Drug Policy

Who Didn't Need Vicodin in the Early '90s?

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Ten years after John McCain became a perennial presidential candidate, and 14 years after the Phoenix New Times exhaustively documented the story of Cindy McCain's stage-managed addiction-confession (and less-publicized double-barrelled legal attack on the whistleblower who put her within arm's length of a 20-year jail sentence), the Washington Post flexes its reportorial muscle on the still-murky tale of how a senator's wife got away with asking the doctor of her international charity to write prescriptions for painkillers in the names of three of her unsuspecting employees.

So anything new here? Mostly, unusual skepticism about Cindy's always-shifting timeline and cause-effect explanations, plus extensive quotes from participants who rarely if ever go on the record, especially the whistleblower in question, Tom Gosinski.

"It's not just about her addiction, it's what she did to cover up her addiction and the lives of other people that she ruined, or put at jeopardy at least," Gosinski said in an interview this week. […]

[Gosinski] eventually gave several lengthy interviews and provided The Post with a copy of his [early 1990s] journal. He subsequently cut off contact and asked that his name not be printed, saying he became frightened by the prospect of facing the McCain campaign on his own.

On Wednesday, he said he had changed his mind. He appeared at a news briefing in Arlington set up by a Democratic Party consultant.

Gosinski, a registered Republican, said that he sought help orchestrating a single media event because so many reporters wanted his story, but that he has had no contact with the Obama campaign or the Democratic National Committee.

He also signed an agreement with the Center for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington, a D.C.-based watchdog group, which will provide legal representation for him in the event of a lawsuit.

As always, I maintain that in a more just world, Vicodin and Percocet would be available over the counter. Anyway, so how is candidate John McCain on drug policy? He's one of the biggest drug warriors out there.

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  1. I’ll say it again, because the media’s ignoring it again. The National Enquirer’s got actual journalists on the ground in Anchorage, and

    http://www.nationalenquirer.com/_palin_family_shockers_what_sarahs_really_hiding/celebrity/65407

    they’re doing some stuff the McCain campaign might have wanted to do. Drugwar hypocrites abound, as usual… And my bet is the Enquirer’s just as on-the-money here as they were on Edwards, and that fact pisses-off the “mainstream” media. Too bad, boys. The tabloid scooped you again.

  2. Well, you know, there’s not much to this Gosinski story.

    After all, using your political influence to try to destroy someone for disclosing true facts about your wife is exactly what a man of honor would always do. Because the man of honor knows that when wrongdoing is committed, the most important thing is to protect the guilty and destroy those who know about it.

  3. So, is Cindy still popping pilz? As a concerned voter I think that is important information I need to make an informed decision come November. I think John McCain should require his wife to piss in a cup every week. I’m not taking the word of a junkie, or her enablers.

  4. Of course John McCain is one of the biggest drug warriors in the country. He’s From the Sixties. For conservatives who come From the Sixties, drug policy is a proxy war for the hippies-vs-squares, pro- vs. con- on Vietnam battles that defined their political coming of age.

    I sure hope we get to see more ads about Woodstock.

  5. So, is Cindy still popping pilz?

    Though she hasn’t talked about it much this campaign cycle, in 2000 she claimed to be a weekly attendee at Narcotics Anonymous.

    For conservatives who come From the Sixties, drug policy is a proxy war for the hippies-vs-squares, pro- vs. con- on Vietnam battles that defined their political coming of age.

    So where does Joe Biden fit into that narrative?

  6. Matt,

    Propecia is non-narcotic. Biden’s not a hypocrite.

  7. So, is Cindy still popping pilz?

    Though she hasn’t talked about it much this campaign cycle, in 2000 she claimed to be a weekly attendee at Narcotics Anonymous.

    Not even close to good enough. Given her proximity to so many people of influence. She needs to submit samples collected under the direct supervision of an independent testing agency.

  8. Was she hitting up the Vicodin or the Percocet? There’s a big fucking difference in the high between hydrocodone and oxycodone. Not that I would know, of course.

