Archive for Joe Califano

$486 Billion Dollars for Rehab?

Posted in Drug Reform with tags , , , on June 1, 2009 by corecompany

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 In a storywritten by Erik Eckholm in the New York Times, government spending related to smoking and abuse of alcohol and other drugs hit  $486 billion, yes, with a B, billion. Most of the money seems to be spent on medical costs associated with overdoses, lung cancer, cirrhosis as well as law enforcement and our old friend, incarceration. A bit over 2% (awww, isn’t that a cute little percentage?) was spent on prevention, treatment, and addiction research. In other words 98% spent on futility, 2% spent on what works better.

            This insanity speaks for itself. Joe Califano, chairman of the National Center on Addiction and Substance abuse at Columbia University says “this is such a stunning misallocation of funds”. How is this rationalized? How could this be?  What’s known about addiction is very little, but what is known is that it costs huge amounts of money not to mention the emotional toll it takes on families.  What does this mean exactly? I am not sure since I have a limited understanding of  economics. I do however know that having worked in grimy clinics (MASH units in the War on Drugs) the resources are extremely limited, staff overworked and irritable, and kicking and swearing at the outdated copy machine was common place. Does the DEA have an old copier that never works? I suspect not.

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DAMMAD or DAMMISGUIDED Steven Steiner?

Posted in Drug Reform with tags , , , , , , , on February 14, 2009 by corecompany

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DAMMAD.  Check out this website.  Dammad is a grassroots anti-drug organization created by a parent whose “mission is to help fight against the drug problem”.  The Founder of this organization, Steven Steiner, recently had a press release with the person he thought should be the new drug czar. I’m not sure what Mr. Steiner is basing his decision on but I think he should change the name of his group to DAMMISGUIDED or DAMWAYOFFBASE. It’s a shame because Mr. Steiner seems dedicated and passionate to the memory of his son, who died of a drug overdose, but he’s way off base here. It’s a tragic situation, but was his son a casualty of the drug war that his father advocates?

            It’s tough to decide which area of DAMMAD to comment, there are so many bizarre aspects of it. Let’s start with the name. Dads and Mad Moms against drug dealers:  hmmmmm….are there any parents out there actually FOR drug dealers? Where are these pro drug dealer parents? Let’s capture them; a bunch of hippies no doubt. My second comment is really a question for Mr. Steiner: Isn’t it ironic that you have the very company who manufactures and sells (deals) the drug that killed your son listed as a supporter on your website? Also listed is a mini mart – I have no idea, but I speculate that this mini mart sells 40’s and cigarettes. 40’s, liquid crack and nicotine available to junior high kids? I know, I know, they are not of legal age, doesn’t mean they can’t get it!

            One of Mr. Steiner’s strong oppositions is the decriminalization of marijuana.  If his sons chosen intoxicant were marijuana, the kid would be alive today.  He may be functioning at a low level, complacent, blankly staring at video games but he would be alive and there may be hope to engage this young man into treatment.

            Luckily, with his miss the mark advocacy, Steven Steiner won’t be choosing the next drug czar. Clearly with my keen insight and ability to critique almost everyone, I should.  And here’s what I would do: I select ending the post. Czar? I would create a new post. A composite of multidisciplinary professionals. Doctors, social workers, recovery advocates, and lawyers. Steering this committee would be Joe Califano. When I had time, I would gladly head to Washington and dust off my soapbox. It’s hard to demonize Steven Steiner, first off, he lost his son and he seems genuinely concerned about an issue that goes largely unexamined. I welcome a public forum with him. Come to my Loft (sober living facility in Brooklyn, NY) Mr. Steiner and lets chat, we can film it and post it on YouTube and then seek comments, not to find out who is right but to support discourse in the community.