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Tuesday, March 20, 2018

Just Say No Again

President Trump's efforts in to stem opioid abuse brought the usual trite calls that the War on Drugs failed. They point to Prohibition.

I point to smoking. In 1954, 45% of the nation's adults smoked. The most recent figure is 15%. Shunning smoking worked.

As for the War on Drugs, let us not forget Nancy Reagan.

As first lady, she headed a Just Say No campaign to counteract the popular culture that pushed drug abuse.

Her campaign was simple and corny and effective. She worked on influencing children. If it took sitting on Mr. T's lap to get this lifesaving message through, so be it.

I am serious. 64,070 people died from drug overdoses in 2016.

That is eight times as many ODs as gun murders.

Schools should stage a nationwide protest over that. You are eight times as likely to OD than you are to be gunned down.

We need an effective policy.

Just Say No worked.

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Service in 1979 estimated there were 25 million drug abusers in 1979 -- and less than 15 million in 1999, some 20 years later.

No, the campaign did not eradicate drug abuse. But it did save 10 million people. And it was buttressed by harsh sentences.

But we back slided. Hip hop and rap made drugs cool again. Bush 43 lightened up on sentencing. And then we elected a president whose past included pot and cocaine. He pushed for even lighter sentences.

Now we have a president who never abused drugs -- or alcohol -- or cigarettes.

President Trump's call to execute drug dealers has appeal.

"Whether you are a dealer or doctor or trafficker or a manufacturer, if you break the law and illegally peddle these deadly poisons, we will find you, we will arrest you, and we will hold you accountable," Trump said on Monday.

"Failure is not an option. Addiction is not our future."

Make America Great Again -- by saying no to drugs again.


  1. Since Trump is for it the Left will be agin' it.


  2. In 2012, Anthony Bourdain took his No Reservations show to Lisbon, Portugal, where he met with the Portugese novelist and MD, Antonio Lobo Antunes. Antunes remembers what it was like during the Salazar regime. He was a dictator in the same mold as Hitler and Mussolini. Antunes said that under Salazar's thumb, the people of Portugal couldn't talk politics or even kiss in public -- but heroin was really cheap, because if you were stoned you didn't have the energy to start a revolution.

    1. True. However, there are some odd relations in terms of control of societal motivations. In the 1926 (communist) revolution in China, emerging party rules put opium dealers/users to death. The warlords and Mandarins had previously profited greatly by its trade.

  3. Btw, most of the smokers I see these days are what I would classify as low-income people. Gone are the days when you'd see a gorgeous woman, wearing a little black dress, sitting at a piano bar and drinking a 2-olive Martini and smoking a cigarette. Ahhh, the romance of booze and smoking -- well, at least in movies.

    I see people smoking in old movies and I think their hair and clothing must stink, to say nothing of their breath. I never did smoke. I tried it as a teenager. I inhaled once and wondered how anyone could inhale enough to become addicted.

    1. That was my experience, too, Kitty. -- BJ54

  4. An interesting related story about government involvement in control of "self-induced changes in conciseness" is Russia and alcohol--The maybe successes and probable failures. https put together--> ://

    I've mentioned this before, and Trump mentioned this yesterday--It was generally missed by everyone. There are 5 different types of opioid receptors in the CNS (at least). Nature SPECIFICALLY made those receptors to block pain, and they are placed in strategic brain areas to do that. We make "natural" opioid like neurotransmitters, and only ONE plant produces compounds that binds to these receptors in a way similar to natural opioid-like neurotransmitters. NO OTHER recreational drug binds to SPECIFIC receptors like this. None, zip, nada. Thus, opioids are a "gold standard" in terms of specifically activating certain brain circuits for pain. Too much, too fast, and you just stop breathing.

    There are pharmaceuticals that have been used for years (in rats, unfortunately) that are just as effective as synthetic oxy's in blocking pain, yet they don't promote behavioral "tolerance" (this is the word used for addiction and increased dosage for animals). Trump and his czar mentioned development of those yesterday. The problem, of course, is profits.

    Yes, profits.

    I actually do believe that Trump will be able to force Big Pharma to develop these "non-addictive" compounds, however, the plant products will always be out there, and they will always be used. Ever wonder what those "pods" were in one of the famous Parables?--One son was found dealing with them.

  5. In his talk Trump pointed out that supplying people with drugs that they kill themselves with is tantamount to murder, and yet the penalty for murder is life in prison or the death penalty, while drug dealers get off lightly in comparison. And the result of this is toleration of an intolerable situation.

