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Old 11-23-2007, 09:06 PM
natedogg natedogg is offline
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Default this is your war on drugs

Here is an interview interview with Richard Paey, a paraplegic man who was sentenced to 24 years in Florida for intent to distribute after he obtained painkillers without prescription because he couldn't find any doctors willing to give him what he needed. After living with MS, a car accident and a botched back surgery, Paey suffered from severe chronic pain and was thwarted by regulations and forced to live in pain. He circumvented them on his own and was sentenced to 24 years in prison after a SWAT team raided his home. Yes, a SWAT team raided his home with his wife and two kids.

He was pardoned recently by the governor of Florida only after some persistent journalists turned him into a cause.

From the interview

[ QUOTE ]
It became a comedy of bureaucracies. One agency prosecutes me for taking too much medication. And that was their explanation—that my dose was too high for one person to be taking, therefore I must be selling it. Even though they conceded they had no evidence of that. Then I get to prison, and the doctors examine my records and my medical history, and they decide that as doctors, they have to give me this medication, and in fact it was in higher doses than what I’d been getting before.

It certainly was an irony that I was prosecuted for taking too much medication, then the state went ahead and gave me more once I was in prison. And I think that irony made many people take a second look at my situation. It raised a red flag in many peoples’ minds that something strange was going on, here.


[/ QUOTE ]

If you're not sickened by the drug war yet you're not paying attention.

natedogg
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  #2  
Old 11-23-2007, 09:53 PM
qwnu qwnu is offline
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Default Re: this is your war on drugs

This reminds me of Greenwald post from earlier this year in which he compared the respective roles of lawyers and doctors in a way I had never considered. Basic question: Why is the attorney's role purely advisory, whereas the doctor's role (in conjunction with the gov't) parental? Excerpt:

[ QUOTE ]
Often times in [an attorney-client] relationship, there is as much at stake as there is in a doctor-patient relationship -- the individual's life savings, or financial security, or liberty, or even (in the rarest of cases), their life.

Yet the decision about what to do always remains the client's. The lawyer can advise them, warn them, urge them in the strongest possible terms not to opt for Choice X because Choice X is stupid, self-destructive, risky, irrational, etc. But it is always an advisory role, never a parental role where the lawyer can override the client's choice for his own interests. In fact, whether to have or listen to a lawyer at all is completely optional. The client can always proceed purely on his own, even in the weightiest of matters.

Why should the doctor have the ability to override the decisions of the patient? Why should the doctor's permission be required before the patient undergoes the pharmaceutical treatment he chooses?

[/ QUOTE ]
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  #3  
Old 11-23-2007, 09:58 PM
Bedreviter Bedreviter is offline
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Default Re: this is your war on drugs

[ QUOTE ]
If you're not sickened by the drug war yet you're not paying attention.

natedogg

[/ QUOTE ]

That this case was severly mishandled does not mean that the war on drugs is completely sickening. Somehow I believe that this case is pretty unusual, and the majority of the war on drugs are focused on stopping those who import/make/sell harder drugs like meth, coke, speed and so on which certainly is the target for the war on drugs, not people using medication for an illness.

Using this case as a symbol of the war on drugs is like finding a case where someone has been wrongfully convicted and sentenced to life in prison for murder when he in reality killed in self defense, and then make the assumption that the fight against murderers and the illegality of murder is sickening.
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  #4  
Old 11-23-2007, 10:09 PM
yukoncpa yukoncpa is offline
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Default Re: this is your war on drugs

[ QUOTE ]
If you're not sickened by the drug war yet you're not paying attention.



[/ QUOTE ]

I once knew a fellow in California with severe pain who, because of tolerance buildup with opiates, was up to taking 20 vicodin a day; apparently something not uncommon and something that his doctor was fine with.

Richard Paey, an Ivy league School graduate, was in the same predicament. His New Jersey doctor was fine with prescribing him with ample pain killers but when he moved to Florida, doctors there told him he was screwed, as the DEA was keeping close tabs on Doctors. Paey’s New Jersey Doctor kept him in prescriptions but Paey got to the point where he forged his Doctor’s prescriptions. He explained that his pain was unrelenting and he needed relief daily as opposed to sometimes having to wait for an out of state doctor for help.

After staking out his house, law enforcement officials found no evidence of him selling drugs to anyone. He simply had possession of an un-prescribed bottle and a record of taking 18,000 pills, which amounted to just over 20 a day personal consumption over a two year period of time - an amount, authorities insisted provided proof that he was a seller. Paey explained that without these pills, he would have been bed bound and in extreme pain. The pills allowed him to lead an almost normal life.

Because of mandatory sentencing laws, the Florida judge was compelled to sentence him for 25 years.