    After all, using your political influence to try to destroy someone for disclosing true facts about your wife is exactly what a man of honor would always do

    He’s protecting his wife, Fluffy. It’s like chivalry, or something. Super-honorable!

  9. Was she hitting up the Vicodin or the Percocet?

    Both! The Post story contains details.

  10. This is old news to the lvers of freedom around here. The double standard of drug law prosecution is all too evident to deny. Were Cindy a lower middle class receptionist at that charity, she’d be looking at a parole board about now.

    The War on Drugs Poor People continues. John McCain could have picked Radley Balko for a running mate and the hypocrite would still not get my vote.

  11. Both! The Post story contains details.

    Hey, I’m starting to like Cindy. Only a master understands that you take the hydro when you need to function and the oxy when you don’t. Not that I would know, of course.

  12. So where does Joe Biden fit into that narrative?

    Joe Biden got out of college before the 1960s turned into the Sixties. It’s interesting how the hippies took over at different times in different places.

    My dad told me that when he was at BC (class of 64), he’d never heard of marijuana on campus. When he visited one of his professors two years later, he told him that students smoking it in the dorms had become the biggest problem on campus.

  13. I blogged this story yesterday at: http://chrishowell.com/2008/09/11/mccain-drug-abuse-cover-up/

    Now with more video!

    Now who is surprised that Cindy McCain is a drug hypocrite?

  14. So, is Cindy still popping pilz? As a concerned voter I think that is important information I need to make an informed decision come November. I think John McCain should require his wife to piss in a cup every week. I’m not taking the word of a junkie, or her enablers.

    Why stop there? I’d like to see every congressmen, all cabinet members, POTUS and the VP and all of the SCOTUS judges subject to random urinalysis and subject to prosecution should the results come up positive. I lost one of my very best sailors over that. This guy*, after getting popped on urinalysis and court martiled, was an asset to the navy till the day his BCD was finalized.

    * First class petty officer, 4.0 sailor, mid 20s and single. Shocking that he might have done some cocaine at a party on the weekend, isn’t it? This still sticks in my craw 18 years later.

  15. She has repeatedly cited the stress of the Keating Five scandal and pain from two back surgeries that same year as reasons for her dependence on painkillers.

    I’m glad to know it was because of stress and not because Vicodin and Percocet are fucking awesome.

  16. Was she hitting up the Vicodin or the Percocet?

    I doubt she was mainlining either. Have you ever tried to separate the binder,filler and tylenol from the good shit in those pills? Not that I would know anything about that.

  17. Mister Welch, have you no shame? I mean really. What’s wrong with you? Why are you so obsessed with McCain? Do you, can you focus on anything else? Are book sales really that important to you? If so, do you really think anyone will buy your book based on the drivel you’ve been posting lately?

    Obama did coke. Palin smoked weed. Betty Ford drank heavily. Jackie Kennedy was an addict. Every politician, every human being on earth for that matter, is a hypocrite. Who gives a tinker’s damn?

  18. I doubt she was mainlining either. Have you ever tried to separate the binder,filler and tylenol from the good shit in those pills? Not that I would know anything about that.

    Dude, that’s what Oxycontin are for. Component separation is a pain in the ass; why do it when they do it for you? Not that I would know anything about that.

  19. A “tylenol allergy” is a good thing to have when you are “doctor shopping”.

  20. Cindy McCain is not running for president.

  21. Who gives a tinker’s damn?

    When this principle is enacted as the sum of U.S. narcotics law, we’ll leave Cindy McCain alone.

  22. The War on Drugs Poor People continues. John McCain could have picked Radley Balko for a running mate and the hypocrite would still not get my vote.

    reason reader comments were a lot better back when they used Virginia Postrel to make these sorts of points.

  23. A “tylenol allergy” is a good thing to have when you are “doctor shopping”.

    As is a codeine/Darvocet allergy.

