It’s Time to Legalize Drugs: An Open Letter to Congress and the President

Bestselling author Don Winslow, whose new novel The Cartel is now available, on how the only way to win the trillion-dollar War on Drugs is to stop fighting. This piece is also running as a paid ad by Winslow in today’s print edition of The Washington Post.

Let me come right our and say what you won’t tell the American people. The War on Drugs is unwinnable. It was unwinnable for Nixon, Ford, Carter, Reagan, Bush, Clinton, Bush, and now Obama. At forty-four years, it’s America’s longest war and there’s no end in sight…

Cops standing in front of big drug seizures look great on the evening news. But it sells a lie that we’re winning, just like George Bush on an aircraft carrier declaring that a war was over that still rages on today.

It’s not only that we can’t win this war, it’s that we’re destroying ourselves fighting it. We are literally addicted to the War on Drugs. A half-century of failed policy, $1 trillion, and 45 million arrests has not reduced daily drug use—at all. The U.S. still leads the world in illegal drug consumption, drugs are cheaper, more available, and more potent than ever before.

Our justice system is a junkie, demanding its daily fix of arrests, seizures and convictions. It needs drugs. It’s as hooked as that guy sticking a needle into his arm even though he knows it’s killing him.

Towns that used to compete for factories now campaign for penitentiaries because caging our citizens has become big business. Prison privatization—corrections as capitalism—has increased 1600 percent between 1990 and 2010.

More African-American men are in prison or in the “system” today than there were slaves in 1850. And you don’t just throw an individual behind bars, you throw his or her whole family. Almost 3 million kids have a parent in jail on a drug charge, and they’re more likely to be on welfare, drop out of school, go out on the corner and sell drugs to start the whole tragic cycle all over again. Drugs begin the destruction of families and the justice system finishes them off…

Police departments have become occupying armies. We can draw a direct line between the War on Drugs and the recent events in Ferguson, Cleveland, Baltimore, and elsewhere.

The militarization of our police departments began with the reaction to the crack epidemic of the 1980s. Heavily armed SWAT teams battering down doors in the middle of the night, arresting thousands of young men, have turned American neighborhoods into war zones and spawned a hostile and deadly relationship with our inner-city communities…

The War on Drugs isn’t just a failure, it’s a disaster…

Former federal judge sentences the Drug War

ASPEN, Colo.—Former Federal Judge Nancy Gertner was appointed to the federal bench by Bill Clinton in 1994. She presided over trials for 17 years. And Sunday, she stood before a crowd at The Aspen Ideas Festival to denounce most punishments that she imposed.

Among 500 sanctions that she handed down, “80 percent I believe were unfair and disproportionate,” she said. “I left the bench in 2011 to join the Harvard faculty to write about those stories––to write about how it came to pass that I was obliged to sentence people to terms that, frankly, made no sense under any philosophy.”

No theory of retribution or social change could justify them, she said. And that dispiriting conclusion inspired the radical idea that she presented: a call for the U.S. to mimic its decision after World War II to look to the future and rebuild rather than trying to punish or seek retribution. As she sees it, the War on Drugs ought to end in that same spirit. “Although we were not remotely the victors of that war, we need a big idea in order to deal with those who were its victims,” she said, calling for something like a Marshall Plan.

She went on to savage the War on Drugs at greater length.

“This is a war that I saw destroy lives,” she said. “It eliminated a generation of African American men, covered our racism in ostensibly neutral guidelines and mandatory minimums… and created an intergenerational problem––although I wasn’t on the bench long enough to see this, we know that the sons and daughters of the people we sentenced are in trouble, and are in trouble with the criminal justice system.”

She added that the War on Drugs eliminated the political participation of its casualties. “We were not leveling cities as we did in WWII with bombs, but with prosecution, prison, and punishment,” she said, explaining that her life’s work is now focused on trying to reconstruct the lives that she undermined––as a general matter, by advocating for reform, and as a specific project: she is trying to go through the list of all the people she sentenced to see who deserves executive clemency.

