Drug Czar John Walters Visits The Valley

  Drug Czar John Walters Visits The Valley

Posted by CN Staff on March 18, 2004 at 09:30:23 PT
By Ryan Slattery 
Source: Las Vegas City Life  

What was the nation's drug czar doing in Las Vegas last week? Did he really pick the city as a key stomping ground in the fight against prescription drug abuse? Or was the trip, as some suspect, a sly pre-emptive strike against a possible ballot question that could legalize adult possession of up to an ounce of marijuana? There is no doubt in Jennifer Knight's mind about the purpose of John Walters' visit.
"This wasn't even a thinly veiled attempt to campaign against our initiative," said Knight, spokeswoman for the Committee to Regulate and Control Marijuana, the group trying to bring the measure to voters in November.If the visit was an attempt to undercut the initiative, Walters was pretty good at hiding it.During his roughly 20-minute lecture March 11, he never once strayed from his prescription drug focus or mentioned the Nevada marijuana initiative -- even though he had to know the topic was on everyone's mind. But when the question was raised by a reporter, Walters unleashed his stern disapproval, calling the measure "foolhardy," "silly" and "irresponsible.""To allow people to use marijuana widely is ludicrous," Walters told a packed room at the WestCare Nevada Center for Women and Children, a substance abuse treatment facility. "Marijuana is not just a gateway drug, but a dead end itself."Knight did not attend the Walters media event, but issued a statement later in the day. It read, in part: "We have tried it Walters' way for more than 70 years and it isn't working. The only way to reduce teen use is to reduce the availability of marijuana through a system of strict regulation and control."Reached by phone later that evening, Knight expanded on her comments, saying that Walters represents the nation's flawed drug policy. His concerns that legalized marijuana will lead to a spike in usage are wrong, she said."Dealers are blossoming quite well under his system," Knight contended. "What this initiative brings is regulation and control."The campaign has until June 15 to acquire 51,244 voter signatures.One could also argue that Walters' stop shows how important Nevada's five electoral votes will be this political season. He is the latest in a string of politicians, or Bush administrators, to land in the Las Vegas Valley. In November, President Bush made his only visit to the state since his election. Vice President Dick Cheney twice visited for fundraisers last summer and this January; Attorney General John Ashcroft came to defend the Patriot Act in August; and last month, first lady Laura Bush made a brief visit with a stop at a local school.Democratic presidential nominee Sen. John Kerry was his party's only candidate for the top office to visit for the Nevada caucuses.As for the presented purpose of Walters' visit, prescription drug abuse has hit an all-time high and ranks second only to marijuana in terms of the national drug problem. Thrown into the media spotlight with Rush Limbaugh's admission that he was addicted to painkillers, Walters said education and treatment will help key a downturn and reduce abuse of prescription drugs.Narcotic painkillers were mentioned in 153 deaths in Las Vegas in 2001, an increase from 63 in 1997, Walters said. He added that an estimated 6.2 million Americans abused prescription drugs in 2001, a dramatic upswing from 1.6 million in 2000.Dr. Mel Pohl with the Las Vegas Recovery Center said abusers suffer from a disease and need treatment or else they run the risk of spiraling out of control."They steal from us, they cheat us, they lie to us, but they do that because they have an addiction," Pohl said. "They only way to stop the cycle is to stop the drug. We need to get people into a program to help them."Walters, whose official title is director of the White House Office of National Drug Control Policy, also used his time here to present the Bush administration's plan to combat the growing problem.In outlining the approach, Walters said it starts with better warning labels on bottles and in educating physicians and pharmacists to notice the potential signs of abuse. A database, Walters said, will also be established to track prescription drug use of patients. This will ensure that they're not obtaining and filling scripts from multiple doctors. The government will also crackdown on online drug sellers, Walters said.Ryan Slattery is a local freelance writer.Complete Title: Buzz Kill: Drug Czar John Walters Visits The ValleySource: Las Vegas City Life (NV)Author: Ryan SlatteryPublished: Wednesday, March 17, 2004Copyright: 2004 Las Vegas City LifeContact: obrien lvpress.comWebsite: Articles & Web Sites:MPP Marijuana Turn To Prescription Abuse Drug Czar Rips Pot Petition Czar Critical of Marijuana Initiative

