• Congressman Garrett (VA-R)

  • Gov. Chris Christy (NJ-R)

  • Colorado 2012

  • California Field Work, Prop 19

COP on the Hill: Stories from September 2017

COP on the Hill:

Stories from September 2017

Lunch by the lake: Karen and I had lunch with my BKA (FBI) friend on the shore of Lake Constance (Bodensee)…on the borders of Germany, Austria and Switzerland. We ended up a party of seven from 4 countries -the discussion was lively and informative. My BKA friend and I had a solid 30-minute business chat on drug prohibition events in USA and Europe.

Catherine – party of Five: On Monday the 4th Karen and I met with Catherine Ritter, an official of the Swiss Health Ministry we had met last year during the tour of the Geneva heroin clinic. Two colleagues were with her, wanting to me this American cowboy who was so interested in their MAT program. I spoke enough German and French to ensure the two guys knew I could. The topic was all business until the very end, when they asked about Trump being president. I replied we were from Canada…..that didn’t work, so I expressed a few thoughts.

At the bottom is a letter I wrote to ARO (Alliance of Reform Orgs) summarizing the two hours and the small changes made to the six-minute summary. Feel free to copy and send to your politicians at all levels. We are seeing about 120 Americans dying daily, as we still use 20th century models to deal with heroin addiction. The Congress has never held a hearing on ‘Best Practice.’

Do you deliver?: I received a call from an MJ industry publication later in the trip. The reporter wanted my reaction to DEA Rosenberg resigning, NJ state police chief taking his place and the likelihood of the DEA going into Colorado et al to bust state-legal stores. That I was near a ‘coffeehouse’ in Amsterdam was a bonus.

This week’s stats:
02 meetings
149 interviews and reports in minor media = 01 this week.

COP stats since inception: August 2009
2554 Presentations to Congressional staffers… this week
227 personal chats with a Member of Congress… this week
78 Radio Interviews. 0 this week
210 chats with other elected officials, state reps, senators, VIPs, etc. 0 this week
84 published letters to the editor (value per MAPINC in free publicity: $83,000).. 0 this week
42 published interviews/foto in major (daily) newspapers or magazine… 0 this week
72 Appearances/Interviews on major TV/Radio/Print media..This week (Fox, ABC, CBS, NBC, Univision, BBC, CNN, NPR, German, Swiss. French TV and radio) 00 this week
26 major conferences attended – (United Nations drug conference, CPAC, LULAC, NRA, CBC, ASA, DPA, Dem & Repub. Presidential conventions., National Review, Republican Annual Retreat etc) 00 this week (CPAC)
Weekly attendance at Grover Norquist’s Wednesday brunch attended by 150 conservative leaders. Named the “Grand Central Station of the Conservative Movement.”

* 2 editorials in daily papers mentioning Howard’s efforts & in support of COP position

* Consider being a member of COP at $30.00 or more per year. All contributions are tax-deductible. 30 dollars buys all the copy paper COP uses in one year. Law Enforcement’s voice in opposition to current policy is vital on the Hill to achieve a repeal of federal prohibition. COP provides that voice. www.citizensopposingprohibition.org

Morning ARO – Below is the 2017 version of the highly effective, pro-life Swiss approach to heroin addiction. Note that a new arrow in their quiver is a 24-hour slow release morphine tablet, to take the place of daily doses of heroin. The morphine tablet is an on-going experiment, being evaluated.

I met with 3 members of the Swiss Health Ministry in Bern earlier this month. We discussed much in the two hours. They are keen to help the USA, if they receive a request.

I can answer most non-medical questions or just go direct with Bern.

For MMJ folks – the Swiss know close to zero on using MJ as another MAT medium. Plz give me what you have which shows ideas, research, results, whatever – where the use of MJ helps with heroin addiction. They would like to evaluate anything you have. Two of the three at the meeting do pure evaluation of research. Note: anything submitted should have a one page summary.

Currently I am finishing up a month off in Europe recovering from exhaustion. — due to so much winning during the first part of 2017. I am home on Sunday, if you ‘d like to chat on the phone.

