The Drug Policy Digest

Sunday, November 23, 2003
After Limbaugh's Return, Listeners Get Conservatism from a "Recovery" Point of View
But Limbaugh Refuses to Discuss Possibility of Criminal Charges and "Pretends" He Doesn't Know Names of Painkillers

The New York Times story on Limbaugh's return to radio, gives some valuable insights into the ordeal he has been through in recent months, if not years. However, he may not be prepared to "come clean" on all aspects of his behavior.

NOTE: Click here for one cartoonist's view of the Limbaugh story: Rush Off Drugs.bmp

After emerging from a self-imposed exile in which he was treated for an addiction to painkillers, Rush Limbaugh returned to the air yesterday. Listeners who tuned in during the first few minutes of his radio show would have been forgiven if they thought they were hearing an Oprah-style self-help session.

"I have to admit that I am powerless over this addiction that I have," Mr. Limbaugh, speaking from a Manhattan studio, told his listeners, just after noon on the East Coast.

During a 16-minute opening monologue, Mr. Limbaugh, who has spoken in the past about the need to jail more drug abusers, instead borrowed liberally from the teachings of 12-step programs like Alcoholics Anonymous.

At times, he said, he even pretended that he did not recognize the names of painkillers mentioned by callers.

Though the early segments of his three-hour show were devoted to what Mr. Limbaugh had learned about himself in treatment, he still took time to practice his stock in trade, advancing the message of the right and lambasting the left.

"Many people feel and think that when you go to a rehabilitation center for addictions or other things, that the people in there turn you into a linguini-spined liberal, and that's not true," he said.

Among the problems with liberals, Mr. Limbaugh said he had discovered, is that "they don't like themselves."

Mr. Limbaugh said there was only one subject he would not talk about on the air: news reports suggesting that he had acquired drugs like the painkiller OxyContin without a prescription and that the matter was now the subject of an investigation.

Thursday, November 20, 2003
"Marijuana-Related" Death Cited
Victim Chokes on Plastic Bag of Pot

FORT WORTH, Texas -- an Associated Press report carreid by Salon Magazine says that a man changing a flat tire choked to death on a bag of marijuana he had stuffed down his throat in an apparent attempt to hide it from police who stopped to help him, authorities said.

Officers were unaware that the victim had drugs when they spotted him on the highway in Corinth, about 45 miles northeast of Fort Worth.

The driver, Nickolas Sandoval, 24, was pronounced dead at a hospital. Cause of death: "asphyxiation due to aspiration of plastic bag," according to a spokeswoman for the Tarrant County Medical Examiner's Office.

Sunday, November 16, 2003
UCLA Study Says Treatment Alternative to Jail Works

California's three-year-old addiction-treatment initiative finds that more people are getting help instead of being sent to jail, according to a UCLA 5-year study published in the latest edition of the journal Under California's Proposition 36, first-time, nonviolent drug offenders are sent to a treatment program rather than jail or prison.

The study found a sharp increase in the number of admissions to treatment programs in several of the state's major counties: Kern County, 27 percent, Riverside County, 21 percent, Sacramento County, 17 percent, and San Diego County, 16 percent.

San Francisco was the only county not to see an increase, because it already was using an ambitious diversion program for first time drug offenders.

The study says that existing drug programs are running into challenges with offenders with additional problems, such as mental illness, disability, or homelessness.

The study "Treating Drug-Abusing Offenders" was published in the October 2003 issue of Evaluation Review (Vol. 27 No. 5).