Memorial Day for the Death of Truth: Reprise from 2002-05-27



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In BLACK & WHITE

Michael Hess

BBSNews 2002

Michael Hess, Editor BBSNews. Photo by BBSNews ©2002

BBSNews 2002-05-27 — It is a sad day for many. Memories of those who have fought and died for freedom. Memories of those innocents killed by madmen on 09/11/02. And the memory of truth which died with them. For the very government who claims a War on Terrorism is willing to use the deaths of thousands of Americans to perpetuate the failed War on Some Drugs.

DEA Administrator Asa Hutchinson testified to the US Senate on April 11th, 2002 that “The Secretary of Health and Human Services and the Surgeon General have recently re-affirmed the fact that there is no scientifically valid data to support the medical use of marijuana in the United States.” That’s funny. The FDA approved Delta-9-THC, the active and most demonized ingredient in marijuana, as Marinol in 1986. It is so safe that the DEA down scheduled Marinol in 1999. I also wonder how Hutchinson missed the landmark study funded and commissioned by former ONDCP McCzar Barry McCaffrey? The Institute of Medicine released the results of the study Marijuana and Medicine: Assessing the Science Base in 1999 by the National Academy of Sciences. One main conclusion, "scientific data indicate the potential therapeutic value of cannabinoid drugs, primarily THC, for pain relief, control of nausea and vomiting, and appetite stimulation; smoked marijuana, however, is a crude THC delivery system that also delivers harmful substances." Apparently all the science also missed the Supreme Court in UNITED STATES v. OAKLAND CANNABIS BUYERS’ COOPERATIVE et al..

Teaching children that it is ok for the federal government to lie is wrong. But it gets even worse. Now women legislators are being dragged into this failed War on Some Drugs by the hype about ecstasy or MDMA.

"The Drug Enforcement Administration has formed a partnership with the National Foundation of Women Legislators to increase nationwide awareness of the dangers of club drugs such as Ecstasy," said DEA chief Asa Hutchinson in the Washington Times. Director Hutchinson announced that the purpose of the partnership is to correct the myths that these drugs are harmless. "Our kids are being told that club drugs like Ecstasy are safe," he said. "But we know better. These drugs are deadly."Director Hutchinson goes on to say in his speech "Our kids are being told that club drugs like Ecstasy are safe. But we know better. These drugs are deadly. And we must work together to educate parents and youth about the deadly danger of club drugs that casts a dark shadow over this summer’s activities." He outlines what he calls “facts” about ecstasy. He claims there is some entity out in the land which is telling teens and adults that ecstasy is “safe.” Please tell us what entity that is Director Hutchinson? Could it be the DEA? I know of no reform organization which is taken seriously by the public which espouses that ecstasy is “safe.” On the contrary, while Hutchinson clearly disdains harm reduction advice and says so in his speech, he mistakenly tries to paint the picture that harm reduction organizations are part of the problem. I’ve always found the opposite to be true. So I bebop over to DanceSafe, a well known harm reduction organization whose sole purpose is to try and make the “rave scene” as safe as possible. And what do I find? Pointers to the truth about what really happened to a young girl on her prom night that Hutchison cynically tries to use as a reason against harm reduction in his speech to women who should damn well know better. In fact, the articles about Cathy Isford in the LA Times show clearly that Hutchinson’s and others rabid hatred of harm reduction are likely responsible for her death. According to the earliest LA Times report on May 22nd, Cathy’s sister Star said “[Cathy] took two pills, mixing them with wine, beer and rum. She began complaining of a terrible headache about an hour later. About 4 a.m., she collapsed in her boyfriend’s arms, Star Isford said, and her last words were, “My head hurts really bad.”

Let me stop here for just a second before I continue this article for a Harm Reduction Public Service Announcement. The same one that my youngest daughter at 19 years old hears from me, her father. IF YOU DECIDE TO TAKE ECSTASY DO NOT DRINK ALCOHOL! Period! Had Cathy Isford heard that from the DEA as a truthful message passed from them on to her by her parents (instead of politically driven propaganda which bears little relation to the reality of the street or the medical facts) she likely could have been alive today. The LA Times also reported that Isford was no stranger to ecstasy and there was a letter to the editor published which also brought up harm reduction. Jim White from Oregon, Ohio wrote “Would Isford be here today if drug education included factual, honest information rather than zero tolerance, zero intelligence, zero responsibility and do-nothing, feel-good propaganda? If we had a second chance, would we tell her something else, something that might have saved her life, even if she didn’t “just say no”?”

Well Director Hutchinson? Are you willing in the face of the truth to still claim harm reduction should be ignored?

I don’t want any more dead children from official mis-information specifically designed to make the use of currently illicit drugs as dangerous as possible. I urge the National Foundation of Women Legislators to pay attention to real people rather than a law enforcement group with a funding axe to grind. Look to the expertise from Mother’s Against Misuse and Abuse. Look to strategies that work with real families in real life.

Look outside the US where harm reduction is a positive public health policy especially concerning ecstasy. Just a week ago Chris Mullen expounded the virtues of harm reduction in the UK upon impending release of the Home Affairs select committee on drugs. It had already been decided to not stand in the way of telling the truth when also in The Guardian it was reported also on May 22nd, 2002 that "Ecstasy, the dance drug used by thousands every weekend, should be downgraded from the class A status it shares with heroin and cocaine, according to the results of a year-long official inquiry into Britain’s drug laws published today." Amazingly, the mortality rate from ecstasy, and not because it is a completely unregulated popular RecraDrug, is astonishingly low. It is reported that the number of ecstasy deaths in the UK is about 10 per year with more than 500,000 users on a weekend.

I urge the NFWL to look to medical professionals for truth about medicine and drugs. Law enforcement is no help. Would you ask your local police about the best heart medication? Will you ask the DEA for advice on contraception or the latest treatment for diabetes? Of course not. One looks to health professionals for help on health issues and to law enforcement for protection against crimes against the person or the persons property. Please remind yourself in the face of those trying to protect their budget that there is no Mamas for Murder. There is no Mamas for Rape. There is no July Coalition for the legalization of burglary. Reform advocates such as myself are not enemies. I just want a licensed someone between my children and ALL drugs. This is impossible under blanket prohibition of some popular RecraDrugs. Please help stop this farce and travesty. Before more kids die for someones idea of moral equivalence.

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Michael Hess

Michael Hess

I started writing and editing BBSNews in 1990. Before the 'web, back in the Bulletin Board System (BBS) days. My pursuit of factual and reality based information informs my worldview. The ever evolving BBSNews contains New Mexico news, national and international news, politics, space, foreign policy and in particular; news and facts about the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. See our About Us page for more details.