Opioid Commission To Trump: Declare Emergency, Ignore Science

Per The New York Times:

WASHINGTON — President Trump’s commission on the opioid crisis asked him Monday to declare a national emergency to deal with the epidemic.

The members of the bipartisan panel called the request their “first and most urgent recommendation.”

Mr. Trump created the commission in March, appointing Gov. Chris Christie of New Jersey to lead it. The panel held its first public meeting last month and was supposed to issue an interim report shortly afterward but delayed doing so until now. A final report is due in October.

The initial recommendations are completely silent to the fact that medical marijuana access is associated with reduced rates of opioid use and abuse, opioid-related hospitalizations, opioid-related traffic fatalities, and opioid-related overdose deaths.

Chris Christie, sitting Governor of New Jersey until Jan. 17, 2018
Chris Christie, sitting Governor of New Jersey until Jan. 17, 2018

Over the last two months, over 8,000 voters contacted the Office of National Drug Control Policy commission, chaired by marijuana prohibitionist Chris Christie, with their personal stories and the relevant science to encourage the group to support medical marijuana as part of the approach to reduce the tragic effects of the opioid crisis. This effort was undertaken both by NORML and Marijuana Majority.

“Governor Christie has zero percent credibility on drug policy, or any other policy, for that matter,” Erik Altieri, Executive Director of NORML said to Forbes of Christie at the time of his appointment to head the commission.

Nonetheless, this administration and Attorney General Jeff Sessions has continued to express skepticism with regard to the safety and efficacy of medical marijuana. Now, we now know that the President’s opioid commission is not interested in real solutions, but rather more empty rhetoric.

We have until October until the final report is to be issued.

Click here to send a message to the ONDCP commission to yet again tell them the facts and if you have one, please share your personal on how marijuana is a safer alternative to opioids. 

 

Author: Justin Strekal, NORML Political Director

You can follow me on twitter @justinstrekal

32 thoughts

  1. This is what happens when people who have an agenda create a commission like this. Everything they do and say is predicated on disseminating their propaganda.

    This commission has as much legitimacy as the twin blowhards themselves, Christie and Trump. Both fooled people into voting for them, and both have been exposed as inveterate liars.

  2. Just goes too show how stupid Republicans really are and don’t have a clue…big pharma lining their pockets.

    1. The Drug war which began in 1937, or 1957, ’67, ’72, ’79, ’85 ’88, 89, and the massive Federal Effort beginning the early 1990s aimed at pot, are, take your pick, all totally bi-partisan.

      In fact, the Drug wars biggest detractors in Congress currently are Republicans. Strong Democrats like Pelosi and Feinstein are strangely quiet on the issue, with this powerful Democrat Congresswoman and this Powerful Democrat Senator, along with her just retired and also very powerful Democrat senate partner, Barbara Boxer, did nothing to change Federal law regarding Medical Marijuana for 20 years until Ms. Boxer retired. I defy you to find any drug war change legislation which was created or supported publicly (they may have at the very end voted for certain things after vicious public opposition,) by this set of women, who formed the congressional and senatorial leadership for the 2 decades of struggle for cannabis freedom voted for asset in the Constitution of California…which is not Rhode Island Delaware, Maine, and Vermont, where nobody lives… 1 in 9 Americans are from California. That makes them powerful. Did these Democrats se that power in the way cleary instructed them?

      No.

      Christie is not a representative of the Trump admin. As a prosecutor he purports like every other prosecutor to know about drugs, even more so than your average doctor, who “got us into this mess.”

      1. Eric,

        You said: ” . . . I defy you to find any drug war change legislation which was created or supported publicly (they may have at the very end voted for certain things after vicious public opposition,) by this set of women, who formed the congressional and senatorial leadership for the 2 decades of struggle for cannabis freedom voted for asset in the Constitution of California…which is not Rhode Island Delaware, Maine, and Vermont, where nobody lives… 1 in 9 Americans are from California.”

        I agree with you that there is plenty of blame to go around with both major parties. However, I’m afraid your memory is faulty in regards to Pelosi.

        While it’s true that she hasn’t proposed any legislation to help our cause, she HAS come out SEVERAL times in support of legalization by certain states. Publicly. She supported California’s drive to legalize just last year. And she supported the decision by Colorado and Washington voters to legalize recreationally back in ’12.

        If you were on this forum back when Colo and Wash legalized, you’d remember that there several posters–GOPers and Liberts, undoubtedly–who bitched and moaned about her support of legalization at that time. They called her a hypocrite, an opportunist and even a bitch–FOR SUPPORTING OUR CAUSE!!