  24. Cindy McCain is not running for president.

    Links plz.

  25. As is a codeine/Darvocet allergy.

    Yes, yes it is. Hypersensitivity reaction or constant vomiting both work as good and fairly unverifiable excuses.

  26. When this principle is enacted as the sum of U.S. narcotics law, we’ll leave Cindy McCain alone.

    I wouldn’t be that tough on Cindy. John McCain can’t pass laws personally. [At the moment.]

    If he even got up in the Senate and advocated enshrining this principle as the sum of narcotics law, that would be enough for me. If he went down 99-1, it would be enough for me. I would leave Cindy alone after that.

    But since he hasn’t done that, fuck him and fuck her too.

  27. “Who gives a tinker’s damn?

    When this principle is enacted as the sum of U.S. narcotics law, we’ll leave Cindy McCain alone.”

    Really? Do you know Obama’s position on the drug war? Does anyone? I hear his relatives back in Kenya just might be chewers of khat. Is Obama in favor of legalizing khat?

  28. Amazing how a bunch of “libertarians” are concerned about someone’s personal drug use. Must be those “libertarian Democrats” we keep hearing about.

  29. Yes, yes it is. Hypersensitivity reaction or constant vomiting both work as good and fairly unverifiable excuses.

    Well, I actually have it for real. You give me two Tylenol 3 and I’m down for the count for 4-6 hours; it’s like having instant food poisoning for me. I can’t even get off the bed.

  30. Why did this connection take my brain so long to make?

    ?Sara, Sara,
    Whatever made you want to change your mind?
    Sara, Sara,
    So easy to look at, so hard to define.?

    Oh well, better late than never.

  31. Ooops, wrong thread.
    Damned Vicodin.

  32. Why are you so obsessed with McCain? Do you, can you focus on anything else?

    One usually has some interest in the topic of one’s book. Further, said topic remains very much in the news, and given that I have more knowledge on the subject than most, I feel like I can add contextual value to whatever new information comes in.

    As for focusing on anything else, here are two recent articles on other subjects; plenty more available at this link.

    Are book sales really that important to you?

    No.

    Obama did coke. Palin smoked weed. Betty Ford drank heavily. Jackie Kennedy was an addict. Every politician, every human being on earth for that matter, is a hypocrite. Who gives a tinker’s damn?

    On the abstract question, hypocrisy is a much more a serious charge to those who cloak their political campaigns in slogans like “country first,” “cause greater,” and “straight talk.” On the concrete question, I don’t care, for instance, that McCain was a serious booze-hound for the first four decades of his life; if anything, it makes me like him more. What I care about in this particular case is that he reportedly used the full force of Washington heavyweights to lean on (and possibly smear) the whistleblower who pointed out his wife’s illegal activity. This strikes me as conduct unbecoming. And it’s an ongoing curiosity that McCain seeks to have the federal government crack down on any number of activities that either he or his close family have engaged in.

  33. “Amazing how a bunch of “libertarians” are concerned about someone’s personal drug use. Must be those “libertarian Democrats” we keep hearing about.”

    That sounds about right to me.

  34. And it’s an ongoing curiosity that McCain seeks to have the federal government crack down on any number of activities that either he or his close family have engaged in

    John and Cindy are the aristocracy, Matt. The rest of us are just peasants. No hunting in the King’s forest–except by the King.

  35. “One usually has some interest in the topic of one’s book. Further, said topic remains very much in the news, and given that I have more knowledge on the subject than most, I feel like I can add contextual value to whatever new information comes”

    Well feel again, buster, feel again.

  36. Amazing how a bunch of “libertarians” are concerned about someone’s personal drug use.

    I would be nothing but happy (and silent) if Cindy McCain was gobbling Oxycontin as we speak. If she and her husband had left others out of her private medicating practice we wouldn’t be having this conversation.

  37. For those who want to get rid of the acetaminophen etc. First grind up the pills and mix it into hot water. Put your solution in the freezer until it is cool, but not frozen. The tylenol and fillers will be solidified and the opiods will be liquid. Strain out the solid stuff and drink the sweet opiate nectar.

