♪ Stand as far away from me as you can and ask me why
Hang on to your rosary beads
Close your eyes to watch me die
You keep saying, kick it, quit it, kick it, quit it
God, but did you ever try
To turn your sick soul inside out
So that the world, so that the world
Can watch you die ♪
— Gil Scott Heron, “Home Is Where the Hatred Is”
On Jan. 19, 2018, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services extended the National Public Health Emergency related to opioids for 90 days. Expect little more.
The first emergency declaration came extemporaneously from the mouth of the Orange Goon in July. October brought a formal document. The ensuing three months saw no meaningful discussion, let alone proposed funding, for scaling up proven local and state programs to address overprescribing of prescription painkillers, fentanyl and carfentanil diversion, or — the real issue — addiction management and treatment.
Abuse of Vicodin and OxyContin originally taken for legitimate purposes that led to street-living daily use of heroin decimated a family close to Uvular. The tiny meniscus of hope for his relatives by brother’s marriage come from them residing in Ohio. Say what you will about Gov. John Kasich, he has consistently done the right things in treating the intertwined problems of meth and opioids as medical/psychological/economic problems rather than law enforcement issues. Kasich forced through Medicaid expansion under the Affordable Care Act precisely for this reason. He ordered the establishment of drug courts that stress intervention over incarceration. He regularly goes on the cable news to shame fellow Republican lawmakers for not taking the same steps.
As far to the other end of the spectrum as you could travel without meeting yourself coming the other way in this curved spacetime of ours stands U.S. Attorney General and kobold Jefferson Beauregard Session III. His solution to the opioid crisis boils down to ignoring that to focus on fully recriminalizing marijuana, asking district and state prosecutors to federalize drug possession charges, and encouraging federal prosecutor to aggressively pursue convictions that result in the highest mandatory minimum sentences.
Sessions undoubtedly harbors racist motives, thinking that only brown and black people do “that.” He owes private prison owners favors, as well. Intentional, committed, self-harming ignorance also deserves mention.
Counterpoint: How can a society maintain a sufficient strata of career criminals without defining most vices as crimes and without demedicalizing biological processes?
Lest any Politicados cavil that your humble WPT host merely wants to rationalize his own pot partaking, know that he has probably consumed less than a gram of marijuana over the course of his nearly 50 years on Earth. He does suspect, however, that dancing with Mary Jane might have saved him from nearly drowning in a bottle. Neither here nor there, actually.
Uvular asks complete legalization of marijuana to arrive tout suite because he recently hatched a billion-dollar idea to introduce a line of chips, cookies, and cake-like snack foods under the brand name “Gateway.” Do your drug; enter the Gateway.
What has occurred you in the realms of politics, policy, and economy?