        So, yes, you are wrong in your comment that no Dems have come out in support. And you might do well to remember that with some, partisanship always trumps everything else–even MJ legalization.

    2. The Drug war which began in 1937, or 1957, ’67, ’72, ’79, ’85 ’88, 89, and the massive Federal Effort beginning the early 1990s aimed at pot, are, take your pick, all totally bi-partisan.

      The Drug wars biggest detractors in Congress currently are Republicans. Strong Democrats like Pelosi and Feinstein are strangely quiet on the issue, with this powerful Democrat Congresswoman and this Powerful Democrat Senator, along with her just retired and also very powerful Democrat senate partner, Barbara Boxer, did nothing to change Federal law regarding Medical Marijuana for 20 years until Ms. Boxer retired. I defy you to find any drug war change legislation which was created or supported publicly (they may have at the very end voted for certain things after vicious public opposition,) by this set of women, who formed the congressional and senatorial leadership for the 2 decades of struggle for cannabis freedom voted for asset in the Constitution of California…which is not Rhode Island Delaware, Maine, and Vermont, where nobody lives… 1 in 9 Americans are from California. That makes them powerful. Did these Democrats se that power in the way cleary instructed them?

      No.

      Christie is not a representative of the Trump admin. As a prosecutor he purports like every other prosecutor to know about drugs, even more so than your average doctor, who “got us into this mess.”

      1. Eric, for shame…
        You posted on the world’s foremost library on marijuana… with a LINK to the NORML Congressionsal scorecard… and wrote “I defy you to find any drug war change that was… supported by these women (Pelosi, Boxer and Feinstein).

        Well lets see what the scorecard on the House of Representatives says;

        http://norml.org/congressional-scorecard/us-house-of-representatives

        Pelosi gets a “B.”

        Votes

        Veterans Equal Access Amendment (2016) Yes
        McClintock/Polis Amendment (2015) Yes
        Rohrabacher/Farr Amendment (2015) Yes
        Veterans Equal Access Amendment (2015) Yes
        Comments
        “I’ve been a long-standing advocate for allowing states to make medical marijuana available to patients under a doctor’s recommendation to alleviate painful suffering. A doctor’s prescription is needed for a substance that is not otherwise legal. Doctors write prescriptions every day for that purpose, and they should be able to do so if their states allow it, in the case of medical marijuana. 6/15/2005.”

        As for the Senate, we cant stick our hands in the fire for Boxer who was MIA on major votes used in grading the Senate, and Feinstein may not have an A+, but she does have a -C:

        http://norml.org/congressional-scorecard/us-senators

      2. Eric,

        It seems you desperately need a refresher course on how the politicos of the two major parties have voted on various MJ legalization. You seriously should access Julian’s links. A few GOPers do seem to be evolving on the issue. (Maybe I should refer to them as hypocrites and opportunists?)

        Eric, I defy YOU to show me one state, using NORML’s criteria (or not), where the GOP is equal to or better than the Dems in regards to MJ legalization. (I haven’t accessed NORML’s scorecards in many months, so you might actually get me on that one–though I doubt it.)

  3. Republicans are war profiteers on a DNA level.

    That’s why they love the War On Drugs so very much… Profit. Upon seeing tragedy and suffering, Republicans think, “How can I exploit this and profit from it financially and/or politically?” So, naturally, where there is no war, Republicans think, “How can I start one?”

    I suspect this Commission will function the same way.

    Anyway, I am clicking the links and sending the letters! Keep ’em coming, NORML!

  4. Legal or illegal Marijuana is not going anywhere, it’s always going to be there just as is has for thousands of years. So to all the people who claim they want marijuana off the street should be the first ones fighting to make it legal to get it off the streets and out of the hands of children. Governor Christie, if you choose to keep marijuana illegal then you choose to keep it in the hands of children. Because keeping it illegal keeps it on the black market where kids can buy it from some nut on the corner whenever they want. Try using common sense. Step back and educate yourself there are doctors ,lawyers and my guess would be politicians who use marijuana everyday and live very normal and successful lives.

    1. Christie is a prosecutor. he sees the world through very binary eyes. Booze good. Pot bad. Sand for others on holidays, undeserved. Sand for governors on same, deserved.

      He would never admit that the drug war benefited him as “the full employment act of 1986 for police, prosecutors, and prison guards,” under which he himself benefited ll the way to the ultimate demonstration of “the Peter Principle,” first iterated in 1969, when Christie was 7, which says that every employee will rise to his/her level of incompetence.”