1994 – 2017: SUMMARY

This summary was taken from six published reports and updated every year. The Swiss Federal Office of Public Health reviewed and approved its release. Additional questions should be directed to Catherine Ritter in Bern (41) 58-469-18-13 Email Catherine.Ritter@bag.admin.ch – NOTE: The author toured Swiss clinics in 2001 and 2016 and met with federal health officials in 2008 and 2017 to increase understanding and knowledge. This summary was researched and written by Howard J. Wooldridge, a Co-Founder of Law Enforcement Action Partnership…LEAP

Overview: Due to the severe drug problem in Switzerland in the early 1990s, (rising number of injection drug users, visibility of open drug scenes, AIDS epidemic, rising number of drug related deaths, poor physical health, high criminality) the Swiss made a fundamental shift in approaching the problems caused by heroin addiction. The Swiss offer treatment-on-demand and life-time status as a patient. (Like an alcoholic is a lifelong condition) A variety of different treatments is available, in order to treat a broad range of dependent people. Of an estimated 22-24,000 addicts 17,500 are in treatment. 92% are given daily doses of primarily methadone at conventional clinics or via general practitioners (60%). The Swiss treat about 1400 addicts with maintenance doses of heroin or slow-release morphine tablets at 23 special clinics operating in cities and two prisons. Opioid based treatments are part of a broader therapy that includes social, educational and psychological measures. The Swiss approach has resulted in lower rates of crime, death, disease, a slight drop in expected new users as well as an improvement in mental and physical health, employment and housing. Similar programs have been developed in seven countries: Germany, Denmark, Holland, Belgium, England, Spain and Canada.

* To qualify for a heroin or morphine prescription: 1) at least 18 years old; 2) been addicted (daily use) for at least two years; 3) present signs of poor health; 4) two or more failed attempts of conventional treatment (methadone or other); 5) Surrender driver’s license; 6) Heroin/morphine can only be obtained at the clinic and must be consumed on site (oral or injection). (Note: Under strict control and specific criteria [for example full employment] a few are allowed to take away one oral dose daily)

A. Patients can receive up to three doses of heroin per day. 66% take the heroin via needle injection, the rest via pill or liquid heroin mixed with juice.
B. Patients average about three (3) years in this plan. However, they may stay in treatment indefinitely. 20% of original patients are still in the program.
C. The vast majority of patients are satisfied or very satisfied with the program.
D. Average age of patient: 42 years.
E. The Swiss approach is custom-designed around the patient, not program centered.

*Crime Issues: 60% drop in felony crimes by patients (80% drop after one year in the program). 82% drop in patients selling heroin.
*Death Rates: Millions of doses have been administered. No participant has died from a heroin overdose since the inception of the program

*Disease Rates: New infections of Hepatitis and HIV have been reduced for patients.
*New Use Rates: Slightly lower than expected. 1) As reported in the Lancet June 3, 2006, the medicalisation of using heroin has tarnished the image of heroin and made it less attractive to young people. This is still true in 2017 per Bern. 2) Most new users are introduced to heroin by members of their social group and 50% of users also deal to support their habit. Therefore, with so many users/sellers in treatment, non-users have fewer opportunities to be exposed to heroin, especially in the rural areas.
*Cost Issues: 48 dollars/day: Patient costs are covered by national health insurance agency. Patients pay annually 700 dollars for the compulsory insurance. Note: The Swiss save about 38 dollars per day per patient mostly in lowered costs for court and police time, due to less crime committed by the patients.
*The Swiss purchase about 60 kilos of heroin for treatments ($130,000, black market price: 3.7 million).
*In December 2008, the Swiss voted (68%-32%) to make the program part of their body of laws. MAT is controlled by federal health authorities.

* The Swiss approach gives us a glimpse of a context in which drug issues are handled by the medical community.

* In September 2017, the Swiss govt in Bern confirmed their willingness to send a team to the US Congress to explain their program, if they receive a formal request.

*** The Swiss do not have an opioid-type problem like in the USA, as doctors rarely prescribe pain meds like Oxycodone.

Reader: What the Swiss Program is not:

1. It has not eliminated street sales of heroin. Dealers still exist in cities with clinics.
2. It is not a ‘free’ drugs program. Patients must purchase health care insurance and receive their methadone or heroin as part of their comprehensive drug treatment therapy.
3. A non-heroin using adult cannot walk into a clinic and receive heroin.
4. Simply put, the Swiss are using a comprehensive public health approach (treatment on demand) to heroin addiction whose unique feature is to allow a small minority of patients to receive pure, maintenance doses of heroin or morphine.
5. Heroin is not a legal, regulated and or taxed product in Switzerland.
6. The Swiss have never calculated how many fewer people have taken heroin during the life of the program because of the MAT program. They have calculated there was an annual drop of users of about 1% between 1992 and 2002. The Swiss attribute any progress to their Four Pillar’s Approach, not any isolated component.

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