Jimmy Carter’s first drug czar on the shift from treating to criminalizing drugs
Thanks to my colleague who posted this fascinating 2000 interview with Jimmy Carter’s first drug czar, Peter Bourne, who claims:
– With Reagan came a major federal law shift — supported by people at the DEA — from heavily focusing on treatment for illegal drugs to criminalizing;
– Cocaine is nowhere near as dangerous as claimed by those advocating harsh penalties against cocaine;
– Paraquat was sprayed on Mexican marijuana plants at the behest of the Mexican government, with the U.S. okay to use U.S.-supplied aircraft to do so;
– Paraquat spraying did not cause a health risk to American marijuana smokers, because the Paraquat would have entirely killed off any marijuana it touched;
– Bourne resigned as drug czar — moving later as a U.S. official at the United Nations — prior to the publicized claim of snorting marijuana, and instead to reduce fallout to Carter for Bourne’s having prescribed a sleeping drug in a patient’s anonymous name, which practice he claims was okay for doctors to employ.
I also learned that Bourne, who claimed to remain a good friend with Jimmy Carter long after his presidency, wrote a 1997 500-page book on Carter, and continued to this day working in public health and medicine. Also, the Bourne in Robert Ludlum’s The Bourne Identity comes from Peter Bourne’s name.