  38. “Amazing how a bunch of “libertarians” are concerned about someone’s personal drug use.”

    Amazing how a bunch of “hypocrites” are concerned about someone’s personal drug use. There. Fixed it for you.

  39. “Amazing how a bunch of “libertarians” are concerned about someone’s personal drug use. Must be those “libertarian Democrats” we keep hearing about.”

    That sounds about right to me.

    John McCain has consistently advocated, and voted for, policies that subject people to prison terms and asset forfeiture for engaging in drug use, production, and trade.

    But he does not want those policies and laws applied to his wife.

    Until that contradiction is removed, one way or the other, McCain and his wife deserve to be rhetorically and politically brutalized for this incident at every opportunity and at the highest possible volume.

  40. “Until that contradiction is removed, one way or the other, McCain and his wife deserve to be rhetorically and politically brutalized for this incident at every opportunity and at the highest possible volume.”

    Can you tell us Obama’s drug war position? Can anyone?

  41. Amazing how a bunch of “libertarians” are concerned about someone’s personal drug use

    I don’t think anyone cares about her drug use. It’s her use of connections to evade the consequences of forging prescriptions that’s at issue.

    This is especially true if the guy gaming the system is the system.

  42. Obama is equally deserving of scorn.

    He acknowledges engaging in drug use as an adolescent. But I’m sure there were black kids on the same street as Obama who got caught with drugs, and who are now not only not running for President, but have been stripped of their citizenship rights and can’t even fucking vote.

    By not loudly and forcibly damning that disparity, Obama is essentially endorsing a system where random chance assigns one guy to be the next President of the United States, and another guy to be a former felon who pumps gas and can’t even vote, even when they engage in identical acts. This is a sin against justice that is so profound that it proves that Obama can’t be trusted to value any justice at all.

    But at least Obama just relied on good luck to avoid the perils of our drug law enforcement system. McCain’s wife used rich white chick married to a Senator privilege as her get out of jail free card, and that offends me about 1000 times more.

  43. “Until that contradiction is removed, one way or the other, McCain and his wife deserve to be rhetorically and politically brutalized for this incident at every opportunity and at the highest possible volume.”

    I read that Michelle Obama received a bugus raise of $195,052 annually after Barack Obama was elected senator.

    Obama has said he’s against the corruption of special interest money.

    Brutalize in that direction for a while.

  44. Can you tell us Obama’s drug war position? Can anyone?

    He sucks, too. However, there is still some hope that if elected, he might stop the DEA assaults on MM facilities.*

    *I am voting for Barr or else no one.

  45. Episiarch – you seem like you would be fun to party with! Not that I would know anything about that.
    And I agree with what Fluffy said.

  46. “But at least Obama just relied on good luck to avoid the perils of our drug law enforcement system. McCain’s wife used rich white chick married to a Senator privilege as her get out of jail free card, and that offends me about 1000 times more.”

    So you’re compairing Obama to Cindy McCain? Makes about as much sense as comparing Obama to Palin.

  47. “Amazing how a bunch of “libertarians” are concerned about someone’s personal drug use. Must be those “libertarian Democrats” we keep hearing about.”

    Did you read the Charlie Rangel post, chief? Amazing how a bunch of “libertarians” are concerned about someone else not paying enough taxes.

    No, it is not. It is entirely predictable and appropriate for “libertarians,” or even libertarians, to be concerned when a powerful government official exempts himself from the laws he strives to impose on everyone else.

    By not loudly and forcibly damning that disparity, Obama is essentially endorsing a system where random chance assigns one guy to be the next President of the United States, and another guy to be a former felon who pumps gas and can’t even vote, even when they engage in identical acts.

    A legitimate slam on Obama. I will, however, note the difference between “essentially endorsing” the drug war via silence, and loudly and ferociously endorsing its expansion via campaigning and legislation.

