To continue from last week… It is imperative that we change our orientation to prescription or other drugs—stop thinking of them as parts of our environment/culture managed by anyone but ourselves. We already view ‘pets’ in this way. If I have a dog and it relieves itself on my lawn, I can allow that or not. But I may not allow it to relieve itself at your expense and expect that you will see me in a friendly fashion. My use of substances may sometimes cause me to break rules of sanity or civility—but that should not be allowed without comment by you or without consequences. As long as I can manage my use and do not endanger self or others—it is my business. Keep the analogy in mind as you continue on through this “prescription.”
9) Permit all mentally competent adults legal access to all medicinal preparations, at whatever stage of development, as long as manufacturers license the drug, give accurate feedback on testing for human consumption, and name the risks/benefits. Allow individuals with terminal illnesses to use, at their own risk, medications that show promise in treating their particular illness. Explanation: Only when testing is incomplete because the drug is not fully developed for human consumption may the corporate entity be free from lawsuit or retribution. The user assumes risk because the manufacturer can not yet know or infer the risks associated with not fully tested drugs.
10) Completely divorce the budget process for Law Enforcement from the growth of any illegal activity.
Explanation: This is a no-brainer. The illicit drug trade has shown the insanity of tying enforcement budgets to increasing illicit activity: police are rewarded for finding more crime, not preventing it!!!
11) Following a massive “Public Drug Education Campaign,” put production and sales of all substances into an unrestricted market format, for adults 21 and over, at the lowest possible prices.
Explanation: Make no mistake: this is a dangerous policy. No one will be protecting anyone from his or her own ignorance, except the pharmacist who retains his or her right to refuse to sell. Physicians who were once “trusted” to monitor and protect have allowed their protective mantle to slip into the murky mud created by pill doctors.
12) Limit single sale quantities within any 30-day timeframe.
Explanation: The quantity is the manufacturer’s upper limit for a thirty-day dosing of an adult, based on the consumer’s weight, if applicable.
13) Require a KASPAR-type registry for all substances. Register every drug user of any substance, as a condition of purchase. Protect the identity of the user from any public scrutiny based on personal identification.
Explanation: While making this kind of record-keeping standard poses problems for medical confidentiality, it removes the guesswork regarding responsibility for mistakes in medicine. It puts pressure on pharmacists to be on their game. They are liable if they sell an overdose to a consumer whose pharmacy record was available but not referenced.
14) Continue public drug education on a regular basis.
Explanation: This is what is wrong with our current system of drug education. We think it ends. We think it is only for children or new drug users—when the complexity and number of new substances challenges our sophistication and ability to know how to be safe in our drug use.
15) It is extremely important to our national image, and our self-image, that we devise some remedy for violation of drug laws that is humane, cost efficient, and easily enforced.
Explanation: My hat is off to Eric Holder (05/27/14, as I write) for trying to do just that. Unfortunately, judicial inventiveness is a missing element in sentencing where punitive severity is the standard.
16) Require manufacturers to provide simply-worded, plain-spoken educational materials for the drug-using public.
Explanation: Current inserts are intended to protect the manufacturer from lawsuits and they do that—but the argument might be made that the average user cannot understand some of the language, and therefore is not informed as to what constitutes safe use of the product.