Poison Pill Legislation


Andrew Sullivan links, with some irritation, to a Washington Post piece heralding a crackdown on prescription drug sales online. I guess I've nothing against efforts to keep 12 year olds from ordering OxyContin by the pound, but perhaps the booming business these sites see from adults is a function of the reluctance of doctors, wary of prosecution, to adequately prescribe pain control medication?

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  1. or the love humans have for opoids?

  2. Nah, I think it’s indicative of the fact that people really, really like to get high.

  3. Drug Warriors care about your well being so much…that they’re forcing you to score on the street. Nice.

  4. Well… yeah, that too. And it seems likely that these pills come with a better expectation of dosage and purity control than some dude wandering around a local club.

  5. I never thought I’d hear someone at Reason complaining about doctors not adequately PROscribing drugs…tee hee.

  6. I’ve always found it interesting that doctors have to fear the FDA if they prescribe Vicodin to too many patients while they happily give out prescriptions for antibiotics to shut people up. Someone else’s addiction to prescription painkillers will not reduce the ability of such drugs to help me if I ever need them, but misuse of antibiotics leads to the development of drug-resistant bacteria. Why doesn’t the DARE program discourage misuse of antibiotics???

  7. RE: purity and dosage:

    From what I can tell, dosage and purity levels for Oxycotin aren’t really a problem on the street. In fact, that’s one of the reasons it’s preferred – it’s much harder to stomp on pharmaceuticals than it is on a bag of dope.

  8. Ech. I think I had the headline of Jacob’s piece in my head as I was typing… let’s fix that…

  9. Doctor’s aren’t usually at fault if they prescribe too much medication. They’re not even at fault if they prescribe a medication that provokes a deadly drug interaction. The responsibility of catching such “errors” lies with the Pharmacist. Subsequently, at least at the hospital where I worked, the Pharmacist is always the smartest guy in the room. (Unless I happen to be there, of course.)

    More importantly, regarding, “I guess I’ve nothing against efforts to keep 12 year olds from ordering OxyContin…” It often seems to be the case that when our rights get flushed down the toilet, they’re flushed in order to protect freeloaders–I mean–children.

    For Pete’s sake, I already fund their babysitting–I mean–education with the fruit of my labor, (Pardon my bluntness, but I just had to vote against yet another bond issue to repair their playpens.) Must they also be everybody’s favorite justification for eroding my rights?

    From Gun Control to draconian tobbacco and drug laws, from Medicare and Medicaid to food stamps, it’s, “Sorry ’bout your rights Buddy, but we gotta protect the children.”

    Well I don’t have any children, but if I ever have any, I promise not to make the rest of you pay a cent for them. And if you have children, and I have to pay for them, then, and this shouldn’t come as a big suprise, I hope your children…

    Saying that parents should take control of their own 12 year old’s credit card, ATM, and OxyContin (or Tobbacco, or Alcohol, or Pornography, or Gun) habit is such a tedious truth that writing it again feels like a waste of keystrokes.

    Thank God Soccer Moms everywhere haven’t yet banded together to stop sites like this from letting people write what they think. I mean, some of this stuff might not be appropriate for children, and if it’s our rights or protecting the fucking children, our rights don’t have a prayer.

  10. My wife wanted to order our prescriptions from Canada, but I told her it was illegal, though it shouldn’t be … she laughed, thinking I was joking. I wish I had been.

    For the children, indeed. How about we don’t turn over a world that sucks to them, eh? Nah.


  11. My contention is that there is no such thing as drug addiction. It is an idea invented to explain why people who suffer from no obvious trauma (PTSD mostly) crave pain relief.

    So we have a war on pain relievers to keep those whose pain we do not understand from getting relief.

    The war on pain relief is not an abberation. It is the core of the drug war.

  12. M. Simon,

    I’ve seen you offer similar thoughts here in the past. I like your theories — in theory.

    But when you say there’s no such thing as drug addiction, are you referring to mental addiction, or to physical addiction? Because certainly anyone who has suffered withdrawals — whether from opiates or even such “sanctioned” drugs as antidepressants — can tell you those withdrawals are certainly real. Kicking prescription painkillers can be nearly as gut-wrenching as kicking heroin — shakes, sweats, vomits, the whole bit. Trust me, Rush Limbaugh wasn’t lounging around enjoying a sunny Arizona vacation for a month. He was sitting in a room in severe, continuous pain and harrowing emotional anguish.

