tv Opioid Epidemic Panel at Politicon CSPAN November 24, 2018 10:01am-11:00am EST
about opioid addiction in the u.s. and then joe biden presenting constitution liberty medals to former president george w. bush and laura bush. then chief justice john roberts talking about the importance of an independent judiciary. host dr. drew pinsky, secretary of state alison lundergan grimes, and chris christie talked about the opioid epidemic from the politicon in los angeles. this is one hour. mo'kelly: we are going to get started. thank you for coming out for this important conversation talking about the opioid epidemic. let me do some quick introductions because i think it will be prudent given the status and stature of people on stage today. this is in alphabetical order by first name, not any preference.
on the far end is secretary alison lundergan grimes, the youngest in the nation serving the bluegrass state of kentucky. she is also one of the only remaining the statewide elected female democrats in the south. she appears on msnbc, fox, the new york times. and cnn. please welcome secretary grimes. [applause] mo'kelly: and directly to my right is governor chris christie, served as the 55th governor of new jersey, former presidential candidate and former u.s. attorney for the district of new jersey serving as chief federal law enforcement officer. he has been lauded for turning around the economy while simultaneously shrinking the size of state government. a round of applause for governor christie. [applause] mo'kelly: dr. drew pinsky is a diplomat of the american board of internal medicine and the american board of addictive medicine, former assistant clinical professor of
psychiatry of the school of -- he is widely and affectionately known as dr. drew and hosts a in los abc -- kabc angeles. let's welcome dr. drew pinsky. [applause] and finally johann hari is the author of the new york times book, chasing the screen: the first and last days of the war on drugs. his last book became an instant bestseller, uncovering the causes of depression and the unexpected solutions. his work has been featured in leading periodicals worldwide and named a newspaper journalist of the year by amnesty international twice. let's give it up for johann hari. [applause] i am mo'kelly, host of the mo'kelly show here in los angeles. thank you for coming out. [applause] mo'kelly: as i see it, and i probably have it is wrong, there
is a legislative aspect, political dynamic, and there is a medical portion to all of this. dr. drew, let me start with you. how do you characterize or even put into context the scope of this epidemic? dr. drew: it is massive. i have been complaining for 15 years. i found footage of me on larry king screaming after he's later died,- heath ledger screaming you don't understand the prescribing going on. this is a tsunami that will wash over us. that is happening now. the battleship has turned a bit, we are improving things. there is a lot of debate what the solutions ought to be, but if you want to see a chronicle of how this went down, the book dreamland chronicles it perfectly. we set pain as whatever the
pain -- pain and pain management. doctors were criminally prosecuted for inadequate treatment of pain, drug companies work publicity is an imperfect storm -- and a perfect storm developed. travesties that continues is that, when you add an opioid. painkiller with anti-anxiety medication, that is lethal. my peers continue to do this to this day. number two, we are making unbelievable mistakes with treatment and how we manage these patients that we have turned into attics. -- addicts. we tell them they are bad patients and they go to heroine. china has brought us the fentanyl and they are dying that way. that is the overview. mo'kelly: as a former law enforcement officer, talk to me about the burden this places on the criminal justice system as far as people treating you with addictions and abuse of the
painkillers and so forth, and are we doing enough in terms of -- dr. drew talked about the criminality of doctors involved, but doesn't seem like that is the focus. of the criminal justice system. drew pinsky -- dr. drew: doctors are being prescribed -- prosecuted for not prescribing enough medicine. i was living through this. a patient would come in with pain, you had to send them to a pain management doctor because it was liability. outside of malpractice, criminal liability of reckless negligence for inadequate treatment of pain was massive. that is how we got here. i am sorry. gov. christie: listen, in our state, and i hope in majorities of states now we will start to turn the criminal justice system away from prosecuting the addict. this has been a holy absolutely
ineffective stance to take. if someone is a drug dealer and profiting from this, we will have plenty of jail cells for them. in the federal and many state addicts were being arrested for possession and thrown in jail for mandatory minimum times with no treatment. prison and wee in would release them and wonder why there were still addicts. they were still getting drugs in jail. they smuggle drugs into jails, state and federal prisons. what we have done in new jersey is now for first-time drug offenders who are not dealers, we don't have any jail any longer. it is mandatory treatment, mandatory treatment. what we have seen in our state has happened in the last three years since we have done that is we closed two state prisons. two of them. [applause] gov. christie: what we did, we
turned that into a treatment facility, a state run prison that is a treatment facility run by an outside group that is expert in treatment and when inmates are in their last year of their sentence, you have -- who have documented drug or alcohol abuse issues, they get transferred to this prison, and they get intensive treatment for a year afterwards. the criminal justice system needs to turn its focus and national security system needs to turn its focus on china. if you think opioids, prescription opioids and heroin have been a nightmare, we until fentanyl takes over here because people don't have any idea of the deadly nature of this drug. it is being laced into marijuana and other drugs.