  48. This has nothing to do with Obama. McCain did things that should be criminal to keep his wife from getting busted. As far as I am concerned, she can pop all the pills she wants to.

  49. A legitimate slam on Obama. I will, however, note the difference between “essentially endorsing” the drug war via silence, and loudly and ferociously endorsing its expansion via campaigning and legislation.

    Agreed. McCain and Biden are strident drug war supporters, while Obama and Palin are not. Funny, ain’t it.

  50. Episiarch – you seem like you would be fun to party with! Not that I would know anything about that.

    Yes, I am. And I would know something about that.

  51. So you’re compairing Obama to Cindy McCain? Makes about as much sense as comparing Obama to Palin.

    Senator McCain pulled strings [and probably more] to make sure his wife did not go to jail.

    I am comparing the two Senators, and using the occasion of his wife’s crimes as the vehicle for doing so.

    A legitimate slam on Obama. I will, however, note the difference between “essentially endorsing” the drug war via silence, and loudly and ferociously endorsing its expansion via campaigning and legislation.

    This is true. That’s a significant difference.

  52. “Senator McCain pulled strings [and probably more] to make sure his wife did not go to jail.”

    Who wouldn’t?

  53. Agreed. McCain and Biden are strident drug war supporters, while Obama and Palin are not.

    Actually, we know enough about Obama to say that he is not.

    Palin? There isn’t any record at all, as far as I can tell.

    This isn’t one of those “presidential candidate vs. running mate” arguments, is it?

  54. “This isn’t one of those “presidential candidate vs. running mate” arguments, is it?”

    No, it’s most likely generational.

  55. that’s what Oxycontin are for.

    I thought they were filled with oxygen, and kept you from being incontinent.

    You guys have this down to a science. Impressive. (Obviously I’m referring to your political analysis.)

  56. “Senator McCain pulled strings [and probably more] to make sure his wife did not go to jail.”

    Who wouldn’t?

    Everyone would.

    But if you are a drug war opponent, doing so makes you a person who would go to the mat to help another person avoid an unjust fate. This would make your actions morally praiseworthy.

    OTOH, if you are a staunch drug war advocate, doing so makes you a person who would go to the mat to make sure another person avoids a punishment you yourself have asserted is just. That makes your actions despicable, and makes you a scumbag.

    By being a staunch drug war supporter, John McCain lost the moral right to try to play the system to get his wife off easy. “Aw, come on, everyone would try to help their wife! Who wouldn’t?” Tough shit.

  57. I thought they were filled with oxygen

    They are.

    and kept you from being incontinent

    All opiates cause constipation, so you are correct. Too much information, I know.

  58. Actually, we know enough about Obama to say that he is not [a drug warrior].

    Orly?

    This is the moment when we must renew our resolve to rout the terrorists who threaten our security in Afghanistan, and the traffickers who sell drugs on your streets. No one welcomes war…

    From the Huffington Posttranscript of his Berlin speech.

    Comparing terrorists to drug dealers is not the rhetoric of a person who wants to de-escalate the War on Drugs. He compares dealers to terrorists, and specifically, to the Taliban, whom we are currently at war with. He may be better at the edges – he is certainly less of a hypocrite than McCain – but without good evidence to the contrary, Obama has to be considered a drug warrior.

  59. If the CPD were not a sham entity this or similar question would come up in a debate.

    Mr McCain, you have a long history of being a militaristic drug warrior. During your time in congress you supported many laws that encourage repeat drug users to be thrown in jail for long period s of time. Would you support jail time for you own wife due to her repeated drug usage? if not doesn’t that make you a huge hippocrite? how would you explain this to Mrs Juanita Jackson who is here on temporary leave from her 20 year prison sentence for possession of the same drugs your priveleged wife uses?

  60. it is funny that he said specifically drug dealers are like the Taliban…since we gave $40 million to the Taliban in 2001 to theoretically fight the drug war on heroine.

