Photo via RiverMend Health
A cannabis policy advisor to U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions is attempting to bring draconian drug testing rules and forced addiction treatment to every American doctor’s office, using a drug policy meeting with the nation’s top cop to suggest a plan that would turn all of the country’s physicians into de-facto narcotics officers.
Dr. Robert DuPont, a former drug czar to Presidents Nixon and Ford and the inventor of the since-debunked but still wildly popular “gateway drug” theory, was front and center at AG Sessions’ closed-doors cannabis policy meeting last month, and according to an in-depth interview with the Daily Beast, recommended policy shifts to both increase drug testing and force addicts into treatment — a policy that he calls “the opposite of harm reduction.”
At the secretive December meeting, DuPont was tapped to present on the dangers of drugged driving, an issue that has gained national attention in the years since cannabis legalization began taking hold across the country. But while most cannabis-specific DUI responses have focused on developing accurate roadside testing tools and educational campaigns about the ways that cannabis affects cognitive abilities, DuPont instead suggested implementing a new set of federal regulations that would instead instruct law enforcement to drug test every suspected DUI perpetrator, and make an arrest for any semblance of a positive test, even in states where cannabis is legal and in instances where a driver is not under the influence at the time of the stop.
“Any person who provides a bodily fluid sample containing any amount of a chemical or controlled substance...commits an offense punishable in the same manner as if the person otherwise possessed that substance,” reads DuPont’s proposed drugged driving legislation, which he originally wrote in 2010, adding: “This provision is not a DUI specific law. Rather, it applies to any person who tests positive for chemical or controlled substances.”
DuPont, who is also the co-founder of Bensinger, DuPont & Associates — a private company that provides drug testing for some of the nation’s biggest corporations — is adamant that his policy suggestions have nothing to do with his own profit margins, but with literally every aspect of his proposal requiring more drug tests be produced, sold, and used, it would be naive to believe the snake oil salesman’s venom control instructions.
Furthermore, a closer look from the Daily Beast found that not only would DuPont’s plan (which he has dubbed the “New Paradigm for Long-Term Recovery”) take away drivers’ rights, but also institute mandatory drug testing and forced addiction treatment enrollment from general physicians.
“Drug testing is the technology of addiction medicine, but it’s underutilized,” DuPont told the Daily Beast. “We want [drug screens] to be routine in all medicine. The health-care sector in general should approach addiction in the same way as diabetes, and that includes monitoring. Doctors already check for things like cholesterol and blood sugar. Why not test for illicit drugs?
“People don’t understand that referral to treatment is futile for an addict on their own. Right now, the public really thinks that if we provide treatment the addicts will come and get well... that’s not true. So let’s use the leverage of the criminal-justice system, that’s what the programs in the New Paradigm want to do.”
Still, even as Sessions continues his crusade against cannabis, removing federal protections for the country’s recreational weed industry and threatening a return to the “rule of law,” the policy shifts suggested by DuPont would be an unlikely stretch.
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With insufficient addiction treatment facilities and funding available in the U.S., DuPont’s idea to “use the leverage of the criminal-justice system” would, in practice, most likely see thousands upon thousands of drug addicts locked behind bars.
Of course, DuPont has made no propositions to corral the addiction-fueling pharmaceutical industry, and has ignored the heaps of data suggesting that cannabis can be used as an effective treatment against narcotic dependence; a distinction that essentially nullifies his entire argument about the effectiveness of addiction treatment.
DuPont’s recommendations are prohibitionist pipe dreams, for now, but the fact that America’s lead law enforcement official would even seek out the doctor’s long-debunked opinions before shaping public policy is a red flag in and of itself, once again showing how deeply ignorant and flawed the Trump Administration’s approach to both the opioid epidemic and the larger War on Drugs really is.