      This principle is very often to be seen in the progression from ADA to DA to AG to Governor, with further aspirations. When these cats became senators they are usually to dumb to understand anything outside of black and white, good and bad.

  5. Their final report is to be issued in October.

    That’s perfect timing to influence the November elections, and timed so that there is not really enough time for the cannabis community to react and get out their message.

    These prohibitionist politicians would be our tyrants, our dictators, if they could. Because they hold high office and are superior in the hierarchy of government to the everyman and everywoman they display an attitude that everyone has to listen to them because they said so, whether their decisions are based on facts, science, polls or as is often the case with prohibitionists based on campaign donors, their greed or their prejudices.

    Accentuating the opioid crisis while ignoring the benefits of legal cannabis just does to show you either how lazy they are or how prejudiced they are. They’re either too lazy to change the status quo of the war on cannabis; that means delegating some work to your subordinate employees and political colleagues. Or, they’re hell bent on continuing to do all they can to make the lives of non-whites and non-Christians as miserable as possible, continuing to devastate minority communities, marginalize people.

    You know the saying “If you build it, they will come?” In this case they will continue to blame Mexican cartels, and will use it as fodder to fund the wall since Mexico won’t: “If you build it, they won’t come” meaning Mexicans and Latin Americans illegally crossing the border. They think, I suppose.

  6. Granted (Mexican) cartels and (Latino) gangs are responsible for much of the violence surrounding illegal drugs. A wall will not end this game of whack-a-mole at the borders.

    This concept of separating soft drugs such as cannabis from the (illegal) distribution and sales networks of hard/highly addictive drugs like heroin, meth & crack needs to become a political reality. They need to see to it that the same person selling/supplying cannabis is not also supplying hard/highly addictive drugs.

    They know it’s related to supply side economics of illegal drugs, and that’s why they are big on interdiction. What they refuse to implement is separating the supply of cannabis by making it legal. They need some cannabis continuing education on contemporary public policy, as they must be relying on information they learned from decades ago from their last public policy or political science courses.

    These prohibitionists are Living in the Prohibitionist Past.

    I much prefer Jethro Tull’s Living in the Past!

  7. The Marijuana Gateway Theory
    The Marijuana Gateway Theory
    The Marijuana Gateway Theory

    The marijuana gateway theory ALWAYS comes up. The opposition ALWAYS brings it up. Yes, ALWAYS.

    I was watching MSNBC’s TRMS (The Rachel Maddow Show) but since she’s substituting for Rachel it was TJRS (The Joy Reid Show) and she interviewed Senator Corey Booker about his legislation to legalize cannabis. Well, wouldn’t you know it but Joy brought up opponents’ counterargument of the gateway theory in order to make it fair and balanced.

    The drumbeat that the marijuana gateway theory is wrong, debunked, not proven, not practical, MUST start up loud and often. (You can’t prove a negative.) You can bet Christie, Sessions, Swamp Thing (Trump) are going to beat their gateway theory drum by releasing this report in October in an effort to influence down-ticket elections and get prohibitionists elected.

    The Gray Lady (NYT) and anyone else in the media the cannabis community can convince to get out the word to discredit the gateway theory with science, testimonials and data–especially data–in addition to talking up the money, jobs, savings, and benefits of both medical marijuana and recreational marijuana. Corey did mention that when he was mayor the city had far more problems from alcohol than cannabis.

    Beat that drum, loud and steady, marijuana is NOT a gateway drug.

    1. So much of it is about messaging. That’s especially true when it comes to educating those who are clueless about MJ.

      I personally beat down that gateway crap about MJ every time I hear it, usually going on the counterattack about booze and tobacco.

    2. Yes, and I think the most effective authority to cite in this context is: the DEA. Remember some months back when some congressman (maybe Dana R, I don’t remember) requested that cannabis be moved to Schedule II, and the DEA refused? They released a lot of paper to defend their decision, and somewhere in there they addressed the gateway theory. Naturally they didn’t make a big deal about it (“oh no, we were wrong all this time!”), but say something like “that effect [i.e. cannabis leading to harder drugs] was not observed.” Anyway, that’s the reference, if anyone wants to dig it up.

      TL;DR: “The Gateway Theory is wrong.” “Who says?” “The DEA, that’s who.”

