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November 15, 2006

OxyContin crackdown increases heroin abuse

In a startling flash of candor, a Justice Department report concluded that the crackdown on prescription opiates like OxyContin is causing users to switch to heroin.

The report also found that cocaine seizures don't reduce the cocaine supply on the streets, and that access to illegal drugs remains high nationwide.

Expect whoever wrote this report to be fired shortly.


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Does that explain Rush Limbaugh's comments about Michael J. Fox? Or is that more of a meth head kind of thing?

No kidding? I'm shocked.

In fairness, this isn't some rare, transgressive outbreak of candor. The reports, publications & public statements of official & semioffical drug policy agencies (DEA, NDIC, NIMH, etc.) & officials are full of evidence of the substitutability among drugs, esp. highly similar ones, as oxycode & heroin are. No one is going to be fired.

KH, I hope you're right. Stating basic scientific facts can get you fired from semi-official agencies these days. Consider the case of Dr. Susan Wood whose career at the FDA ended because she championed Plan B. She resigned instead of being fired, but the fact remained that speaking the politically inconvenient scientific truth was a career-killer in federal agencies under Bush.

To be fair, the phenomena described in this particular report have been known for years. The upshot is that the so-called war on drugs has never worked and will never work. It just may be impolitic to say so nowadays.

Radly Balko at The Agonist and the crew at Reason Hit & Run have been following the government's insane war on doctors who prescribe pain meds at a level the government doesn't like. This leads to under-medication of people who are really suffering as well as interfering to some extent with the availability of prescription meds on the black market. The upshot is that people with real diseases are left in serious pain while junkies just switch to heroin, opium or morphine.

[joke]I knew something was up when Limbaugh opened up his show a while back by reading Allen Ginsberg's Kaddish as White Light/White Heat played in the background![/joke]

It's about about supply and demand, and thanks to Afghanistan, the supply of opium and it's derivatives is extremely high right now.

What you say about drugs is spot-on. The war on drugs is going nowhere, helping nobody. I should know, I'm an addict! The treatment system here for addicts in the UK can be really dire. I don't get the impression the USA is any better off.

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