Tag Archives: Drugs

Doug Casey on the Opioid Crisis

Justin’s note: “Enjoy looking over your shoulder, constantly wondering if today’s the day we come for you. Enjoy trying to sleep tonight, wondering if tonight’s the night our SWAT team blows your front door off the hinges. We are coming for you.”

This sounds like something from an ‘80s action movie. But that’s an actual quote from the Lake County Sheriff’s Office in Tavares, Florida.

Sheriff Grinnell delivered this message last month while flanked by four combat-ready officers wearing ski masks. It looks like someone from ISIS directed it. You can watch the bizarre video here.

Grinnell’s message was aimed at local drug dealers. You see, Lake County has a serious opioid problem. And like many other places in the US, it’s fighting its drug problem as if it were a war.

After I watched it, I called up Casey Research founder Doug Casey to get his take on the opioid crisis. Below is a transcript of our conversation. We hope you enjoy it.

Justin: Doug, what do you make of the opioid crisis?

Doug: The news cycle seems to be emphasizing the use of opioids at the moment. Now, these are almost all legal prescription drugs, not illegally smuggled heroin and morphine, as was the case in The French Connection. People get their doctors to prescribe opioids for pain. Of course, pain is not something that you can prove. So it’s legitimate for doctors to prescribe these things. After a while the patient may develop a chemical dependency.

This gets into why people become addicted. I’m of the opinion that all kinds of addictions, not just the opioids in question, but addictions to cocaine, meth, other kinds of narcotics, alcohol, or anything else are basically because of pain.

But it’s not necessarily physical pain. It’s psychological pain, which may be even more important. And psychological pain means that people want to check out of reality. So as the economy gets worse—and I think it will get much, much worse in the near future—you can expect levels of addiction to skyrocket, not to go down.

Addiction is a bad habit, but it’s nobody else’s business. From an ethical point of view, your primary possession is your own body. If you don’t own it, and have a right to do whatever you want with it, then you in fact have no rights at all. That’s why the drug war itself is criminal, and morally insane.

The efforts of dangerous idiots like Sheriff Grinnell are counterproductive. If they confiscate a ton of drugs, that just drives up the market price for those that remain. And increases the profits of dealers, drawing more dealers into the business. And encouraging addicts who can’t afford the higher prices to turn to crime in order to support their habit. That’s entirely apart from increasing the level of violence in society, corrupting the police, and lots of other negative fallout.

To continue reading: Doug Casey on the Opioid Crisis

Still Supporting Sanders? You’re Gonna Die (Broke), by Karl Denninger

From Karl Denninger, on a guest post at theburningplatform.com:

It just never ends.

There are a lot of innumerate people in this nation, or worse, those who are just lazy. Maybe they’re drunk, whether on booze or the “Obama’s gonna pay my gas and mortgage!” nonsense that political charisma gins up, or perhaps they’ve had a few too many tokes on a pipe. Doesn’t matter, really.

What matters is that elections have consequences. In the case of Sanders, his plan for “medical reform” will go nowhere, mostly because he won’t be able to pass it if elected. And, frankly, I don’t think he’s electable.

If you want to know how well socialized medicine works in the United States, go ask a veteran about the VA. Make sure you’re well out of range of thrown missiles first.

The “dream” of Medicare for everyone is just that — a dream. Government interference in the health system, to the tune of one trillion dollars a year, is why we have the problems we have today. It is that willful and intentional blindness to the acts of the entire industry, acts that are illegal virtually everywhere and, I suspect, could be prosecuted here as well if anyone in the government gave a damn, that leads to the majority of bankruptcies in this country — a majority that are caused by medical debt.

There are those who say that a free market doesn’t work. Really? Then why is it that in a free market medical system, right here in the United States, I can have a cardiac pacemaker implanted, with the device, for $11,400. That’s not a guess, it’s a quote, just like it would be to change the brakes on your car. Now try to get that price from your local “non-profit” or “for-profit” hospital. Best of luck; you won’t be able to do it.

$11,000 sounds like a lot of money, but is it really? Not compared against the $50,000+ that your local hospital charges for the same surgery. Or, you have an inguinal hernia repaired for $3,000 — in the same place, for cash, all-in, including the mesh. Again, try getting that price in your local hospital. Good luck.

The real ball-buster is that even these prices are massively inflated, as are drugs. The latest outrage that is being trotted out is Martin Shkreli, who had the termerity to smirk at Congress this week. Dr Manny is “outraged” that he did so, and that he hiked the price of a drug by 5,000% to make money.

Why is Martin smirking? Probably because Gilead does the same thing every day, but nobody is proposing to throw their executives in prison. Sovaldi, sold in the US for Hepatitis C and an actual cure, costs $90,000 for a course of treatment. The very same drug is under $5 a pill in India; a course of treatment is 90 days, approximately, meaning that the very same drug is $450 there.