The Worst Companies To Work For

1. Express Scripts

While pharmacy chain CVS Health received poor employees ratings, it still fared better than Express Scripts, which was the only large company to receive an average rating of 2.3 on Glassdoor. Just 28% of the current and former Express Scripts employees surveyed said they would recommend working at the pharmacy benefit management company to a friend…

Horrible employee satisfaction does not appear to have hurt the company’s bottom line. Express Scripts net income has increased each year from fiscal 2010 through fiscal 2014, with the most recent earnings of over $2 billion, Shares of Express Scripts have roughly doubled since the beginning of 2012.

Oregon Board of Pharmacy reclassified marijuana

The Oregon Board of Pharmacy has had a noteworthy relationship with marijuana over the years. As recently as 2010, under direction from the Oregon legislature, the Board reclassified marijuana from a Schedule I substance (as per the Federal Controlled Substances Act), to a Schedule II substance…

I didn’t know states could do that.

Pain doctor in Kentucky charged in 5 deaths

Pharmacist Steve says:  Barb saw this particular pain doc for a couple years. I was a lot more impressed by this particular doc’s pt care than the doc that owned the clinic nor the doc that replaced him… shortly afterwards Barb left the clinic’s practice. Dealing with chronic pain pts that are suffering from pain, depression, anxiety and other issues… are at a twice the risk of committing suicide. SOOOO.. 5 pts committed suicide over a several year period.. in this country we have 40,000 commit suicide every year.. IT HAPPENS..

The fraudulent billing is nothing but “fluff charges”… the report is that Jamie was headed off to some sort of conference/seminar/medical convention and was rushing to make sure that all his pts had their needed medication.. and there was some sort of mis-communication to the individual/company that did the billing for the practice. Fraudulent billing practices tend to be more routine and ongoing for more than THREE DAYS.

LOUISVILLE, Ky. — A pain doctor who promises on his website to help patients “return to a life they once knew” has been indicted by a federal grand jury on charges of illegally prescribing medications that resulted in the deaths of five patients.

Dr. Jaime Guerrero, who has offices in Louisville and Jeffersonville, Ind., was charged in a 32-count indictment with causing the deaths by issuing prescriptions for oxycodone, methadone and hydrocodone for no medical purpose from 2009 through 2012.

He faces a maximum sentence of life in prison if convicted…

One of his patients, Lee Bullock, told WAVE-TV then that Guerrero was treating him for degenerative disc disease and that he thought he was a very good doctor. “He monitors all his patients very close,” he told the station. “He does a lot of drug screens, urine tests and pill counts.”

VA Aims to Help Homeless, at-Risk Veterans Find Stable Jobs

Job-ready veterans exiting homelessness like Bowles and others on the brink of homelessness can now turn to the VA’s Homeless Veterans Community Employment Services for individualized assistance in finding the types of stable jobs needed to sustain housing.

The program officially launched this month uses 154 community employment coordinators at VA locations nationwide to help identify job-ready veterans and establish relationships with local employers. They also connect veterans with resources to help them succeed after finding work.

Homelessness is a serious problem among veterans: nearly 50,000 were homeless on a single night in January 2014, according to a count developed through a partnership between the VA and the Department of Housing and Urban Development.

For Bowles, a job layoff and a failed marriage left him without money for rent or a motel when he returned to his home state of Ohio from South Carolina to hunt for a work.

“I never expected to end up in a shelter, but one hiccup in life can put you flat on your back,” said Bowles who applied for his current job on his own, but had no way to get back and forth.

The Cincinnati VA’s coordinator helped by connecting Bowles to a donated fund the VA uses to provide bus passes for homeless veterans and by reassuring the prospective employer…

The New Mexico VA Health Care System’s Health Care for the Homeless Veterans (HCHV) program was established to address the needs of chronically mentally ill Veterans. The mission of the HCHV program is to end homelessness among Veterans through outreach efforts and community partnerships. Assistance is provided in helping Veterans in gaining access to VA Medical Services, financial benefits and discharge documents. Services include referrals to medical and psychiatric assessments, alcohol and drug treatment, case management, and assistance with basic needs such as food, clothing and temporary shelter. HCHV staff also provides linkage to transitional housing through VA and Community Providers, assists with finding affordable housing and assist with finding employment. Any Veteran who has been honorably discharged and meets all other criteria for VA treatment or hospitalization is eligible for the HCHV program. HCHV programs include Veterans Outreach Program, Grant per Diem Program, HUD-VASH Program, Contract Housing (Respite), and Veterans Justice Outreach. The HCHV Team also performs numerous rural outreach programs throughout New Mexico in order to help homeless Veterans…

