#279 Outspoken Rush Limbaugh Should Speak Out

Date: Thu, 09 Oct 2003
Subject: #279 Outspoken Rush Limbaugh Should Speak Out


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DrugSense FOCUS Alert #279 October 9, 2003

Syndicated radio host Rush Limbaugh has yet to speak out on
allegations that he illegally obtained and used huge amounts of
prescription pain pills like OxyContin. Conspicuously silent on the
subject now that it affects him personally, Rush has both condemned
drug users and argued the libertarian case for legalization in the
past. Rush Limbaugh’s mixed messages on drug policy are
characteristic of the right wing he vociferously defends.

While bible-belt fundamentalists in the GOP would like to see more
hate and intolerance in the name of Jesus, free market fundamentalists
in the Republican party want to end drug prohibition entirely. So
where does Rush stand? His silence epitomizes the right wing. Big
government legislated morality and laissez-faire economics are
inherently incompatible. Hence the silence. In an Oct. 8th column,
syndicated Chicago Tribune columnist Clarence Page takes Rush to task
for remaining silent on a subject that needs to be addressed by both
Rush and the Republican party he so stridently defends.

Just because Rush chooses to remain silent on an issue that affects
all American taxpayers doesn’t mean you have to. Write the Chicago
Tribune today to let them know how you feel about the war on some drugs.

Thanks for your effort and support.

It’s not what others do it’s what YOU do



The columns of Pulitzer Prize-winning columnist Clarence Page are
syndicated in about 150 papers. Some of them include: Alameda
Times-Star (CA), Atlanta Journal-Constitution (GA), Baltimore Sun
(MD), Beacon Journal, The (OH), Blade, The (OH), Buffalo News (NY),
Charlotte Observer (NC), Daily Journal, The (IL), Dallas Morning News
(TX), Dominion Post (WV), Houston Chronicle (TX), New Haven Register
(CT), Newsday (NY), Oak Ridger (TN), Oakland Tribune (CA), Sacramento
Bee (CA), Salt Lake Tribune (UT), San Jose Mercury News (CA), San
Mateo Co Times (CA), Seattle Post-Intelligencer (WA), St. Louis
Post-Dispatch (MO), St. Petersburg Times (FL), State Journal-Register
(IL) , Stevens Point Journal (WI), The Holland Sentinel (MI), and the
Washington Times (DC).

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Source: Chicago Tribune (IL)

Contact: ctc-TribLetter@Tribune.com


The Chicago Tribune is read by nearly 2 million people every day.
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Pubdate: Wed, 08 Oct 2003
Source: Chicago Tribune (IL)
Copyright: 2003 Chicago Tribune Company
Contact: ctc-TribLetter@Tribune.com


Memo to Rush Limbaugh: Hey, Rush, we’re counting on you, pal. Now that you
might be feeling the hot breath of drug prosecutors on your neck, perhaps
you might speak out for more enlightened treatment of non-violent drug

News reports say that Limbaugh is facing an investigation by the Palm
Beach County state attorney’s office in Florida for allegedly buying
thousands of tablets of the powerful painkiller OxyContin and other
highly addictive prescription drugs from an illegal ring in Florida
between 1998 and 2002. Mike Edmondson, a spokesman for the state
attorney’s office, told The Associated Press last week that his office
could neither confirm nor deny that an investigation was under way.

Limbaugh issued a three-sentence statement on his Web site saying that
he was “unaware of any investigations by any authorities involving
me.” He also promised to cooperate fully ” if my assistance is
required in the future.”

Drug addiction is a disease. It respects no particular race, gender
or political leaning. If someone has an addiction problem and he or
she hasn’t hurt anybody with it, I think treatment will do the drug
user and society a lot more good than throwing the person into the

And I am not alone. Ethan Nadelmann, executive director of the
non-profit Drug Policy Alliance, said in a news release that someone
who was convicted of non-violent drug use “should not face
incarceration or otherwise be punished for what he chooses to put into
his own body.”