it is absolutely deadly, and the chinese, in my opinion, are waging war on us by putting this fentanyl into our country. dr. drew: i agree. gov. christie: law enforcement has got to get its focus off the everyday person, stop making moral judgments. it is not a moral failing, it is a disease. dr. drew: let me say people with this disease behave in ways that make you think they are immoral. that is a manifestation of the disease. that is the disease being manifest. gov. christie: this reminds me of the aids crisis. we made moral judgments, it was the gay plague. mo'kelly: what about the crackdown of the epidemic? gov. christie: that was not my analogy. the point is the aids epidemic was not dealt with because we made moral judgment of people getting aids. we said, this is they are engaged in activity we don't approve of as a society in the
late 1970's and 1980's, and we weren't going to focus on it. it wasn't until magic johnson and ryan white became public, contracted aids, not as a homosexual man but heterosexual man and as a young child. people started to march. i'm waiting for the opioid marches. the reason we don't have that is because we are so stigmatized that families don't want to admit they have a problem. we don't want to front the fact they have these problems because they think we will judge them as bad mothers and fathers, bad husbands and wives. until we get over that, even though i think dr. drew is right, we will never turn it to the amount we need to until we get people permission to ask for help. in the aids epidemic, we destigmatize aids, got everyone to turn it from a fatal disease to a chronic disease. mo'kelly: there was a big bipartisan push, they termed
-- that went through the short , answer is we will throw money at this problem and have packages that will come into the country, to governor christie's point about the international influence, but politically there seems to be a lacking will, yet the president has yet to sign it. what are you hearing on the ground on a political level that tells us where we are moving in a legislative sense? sec. lundergan grimes: when you look at addiction, it knows no socioeconomic background, knows no political affiliation. if you look at this room, i would venture to say out of every row, there are three addicts among you or someone who knows one. in the commonwealth of kentucky we are ground zero for the addiction epidemic especially when it comes to opioids. i would agree with dr. drew in terms of how did we get here, this became the crisis it is -- the national health crisis that we see, the public health
system recognizing in 2017 because we had the big pharmaceutical companies going after low income, low educated folks for pain management here . then big pharmaceutical companies complicit in overprescribing folks, and black markets being flooded. people in the commonwealth of kentucky, who are hard laborers, working men and women, they are going down in the coal mines, these were folks treated with something that was a prescription supposed to be a cure-all, and there is still media and advertisement being done to tell everyone there is a prescription for every problem you have. we need to recognize that we haven't deviated from that course of action and people believing if you have a problem, there is a prescription that will solve it, and not realizing on the other end is the addictive cycle. for me, this is personal. i have addiction in my family. i have employees i have hired
that have come out of addiction successfully. even with the crackdown at the federal level, more and more we need a president to sign the bill. the crackdown we have seen at the state level in the commonwealth of kentucky, and i know new jersey as well, we have gone after the big pharmaceutical companies and made it harder for people to prescribe in clinics without a licensed physician. we are still second in the nation, only to west virginia, in terms of people dying from opioid overdoses, and it is involving fentanyl and heroin. we have slowed down the doses in -- overdoses in the eastern part of the state but in the urban part of the commonwealth, we are seeing overdoses and deaths involving fentanyl and heroin only continue to rise where we are twice the national average in terms of people dying in my very state. the crisis has not been solved.
