Friday, June 13, 2008
Obama and McCain on Addiction Treatment
Candidates differ on medical marijuana.
A drug and alcohol policy group has released a study of positions on drug policy by the presidential candidates, concluding that "neither John McCain or Barack Obama can really be considered a leader in the drug-policy area."
In an article published on the Join Together website, author Bob Curley notes that Obama has admitted to youthful marijuana and cocaine use, and McCain has admitted to youthful alcohol abuse. Both candidates are former cigarette smokers, Obama having quit only recently. Curley write that "both appear to have a broader and more nuanced understanding of addiction issues than their White House predecessor."
The article also quotes William Cope Moyers, vice president of external affairs at Hazelden treatment center, who says he has "never been more hopeful that addiction treatment will begin to get the attention it deserves, because we at least have two candidates who are aware of the issue." Obama's admission of drug use is already on the table as a potential campaign issue, while McCain purportedly had an alcoholic father, and his wife went through treatment for an addiction to painkillers in the 1990s.
Senator McCain has been active in efforts to regulate tobacco advertising, and advocates smoking cessation programs in the workplace. At other times, he has advocated tougher sentencing for drug crimes and capital punishment for international drug traffickers.
For his part, Senator Obama supported the Second Chance Act of 2007, which aimed at reintroducing veteran drug defenders to society. He has called for greater use of drug courts and rehabilitation programs in lieu of lengthy prison sentences. He is opposed to efforts to lower the drinking age to 18.
McCain is against marijuana legalization, and opposes the use of marijuana for medical purposes. He said he "would not support medical marijuana because I don't think that the preponderance of medical opinion in America agrees...."
Obama, according to the Join Together article, while not ready to let people grow their own, told a reporter in March that "my attitude is that if it's an issue of doctors prescribing medical marijuana as a treatment for glaucoma or as a cancer treatment, I think that should be appropriate because there really is no difference between that and a doctor prescribing morphine or anything else."