      1. Mitch Earleywine’s book has some great counterarguments to the gateway theory. The problem is to get it to click with TV viewers and voters in a soundbite. They must already have heard or read the explanation many times like it’s been poured into their heads through a funnel in their ear via newspaper or an investigative journalist report (TV or print) and have that recall moment so that it clicks immediately with what can fit in a soundbite. I thought Cory Booker enunciated the counterargument to the gateway theory for someone like myself, someone in the know, but as for the rest of the viewers who are uninformed, like if he appears on Fox Lies and gives the same explanation I’m not so sure he’ll sway anyone at all. That’s not to say there are no Republicans or Fox Lies viewers who are pro-legalization but, you know, the statistics would indicate they need a hell of a lot more persuading.

        Understanding Marijuana: A New Look at the Scientific Evidence by Mitch Earleywine

    3. Not cannabis, the H-ot B-urning O-verdose M-onoxide P-aperpuffin JOINT is the Gateway Drug.
      .
      Joint-$moking teaches children the gestures and swagger of $iggerette $moking so one day when without enough money to buy real herb they try a $quare…
      .
      zap! hooked for life!
      .
      ROR = Rich Oligarchs rejoice, pack-a-day habit = $300 a month in a high tax state from lesser educated lesser paid individuals!

  8. Keep educating.

    We need Bernie Sanders to keep the drumbeat in places like West Virginia where poor, white working class Americans are being fed targeted opiates while they are lied to by the cartels within our own DOJ and government pointing the finger at Mexico for our own made-to-fail US drug policy.
    We need NORML chapters to reach out to the Fox and Pretend-Friends caught up in the fear machine and explain to people how bad drug policy is to blame for widespread crime, violence, addiction and socioeconomic inequality, not Mexicans or legalized marijuana. We’ve got to communicate with our secret-ballot neighbors and break the veil of ignorance.

    Then we need to address the role of prohibition on the multi-faceted voter supression and voter caging that is giving ignorant monsters like Trump and Christi so overconfident in their tyrannical victory over our Democratic Republic. That starts at the local level from city councils to shool boards, state legislators up to federal Congress.
    Make no mistake, we are in a climactic battle for our own freedo and what we get to call medicine.

  9. Well now, let me begin by saying that I am a republican. Now wait before you drag me over the coals here. I am pro-choice, pro-cannabis legalization, and I am all for most of the social programs in America today. So now you might be wondering how did I end up as a republican with so many democratic values. Well, it’s mostly family ties, my grandmother was on the electoral college for President Reagan. So now to the article at hand. I believe Trump put Sessions where he is and Christie where he is because trump is trying to play on the populist message since he has no REAL message to go on. He has studied the past and is using what works and what works with little actual facts to back it up. Take the drug war. He saw how the republicans kicked ass in the 80’s with the drug war stance and figures he can throw a new drug war into the American public and they will praise him for it because of the Opioid Epidemic. What he does not or has not realized yet, is that America has moved on past that era. We don’t want mandatory minimum sentencing or increased police raids with forfeitures. Right now America is running in the opposite direction because we have finally woke up to the inhumane practices over the last 30 to 40 years. Let Science rule the drug policy world. Also, one last thing before I go. Before the 1930’s, people would self medicate themselves for all ailments. People would take a little of that or a little of this to reduce pain or illness. Now there is bad and good to this. But, I believe we should go to a system where pharmacies, eastern medicine, and self medicating drugs work hand in hand to give patients all the options available to them so this will not only bring down the cost of big pharma drugs but also give people a stake in their own health care.

    1. @ Zachary Stotz,

      Fine. But if you continue vote Republican now, you are in a state of contradiction. That would put you in opposition to your own values, which is obviously self-defeating, whether it’s a personal family tradition or not. And, that would hurt others, too.

      But that’s “if” — because you didn’t say.

      You did say you “are” a Republican, present tense. The problem is, if you vote that way, all your compassion and rationality, your values, your decency, all that is rendered irrelevant.

      Can’t have it both ways, you know!

    2. Zachary,

      I appreciate your enlightenment on certain issues–my God! you advocated for science–but wonder why you’ve remained in a party that seems to go against many of your values. Believing in science alone, one might think, should’ve gotten you disbarred from the GOP.

      You’re right about Trump. He was looking for political advantage in nominating Sessions and Christie, especially with conservatives. His miscalculation shows how clueless he is on the subject of MJ legalization. (Only when the political winds blow so hard that he’ll be unable to ignore it will he change his stance on legalization. He may yet have to.)

  10. I used cannabis oil to wean and detox from a 20-year RX morphine dependency. I know first hand how it works. Total cost for the 21-day effort was $120 for two 3.5 gram vials of full extract cannabis oil (aka Simpson Oil).

    I’ve also studied cannabis at the Medical School postgraduate level (The Medical Cannabis Institute). I’ve got skin in the game and I’ve got an evidence-based knowledge of cannabis.