the -- i think every family, not just in the commonwealth but in the nation is afflicted, and it is something we need to have more attention to. simply throwing money at the problem will not solve it. mo'kelly: i think you know addiction inside and out as for a someone being the foremost authority on it. what are we missing in this conversation as far as treatment of addiction or identifying it or contextualizing it for america more broadly? mr. hari: for me it was personal. one of my earliest memories is trying to wake up one of my relatives, and i was unable to and too young to understand. as i got older, i realized we had addiction in my family. when i started doing research eight years ago now, i think one of the reasons why the debate about the war on drugs and addiction is so charged is we have both parts of it running through our hearts. everyone has someone they love that has an addiction problem,
has a voice in their head saying someone should stop you. why are you doing this? another part, you can see this person needs help. so i want to go all over the world, 30,000 miles, sit with the leading experts in the world on this and people that have been affected. i went to the countries that adopted the most brutal policies and places -- in arizona i met with some women gone on a chain gang saying i was a drug addict while people made fun of them. in vietnam i met people in forced labor camps, and i went to places that adopted the most compassionate policies, like portugal and switzerland. we have to learn from the places that have succeeded. one country had a horrific opioid crisis and now does not. we will get to that in a second. they made a very strategic choice, and a hard choice.
the most surprising thing was to realize how much i had misunderstood the addiction i have seen in front of me. we have been told this story for 100 years, it has become part of common sense. if i took the next 20 people to walk into this room and injected them all with heroin every day for a moment, and at the end of the month they would all be addicts, for the simple reason, the chemical in heroine, their bodies would start to desperately physically need. they would have a hunger, be hooked because of the chemical. there is some truth, chemical hooks are real, but it is a small part of the picture. this was discovered in the 1970's by a man i got to know named in vancouver called professor alexander who experimented and opened up a different way of thinking about addiction that led to changes. he explained to me the story we have in our head that addiction is caused by the chemicals in the drug comes from a series of
experiments done in the 20th century. they are simple experiments and you can try them at home if you feel sadistic. take a rat, put it in a cage, give them water or water laced with heroin or cocaine. will almost always prefer the drug and will always kill itself quite quickly. professor alexander says if you put it alone in an empty cage. what would happen if we did this different way? put heaven for rats with lots of friends. they have lots of friends, sex, cheese, colored balls. anything a rat needs to be happy, and they have water bottles, normal water in the drug water. this is a fascinating thing. at rat park, they don't like the drug water, they hardly use it, none use it compulsively or overdose. so 100% compulsive use when they don't have the things that make
life meaningful to none when they do. there are lots of human examples playing out across the country. the thing i learned from this, the opposite of addiction is not sobriety, but connection. [applause] mr. hari: where are the opioid deaths happening? a professor did research and referred to as the depths of despair, not a coincidence they are highest in the places where suicide and anti-prescription use is the highest. we have created a culture where for many people the deeper psychological needs are not being met. i don't want to talk too long. one place they have solved to this. mo'kelly: if you took in 15 years to get to this point and we have used the crack epidemic as a guide, that would be -- was a generational scourge
where you had generations where you had other generations of kids born, crack dependent. how we going to travel the same path with opioid dependency? dr. drew: the one piece of his story is the mice they were using in those were genetically bred to be alcoholic. mr. hari: that is not true. not bruce alexander but others where it was -- they were bred that way. that is not what i am talking about. dr. drew: the difference between somebody becomes dependent on a drug, where i can make you all dependent and somebody who wants to get off the dependency and goes for a couple days withdrawal and is changed forever by result of that exposure, that his addiction. it is genetically based. i have treated 3000 in my career, 0% where i couldn't see piece.etic criticalft out, a ingredient in our country, connection is the ingredient that is missing.