Shkreli did indeed hike the price of a drug by 5,000%, or 50x. But Gilead sells their drug here for two hundred times what it sells for in India, not 50.

There are 330 million of us and about seven and a half billion souls on the planet right now. We literally pay the check for all of the drug and device development in the world. Everyone else uses it for free. This “system”, really a racket, only works because these companies have managed to get the US Federal Government involved in pointing guns at you and threatening to throw you in prison if you fly to India and fill a suitcase full of Sovaldi, then bring it back here to the United States to sell it.

But for those laws the math on this is simple.

If there are 7.4 billion people on the planet (latest estimate), and we’re 330 million of them, then we’re about 5% of the earth’s population. If a huge proportion of the planet (e.g. Pakistan, India, etc) gets the drug for under $2,000 (and it does) then were we to simply remove said special protections and instead prosecute anyone trying to restrain free trade in said drug the price would rise materially in places such as Pakistan (e.g. it might double) but in the United States it would plummet like a stone to some 5% of what it costs now, or approximately that same $4-5,000.

To continue reading: Still Supporting Sanders? You’re Gonna Die (Broke)

Cops Around the Country Quietly Begin Rebelling Against the Drug War, by Carey Wedler

It is a close race for which US government “war” has been the biggest failure: the war on drugs, the war on poverty, or the war on terrorism. The one constant is that continuous failure never seems to prompt any kind of new approach. However, Police Chief Leonard Campanello of Gloucester, Massachusetts, is trying something different, and its working! From Carey Wedler at theantimedia.org:

It is a rare occurrence when police officers in America organize to undermine the very Drug War they vociferously fight for politicians. Police Chief Leonard Campanello of the Gloucester, Massachusetts Police Department, however, did just that earlier this year when he decided to treat — not arrest — heroin addicts who came to his department seeking help. His revolutionary “ANGEL” program has proven successful for addicts and their families in Gloucester, but it has also inspired other departments across the country to adopt similar programs amid growing officer fatigue over the ineffectual arrest and incarceration of addicts.

In May, Campanello announced via Facebook that his department would adopt the new policy of treatment over arrest (note: it does not apply to individuals caught in possession of drugs who do not turn themselves in). The move was met with widespread praise and the new policy was officially enacted in June. Treatment centers and pharmacies have partnered with the police department to ensure addicts receive the care they need.

As the police department’s website explains:

“If an addict comes into the Gloucester Police Department and asks for help, an officer will take them to the Addison Gilbert Hospital, where they will be paired with a volunteer ‘ANGEL’ who will help guide them through the process. We have partnered with more than a dozen additional treatment centers to ensure that our patients receive the care and treatment they deserve — not in days or weeks, but immediately.
“If you have drugs or drug paraphernalia on you, we will dispose of it for you. You will not be arrested. You will not be charged with a crime. You will not be jailed.
“All you have to do is come to the police station and ask for help. We are here to do just that.”

Five months since the program launched, Campanello reports positive results: over 260 addicts have been placed in treatment. This summer, shoplifting, breaking and entering, and larceny dropped 23% from the same period last year. “We are seeing real people get the lives back,” he said. “And if we see a reduction in crime and cost savings that is a great bonus.”

To continue reading: Cops Rebelling Against the Drug War

He Said That? 8/23/15

Wonder of wonders, there are alternatives to the US’s insanely expensive and  stupid war on drugs, and police don’t have to be thugs with badges. From  Claire Bernish at theantimedia.org:

Situated on the coast of Massachusetts, Gloucester’s claims to fame include its status as “America’s original seaport,” as well as being the real-life location on which events in the movie The Perfect Storm (2000) were based. Now, the small town has a new reason to be the center of attention: its police have been granting complete amnesty to drug users who come to the station seeking help, even if they come bearing the remainder of their stash.

On March 6th of this year, Gloucester Chief of Police Leonard Campanello wrote a Facebook post much like he normally did. But this particular post bemoaned four deaths to heroin and opiates in just two months — for a city with less than 30,000 residents.

Frustrated, and without any forethought, Campanello added what would turn out to be a propitious statement to that post:

“If you are a user of opiates or heroin, let us help you. We know you do not want this addiction. We have resources here in the City that can and will make a difference in your life. Do not become a statistic.”

The response was immediate and overwhelmingly positive. Where one of Campanello’s typical posts would collect, perhaps, a dozen ‘likes’ — this post garnered 1,234 likes and, according to the Washington Post, “more views than there were people in the city.”

Obviously, he’d hit on the crux of a problem with the different approach that was sorely needed.

“The war on drugs is over,” Campanello said. “And we lost. There is no way we can arrest our way out of this. We’ve been trying that for 50 years. We’ve been fighting it for 50 years, and the only thing that has happened is heroin has become cheaper and more people are dying.”

On May 4th, he posted a lengthy update after considering what he’d stumbled onto with that first extemporaneous post.

