U.S.A. or Nazi Germany?
The raid on a methadone clinic in March 1995 seemed to be the later
(Nazi Germany), but it was our very own Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) who, with gestapo-like tactics charged into this methadone clinic with guns drawn, throwing employees to the floor and up
against the wall, just as though they were raiding a drug house. In fact, the drug
laws in Nazi Germany were much the same as ours today in the good old U.S. of A.
One Saturday morning in March 1995, the DEA stormed an establishment on W. Seven
Mile Road, Detroit, MI. Those on the premises were held at gunpoint, hands on the
wall, assume the position. Three snipers were in place at strategic points; one was
on top of the building, one was on the roof of the church across the street, and
one was somewhere in the back of the building. Offices were broken into, desk drawers
were pried open with crowbars, arrests were made, and records were confiscated. Some
employees were forced to the floor, and one was taken into a room to be interrogated
because she protested the harsh language directed at her by a DEA agent.
of course! This was a drug bust, what do you expect? How do you expect the DEA officer
to treat drug addicts and those delivering DRUGS?1
The only problem
is, those dispensing DRUGS were registered nurses, the offices broken into were private
counseling sessions, and the records confiscated were confidential (?) records of
addicts receiving treatment at this methadone center. The warrant presented was vague
and global, and the fact that there was a warrant makes this more sinister yet--that
a judge would allow confidential records of sick people who are trying to get well
to be taken. The DEA officers confiscated everything but DRUGS.
well, that's okay. They are only drug addicts; I mean, it's not as though the DEA
broke into a legitimate physician's office with legitimate patients. The DEA didn't
take the records of law-abiding citizens.2
No, they only took the
records of sick people who have a disease, according to the American Medical Association.
This is what mystifies me about all the people we have locked up in our prisons who
are addicts--sick people, not criminals except that our criminal justice (?) system
has made them so. Why are drugs illegal? The very fact that they are condemns addicts
to prison since the inflated price of the drug guarantees they will become involved
in criminal activities to feed the addiction. Ever since finding out about the DEA
confiscating these records, I've been asking myself, "Why? Why, Why, Why?"
The answer is, "Because they wanted to." We have allowed the powers that
be to demonize the addict, and we have allowed the government and media to spread
their propaganda without restraint. Addicts are an easy target--even addicts who
are receiving treatment in methadone maintenance facilities.
The methadone maintenance program keeps addicts off the street, their bodies receive
the drug it craves, and addicts can attend to business. Heroin addicts, depending
upon the degree of their physical and psychological dependence, can spend all day,
every day, using and finding ways and means to obtain the drug, spending hundreds
of dollars every day. There is no way the average heroin addict can earn enough money
to feed his/her addiction, so they shoplift, commit armed robbery, prostitute themselves
and their children, commit burglaries, and sell the drug--anything to get enough
money to quiet their tortured withdrawals. The heroin addict is exposed to the dangers
of hepatitis, AIDS, abscesses, everything from baking powder to rat poison used to
cut the heroin, the scorn of the average person who misunderstands addiction and
thinks it is a moral deficiency, and the drug dealers who protect their turfs, just
to name a few. The heroin addict has no time to take care of his most basic needs,
let alone attend to the demands of a job or education.
With methadone maintenance,
the addict doesn't have to face the dangers just mentioned. When the addict enters
methadone maintenance, s/he takes care of the physical addiction. With one dose of
methadone every day, the addict doesn't have to worry about withdrawal and can do
the things that normal people take for granted. Without taking care of that craving,
the addict cannot even think about anything else. So, now I wonder again, "What
is the purpose of the DEA interfering with the addict's treatment?" We are told
that drugs are killing our youth, and the DEA is going to stamp out the illegal drug.
Well, that is absurd in the first place--we are nowhere near stamping out any drug,
legal or not. Then, why is the DEA messing with all these addicts' records and recoveries?
When the addict enters a substance abuse program, s/he is supposedly guaranteed confidentiality.
