Tuesday, August 1, 2017

Mr. President abandon the duopoly’s 60 years of failed drug policy and fire AG Sessions

President Trump ran as a populist during the 2016 campaign and promised to restore greatness to America.  President Trump ran on a populist agenda, much like that of FDR and JFK while Hillary Clinton ran on an agenda of the status quo.  The American people rejected the status quo in 2016 and now the status quo is attempting to force their antiquated agenda on Trump. 

The War on Drugs was the brainchild of the duopoly and the result has been the birth of drug cartels, the poppy wars in Afghanistan, the current opioid epidemic and must be ended.  It’s time for the duopoly to get out of the way and let Trump advance America into the 21st Century.

Attorney General Jeff Sessions is not on the Trump Train, he is running on a parallel track of the failed drug policies of the past 60 years.  America has evolved and recognizes the medicinal miracle that is cannabis.  The duopoly has refused to evolve and wants to continue the failed policies of the past 60 years, not because they believe it will now work, but because there’s too much money in it.   

After trying every trick in the failed GOP playbook to derail Trump during the 2016 election the GOP decided to infest the Trump Administration with the same old stale members of the GOP and try to force Trump to board their antiquated, chugging, smoke spewing coal train.  Now the Chris Christie-led “Opioid Commission” has released their state-of-the-art answer to tackling the big Pharma and War on Drugs created opioid crisis. From Washington Post:


White House opioid commission to Trump: ‘Declare a national emergency’ on drug overdoses

The President's Commission on Combating Drug Addiction and the Opioid Crisis issued a preliminary report on Monday stating that its “first and most urgent recommendation” is for the president to “declare a national emergency under either the Public Health Service Act or the Stafford Act...” 

The commission, led by New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, states that the goals of such a declaration would be to “force Congress to focus on funding” and to “awaken every American to this simple fact: if this scourge has not found you or your family yet, without bold action by everyone, it soon will…”

In 2015, according to Centers for Disease Control and Prevention figures, heroin deaths alone surpassed gun homicides for the first time. More than 33,000 people died of opioid overdose, with another 20,000 dying from other drugs. A recent federal study found that prescription painkillers are now more widely used than tobacco.

Prescription overdose deaths began to rise in the mid-2000, following aggressive marketing and widespread prescribing of the drugs starting in the late 1990s. In response, state and federal authorities began cracking down on prescription opiate availability, introducing “abuse-deterrent” formulations, tighter prescribing guidelines and operations targeting “pill mills” that made the drugs widely available…

But in response to these interventions, many painkiller abusers appear to have switched to illicit street drugs. As prescription painkiller deaths started to fall, heroin overdoses increased dramatically. The latest development has been the emergence of powerful synthetic opiates like fentanyl, which are sometimes mixed with heroin with fatal consequences for unsuspecting users.

Let me get this straight, today’s crisis was the result of prescription drug overdoses which began in the late 1999’s with big Pharma’s “aggressive marketing and widespread prescribing of the drugs” which led to an increase in the deaths of patients from overdoses.  Congress, in order to stop the prescription drug deaths, went after the doctors who prescribe the drugs rather than after big Pharma who produced and marketed the drugs.

Instead of prohibiting big Pharma from advertising opioids like they prohibited big tobacco from advertising, they criminalized prescribing opioids which drove law abiding addicted citizens into the streets to buy opioids.  So what is the recommendation from the commission?  From The Atlantic:


A government opioid commission chaired by New Jersey Governor Chris Christie has called for President Trump to declare a state of emergency in dealing with the opioid epidemic, which now kills more than 100 Americans daily…

They recommend changes to law enforcement, such as arming all police officers with naloxone, a medication that reverses opioid overdoses, and improving the detection of fentanyl at the border.

Because most heroin addicts start with prescription painkillers, they recommend improving training on painkiller prescribing for doctors and forcing state prescription-tracking programs to share their information by July 2018.

Finally, the report urges the closing of several loopholes around medication-assisted recovery treatment for addicts.

The report recommends that states be granted waivers to allow federal Medicaid funds to reimburse treatment in facilities with more than 16 beds, and that all treatment facilities offer medication-assisted treatment, such as buprenorphine. Some providers believe these drugs don’t constitute true recovery or sobriety…

Regulators, they write, should fine health plans that violate mental-health parity laws, meaning they illegally restrict mental-health or addiction benefits to a greater degree than physical health benefits. Finally, the commission suggests relaxing medical privacy laws so that the families of addicted patients can get updates on their relative’s medical status.

Really, that’s it?  Seems to me the commission is recommending the status quo, money and drugs.  But what do you expect from the same old failed duopoly policies.  Why not try something new?  From Motley Fool:


Is Cannabis The Solution to America's Terrifying Opioid Crisis?

