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Trump showed how to neuter a government agency. Find the most inept, stooge you can find to run it. Better yet, give the job to a stoner. Seems like Woody Harrelson would be perfect for the job. Keith Richards would be even better. Tommy Chong to run the DEA.

Godless: You do have a good point there, thanks for bringing it up. It is possible that our present skimpy Medicaid system could be swamped, given the number of addicts out there, many without otherwise available funds. It is just another good reason to reform the US medical system as well, and bring in Medicare For All as delineated in bills before the House and Senate - HR1384 and S1129 respectively. We can do it; in polls, the majority are for it; but Biden has been against it and although the progressive wing of his party tried to get it included in the platform of his party, the corporate-oriented DNC refused. Sad for us all, but especially for those unfortunates we have to depend on jail to “cure” them. Time to build more grass roots pressure here; this just shows the linkage of many problems of our society that must be solved.

Seems like most major problems in the USA eventually can be traced back to the fail healthcare system.

Just imagine Jesse Ventura being in charge of the nations drug policy.

hahahaha. Brother Jesse would probably mandate everyone do more of them.

I miss Ventura. He was alternately a menace and a charming goofball on any given day.

While I agree with you on the benefits of personal responsibility for ones own body, the issue of drug use or drug abuse extends far beyond these parameters. It has become the source of human enslavement and trafficking, poverty and violence among other things. If the issue remained in the frame and management of personal responsibility it would be great but it doesn’t. It doesn’t even in the legal but unethical pharmaceutic industry and use. This issue claims vast geographical areas as its personal domain and ignores and endangers others and the environment. Drug companies in India are creating new disease organisms in their affluent. There are plenty of illicit behaviors that are not self regulated or unmotivated by personal gain or greed. There is little neutrality in this issue.

I was tempted to let this post go mostly because it’s shockingly off course.

I’m leaving my response to only this, because the first half is the only part that is comprehensible to me at all.

All the ills you cite–some of which are just odd–but most social ills of that nature stem from the criminalization of drug production and use. Which was kind of my original point. I’m fleeing now.

I think I understand that “criminality” is where you source this issue, I guess I could have disagreed with that and let it go too. But I feel that is only part of the issue, and a drug czar should expand some of these concepts as we all have to do. Drug treatment should be a focus and not criminality but that is only a part of this issue.

Didn’t mean to scare you.

I agree completely. In fact, it is the area my wife and I are most active after 80 years of age. She founded the NH chapter of PNHP (Physicians for a National Health Program) and still active, though Chair Emeritus and fully retired as an MD. I am very proud of her.

Interesting. I would consider drug treatment a policy decision, not a reason to defund existing forms of healthcare. Do you see any other reason for the lack of treatment services available?

fern: You have brought up a common a misunderstanding. Nobody is advocating defunding existing forms of health care. All forms of existing heath care would be subsumed under an improved and expanded Medicare For All covering all ages and conditions. The medical system would retain the same pattern, but payments and funding would be made similar to our present age-limited Medicare. Private insurance will not be involved, and even the supplements (like MediGap) they provide to cover current Medicare gaps will not be necessary. For a better explanation google the PNHP website - there are plenty of links provided for further study.

Can you show me where it states that in the bill, what I’ve read is rather explicit that is not the case. I’ve read information at that site over time too. Thank you.

Fern - I do not quite understand your question. Could you be more explicit - which forms of health care would be defunded as you see it? The intention of Medicare For All is to cover all ages and conditions. However, it is true that certain elective procedures, like most cosmetic surgery, would not be covered, and since they would not be duplicated under the Medicare For All system, private insurance would be allowed (if they wished, most do not now) to cover them. Duplication would not be otherwise allowed, as it would tend to foster a two-track system.