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January 10, 2010

Drug War Lies Exposed by Applicant Initiation Patterns:1

Schedule One was created by the Controlled Substances Act of 1970 to designate certain drugs considered so far beyond the pale that mere possession of a detectable amount without special government permission became grounds for arrest. That the criteria for listing those agents are ridiculously unscientific can be inferred simply from reading them; that they would not be applied fairly can be inferred from the fact that the CSA gives ultimate authority over the list to a Cabinet officer who must be a lawyer: the US Attorney General.

It also goes without saying that the CSA was written at the behest of the only US President (also a lawyer) forced to resign because of his own dishonesty even before the bureaucratic enforcement mechanism for what amounted to an entirely new policy had been created. Indeed, one of Nixon's last Executive Orders created the DEA, which can be considered the successor of Harry Anslinger's infamous FBN.

Not that I have a problem with lawyers per se, my problem is with them practicing Medicine, a profession in which they were not trained, but tend automatically to assume their lack of depth and clinical experience can be made up for by a quick top-down study. Nor do I have a problem with relatively honest plaintiff's attorneys; my own experience has convinced me that diligent physicians who communicate with their patients have much less to fear from tort (malpractice) attorneys than from federal bureaucrats possessing both the power of arrest and the ability to hide their errors and misdeeds.

In fact, if one traces modern US drug policy back to its origins in the 1914 Harrison Act, one learns that the only prime mover of that unfortunate legislation who was a physician was Hamilton Wright, a little-known wannabe-bureaucrat in the (TR) Roosevelt Administration who helped set it in motion and whose 1917 obituary can be read here. An interesting footnote to Wright's truncated career, noted in the obituary: his one claim to fame as a researcher had been to mistakenly identify a vitamin deficiency as an infection.

Once in place, validated by the Holmes-Brandeis Court and rooted in fear of the (still-undefined) phenomenon of "addiction," the false central theses of Harrison have remained under the control of judges, legislators, and police bureaucrats who have consistently used their greater political clout to cow Medicine into complicit silence in much the same way temporal and religious authorities have used similar power to control. access to the benefits of Science from the time of Galileo and Newton onward.

By the way, the false central idea of US drug policy is not that certain drugs ("of abuse") are dangerous and potentially harmful; it's that those harms are best defined by medically ignorant functionaries and mitigated ("controlled") by prohibition laws that inevitably create lucrative criminal markets.

By a fortunate coincidence, my early questioning of cannabis applicants asked about their initiations of several "drugs of abuse." The aggregated answers, which do show that chronic pot users tried more than their share is offset by data showing that as pot smoking became an established practice, its practitioners have been progressively less likely to try heroin or use more dangerous drugs repetitively. In other words, the devil is in the details; as usual. A graphic lesson in the futility of prohibition as policy will air tonight on the National Geographic Channel; I'm curious to see how far it will go in actually verbalizing the folly of prohibition, but I'm not expecting miracles.

Doctor Tom

Posted by tjeffo at January 10, 2010 06:44 PM