Sunday, March 14, 2004
So Many Lies, So Little Time

Our beloved drug czar is one busy little beaver these days. He was at George Washington University this week to preside over of the inauguration of Drug-Free America Foundation's answer to Students for Sensible Drug Policy, namely their new anti-drug reform group Students Taking Action Not Drugs, a group whose stated goal is, "to challenge a growing movement to legalize and normalize drug use on college campuses."

It was probably supposed to be a charming little welcome session however, reformers showed up in droves for the rare opportunity to confront Mr. Walters face to face. DRC Net was there and reports the STAND kids had little to say, but the reformers were relentless in pursuing even a gram of truth from our drug czar.

"You could tell he was scared of us, and he started turning purple," said DRCNet's Dave Guard, who attended the event. "Seriously. It started with red, then shaded over to purple. He was exposed to spontaneous protests, emotional reactions from parents, a room filled with reformers. We hadn't really tried to organize to be there in force; it was just that our people cared," Guard said. "He got hammered by question after scathing question, and he needs to feel that passion against his policies. The event proved to him that he better not tell people where he's going to be because if he tries to take this to the larger community he will be hammered again and again."

One of our favorite activists, caused more than a little bit of Walters' purple rage. To fully appreciate this scene you have to picture her. A beautiful woman of slight stature, who still looks young enough to be one of the students although she's the mother of four. She could not look more sweet and innocent.

Late in the evening, after Walters' long-winded responses to earlier questions prevented her from asking one of her own, Erin Hildebrandt, director of Parents Ending Prohibition, leapt up brandishing a banner saying "Mothers Say Walters Lies" and verbally lit into Walters until she was hustled away by security guards. "Shame on you," Hildebrandt yelled at the stunned and steaming drug warrior. "Your lies are putting my kids at risk."

I'm sorry I wasn't there to see that. Others were however, including DRC's director, Dave Borden who reports on his impressions of the affair and Doug McVay, who has a somewhat positive review on Walter's remarks on methadone clinics posted at

Walters has always expressed support for methadone treatment, and he repeated that support. The ONDCP also supports expansion of access to methadone treatment. He said flatly that attempts to restrict access to methadone were wrong-headed, and that he would oppose such efforts. (His statements, and those of other ONDCP officials contacted for comment, are the subject of a news article in the Roanoke Times, a major newspaper in southern Virginia.)

McVay goes on to say that although Walters needs some educating on the subject, his position on methadone clinics is actually helpful.

Though the sponsors of that bill in Virginia didn't just say "Oh, never mind then," when contacted, Walters is a conservative drug warrior working for a conservative Republican president. By speaking out, he would have given members of the Republican majority in Virginia's legislature political cover to vote against the bill, possibly killing it. This issue is still playing out in other parts of the country, so we may yet get to see what good a drug czar can do.

I hope I live to see a drug czar who does some.


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