Excuse me, where is this confidentiality? This kind of behavior would not be tolerated
in a regular doctor's office, and we should not allow it to be tolerated at a methadone
While we're on the subject of the dangers of illegal drugs, it is
appropriate to expose some of the propaganda our guardian government and moral superiors
perpetuate. Certainly, media attention is given to overdose and death of a celebrity
when using an illegal drug, and any premature death is tragic. However, deaths due
to all illegal drugs combined was about 4,000 the year this raid was executed, compared
to 200,000 deaths per year due to alcohol alone. It is amazing to me that an anti-drug
message is shown, "your brain on drugs is like this egg frying", and an
advertisement showing a sexy football hero, with an equally sexy-looking lady on
his arm, drinking a Lite beer, is shown back to back. What is amazing is that alcohol,
which is associated with 3/5th of the nation's murders, destroys brain cells which
are never replaced, but opiates are not associated with any measurable organic damage.
And, methadone has been tested and retested, and people have been maintained on the
drug for upwards of 20 years with very little negative side effects. The most common
are constipation and sweating; even these usually subside once the patient is stabilized.
Take most of these addicts off methadone maintenance, and there is no place
to go other than back into criminal activities and illegal channels to obtain their
drug. If the DEA and our lawmakers were really concerned (they're not)
about addicts and the effects of the drugs, why in the world would they interfere
with the treatment of the 3,000 addicts enrolled in this program? Don't we have enough
addicts in prison now? Our War on Drugs and Get Tough on Crime is a bunch of propaganda
and a free ride for politicians. It's a pretty good deal for politicians when they
can keep people focused on degenerate addicts (sick people), criminals (addicts),
and welfare recipients (poor people)--those who usually don't have a say--that way
they can do their dirty deeds, chip away a little more at our rights, and have the
support of the public whose rights they erode.
Methadone is a synthetic drug,
and it costs only pennies to manufacture. For pennies a day, an addict can be maintained
so that s/he can work, go to school, and take care of him/herself physically. When
addicts are on methadone maintenance, they are not out on the street taking illegal
drugs. There is such strict control of the methadone maintenance program by the regulatory
agencies that even though it costs only pennies a day to maintain the addict, it
costs $60-$100 per week for a private pay patient at some clinics.3
addicts are on Social Security Disability, and Medicaid pays for the methadone maintenance.
Congress is preparing to cut off this aid, and it sounds as though the taxpayer will
be getting a good deal. To anyone worried about their tax dollar, though, these are
the hard facts: The total to maintain an addict is approximately $5,500 disability,
and Medicaid's tab is $2,600-$5,200 (they pay $50-$100 a week for methadone maintenance),
for a total of about $8,100-$10,700 a year. When the addict is on the street, many
times that is stolen per year, and that is reflected in higher costs to the consumer.
When the addict gets caught, the state then picks up the cost--$25,000-$40,000 per
year to incarcerate a person. Now, why in the world would anyone want to jeopardize
any addict who is attempting to become a productive member of society by receiving
treatment at this center?
The criminal has always been on the line because
it seems most agree s/he has no rights, and some have to work only a little to extrapolate
to the addict because they are bad people with no morals. Most criminals used drugs
anyway, and most addicts are criminals. Anyone who is not in those two categories
does not have to worry though, do they? Most of us aren't in those categories, so
that's okay. We've already got an inordinate amount of black men in prison, and many
others are on probation or parole, and that's okay too. As long as I keep MY rights,
I don't have to worry about any of those other people.4
1 The italics at the end of paragraphs indicate the answer that a biased, uninformed,
or uninvolved person might give to the thoughts in that paragraph.
are legitimate physicians, and just like any other person going into
any other clinic, the patient's standing in the legal community should have nothing
to do with their medical problems, and vice versa.
3 Some patients have to
see a counselor once a week, a doctor once a month, drop a urine once a week, and
a nurse dispenses the methadone. Some patients have to come into the clinic every
day to dose, while others have take-homes and only have to go the clinic once a week.
Any take-homes over 7-14 need to be approved by regulatory agencies. Many of these
restrictions should be decided by the counselors who know the patients instead of
an agency somewhere who has their own agenda and doesn't know the patient at all.
is definitely not true. There is no small injustice--when the rights of any are threatened,
the rights of all of us are threatened. As Martin Luther King, Jr. said, "Injustice
anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere."
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