Bill Weld on Drugs
Former Republican Governor; former Senate candidate (MA)
JOHNSON: Tightening leads to abuse. The tightening of these restrictions by the FDA ends up criminalizing the activity and these products do kill people.
WELD: You're referring to trying to get less Oxycontin flooding the market?
WELD: That's a good idea.
JOHNSON: The reality is that you end up depriving some people of the real need to relieve their pain so it ends up criminalizing a lot of activity. I wish there were alternatives to the opioids, which marijuana does fill that role, and that would be a safer [way].
WELD: Maybe that's your answer. I think what Gov. Charlie Baker has been working on in Massachusetts [establishing a 7-day limit on first-time opioid prescriptions] is a good model. It's along those same lines.
WELD: The trend which I think is salutary--that society is coming to view people who have serious issues with either narcotics or alcohol, that that is a public health emergency and it's not a status crime which it has been treated as. There's some movement away from incarcerating people for possessory narcotics offenses and treating that as a public health issue. In Massachusetts, for example, women who have substance abuse cases are no longer taken to criminal prison. They're taken to civil commitment facilities. And that's part of, I think, lessening the pressure all around drugs, in getting them out of the shadows.
JOHNSON: Needle exchange programs in states that reduce HIV and Hepatitis C--very controversial, but the bottom line is that it saves lives.
WELD: Boy, I came out for those when I was governor and did I get murdered.
[Helms press release]: WELD SOFT ON DRUGS
President Clinton's nomination of Governor William Weld to be Ambassador to Mexico is bad for America and bad for the Republican Party. It is bad for America because Weld is soft on drugs. He favors legalization of marijuana in some cases and "clean" needle giveaways to drug addicts. Making him the U.S. representative in Mexico sends the wrong message to that country at the same time we are urging Mexicans to get tough on the drugs pouring across our southern border. It is bad for the Republican Party because it highlights the split in party ranks.
In response, Weld went after his opponent, accusing Kerry of funding welfare payments to drug users. "You're not doing the addicts any favors if you're giving them cash," the governor said. Kerry denied the charge.
Weld said his solution to the state's drug problem includes tougher sentences for drug offenders and education programs aimed at seven- to nine-year-olds.
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