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Drug Policy & The Presidential Race Part 2

The Presidential Race & Addiction

The candidates attempt to get candid and open regarding drug addiction policies facing America.

Bernie Sanders

The liberal senator has been a favorite among progressive liberals and likewise, those in the recovery community.  Last October at the Democratic primary debate in Las Vegas he came out all guns ablaze in favor of recreational marijuana and reduced jail sentences for marijuana offenders.   

“I would vote yes because I am seeing too many lives being destroyed for non-violent offenses. We have a criminal justice system that lets CEOs on Wall Street walk away, and yet we are imprisoning young people who are smoking marijuana. I think we have to think through this war on drugs which has done an enormous amount of damage.”

Sander’s empathetic approach to people suffering from addiction drew the ardent praise of pro-legalization supporters as well as his personable and congenial style of oratory.  

Furthermore, Sanders widely believes the war on drugs is an abysmal failure and should be reexamined.  He co-sponsored legislation to reduce recidivism providing incarcerated prisoners for drug violations access to pharmacological drug treatment.

Sanders has also signaled the horn out against big pharma companies for the outrageous price of the drug naloxone, marketed by the brand Narcan, which reverses the effects of a heroin overdose. Sanders wrote a missive to the National Governors Association and National Association of Attorneys General, pleading with them to come to a consensus with the states and distribution of naloxone.

In the letter Sanders referred to opioid abuse as a ‘public health emergency’ that must be adequately addressed and no company or business entity should get in the way by overcharging exorbitant prices for these critical medicines like naloxone.  Bernie Sanders has proven to be a powerful ally in the fight to decriminalize the senseless war on drugs and infringement upon the personal rights and liberties of the people.  

Ben Carson

The neurosurgeon has had a decidedly clinical stance on drugs and addiction echoing his counterparts Cruz and Trump to some degree with regards to border security.  In an interview with Glenn Beck Carson said he wanted to intensify the war on drugs on a federal level.  As if the war on drugs hasn’t been intensified enough he would like to ratchet it up a notch apparently.  He stated vehemently: “Yeah well, go down to the border in Arizona like I was a few weeks ago. I mean, it’s an open highway, and the federal government isn’t doing anything to stop it.”

His stance on marijuana is of a similar vein saying he missed out on the 1960’s hippie movement due to his preoccupation with religion and God.  In America the Beautiful he went on to write:

Plenty of hippies and flower children around me smoke pot, used illicit drugs, and engaged in free love as part of that utopian dream.  Because of my love of God and my religious upbringing, I didn’t become involved in sex or drugs, but I still identified strongly with the antiwar protesters and revolutionaries. I was quite unhappy when McGovern was soundly defeated by Nixon in 1972. I was a senior in college at the time and starting to think more about medical school than social justice. [At Yale in the late 1960s], I was proud to see groups such as the Black Panthers standing up to brutal police tactics, and though I never joined any radical student organizations, I kept abreast of the activities of the Students for a Democratic Society (SDS), the Weathermen, and other groups willing to use aggressive tactics to accomplish “social justice.  I voted for George McGovern enthusiastically along with multitudes of young people, all of us looking forward to a utopian world of peace & love.”

Incidentally, Carson attributes drug addiction to a weakened ethical value system.  According to a CBS Face the Nation interview with Bob Schiffer back in November of last year Carson stated the following:

“Well, there are all kinds of addictions. Usually addictions occur in people who are vulnerable, who are lacking something in their lives. And so we have to really start asking ourselves, what have we taken out of our lives in America? What are some of those values and principles that allowed us to ascend the ladder of success so rapidly to the very pinnacle of the world? And now let me specifically talk about a type of addiction that’s going on that is very alarming, heroin addictions, because there is a transportation of heroin through our southern borders that is unimaginable. This is not a good thing for us. We need to not give up on this war on drugs and certainly not to facilitate it.”

Something about this guy just strikes us as disingenuous and merely trying to placate his conservative constituency.  His firm and draconian like political views are further confirmation of his inability to lead this country out of the turmoil plagued against it by the onslaught of addiction.

Marco Rubio

The Florida senator has been decidedly much more taciturn in regards to drugs and addiction as opposed to his fellow candidates. One of his more confounding statements with respect to drug policy was rationalizing the increase in opiate use as a reason to oppose marijuana reform legislation.  

Back in May of last year the Huffington post coverage reported that he believes there is no valid use for recreational  marijuana stating, saying he thinks legalization of the substance would be “bad for the country.”  

Rubio has danced around the question of whether or not he dabbled in marijuana at any time in his life as well.  He has repeatedly avoided the question saying that his own experience is irrelevant to the larger issues at hand.  It would appear Rubio has no vested interests in tackling the problems of drug addiction as evidenced by his constant circumspect answers on the topic.  

Again we want to reiterate that despite what these candidates tell us in interviews and debates they are likely to do a complete 180 as soon as elected into office.  It is important to bear that in mind when in the greasy arena of politics and underhanded backdoor policy making.






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