Stephanie Saldivar
Health Care for Homeless Veterans Coordinator
Building 52, BHCL
505-265-1711 Ext. 2057

If you are a Veteran who has lost your home, VA can help you get back on your feet. Contact VA’s National Call Center for Homeless Veterans at 1-877-4AID-VET (1-877-424-3838) to speak to a trained VA responder. The hotline and online chat are free and neither VA registration nor enrollment in VA healthcare is required to use either service…

VA’s Compensated Work Therapy (CWT) is comprised of three unique programs which assist homeless Veterans in returning to competitive employment: Sheltered Workshop, Transitional Work, and Supported Employment. Veterans in CWT are paid at least the federal or state minimum wage, whichever is higher…

Need A Handyman?

On my way to get a book of stamps at Walgreens, I met Rob, the handyman.  Rob’s fallen on some hard times, but he has skills and is willing to work.  He told me he had a few jobs yesterday, but even though he did the work, he hasn’t been paid.  He also told me he tried to get a job at Home Depot, but was told they feared he would take side jobs.  Both Rob and I said at the same time:  “That doesn’t even make sense.”  I mean, a lot of people have more than one job.  But I said, well, I guess they were afraid you would underbid them for jobs.  And Rob’s like, they charge too much anyway.

Rob says he has his own tools, but he took the bus to this location, so he couldn’t bring them along.  I think I should mention that he freely admitted he likes to drink, but my observation was that he wasn’t drunk when I met him.  He said he wants to work instead of panhandling for money.

If you have work for Rob, his phone number is 505-410-0395.  He told me his email address is

Addicted To Popularity

You will always be
the one they don’t see
Maybe popularity
is the key?

Your life behind the screen
is exciting and fun
Counting all the likes
each and every one!

You are important
No doubt about that!
You have followers
from all over the map!

You built this
all on your own
Hard work and sacrifice!
Yet somehow
it doesn’t suffice…

On top of the mountain
I must remain
better than the rest
nowhere close to the same

Cannot lose my grip
become just a blip
a viral has-been
on the internet

Can they see
my crooked crown?
My fear
that makes no sound?

Must be better
than the best
Cannot afford
to ever rest

Addicted, I fear
to popularity
It’s like a drug
a shot of dopamine

I need it
to feel relevant
I need to feed
like an addict needs speed

But I must remember…

Those who dish it out
should harbor no doubt
that what they shovel
will come back double

Which is an epidemic?

Each year, at least 23,000 Americans die from drug-resistant infections carried by so-called superbugs — pathogens that were once easily treatable but that can now withstand modern medicine’s full arsenal of antibiotics. And if recent forecasts are correct, it could get a lot worse.

Superbugs could in fact surpass cancer as a leading cause of death by 2050, according to the World Health Organization. The WHO and the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, along with a number of leading scientists, have warned that the misuse and overuse of antibiotics in both humans and animals is the driving force behind this threat to public health…

Predictably, a lot of businesses that depend on livestock are against the idea of phasing out antibiotics. Sanderson Farms, the nation’s third largest poultry producer, is one of the holdouts. “Frankly, after doing our homework, we do not plan to withdraw antibiotics from our program,” said Joe Sanderson Jr., chairman and CEO of the company, during a May 12 presentation…

Koci, too, said that scientists are “still at the very beginning stages of figuring out how to fully tap the power of what is going on inside the microbiome.” Some probiotic products on the market are “snake oil,” he said, while others only work when matched to the right situation…

(2013) Deaths from:

Prescription Analgesics: 16,235

Alcohol-Induced Deaths:  29,001

Motor vehicle traffic accidents:  33,804

Firearms:  33,636

Intentional Self-Harm (Suicide):  41,149

Now, which of these is considered an epidemic by the media and the CDC?  I’ll give you a hint — the one with the smallest number of deaths.