in my world, if you have bad enough addiction that you need to see me, there is a 100% probability you had childhood trauma. childhood trauma causes people to exit the frame of connection and be unwilling to kobach. -- go back. the means by which a normal human develops the capacity for emotional regulation, and the conundrum for the opioid addict is they are unregulated, how you solve that is by reentering connection with other humans. brains heal other brains. if you have that connection sustained over time, it is a complicated issue in what that needs to do, but there are mutual aid societies constructed to enhance that connection and motivate and develop it over years, that connection is what heals the regulation and helps people manage this thing that has been called addiction. you have childhood trauma with
emotional dysregulation, and you have the genetic disorder addiction that is activated, and you must address both problems. connection is the means. governor christie and i agree on how to outreach. >> about 50 years to get out. dr. drew: always intergenerational, so there is a big component to this. i hate comparing it -- i was working in the crack epidemic as well. we were doing our best or that. it is such a different kind of addiction. it is a binge problem -- it is much different than treating, so it people start comparing the two, i am like -- mo'kelly: the comparison more about how we as americans had a lack of empathy for crack addiction and seemingly more for opioid. dr. pinsky: i don't know that is true. i didn't experience that myself. gov. christie: i do not see it
either. there has not been until very recently a lot of empathy for opioids. it happened when the numbers of deaths climbed over 50,000 a year. it happened because there was such a huge volume of death it started to touch in places that had not been touched before. gov. christie: -- dr. drew: everybody knew somebody. mo'kelly: it was a cnn highlight -- headline. it depended upon where you live. mr. hari: it was a cnn headline that said the innocent face of addiction, a young, blonde white woman. she developed an opioid addiction. i wanted to say, they were all innocent faces of addiction. [applause] mr. hari: one thing we have to talk about it let us talk about places that have ended opioid crises. switzerland had a massive opioid crisis in the 1990's. horrific dystopian images,
people injecting in public parks. and in switzerland -- for the swiss people, this was shocking partly because they don't have ghettos, and switzerland got a new female president. one of my heroes. she explained to swiss people, when you hear the word legalization, what you picture is anarchy and chaos. what we have now is anarchy and chaos. we have unknown terminals selling unknown chemicals to unknown criminals, people in the dark. what she proposed was legalizing heroin. i will show how it worked. if you had a problem you were sent -- it wasn't like in the switzerland there was not a fair when i'll. -- heroin aisle. you work assigned by your doctor to connect.
i went to the one in geneva. you have to go in at 7:00 in the morning. swiss believe in getting up early. you go, given your medication, not the stuff you buy on the street, you cannot take it out, you will be watched the nurse when you use it, then you leave to go to your job. they give you massive amounts of support to get work, housing, therapy. for childhood trauma you may have experienced. one of the things that was fascinating to me -- you know how many people have died in the 15 years? zero, not one person. you know how many in the illegal system died? more than 80%. think about what they do. they give people the drug they are addicted to and support to deal with the pain that made them become addicted. the core of addiction is her life is too painful. you can see what our approach of punishing and shaming is a disaster.
it does not work. by inflicting more pain it makes the addiction worse. one last thing about the swiss program, -- two things, they will give you any dose except one that will kill you. there is never pressure to cut back. when i was there it was 13th years ago, a handfull had been on from the start. almost everyone does cut back. i remember saying to the therapist, why are we told the drug takes you over, you want more and more -- she looked at me like i was dumb and said, their lives get better because we help them. if their lives get better, they don't want to be alone. -- you understand why people are turning to painkillers, you have to understand why they are in pain. that includes psychological pain. swiss people are conservative. most of them make donald trump look like gandhi. swiss people, after they saw this for two years, they voted
70% to keep heroin legal properly -- partly because crime felt so much. deaths drop. we have got to stop copying cases that have disastrously failed and -- failed and have rising cap addiction -- epidemic rising. mo'kelly: in a previous conversation, we were talking about medicare for all. there are a number of examples of foreign countries, how they are doing better in israel or in germany. mr. hari: they are doing better everywhere when it comes to medicare. mo'kelly: that leads to my question. the cynic says there is too much money and profit involved in either prescribing opioids or treating opioids that here in america we are not about the business of healing americans. we are about perpetuating the problem for profit. regardless of what anyone else does, if there are legislative answer -- is there a legislative
answer which addresses what he was saying? sec. lundergan grimes: man, they are doing things right in switzerland but i don't that happening. i don't see us legalizing heroin here in the united states. for myself and the commonwealth of kentucky, it began with a series of statewide roundtables talking with veterans about how we could help them with ptsd conditions they were suffering. or the cancer patient receiving treatment and had horrible side effects, or the child with seizures. it was a bottle of pills they were waving in my face saying we want to get off of these. if i had access to medical marijuana, i believe my vision would not be going from having to take these opioids. for me, trying to legalize something that doesn't have the addictive properties heroin does, it is a battle.