The FDA took an unprecedented step Thursday in an attempt to curb America's opioid abuse crisis, but that doesn't mean medical cannabis will be more seriously considered as an alternative to the highly addictive and deadly drugs…

On Thursday, the Food and Drug Administration took an unprecedented step in an attempt to finally stem that lethal and expensive tide. Specifically, the FDA requested that Endo Pharmaceuticals (NASDAQ:ENDP) voluntarily remove its opioid pain medication, reformulated Opana ER (oxymorphone hydrochloride), from the market. If Endo refuses this request, the FDA plans to withdraw the drug's approval.

This hard line stance comes after a review of Opana ER's post-marketing data that revealed a shift from nasal to injected routes of abuse after the drug's reformulation. As an added kick in the pants, this uptick in injection abuse was also tied to a serious outbreak of HIV and hepatitis C infections among users, according to the agency.

As Opana ER provided about 4% of Endo's annual revenues last year, the drugmaker's shares dropped by as much as 13% in afterhours trading on the back of this news. But the arguably more pressing issue is the FDA's questionable decision to go as far as removing an approved pain medicine from the market due to its wholly unintended use by some patients -- especially since there is no clear-cut replacement for individuals who suffer from chronic pain that doesn't respond to other medications.

Where available, medical cannabis is already being used to treat a variety of conditions, including chronic pain. Most importantly, though, a recent study found that medical cannabis use was associated with a jaw-dropping 64% decrease in opioid use, a sizable decrease in unwanted side effects stemming from prescription painkillers, as well as a healthy uptick in quality of life among the study's participants. The researchers also noted that patients were essentially substituting cannabis for their prescribed opioid-based drugs in large numbers.

Do you really think that a commission headed up by Chris Christie is seriously looking for answers to the opioid crisis?  This is the New Jersey Governor who told his constituent he would let his toddler daughter die from deathly seizures rather than sign a bill that legalized medical marijuana.    

AG Sessions revival of the War on Drugs is outdated, misguided and dangerous and will accelerate the opioid crisis.  From Scientific America:


Science Calls Out Jeff Sessions on Medical Marijuana and the "Historic Drug Epidemic"

Rolling back protections from federal interference in state legalization laws could worsen the opioid overdose crisis

Amid a drug crisis that kills 91 people in the U.S. each day, Attorney General Jeff Sessions has asked Congress to help roll back protections that have shielded medical marijuana dispensaries from federal prosecutors since 2014, according to a letter made public this week.

Those legal controls—which bar Sessions’ Justice Department from funding crackdowns on the medical cannabis programs legalized by 29 states and Washington, D.C.—jeopardize the DoJ’s ability to combat the country’s “historic drug epidemic” and control dangerous drug traffickers, the attorney general wrote in the letter sent to lawmakers.

The catch, however, is that this epidemic is one of addiction and overdose deaths fueled by opioids—heroin, fentanyl and prescription painkillers—not marijuana. In fact, places where the U.S. has legalized medical marijuana have lower rates of opioid overdose deaths.

A review of the scientific literature indicates marijuana is far less addictive than prescription painkillers. A 2016 survey from University of Michigan researchers, published in the The Journal of Pain, found that chronic pain suffers who used cannabis reported a 64 percent drop in opioid use as well as fewer negative side effects and a better quality of life than they experienced under opioids.

In a 2014 study reported in JAMA The Journal of the American Medical Association, the authors found that annual opioid overdose deaths were about 25 percent lower on average in states that allowed medical cannabis compared with those that did not…

Session’s congressional letter, which was dated May 1, was obtained by Massroots.com and also confirmed and reported by The Washington Post on Tuesday. The letter urges lawmakers to remove the legal impediment that keeps his office from spending cash on interfering with state medical marijuana programs, a safeguard for dispensaries formally called the Rohrabacher–Farr Amendment. 

That provision expires at the end of September, and would have to be renewed to remain the law of the land—a timeline that guarantees medical marijuana will be discussed in Congress in the coming months.

Mr. President, AG Jeff Sessions is a danger to America and a danger to your agenda.  Mr. President you ran on a populist agenda and told the American people you would help fight the opioid epidemic you never ran on resurrecting the War on Drugs.  We believed you.  Kraig Moss, the father of a boy who died of an opioid overdose sold everything he had to get you elected believed you.

The recent shakeups at the White House were needed and now a complete strip down and cleanup is vital in order to begin the rejuvenation of American policies in order to Make America Great Again.  America will never be great again if you do not drain the swamp that has permeated your administration.  Make America great again, abandon the 60 years of the duopoly’s failed drug policies; fire AG Jeff Sessions.

By Patricia Baeten

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