NORMAN J CLEMENT RPH., DDS, NORMAN L.CLEMENT PHARM-TECH, MALACHI F. MACKANDAL PHARMD, BELINDA BROWN-PARKER, IN THE SPIRIT OF JOSEPH SOLVO ESQ., IN THE SPIRIT OF REV. C.T. VIVIAN, JELANI ZIMBABWE CLEMENT, BS., MBA., WILLIE GUINYARD BS., JOSEPH WEBSTER MD., MBA, BEVERLY C. PRINCE MD., FACS., LEROY BAYLOR, JAY K. JOSHI MD., MBA, ADRIENNE EDMUNDSON, ESTER HYATT PH.D., WALTER L. SMITH BS., IN THE SPIRIT OF BRAHM FISHER ESQ., MICHELE ALEXANDER MD., CUDJOE WILDING BS, MARTIN NDJOU, BS., RPH., IN THE SPIRIT OF DEBRA LYNN SHEPHERD, BERES E. MUSCHETT, STRATEGIC ADVISORS
“IF YOU EVER THINK YOU ARE TOO SMALL TO MAKE A CHANGE, THEN YOU HAVE NEVER SLEPT WITH A MOSQUITO”
A New Proposal to Begin the End of the Drug War
Rep. Bonnie Watson Coleman
Today, ahead of Thursday’s 50 th Anniversary of President Richard Nixon’s declaration of the “war on drugs,” Representatives Bonnie Watson Coleman (NJ-12) and Cori Bush (MO-1) introduced the Drug Policy Reform Act (DPRA), a bill to end criminal penalties for drug possession at the federal level and to shift regulatory authority from the Justice Department to the Department of Health …
“Thank you for speaking up on behalf of chronic pain patients and also acute pain patients. But, unfortunately, another important side effect of this war on opioids is that surgical and post-surgical pain is being under-medicated by our doctors in no hospitals, including some of our best hospitals in the country.
I am a chronic pain patient with a lifelong disease requiring many surgeries in my lifetime. I remember when the pain wasn’t managed well, the short period when it was given the importance of a vital sign, back to being under-medicated. I live in terror of having to have another surgery and have put off a needed surgery for well over a year now.“
DEA Expanding Surveillance of Prescription Drug Data
According to Pat Anson, Editor PAIN NEWS NETWORK, November 11, 2020:
The U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration is making plans for a major expansion of its monitoring of prescriptions for opioids and other controlled substances, with the goal of identifying virtually every prescriber, pharmacy, and patient in the country that shows signs of drug diversion or abusing their medication.
In a request for proposal (RFP) made in early September, the DEA asked software contractors to submit bids for the creation of a nationwide data system that would track “a minimum of 85 percent of all prescriptions” for Schedule II through V controlled substances. The RFP was first reported by the website Filter.
Critics say the surveillance program will have a chilling effect on many healthcare providers, who are already fearful of being flagged by law enforcement for prescribing and dispensing opioids and other medications to patients suffering from pain and other illnesses.
MICHAEL BARNES ESQ, of dcbalaw.com________
“DEA AGENTS HAVE NO BUSINESS SECOND-GUESSING HEALTH CARE PROVIDERS’ DECISIONS ON MEDICAL NEEDS AND PATIENT CARE. THAT’S A JOB FOR STATE LICENSING BOARDS – AND ONLY WHEN THERE IS A VALID COMPLAINT TO INVESTIGATE.”
“The idea that patient-level data is available to the DEA is quite frightening. We don’t want to make people worry that their decisions will be monitored by this highly punitive federal agency,” Cooper told Filter. “If you’ve been inhabiting a space where you’ve been persecuted by the federal government for some time, and they now have access to your private medical information, there will be tremendous consequences for population health and health equity.”
“This program will undoubtedly decrease the prescribing of controlled medications, including buprenorphine for opioid use disorder,” said Barnes. “Why in the world would the federal government, in the midst of a worsening drug-poisoning epidemic, discourage the prescribing of a medication to treat opioid use disorder and prevent opioid poisonings?”
Jay K. Joshi MD., MBA:
“The misguided emphasis on purported red flags conflates an elemental analysis with an essential analysis, allowing individual actions, taken out of context, to constitute the full understanding of the term, “prescribing outside of the scope of professional practice”, without incorporating the full context of clinical behavior – a logical fallacy that has allowed certain individuals to pass investigational fraud as inductive legal arguments, and to retroactively redefine interpretations of hopelessly vague statutes.”
Mr. President End the War on Drugs
Mr. President Sir,
After 50 years and trillions of dollars spent and wasted. 3 million of our people are housed in prisons, families destroyed, neighborhoods in every city, town, village decimated and with no reasonable expectation of a different outcome we should end this war and begin a clinical war of treatment. Seek to abolish the DEA in 2 years. We’ve known for a very long time that building more prisons is not the answer. (1)
We are now criminalizing medical care, incarcerating our licensed healthcare practitioners which is further undermining our healthcare delivery in the time of a pandemic; where we have enormous shortages of hospital care and healthcare workers. People with chronic intractable diseases such as sickle cell anemia, terminal cancers, are made to suffer needlessly.
We ask you to put an end to the war on drugs. Move to change enforcement to treatment and some of that treatment will be lifelong. Getting Help is the answer and treating all seeking treatment with dignity and respect.
FOR NOW, YOU ARE WITHIN
Addiction Neuroscience as a Technology of Whiteness
The mass incarceration of people of color for drug offenses is, in part, legitimated by the belief that drug use results from a failure of will or morality. People are responsible for their use and, therefore, must be held accountable or punished. However, at the same time that more punitive War on Drug policies was enforced in Black and Latino city neighborhoods, President Bush I ushered in the Decade of the Brain at the National Institute on Drug Abuse. The richly funded neuroscience program at NIDA in the 1990s provided a scientific rationale for addiction as a clinical disease, focusing on altered brain chemistry as the source of addiction and on neuroactive pharmaceuticals and clinical (rather than law enforcement) interventions as the appropriate response. Simply put, neuroscience provided a scientific rationale for treating addictions – at least some addictions – as diseases needing medical intervention rather than as crime requiring punishment. While the race of the addict was excluded from this universalizing biological discourse, the very absence of a language of race indexed White subjects. The scientists involved in this project probably did not intend to exacerbate racial inequalities with their work; on the contrary, many saw their efforts to establish the neurochemical basis for addiction as a way to counteract the social injustice of addiction stigma, and, by extension, racial injustice. Yet, the implicit racial logic of universalist clinical research, which has long held the 70 kg White male as its standard subject (Epstein, 2007), channeled the efforts of even egalitarian neuroscientists toward stratified results.
In the United States, NIDA spent millions of dollars promoting one simple message: ‘addiction is a brain disease’. In 1997, Alan Leshner, then Director of NIDA, published a landmark article entitled, “Addiction is a Brain Disease, and It Matters”. In the article, Leshner argues that addiction is as much a medical as a social problem and that the field and the public have focused too much attention on the latter:
That addiction is tied to changes in brain structure and function is what makes it, fundamentally, a brain disease. … Understanding that addiction is, at its core, a consequence of fundamental changes in brain function means that a major goal of treatment must be to either reverse or compensate for those brain changes. idea