in the states that have legalized medical marijuana, a recognized opioid addiction is a way into that compassionate care program. we have seen, not only the number of painkillers drop that are being prescribed, but we have seen the number of deaths drop 25%. if i could go to one less funeral out of four, that is one family i wouldn't have to worry about literally not being able to pull themselves together in the commonwealth of kentucky. for me, it is not so much the legalization of heroin and copying switzerland. it is let's do what kentucky farmers can do, what we have the barns and grass built for, and that is grow crops people are already profiting off of. and by 2020 it will be more jobs we are offering an united states than manufacturing. [applause] gov. christie: secretary, we
have medical marijuana in new jersey and we have had it for nine years. i do not have to go to new york. in the entire time i was governor we had medical marijuana. we didn't find the same correlation the secretary is alluding to, in new jersey. we didn't find a decrease in opioid deaths, and the program has been going on for nine years. it was signed into law before i became governor. i was to administer it. it has helped mostly our veteran community has been helped significantly by it, but what we see during that entire time and i don't know it is causal. the opioid crisis has been growing for a long time, but we have seen no decline and we have been an active marijuana state.
crisis has been created by the medical profession themselves. dr. drew: this is the second epidemic we wasted. the same mistakes the exact same thing, same mistakes. gov. christie: it is easy to blame the pharma companies. i think it is the right thing to do. but i cannot just blame them because they don't write the scripts. the doctors do it. >> it is not like we get paid for prescribing. mr. hari: i respect you have sincere intentions in this, but it is missing an important part of the picture. this is blaming the for mr. i loathe but i want to give you a historical example.
in britain, where i'm from, in the 18th century, loads of people were driven out of the countryside into these disgusting urban slums, like manchester in london. there was an outbreak of something called the gin craze. it was an enormous outbreak of alcoholism. there was a famous painting from the time, a woman downing a bottle of gin while her baby falls out the window. look at what happened at the time. what people said was look at this evil drug, gin and these people who peddle this. if only we could stop these evil people, this crisis and go away. now when we look back on it, we we know it cannot be gin. anyone can buy it and while we have optimism, we don't have massive alcoholism and people falling out of windows. what changed? gin is more available now. what changed was pain and distress.
there are manifestations of pain and distress across the board. this is a profoundly lonely society, but we have been taught to value the wrong things. we are deeply financially insecure but all sorts of problems across the board. that is creating a great deal of pain, and people are looking for anesthetics to that. big pharma who i hate and loathe, there are many things about this i think they should be condemned and sued for. if they had never existed, there was still have been this epidemic. it would have taken a different form, and it would have been less harmful. i am not dismissing the real harm. you mentioned the crack epidemic. we know now looking back it was too simplistic. where did it happen? places distressed and traumatized.