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Comment #11 posted by FoM on April 08, 2004 at 12:31:08 PT
The Best Damn Letter We Received All Week!
Wednesday, April 07, 2004So, drug czar John Walters is back in Nevada again. Get used to it. With petition signatures being gathered to get a marijuana legalization initiative on November's ballot, you haven't seen the last of him -- not by a long shot.The Office of National Drug Control Policy is by law not supposed to be involved in state initiatives. That doesn't matter. Czar Walters is going to be Nevada's best buddy until after November -- but he will of course be visiting to talk about the national problem of prescription drug abuse, not a state initiative. If a reporter should happen to ask about his opinion of the state initiative, his real plan will work and he can respond however he wants. How clever.Czar Walters was in Nevada to tell everybody that prescription drug abuse has hit an all-time high and is now second only to marijuana in what he calls the national drug problem. There is a sad irony here. Czar Walters is against the rights of seriously ill and dying Americans to use marijuana medically, saying that there are safer more reliable drugs available for them to use. Now, when they use those allegedly safer drugs, they can apparently join the new national prescription drug problem.Perhaps medical marijuana patients have been telling the truth all along when they say marijuana is less dangerous than their legal prescriptions. Do you suppose that they are also telling the truth about marijuana relieving their pain better than the available addictive alternatives? If you ask John Walters, he will say no -- but he's not the one dying in pain. It's simply his job.JIM MILLERCO-FOUNDERMULTIPLE SCLEROSIS PATIENTS UNIONTOMS RIVER, N.J.Editor's note: Each issue, CityLife selects its favorite letter. This week's winner is courtesy of Jim Miller. For submitting the letter of the week, Jim wins a copy of graphic novel Y: The Last Man -- One Small Step.CityLife welcomes feedback. Send compliments, comments and complaints to: obrien; (fax) 702-871-3298; or CityLife, 1385 Pama Lane, Suite 111, Las Vegas, NV 89119. Letters must include the author's full name, home address and phone number (address and phone number for verification purposes only). Preference will be given to letters that address CityLife material, are under 400 words and are e-mailed. By submitting a letter, you grant us the right to edit, publish and archive it.
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Comment #10 posted by kaptinemo on March 19, 2004 at 04:32:40 PT:
They must really want to shrink the Fed civil
service rolls (smile).Ever heard of the 20/80 rule? Twenty percent of the people in any organization do 80% of the work. You have to wonder what the other 80% are doing. Having been a Fed civil servant, and a medicinal user at the same time, (who received numerous kudos for inniative and dependability) I can speak from experience as to the quality of work often produced by that 80%.Frankly, many of the 'civil servants' I knew got the CS jobs because of nepotism. A family member had a supervisory position and a relative was accepted over more qualified people. Once they got in, I often saw them take on the very same stereotypical attitudes many CS employees are often accused of having.Uncle desperately needs smart, capable and driven people to run the government...but he won't get them. Because of this latest testing nonsense. All he'll be left with are politically active religious fanatics creaming their pants at the prospect of using government resources for their own agendas, and unimaginative drones whose ultimate value is a metabolite-free body.So, now Uncle wants to make absolutely sure that all he can hire is the 'best of the rest'? At this rate, he'll certainly succeed...
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Comment #9 posted by FoM on March 18, 2004 at 21:42:29 PT