    I pointed out to my sons that Duterte in the PI took that same logic to its conclusion. They pointed out to me that one of the other things Trump said is that he doesn't want to leave office in seven years and still have this status quo in place. They pointed out that the system in the PI limits the president to one term, and that anyone in that office, of they are to make any reforms at all, are forced into a position of having to do so in a radical fashion, or else things simply remain unchanged, because he is limited to one term.

    Many cities around the country are entering into class action suits against large pharmaceutical companies that have not reported large orders to the DEA. I think this a good thing. But as Trump said, if we do not punish the dealers adequately, the incentives to profit from this activity will override the deterrents.

    Something resembling retributive justice appears to be the only path available.

    If you know or are a legislatorget busy. This may slide under the radar of the press, but it won't slide under the radar of the people. If action isn't taken, you are outta here.

    1. Of course, if people in severe acute or chronic pain have to suffer, well, omelets and eggs, right, Mr. Lenin?

    2. O/T @SDN: Saw the excellent comment you posted yesterday on another Web site explaining why passengers on a UAL flight might have chosen not to intervene when a UAL crew member insisted a woman passenger put her dog (a frenchton) in the overhead bin. Ultimately the dog died in flight.

      Sad to say, what you wrote is all too true. These days, if you speak up you could become the nail that gets hammered down. Flying can be dangerous to your freedom when crew and passengers alike are frazzled by the unpleasant experience air travel has become..

  6. say No to Drugs, it's not healty and dangerous

  7. Fairly regularly we read accounts of how doctors and associated health care providers are indicted for Medicare/Medicaid fraud. Usually they are also running pill factories. It's time for the AMA and state medical regulators to step up prosecution of these vultures who are using the system for obscene profits.

  8. The analogy of tobacco vs. drugs falls apart because of the difference in categories: tobacco has been legal, and drugs have been illegal. There is a whole black market infrastructure that has emerged around narcotics that simply doesn't exist for tobacco.

    Moral pressure is fine, and there's no sense not doing it, but the war on drugs is trying (and spectacularly failing) to go after the black market.

    Trump and Sessions need a plan more convincing than "do it again, only harder" if they want to convince people that this time will be different.

  9. Speaking about the war on drugs... This local news broke yesterday former fire official charged with selling heroin sentenced to probation Margeson was immediately suspended from his positions with both fire departments following his arrest. ... {snip} ... In addition to sentencing Margeson to [five years] probation, county Judge Christopher Baker suspended his driver's license.


  10. I am a volunteer fireman. We respond to medical calls too, often arriving up to 20 minutes before the EMTs. The opioid problem is severe. Fentanyl can not only kill the user but others who absorb the drug accidentally through their skin (by touching the powder). We carry narcan injectors that are an almost immediate antidote to several opioids including fentanyl. Even out here in the boonies this is a major problem.

    Thank goodness PDJT is taking this seriously. The dealers should suffer severely for their crimes.

  11. It burns my bottom to see that jerk on the Obamacare commercial saying, "Addiction is a disease." BS. Addiction is a behavioral problem. They try to call it a disease so they can wring $10,000 out of a health insurance policy. Yes, addiction treatment is mandated in and covered by Obamacare. And people wonder why health insurance premiums keep going up every year. - Elric

  12. 15% of adults admit to smoking. From observation the percentage is much higher. Although lower then 45% that it used to be.

    We are well below the numbers anywhere in Asia.

  13. "February, 2018 update of PAIN RELATED SUICIDES associated with forced opioid pain medication reductions and discontinuations as recommended by the CDC and by Andrew Kolodny, M.D. and his “Physicians for Responsible Opiate Prescribing” (PROP)" by Thomas Kline MD, PhD

    1. I think we can agree that heroin and illicit fentanyl are problems, but the authorities' approach is to use a label of "opioids" instead of calling the problems by their real names. This results in tens of millions of chronic pain patients being denied proven safe reliable pain medicine that has been prescribed and used for decades--and leaving those pain patients with no other proven means to truly treat their pain. Bufferin advil and tylenol are no match for pain from fibromyalgia, bone spurs, and dozens of other conditions. Those pills also have a litany of horrible side effects. Some MDs like Dr Kline have valiantly been fighting to restore sanity to Rx for pain medicine and to protect vulnerable pain patients many of whom are sr citizens and are not heroin addicts.

  14. Securing the borders and cracking down on dealers would do more to combat heroin and fentanyl OD's than anything else we could do. When something becomes scarce it gets expensive.