from the International Drug Strategy Institute - A major supporter of the Global Drug War

Mon, June 8, 1998

1997 Drug Policy in Review

A summary of drug policy issues for 1997

This Was Your Year on Drugs

The year 1997 saw good and bad events occur in the arena of drug abuse. The advocates of drug legalization continue to be active, well organized, and well funded. For example, the billionaire George Soros has not only given $15 million to seek the softening of drug policy, he also recently donated $25 million to give needles to addicts in Baltimore. Too bad that was not given to enhance treatment availability. He further soiled himself by supporting the development of responsible >cocaine use kits tha t teach addicts how to smoke crack responsibly >rather than to shoot it up by vein. Arent we missing the message of the >harmful effects of cocaine here? Soros also funded a book on marijuana >(written by Morgan and Zimmer) that tries to attack the current research >on marijuana claiming that marijuana has few side effects. This is like >tobacco researchers publishing a book trying to show tobacco as >harmless. >Voters passed proposition 215 in California in 1996 which allowed the >use of crude marijuana for medical uses as a defense to possess pot. >During 1997, the California legislature has grappled with legislation to >also give protection to drug dealers who cultivate and/or sell street >pot to individuals who allegedly use it medically. This, of course, will >be the way that many of those who support such legislation will >profiteer from medical pot. >Arizona voters also passed proposition 200 in 1996, which actually >allowed the prescribing of any street drug for medicinal applications. >Fortunately, in 1997 the Arizona legislature acted to allow the use of >such drugs for medicinal purposes only if the FDA found it to be safe >and effective; I suspect after quite a cold day in hell. >Other marijuana ballot initiatives have surfaced in Washington, >Washington D.C., Wisconsin, Florida, and Colorado. > >They are all driven by the same compassionate activists who are using sick >patients to further their social agenda. The initiatives have the net effect of > >bypassing the FDA and establishing medicine by popular vote. This is >identical to the furor over Laetrile in the 1970s. That drug was tested >because of tremendous public pressure, but found to have no medical >value. Fortunately, the voters in Washington state soundly defeated >their marijuana initiative. Others have yet to be determined. >Several scientific organizations have examined the use of crude >marijuana for medicinal applications this year. The National Institutes >of Health looked at the issue. Their investigators called into concern >the pulmonary, neurologic, and immunologic complications of marijuana >use for medical conditions. They supported the exploration of delivery >systems for pure THC, and they called for research to examine both the >efficacy and safety issues. The AMA also took up the issue and opted to >support delivery of THC through non-smoking routes. They also opposed >reopening the program that gives crude marijuana to patients at >government expense. The Institute of Medicine of the National Academy of >Science is currently undertaking a similar look at the issue. >On a bright note, the White House Office of National Drug Control Policy >has steadfastly continued to maintain that medications given to patients >should go through the safety and efficacy proofs of the Food and Drug >Administration. ONDCP has also taken clear positions opposing the >legalization of pot for industrial hemp purposes (a position also now >taken by the National Farm Bureau) and in opposition of handing needles >out to addicts. They are also launching a massive anti-drug media >campaign, and continue to be one of the last bastiens against the well >organized drug policy reform movement. This movement is a cleverly >disguised cover for those seeking soft drug policy or legalization of >drugs. >During the year, Congress held hearings on various drug issues. One >issue was the use of crude marijuana for medicinal purposes. Supporters >of marijuana voiced their support for marijuana in these hearings, >experts related that marijuana is not a medicine and how flawed the >medical marijuana movement is. >In other hearings, experts discussed the negative impact of needle >handouts, and they turned to the Vancouver and Montreal experiences >where HIV actually increased. Research has demonstrated that drug >related disease and drug use has climbed dramatically during the time of >the needle handouts. >Yet other hearings dealt with flawed drug policy in other countries. The >Swiss have followed their prior huge drug policy blunder which was >called the needle park (designating a specific area in which open drug >use was tolerated) and have now started giving heroin to addicts. This >action was also accompanied by manipulation of the facts to the public >to garner support. >Some of the marijuana research released during 1997 has demonstrated >effects on the lung and pulmonary immunity, the general immune system, >and its role in trauma and domestic violence. Research has also tied >marijuana addiction to certain areas of the brain and work continues to >explore the significance of cannabinoid receptors in the brain. Other >studies have established that softening marijuana policy in Holland has resulted in dramatic increases in crime and drug use there. Despite a rigorous effort on the part of the pot lobby throughout the United States, the hemp movement appears to be dying. The pot lobby is trying to sell the public on the misguided notion that marijuana fiber (hemp) is an industrial panacea. Independent studies from the Universities of Kentucky and Hawaii have demonstrated that hemp is not a viable industrial crop alternative. 1998 could be an interesting year.

Eric A. Voth, M.D., FACP Chairman

Posted by Eric A. Voth, M.D. FACP on 1/14/98.


KEEP READING: In 2001 the US was removed from:

*United National International Drug Policy Commission*

United National Human Rights Council

In 1999 Amnesty International filed a 400 page grievance against the US

Debby Catch This:

I find it particularly interesting that this so called M.D. is doing a summary on drug policy issues and instead of giving a us a synapsis on what drug policies they have that are working, how well they're working, giving us statistics (however biased and unreliable they may be) on drug use and abuse, he is doing nothing but giving us a blow by blow account of the movement that is not for the current drug policys'. So the whole summary is basically a summary on what the opposing side has been up to all year - not a 1997 drug policy review-where's the review part? What about reviewing their policies? The motives become evident in the title of the institute involved-"from the International Drug Strategy Institute". This article should be titled "1997 Anti-drug policy review-A summary of the anti-drug policy movements for 1997". Your Friend Kelly