    Is it that you acknowledge these withdrawals (I mean, you have to — they’re real), yet consider “addiction” to be something different and unrelated? Because to my mind, if ceasing a drug sends your body into withdrawals, it’s because your body had become dependent on that drug. And “dependency” is just a synonym for “addiction,” at least in the physical sense.

    And then there’s the whole issue of tolerance — the body’s need for increased dosages of a substance to sustain its effect. How does this figure into your “no-addiction” schematic?

    Please elaborate. I’m sincerely interested to know what you mean.

    Whatever the case — whether addiction is real or not, whether withdrawals suck or not — none of it stands as an argument for regulating drug sales. People should be able to put into their bodies whatever they want. If that means they want to sip Chlorox cocktails as an after-dinner drink, or pop a Vicodin before work to combat depression, then fine. It’s their bodies; it’s their right to injest whatever collection of molecules they wish. I’m preaching to the choir here, I know, but the whole topic grates me to no end. I’m sick of my fellow citizens using the mechanism of democratic government to mind my business for me.

  13. Pavel, I’d qualify that to say: Why should we have to deal with a doctor — by phone or by driving — to do what we should be able to do just as easily on our own?

    The cautious among us could continue to use these people called “doctors” if we felt the need to get advice from another human being. The rest of us could medicate ourselves as we saw fit, with no gatekeeper between us and the molecules we’d like.

    I know this is the kind of stuff that makes others roll their eyes and go, “Oh, those loony libertarians.” But that’s only because they’re conditioned to view government as a wise protector, forgetting all the while that government in America is really just us — and that we can handle all this stuff through a free and open marketplace rather than through the clunky machinery of bureaucracy.

    (On a tangent: It’s no small irony that “bureaucracy” remains one of the most reliably tricky words to spell, no matter how many times you have to deal with writing it. It’s no “Super Bowl,” that’s for sure. [See previous pedantic posts.])

  14. I think in the old days that was called a grandma.

  15. “Thank God Soccer Moms everywhere haven’t yet banded together to stop sites like this from letting people write what they think.”

    Shhhhhhh… Not so loud, Schultz. Don’t give them any ideas.

  16. Well the results are in and the verdict is…

    I have to pay to fix a bunch of public schools that I have never attended and my children, if I ever have any, will never attend.

    I’d like to take this opportunity to express myself to fifty-one percent of the voters in the great state of California–Fuck you!

  17. Are any 12 or even 17 year olds actually ordering OxyContin in any significant quantities, and are they having drug related problems because of that? Or is this yet another use of the tattered “for the children” red herring?

    Several posters have commented about how this “for the children” nonsense is used as a wedge into every aspect of adults life. I could midlly understand if teens had significant problems with various “vices”, but as it stands now teens aren’t even responsible for their population’s share of the problems in this country.

    So, if 17 or even 12 year olds are ordering OxyContin, who cares? If their (teens) use of OC is anything like their use of other drugs, more moderas use of softer drugs than adults, we have very little to worry about.
    More importantly, a 12 year old gutsy enough to order OC through the mail, to their home or that of a “safe” person, for recreational use isn’t going to become “drug free” just because we stop Canadian shipments.

  18. Man, I don’t want any hillbilly heroin, but I wouldn’t mind a blast of codeine once in a while. How do you get this stuff, anyway?

  19. Want to float an idea I’ve had for years and years. How ’bout we teach kids (and adults), as part of their normal childhood education (or regular TV programming), how to recognize when they have or someone else has various common medical complaints, how to treat them when they appear, and when they need to see a professional? How ’bout we make an array of the safest prescription drugs available to such a trained public?

    “Pro se” medicine–Is it really that radical an idea? I mean, people routinely–I mean on a daily basis–make decisions for themselves that are quite as important as that.

  20. Thom,

    What you call physical addiction is in the field called habituation. It can be treated with a detox regimen of a few weeks and is over.

    Addiction refers to the fact that after detox some still have a need for the drug in question.

    Mental health pprofessionals in the field of PTSD are coming to recognize addiction as a likely marker for PTSD. In Mass. this information is now part of police training in some venues.

    Change is coming.

  21. Thom,

    I totally agree with the liberty angle.

    What made me look into the angle I looked into is the idea that addiction is catching and you catch it from drugs. Thus the need for prohibition: if it is true.

    What made me see all this more clearly was a book by Lonnie Shavelson on sexual abuse and heroin use and their correlation.

    So the drug war does no good not just in terms of liberty but even on it’s own premise. You do not catch addiction from drugs.

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