we look back-- we should tell people to just say no, punish the evil, evil drug dealers. we know it was a manifestation of distress, people needed help. it is too simplistic to focus on the chemical. we have to look at why people are turning to the chemical. one last point, look at where it is happening. people on the faculty of harvard have much better access to opiate-based painkillers that people in rural kentucky or, new hampshire. why is there little of the addiction in the faculty of harvard and so much in west virginia? because their lives are harder and worse and in more pain. we have got to deal with these people. [speaking simultaneously] >> it needs to be accountability. >> to me, what he says, it goes without saying what he is talking about. i don't disagree with anything he is saying except i will make two points. when we were forced by california to get chronic pain management education to make
sure we used more opiates, i will never forget the first one i went to, had to go every few years. the head of the program goes, the funny thing about a chronic pain patient, 98% have serious childhood trauma. anyway, lets us talk about about methadone. what? i couldn't believe my ears. i couldn't. the other thing is hidden in the language here, you have got to be careful, you guys are awesome. inadvertently we are moralizing molecules. molecules are molecules. there are no good or bad. whether we use heroine or something else does not make a difference to me. it is all opioid addiction. because we think morally about heroine as a bad molecule -- [speaking simultaneously]
behind it we are talking about you said, you will be astonished to hear this. i am not astonished. mr. hari: a lot of people are. dr. pinski: doesn't make any difference to me. but we have decided, the federal government, that the box is the answer. they are strangely in bed with the company that makes these. my point is yes it can have utility. let's also use heroin, pot, whatever we can to save these people and stop thinking about good and bad molecules. our goal should be abstinence. what is our goal with addicts we want them to be saved. i am interested in having flourishing existence. it is about abstinence and how we can get to abstinence. gov. christie: i think that dr. drew is right. i speak for myself.
there is a place in new jersey called the center for great expectations. it is a private place where young women who are pregnant or just gave birth and are active addicts go not only to make sure their child is taken care of but also help them deal with the underlying childhood trauma they went through that has led to their addiction. and i am a big supporter of that place at places like it because of having to deal with the underlying problem. but we should not just slough off the responsibility of the medical profession here, because there are lots of people, lots of people who have been given their first opportunity at this because a doctor wrote them a prescription. it is not to say they couldn't buy heroin on the street or other types of drugs. the fact is the medical profession in our country
decided, as dr. drew said, they made a conscious decision to point us in this direction. it is part of the mythology surrounding doctors. all of us go to a doctor, you write a prescription, you will be better, and we go ok. if you have that kind of moral authority, you better be careful about the way you execute it. mo'kelly: some housekeeping, we will be taking questions in five minutes. we will not able to get to all of your questions. if you would like to start standing at the microphone, we will try to get to five at each. >> once you have childhood trauma you have two problems. treating the childhood trauma doesn't make the addiction go away. i can make the motivating factors go away, but you have to treat addiction separate from the childhood trauma. if you just treat things
psychologically, you can make things worse in the first six to 12 months of abstinence. mr. hari: in 2000, portugal had the worst in the world. every year they tried the american way more, they arrested more, imprisoned, shamed and stigmatized and every year the problem got worse. and one day the prime minister and leader of the opposition got together and decided to do something really radical, something no one had done for 70 years. they said, should we like asks scientists what they should do? so they said, you go away, figure out what we can to solve this problem, and they got political parties to agree in advance they would do whatever it recommended. the went away, looked at the evidence, and said, decriminalize all drugs from cannabis to crack, everything but, and this is crucial, take
all the money we spend on screwing people's lives up, chasing them, arresting them, imprisoning them, take all the money and spend it on turning their lives around. it is not what we think of as treatment in the u.s. they have some residential so you used to be a mechanic. if you do this for a year, we will pay half his wages, much cheaper than sending him to prison. the goal was to say to everyone, we love you, we value you, we are on your side, we want you back. by time i went to portugal, 14 years since this had begun, the results were clear, best scientific research, addiction down 50%, overdose deaths it