60 minutes
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  #5  
Old 11-23-2007, 10:15 PM
yukoncpa yukoncpa is offline
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Default Re: this is your war on drugs

What occured during the SWAT team raid:

[ QUOTE ]
"They had guns and ski masks and, like, five, six people ran into the house and half of them took the kids and my mother in law. And the other one grabbed me," says Linda Paey. "And Rich kept on saying, 'Please, call my doctor. Can you call my doctor?' You know? 'Everything's fine. Call my doctor

[/ QUOTE ]

(See my 60 minutes link above for details)
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  #6  
Old 11-23-2007, 10:18 PM
NasEscobar NasEscobar is offline
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Default Re: this is your war on drugs

[ QUOTE ]
and the majority of the war on drugs are focused on stopping those who import/make/sell harder drugs like meth, coke, speed and so on

[/ QUOTE ]
About half of drug related arrests are for a harmless drug, marijuana.
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  #7  
Old 11-23-2007, 10:24 PM
owsley owsley is offline
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Default Re: this is your war on drugs

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  #8  
Old 11-23-2007, 10:28 PM
adios adios is offline
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Default Re: this is your war on drugs

As much as I feel for a guy in this position, my first thought was to wonder why he couldn't get medication?

but in the interview he states:

Paey: .... I was convicted because the prosecutor hammered away at the jury that I was an addict and that my doctor was a pusher. I was sort of blindsided when the prosecutor started to make that argument—that I was nothing more than an addict. I can’t think of a worse slur to attach to a person.

So apparently he was getting medicaiton.

In the next question:

Paey: Right. It became a comedy of bureaucracies. One agency prosecutes me for taking too much medication. And that was their explanation—that my dose was too high for one person to be taking, therefore I must be selling it. Even though they conceded they had no evidence of that. Then I get to prison, and the doctors examine my records and my medical history, and they decide that as doctors, they have to give me this medication, and in fact it was in higher doses than what I’d been getting before.

It certainly was an irony that I was prosecuted for taking too much medication, then the state went ahead and gave me more once I was in prison. And I think that irony made many people take a second look at my situation. It raised a red flag in many peoples’ minds that something strange was going on, here.


If the account is true then that is sad really. It does seem like there's a very a high chance he had a crummy lawyer. I would sure like to hear the other side of this story though i.e. the prosecuters side and see what came out in the trial.

This is starting to make a little more sense to me now. I have a friend who for several reasons had a doctor at the VA prescribing pain killers for various ailments. This had been going on for a long time. He got a new doctor and they gave him a drug test. He tested positive for pot and the doctor stated that he could get his meds but he would have to undergo periodic random drug tests. My friend refused the tests and decided to go without the pain killers. I never realized he was taking so many as I know he went through a withdrawl period. There's a real concern about people abusing their subscriptions by taking the pills to get high and/or selling them. In my friends case I'm sure the doctor was concerned about that. Whether he should be or not is another matter but this is starting to sound similar to what my friend went through.

One further point:

reason: Are you getting the medication you need?

Paey: Well, at some point we’re going to have a cash crisis. When I got out of prison, I went down to Social Security, and they said they’d never seen a pardon before. Before I went to prison, I was getting Social Security disability, and was on Medicare A and B. Well, when you get convicted of a felony and go to prison, you lose all of those benefits. They’re not really sure how to handle it—if the pardon makes me eligible again or not. They’re now telling us that it may not be until next June until they know. That was terrible news.


Don't think what he says here is right:

What Prisoners Should Know About Social Security
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  #9  
Old 11-23-2007, 11:16 PM
yukoncpa yukoncpa is offline
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Default Re: this is your war on drugs

[ QUOTE ]
That this case was severly mishandled does not mean that the war on drugs is completely sickening. Somehow I believe that this case is pretty unusual, and the majority of the war on drugs are focused on stopping those who import/make/sell harder drugs like meth, coke, speed and so on which certainly is the target for the war on drugs, not people using medication for an illness.


[/ QUOTE ]

So it’s ok to mishandle a few cases and incarcerate sick people ( for up to 24 years ) as long as the government takes the 45 billion they’ve spent this year alone and do something about the hard drug problems in the U.S., even though what they are doing is not staving off usage one iota?

[ QUOTE ]
Using this case as a symbol of the war on drugs is like finding a case where someone has been wrongfully convicted and sentenced to life in prison for murder when he in reality killed in self defense, and then make the assumption that the fight against murderers and the illegality of murder is sickening.



[/ QUOTE ] Murder and Drug use and sales are not analgous. Murder is immoral because it causes irrepairable harm to others. Drug use is a vice; you are only doing possible harm to yourself . Nothing inherently immoral about this.
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  #10  
Old 11-23-2007, 11:24 PM
Ineedaride2 Ineedaride2 is offline
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Default Re: this is your war on drugs

[ QUOTE ]
[ QUOTE ]
If you're not sickened by the drug war yet you're not paying attention.

natedogg

[/ QUOTE ]

That this case was severly mishandled does not mean that the war on drugs is completely sickening.

[/ QUOTE ]

You're right. What makes the war on drugs completely sickening is the billions of dollars we spend on it, the tens of thousands of people we needlessly put in jail for it, the catalyst it has been for increasing the potency of the drugs on the street, the increases in gangs and general violence it has encouraged, and the fact that it HAS DONE NOTHING to decrease use or availability of drugs!

If this is not a failure, there's never been one. And we keep. Doing. It. I once thought that the only way our government would ever start changing course would be if they declared "War on war on stuff." - but then I realized how terribly their wars on stuff turn out, so we'd probably end up with MORE wars on stuff.
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