• Congressman Garrett (VA-R)

  • Gov. Chris Christy (NJ-R)

  • Colorado 2012

  • California Field Work, Prop 19

COP on the Hill: Stories from the week of January 17 & 24, 2020

COP on the Hill

Stories from the week of January 17 & 24, 2020

Senate is Done: As I have done the past three years, I distributed a summary of the Swiss approach to heroin treatment to all Members of the Senate. I have low confidence any office will act upon it. The Swiss approach would devastate the 35-billion-dollar drug treatment industry in USA. Worse, it might lead to more pressure to handle drug issues via the health community vs criminal justice. I start on the House side next week.

Expert Commentary: Several times at the Grover meetings these 2 weeks, I was called upon to give my opinion on issues related to criminal justice. I am the only one of the 120 attendees with any ‘real-life’ experience in the field. And sitting at the VIP table certainly lends gravity to what I say. Feels good.

I was about to speak to a woman running for Congress, when a long-term, professional friend pro-offered to tell the candidate that I was truly an expert on police matters and especially drug policy. My friend is a national leader of the Women for Trump movement. BTW, what I do in my 2-minute chats with these candidates is speak of applying the 10th Amendment to marijuana and then a brief word on the Swiss program (below).

This week’s stats:

318 personal chats with a Member of Congress… 01 this week (Ralph Norman R-SC)
3312 Presentations to Congressional staffers… 14 this week
390 chats with other elected officials, state reps, senators, VIPs, etc. 04 this week (3 Candidates for Congress and the Speaker of the House of a mid-western state)
02 Meetings – Grover Norquist

COP stats since inception: August 2009

166 interviews and reports in minor media = 0 this week
85 Radio Interviews.. 0 this week
102 Appearances/Interviews on major TV/Radio/Print media. 0 This week
Blaze TV {new, popular right-wing}, (Fox, ABC, CBS, NBC, Univision, BBC, CNN, NPR, German, Swiss, French, Spanish TV and radio) Detroit News, Detroit Free Press, Grand Rapids Press + 9 other MI papers. Chicago Tribute, Honolulu Star Advertiser {foto and caption}, Reason Magazine, Reuters
31 major conferences attended – (UN drug conference, CPAC, LULAC, NRA, CBC, ASA, DPA, Dem & Repub. Presidential conventions., National Review, Republican Annual Retreat etc.) 0 this week
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
84 published letters to the editor (value per MAPINC in free publicity: $83,000) 0 this week
43 published interviews/foto in major (daily) newspapers or magazine… 0 this week
* Consider being a member of COP at $40.00 or more per year. All contributions are tax-deductible. 40 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 drug prohibition. COP provides that voice. www.citizensopposingprohibition.org

Swiss Approach to Heroin Treatment: 1994-2020
The Swiss Federal Office of Public Health reviewed this summary and approved its release for 2020. This summary was taken from six published reports and updated every year. Additional questions in English should be directed to Catherine Ritter in Bern (41) 58-469-18-13: Email- Catherine.Ritter@bag.admin.ch – NOTE: the author toured the clinics in 2016, 2008 and 2001, plus met with federal health administrators in 2011, 17 and 19 to increase understanding and knowledge. Comprehension was enhanced, due to the author’s fluency in French and German. This summary was researched and written by Howard J. Wooldridge, Drug Policy Specialist at Citizens Opposing Prohibition (.org)
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 alcoholism 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 addicted people 17,500 are in treatment. 92% are given daily doses of primarily methadone (orally) at conventional clinics or via general practitioners (60%). The Swiss treat about 1600 dependent people with maintenance doses of heroin (diacetylmorphine: Di-M) 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 eight countries: Germany, Denmark, Holland, Belgium, England, Spain, Norway and Canada.

* To qualify for treatment with Di-M a person must: Be at least 18 years old, be severely dependent, present signs of poor health and has failed conventional treatment at least twice.

A. Patients can receive up to three doses of diacetylmorphine per day. 66% take it via needle injection, the rest orally.
B. Di-M can only be obtained at a clinic and must be taken on site. (Note: under strict control and specific criteria {like full employment}, a patient is allowed to take away one dose)
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. Upon relapse, a patient can return to the clinic and re-start the treatment.
D. The vast majority of patients are satisfied or very satisfied with the program.
E. Average age of patient: 42 years.
F. The Swiss approach is custom-designed, according to the medical needs of the patient.
*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 2019 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: 50 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 40 dollars per day per patient mostly in lowered costs for court and police time, due to less crime committed by the patients.
*The Swiss annually purchase about 100 kilos of Di-M for treatment. Since 1994 Swiss patients have received over 10,000,000 doses of heroin (Di-M) without a fatality.
** The Swiss approach gives us a glimpse of a context in which drug issues are handled by the medical community.
*** In September 2019, the Swiss govt health representatives in Bern confirmed their readiness to explain their program to the US Congress, if they receive a formal request.
**** The Swiss do not have an opioid-type problem like in the USA

Reader: What the Swiss Program is not:

A. It has not eliminated street sales of heroin. Dealers still exist in cities with clinics.
B. It is not a ‘free’ drugs program. Patients must purchase health care insurance and receive their methadone or heroin as part of their comprehensive therapy.
C. A non-heroin using adult cannot walk into a clinic and receive heroin.
D. 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 Di-M
E. or morphine.
F. Heroin is not available for purchase in Switzerland.

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