“Any addict who walks into the police station with the remainder of their equipment (needles, etc.) or drugs and asks for help will NOT be charged. Instead we will walk them through the system toward detox and recovery. We will assign them an “angel” who will be their guide through the process. Not in hours or days, but on the spot. Addison Gilbert and Lahey Clinic have committed to helping fast track people that walk into the police department so that they can be assessed quickly and the proper care can be administered quickly.”

Though it was unclear what the repercussions of such a bold move would be, after over 33,000 likes and 30,000 shares for the updated post, there was no denying Campanello had found a better alternative to penalizing those struggling with addiction. Over 4,000 comments sang the praises of the program — a few even compared the approach to Portugal’s success decriminalizing all drugs. Most echoed sentiments like, “Well done!” and“Finally someone gets it right!” and even “Bravo!! More compassion and humanity in our justice system. You are leading by example. And I think the results will validate your decision [emphasis added].”

And validate they have.

Campanello said this week that over 100 addicts have already taken advantage of the opportunity — and one in six have come from out-of-state, including a person who traveled all the way from California to ask for help. It’s certainly a switch to see so many flock to the very police who, in the past, would have arrested and jailed every one of them.

“It’s extremely important for a police department to treat all people with respect,” said Campanello. “Law enforcement doesn’t exist to judge people.”

And as for cost? An update on the “Gloucester Initiative Angel Program” in an August 10th post stated: “$5000 for 100 lives.”

Going even further, Campanello approached a local CVS pharmacy and explained the program and the need for Nasal Narcan, which can reverse an overdose. Without insurance, the drug cost $140, but after hearing about the revolutionary program, CVS made it available for $20 a pack — so Campanello started providing it to addicts free of charge.

“The police department will pay the cost of the Nasal Narcan for those without insurance. We will pay for it with money seized from drug dealers during investigations. We will save lives with the money from the pockets of those who take them,” he said.

With so many people taking advantage of the program, Chief Campanello and the Gloucester Police Department, as well as their various partners, have formed a non-profit organization called The Police Assisted Addiction and Recovery Initiative (P.A.A.R.I.) “to bridge the gap between the police department and opioid addicts seeking recovery.” Its website states, “Rather than arrest our way out of the problem of drug addiction, P.A.A.R.I. committed police departments:

• “Encourage opioid drug users to seek recovery.”

• “Help distribute life saving opioid blocking drugs to prevent and treat overdoses.”

•  “Connect addicts with treatment programs and facilities.”

• “Provide resources to other police departments and communities that want to do more to fight the opioid addiction epidemic.”

Though it is perhaps premature to estimate the program’s overall success, three Massachusetts cities will soon be implementing programs based on Campanello’s model.

What started as frustration and anger about the nation’s growing problem with heroin and opiate addiction hastily posted to Facebook has become a possible future model for police departments around the country — and tangible hope for addicts and their loved ones.

Four deaths in two months in the small coastal town appeared to indicate the continuance of a frightening trend — but in the over five and a half months since, there have been “Just two,” said Campanello.
In mid-June, Gloucester Police wrote another post on the official Facebook page that speaks volumes of the program. It states:

“A reporter asked one of my officers last night: ‘Do you see a common thread in all addicts?’ Without hesitation, the officer responded: ‘Absolutely. They’re all human beings.”


11-Year-Old Kansas Boy Taken Away from Mom Due to Her Use of Cannabis Oil to Treat Crohn’s Disease, by Michael Krieger

The government’s war on people’s right to ingest what they want, to do what they will with their own bodies and minds, has yielded no victories and plenty of insanely stupid and sad stories like the following. From Michael Krieger at libertyblitzkrieg.com:

Yesterday Shona Banda, the Kansas medical marijuana activist whose home was searched after her 11-year-old son challenged anti-pot propaganda at school, failed to regain custody of the boy, who is now under the control of Child Protective Services (CPS). “I am not giving up,” Banda said after yesterday’s family court hearing. “I will get him, and I am not going to stop until I do.”

– From the Reason article: Police Say Kidnapping Medical Marijuana Activist’s 11-Year-Old Son Is for ‘the Child’s Well-Being’

Taking a child away from its parents is one of the most serious and emotionally traumatizing things you can do. Anyone tasked with such extraordinary power should take the responsibility extremely seriously. Unfortunately, that’s not how Child Protective Services (CPS) in Kansas sees things.

This is the story of an 11-year-old boy who bravely defended his mom’s used of cannabis oil during a anti-drug program at his school. His mother suffers from Crohn’s disease and uses cannabis oil to treat her symptoms. If she lived here in Colorado, or any of the other 23 states enlightened enough to permit adults to use a plant for medical purposes, her son (who obviously loves his mom enough to defend her in class) would still be with her.


To continue reading: 11-Year-Old Kansas Boy Taken Away from Mom