The New Yorker's "Drug War Bulletins" are sure to boil your blood: a man who died for want of a liver transplant because the hospital insisted he needed "drug treatment" for his medical marijuana use; a suburban San Diego housewife who will spend the next 20 years in jail because she was peripherally involved in a heroin deal while she was in college in 1975; and a pulmonologist who'd been favored by the drug warriors until his giant, well-funded, unreproachable study concluded that pot didn't give you lung cancer, and who is now a pariah whose research conclusions have been boycotted by the press.
The War on Some Drugs is as unwinnable and destructive as all the other wars on abstract nouns. Who needs terrorists to rip America apart when you've got drug warriors killing off, imprisioning and shunning its innocents?
.In Seattle, a fifty-six-year old man died last Thursday after being refused a liver transplant because he had followed his doctor’s recommendation to use marijuana to ease the symptoms of hepatitis C. From the Associated Press story:
His death came a week after a doctor told him a University of Washington Medical Center committee had again denied him a spot on the liver transplant list. The team had previously told him it would not consider placing him on the list until he completed a 60-day drug-treatment class…
The Virginia-based United Network for Organ Sharing, which oversees the nation’s transplant system, leaves it to individual hospitals to develop criteria for transplant candidates.
At some, people who use “illicit substances”–including medical marijuana, even in the dozen states that allow it–are automatically rejected. At others, patients are given a chance to reapply if they stay clean for six months.
The cruelty and stupidity of this beggars belief. This patient did not need “drug treatment.” He was already undergoing drug treatment. Nor did he need to get “clean.” He was already clean. It’s the drug war that’s dirty. (H/t: John Leone.)
(via Making Light)