    What we’re really fighting over, other than the massive wealth of Big Pharma, is the proper scientific respect at the federal level for cannabis and its Schedule I status by our medical schools and medical institutions.

    Allopathic, or Western medicine is considered “evidence-based.” Most US docs are ignorant of the endocannabinoid system because they didn’t learn about it in medical school.

    A system that is the “master control panel for almost every physiological process in the body.” In other words, a BFD.

    Sure Christie’s a handy inflatable toy for Big Pharma but he wouldn’t get the chance to be playing that role if US docs had balls.

    That’s all I’m saying. We get rid of our DATED DOCTOR problem and we’ll get the chance to enjoy cannabis respectfully at the federal level before you know it.

    The Master Control Panel, it’s kind of a BFD.

    1. Agreed that it’s rather frightening how our doctors were never taught about the endocannabinoid system. Both of my grandfathers graduated from Harvard Medical School and neither were allowed to study marijuana or the ECS throughout their entire careers. Ironically, both my grandfathers died of complications that could have been offset by whole plant cannabis consumption; my mother’s father died of Parkinsons in 1996 before the first American publications about the ECS were out and before California legalized mmj. It’s as if their entire professional careers were all about studying Planet “X.” We know it has to exist by studying the rocks and the gravity around it but it would upset a bunch of scientists with some important grants from the Smithsonian if we publish anything so we’ll all just pretend it isn’t there. Except with marijuana, they could lose their license and go to jail. Fu€king ridiculous.
      Our state-taxed marijuana dollars are finally funding US marijuana and ECS studies.
      With that said, we cant just ignore the federal prohibition money or the doctors lobby. Check out the link from Forbes by anonymous up above; the $14 billion Sackler family is sneezing out money from lawsuits on ocycontin unscathed with their predatory fortune.

    2. We are at war with toxic synthetic pharmaceuticals by defending our right to consume, sell and possess whole plant medicine. Supressing the study of marijuana and the ECS is a key component to far too many billionaire$’ Prohibition Use Disorder Syndromes.

      Marijuana reform and funding for ECS studies has to advance at the state level because the Federal government has been thoroughly corrupted by predatory money from Big Pharma and private insurance. If Christie is the “inflatable toy” for Big Pharma the FDA, DEA and NIDA are the factories of America’s billionaire addiction to opiates, tax evasion and prohibition. I agree our federal medical system is a failed state of death for profit, but we are changing that at the state level.

      At the federal level whole plant medicine… particularly those which help reduce opiate addiction… has been under attack by billionaires like the Sacklers since before the DEA was even created. Ibogaine, a whole plant derivative that reduces opiate addiction by acting as an NDMA receptor, has been outlawed since 1967;

      https://clearskyibogaine.com/american-opioid-addiction-epidemic/

      And when whole plant Kratom began weaning Americans off opiates the DEA put it on schedule 1 early this year. The Sacklers are using the CSAct through the DEA to kill Americans with oxycontin for profit.

      We can… and are… voting with our cash by consuming more safe, effective and fairly taxed state-legalized marijuana. But the biggest hurdle NORML is taking on is getting the message out you mentioned first:

      that marijuana can help wean people off of opiates.

      Don’t tap out after nonviolent civil disobedience.
      Let’s help eachother get involved at the state level and join the resistance.

  11. A commission of idiots… Why is this even allowed… Only a medical doctor should be put in charge of such a commission. Chris Christie looks like a mobster(probably is) and has no such credentials to make him qualified for this job.

  12. The “opioid crisis” in my humble opinion is one of the biggest media myths in order to make the war on drugs and the prison industrial complex still relevant. The “solutions” that the Trump administration and drug warrior politicians and officials should make that obvious to any thinking person. If there is crisis? Why cut back on treatment and access like what Trump and Congress want to do? They are grandstanding and Americans are falling for their drug war snake oil solutions. This reminds me of the so called “crack epidemic” of the 80’s. Another media fantasy to ratchet up the drug war and erode our Bill of Rights. As a result, the US becomes the world’s number one jailer and drug warriors turn into highwaymen seizing money and other property because they can. Here is good counterpoint to the current narrative: http://reason.com/archives/2016/05/18/opioid-epidemic-myths Now I’m not suggesting that there are no addicts, nor am I oblivious to the effects addiction has on people and families. But rather than cooking up media narratives, let’s look for some real compassionate solutions, like using cannabis to help treat some addictions, access to treatment facilities, and turning away from the criminal justice system as a crutch. Stop be sheep for heaven sake and question the narrative!

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