DC Drug Screening Awaits Approval
March 19, 2004  
By Sgt. 1st Class Doug Sample, 
American Forces Press Service The Defense Department and other federal agencies may soon implement new drug testing for its work force that will include testing hair, sweat and saliva to detect drug abuse. Col. Mick Smith, senior staff officer for drug demand reduction at DoD's counternarcotics office, said the procedures will be allowed once the Department of Health and Human Services approves proposed guidelines for the test and DoD completes a subsequent internal approval. Those guidelines awaiting approval will outline quality standards for new types of drug tests, specifically testing hair, oral fluid, sweat and urine, using point-of-collection tests. However, Smith said, the guidelines will not be promulgated anytime soon. He said the process for getting the new testing will first have to be published in the Federal Register and then go through a 90-day comment period. Smith said the guidelines will be posted on the Substance Abuse Mental Health Services Administration Web site. The agency is a division of Health and Human Services. After this comment period, he said, Mental Health Services will review the comments, probably make changes to the guidelines, and then start them through the final process of internal review and release by the secretary of Health and Human Services. Smith said once the guidelines go into effect, "each branch of the federal government will be permitted to use the new types of drug test." However, he added, government agencies using the new tests must do so correctly. "If they decide to implement one of the new types of testing," he said, "they must follow the guideline to ensure quality drug testing results and correct interpretation of those results." Although urine tests have been standard tests conducted by the government for years, the new drug tests have both "advantages and disadvantages" over the urine tests the government now conducts, Smith said. One of the disadvantages of current urine testing, he said, is there are difficulties with "chain of custody," when collecting urine. "Donating urine requires some privacy," he said. Smith explained the federal drug-testing program requires the donor to go into a bathroom to collect urine. During this time, the collector cannot see this process except in special circumstances, he added. "Some officials are concerned the donor might adulterate or dilute the specimen to avoid detecting drug use." Collecting oral fluid, he said, doesn't present that problem. "The donor can put a small device in his ... mouth in the presence of the collector, and the collector can take the oral fluid specimen and send it to a laboratory for testing, keeping the chain of custody from collection through testing." However, he added, a disadvantage of this type of testing is that some drugs cannot be detected in oral fluid for a very long time and the amounts of some drugs in oral fluid are very low. "This increases the chance of testing error," he said. Also, marijuana, which he said is the most-abused drug and accounts for 70 percent of those who test positive, "is probably the most problematic drug to detect in oral fluid." Hair samples also can be problematic. Smith said drugs can be detected in hair samples for a much longer period, but the department has "some issues with external contamination and hair color bias that need to be addressed before DoD would permit testing." Although the procedures are new within DoD, Smith said hair and oral fluids testing is not new to many industries. He said there are a number of "unregulated" industries that have been using these newer drug tests for years. "If you want to get a job dealing cards in Las Vegas casinos, you will probably have to have a cutting of hair tested for drugs before getting hired," he noted. "If you had an insurance physical recently, chances are the health technician who did your physical screen collected a saliva, now termed oral fluid, specimen that was sent to a laboratory for an HIV and drug screen." Smith said the new testing procedures are important because many federal employees, including those in the military, are in "security or safety sensitive" jobs. He said these employees are subject to random drug testing, but their organization at present can only test urine, which he said has some weaknesses. "What [Health and Human Services] is now doing is proposing to permit these new types of tests and to regulate their quality," he said. Smith emphasized the new tests will not be implemented in DoD until they have gone. 
  Copyright: 1996-2004 Comprint Military Publications
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Comment #8 posted by BGreen on March 18, 2004 at 21:00:44 PT

The Draft
If the parents and grandparents who lived through the draft are willing to sacrifice their sons, daughters and grandchildren to this illegal, immoral war and evil administration then the rest of us are screwed.The Reverend Bud Green
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Comment #7 posted by FoM on March 18, 2004 at 19:05:00 PT

Thank you. I lived during the Draft ( Vietnam ) but this generation has no idea how bad it will be. I know that the war will escalate so they can push Bush as a great war president and smear Kerry. That's the only way Bush can beat Kerry I think.
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Comment #6 posted by ekim on March 18, 2004 at 18:39:50 PT

"foolhardy," "silly" and "irre
the secret weapon of the draft is that all people here that do not have papers can gain entry if they serve. those that are in jail have to register. the sh-air-iff that feeds one baloney sandwich and outfits the mates in pink was gleefully saying he is registering all illegals in his care. you know too many here are complaining so we must get someone that will do it for paper.
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Comment #5 posted by mayan on March 18, 2004 at 17:31:08 PT

You are not losing your mind at all. A draft is the only way the corrupted powers can sustain their "war on terror". US Preparing for Military Draft in Spring 2005:
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Comment #4 posted by FoM on March 18, 2004 at 13:01:11 PT

So I'm not losing my mind when I think the Draft will return? Sometimes I wonder if I'm operating on all cylinders!
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Comment #3 posted by kaptinemo on March 18, 2004 at 12:57:15 PT:

Unrelated: More about The Draft
'Special skills draft' on drawing board 
Computer experts, foreign language specialists lead list of military's needs, yes folks, they are targeting SPECIFIC programming and network engineering...and their cut off age will be 44.Seeing that most of the IT types I know smoke, they can forget any chance that any THC metabolites might disqualify them, they'll get rounded up with the rest of the cattle: Uncle wants you, he'll 'have' you...his way. 
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Comment #2 posted by observer on March 18, 2004 at 12:30:14 PT

Walters "explains"
Is this a man we trust? Someone from the government who is "here to help"? prohibitionists and other assorted sordid slithy toves, with bot. (It's a dirty job but some bot has got to do it.) 
drugsense news bot topics
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Comment #1 posted by kaptinemo on March 18, 2004 at 11:32:43 PT:

When will Nevadans get tired of the insults?
There's something that needs to be said here, and it's not being said often enough:Namely, that Walters and Crew are engaging in both slander and libel against the citizens of Nevada that have voted for these measures in the past. And he's using taxpayer's dollars to do it.
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