  61. I thought they were filled with oxygen, and kept you from being incontinent.

    STEVE HOLT!

  62. I thought they were filled with oxygen, and kept you from being incontinent.

    STEVE HOLT!

    Shit, I was so busy being a smartass I missed one.

  63. It always amazes me how “conservatives” can grasp how Clinton was prosecuted for lying about a blow job and not for getting one and yet they completely fail to grasp that libertarians don’t give a damn about Cindy McCain’s drug use, but what we do care about it John McCain’s use of his political position to crush those who reported it.

  64. Actually, we know enough about Obama to say that he is not.

    Palin? There isn’t any record at all, as far as I can tell.

    If she were a strident drug warrior, we’d know.

    This isn’t one of those “presidential candidate vs. running mate” arguments, is it?

    No, it’s more of a comment on the ages of those who have and have not hitched their political wagon to that particular star. One on each ticket. As I posted, “Funny, isn’t it?”

  65. Oh, the horror. Libertarians are concerned about various *hypocrites* we’d ordinarily leave the fuck alone if they’d just, for once, advocate leaving US the fuck alone.

  66. BakedPenguin, you do know that the Taliban now control the bulk of the world’s opium production, right?

    He wasn’t comparing drug traffickers to the Taliban – the Taliban ARE drug traffickers.

  67. I think it’s pretty clear that we object not to her drug use, but to the double standard coming from McCain: using political force to protect his wife and to throw others like her in jail.

  68. On the topic of the biggest drug traffickers…what do ya’ll make of the CIA admitting that plane that crashed full of 3.7 tons of cocaine last year was also used on rendition flights by the CIA.

    http://www.borderfirereport.net/michael-webster/new-revelations-on-cia-drug-planes.html

    the government says white_terrorist are coming:
    http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/northamerica/usa/2778261/Next-US-terror-attack-could-be-by-white-Americans-or-Europeans.html

  69. joe – yes, I’m fully aware that most Heroin today comes from Afghani opium. Just as you’re fully aware that the way to ensure that the Taliban gets as little of that money as possible is to end the War on Drugs.

    We can debate the definition of “traffickers”, but the people selling drugs “on your streets” are most certainly not the Taliban. I think you’re really stretching here to see Obama in the best possible light.

  70. Vicodin ftw!

    It’s the Breakfast of Champions!

  71. I’m fully aware that most Heroin today comes from Afghani opium. Just as you’re fully aware that the way to ensure that the Taliban gets as little of that money as possible is to end the War on Drugs.

    Hey, I know how we can prolong the war in Afghganistan indefinitely! Let’s subsidize the Taliban by handing them a monopoly on the production of 90% of the country’s wealth!

  72. And speaking of Afghanistan, the only way this whole drug thing can happen is massive corruption, including ALL sides, “friends” and “enemies.” That’s how it works, and why it needs to stop.

  73. “and less-publicized double-barrelled legal attack on the whistleblower who put her within arm’s length of a 20-year jail sentence”

    This is, if they have sense enough to use it, the logical attack vector for the Obama side to use on this issue, because they DID go after this poor guy, bigtime…

  74. This is, if they have sense enough to use it, the logical attack vector for the Obama side to use on this issue,

    I would agree. Its one of the few attacks they can make that is both (a) factually based and (b) not pre-programmed to boomerang on them.

    The danger, of course, is that it will too easily be seen as an attack on Cindy, and as Obama has said, family is off limits. Its not, of course, but it will be taken that way.

  75. For the most part, drug policy is not seen as controversial, and therefore politicians’ statements about most facets of drug policy have no predictive value.

  76. Look, I totally agree that this was a tough time to be alive in the U.S., but I wouldn’t want to put a message out there that Vicodin is some kind of harmless, escapist drug. Fact is, it can be as dangerous as Heroin in more ways than one. Again, not to get all preachy, but if you’re struggling with Vicodin addiction or abuse, a qualified drug rehab program is the only way to get the help you need.

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