The alliance, it is worth noting, showed similar sympathies to former
drug czar William J. Bennett when he announced in May that he will no
longer gamble, following news reports that said the Republican Party’s
high priest of virtues had lost millions over the last decade.

Bennett has always called for tough punitive measures against those
convicted of drug use, even against low-level marijuana users. But,
as for his own favorite addiction, Bennett pointed out rather meekly
that he never said anything in public about gambling.

The alliance also supported Florida Gov. Jeb Bush’s call for respect
and privacy regarding the arrest of his 26-year-old daughter, Noelle,
for trying to buy Xanax without a prescription in 2002. Happily,
Noelle completed treatment in August and a judge allowed her to go
home to her parents.

Unhappily, the same cannot be said for a lot of non-violent Florida
drug offenders who have less money or political power. Instead, Gov.
Bush has cut drug-treatment and drug-court budgets. He also flatly
opposes a possible ballot initiative like the one California passed a
few years ago that would divert non-violent drug offenders away from
prison and into treatment programs.

As for you, Rush, you deserve to be presumed innocent until proven
otherwise, like anyone else.

However this turns out, I cannot help but hope that this experience
has a chastening effect on your drug views. Your past political
commentaries offer a ray of hope. Online searches of your past views
reveal a Limbaugh who seems, uncharacteristically, to have wavered on
the drug issue between the libertarian and authoritarian wings of the
conservative movement.

On Oct. 5, 1995, you insisted on your now-defunct TV show that “if
people are violating the law by doing drugs, they ought to be accused
and they ought to be convicted and they ought to be sent up.”

You also said, with tongue at least partly in cheek, that the
statistics that show blacks go to prison far more often than whites
for the same drug offenses only show that “too many whites are getting
away with drug use.”

“The answer to this disparity,” you said, “is not to start letting
people out of jail … The answer is to go out and find the ones who
are getting away with it, convict them and send them up the river too.”

Ah, yes. Those words may come back to haunt you. I guess I am doing
my part.

However, Newsday columnist Ellis Henican and the pro-drug reform Media
Awareness Project’s Web site (MAPinc.org) cite a March 1998 radio show
in which you, Rush, advocated legalization of addictive drugs the way
we regulate cigarettes and alcohol. “License the Cali [the drug
cartel in Cali, Colombia] cartel,” you reportedly said. “Make them
taxpayers and then sue them. Sue them left and right and then get
control of the price and generate tax revenue from it. Raise the
price sky high and fund all sorts of other wonderful social programs.”

I remember when former Baltimore Mayor Kurt Schmoke, a former drug
prosecutor, advocated that very same idea after seeing how much the
war against drugs had become a war against drug victims.

I don’t remember hearing you say much about that at the time, Rush.
If ever there was a time for you to speak out more ( And I never
thought I would ever be saying that about you! ), this could be it.



Dear Editor,

Clarence Page’s Oct. 8th column was right on target. I don’t think
anyone is going to argue that Rush Limbaugh would benefit from a
lengthy prison sentence for his addiction to OxyContin. While I can
sympathize with Rush’s substance abuse troubles, his past support for
the drug war is hypocritical to say the least. Incarcerating
nonviolent drug offenders cannot be justified from either a fiscal or
public health perspective.

Jail cells and criminal records do not cure addiction. Non-violent
drug offenders are eventually released, with dismal job prospects due
to criminal records. Turning drug users into unemployable ex-cons is
a senseless waste of tax dollars. As long as there exists an unmet
need for effective drug treatment on demand, it makes no sense to
continue the “lock ’em up” approach, an approach that has done little
other than give the former land of the free the highest incarceration
rate in the world.

The tax dollars wasted on incarcerating Americans with substance abuse
problems would be better spent on effective drug treatment. It’s time
to declare peace in the failed drug war and begin treating all
substance abuse, legal or otherwise, as the public health problem it
is. Destroying the futures of citizens who make unhealthy choices
doesn’t benefit anyone.

Juan Costo

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