-- down by 80 percent. we can choose to carry on wasting money -- the single biggest thing your money is spent on is the war on drugs. we haven't even mentioned that. your president, one of his biggest priorities is to keep people out. every single prison in the u.s. has a wall around and every single present has loads of drugs you can buy. good luck keeping it out of the 3000 mile border. your money is being burned in a pile that makes the problem worse. [applause] mo'kelly: before we go to questions, give me a quick answer -- we will start with secretary grimes. what needs to happen next so we are not talking off all day? sec. grimes: treatment is a huge part of this, making sure people realize they didn't cause it, they aren't going to cure it alone and not control it alone. the best thing we can do for addiction is give people a job, make sure they have worth again, but i am also about making sure we can end the prescription of opioids we see across this nation but especially in my backyard, the commonwealth of kentucky. that is legalization of
medical marijuana. mr. hari: take the money we spent screwing lives up and turn it around. dr. drew: treatment of addiction shows clearly -- more effective when abstinence is your goal, effective or more than any other professionally managed treatment. it is free. why we aren't any behind that is stunning. we are stigmatizing and going back to medical models, giving opioids to people when there is evidence basis for a 12 step being as effective as everything. mo'kelly: final word to governor christie. gov. christie: destigmatization. they will continue to hide in the shadows otherwise. if you know when you come out of the shadows that you will be
scorned, you will stay in the shadows and avoid society. mr. hari: do you support decriminalizing use? >> you just answered your own mo'kelly: we will have to cut it right there. i want to make sure these questions get answered. mr. hari: you want to destigmatize but -- gov. christie: i have dealt with plenty of bullies and -- you are the intellectual bully of this panel because you think you know everybody and everybody is your friend. this professor is my friend. i don't give a shit -- who your friends are. i don't write about this problem. i don't. i'm not a voyeur.
i have to deal with these problems. [speaking simultaneously] gov. christie: that is very funny. [speaking simultaneously] gov. christie: apologize to a punk like you. mo'kelly: governor, governor. we will go to the questions. keep a degree of civility. we will try. we want questions, not speeches. >> i wanted to know your thoughts on on kratom. to anyone. kratom and its role. in dr. drew: just like every other molecule we should consider it as a therapeutic agent. that is another opiate. it is just another opiate. they are all opiates and have the same biology. they are different from ecology, but -- pharmacology, but it could have some utility. not saying it doesn't. but we continue to say that is a good drug, that is a bad drug,
we will never know. >> related to her question, the >> related to her question, the fda is launching a broad based campaign to ban kratom. i wonder if you could speak to the incentives. >> they set standards for what positions they are allowed to use protected under their evaluation. it takes on average $2 billion to get something through the fda in seven years. maybe they want someone to push it through. i don't know what their mandate is. we don't have the data on that drug. mr. hari: it should be seen in the basis of the wider debate. there has been a lot -- some people know in the 1960's there was research into psychedelic
drugs given to people with alcohol addictions and other addictions. it was all shut down by the nixon administration. the last eight years has been a real awakening of this research. been very promising early results. it reinforces something dr. drew said. there was a study at johns hopkins of chronic long-term smokers. governor christie spoke about this. my mother was a chronic long-term smoker. they took people who were long-term smokers that tried different treatments and give them three doses of this magic mushroom. what they found was over 60% of them had stopped, the most effective smoking cessation treatment we know. [indiscernible] when people take psychedelics, generally they will have something like a spiritual experience. some people have none and some have an intense one.
positive effects of these psychadelics correlate very strongly with how intense your spiritual experience is great you have a very intense one, you have positive effects. meditation, other things, spiritual work because they are so useful. >> every time we get into a topic like this it is if we make it legal, if we make it legal it will be easier. it is not easier when you see the needles on the street for the people that are not doing the drugs. if we are going to help the the addicts, what is the recourse? dr. drew: there being laws and consequences for using helps me help most of -- a lot of people find sobriety when freedom has been restricted.
most in addiction is loss, job, children, health, than people go i got to change this. near death is the most common thing that turns it. but i don't object to trying -- we got to try everything. mr. hari: negative consequences stop people being addicted, there wouldn't be a serious -- single one in the world. what negative consequences haven't -- said in a well-intentioned way. the places that have composed the least does the least, since india and portugal, ended. gov. christie: that may be true. >> this one is for johann. thank you for your first book. i thought it was amazing. in that book you are two models you spoke about earlier for countries that moved forward from opioid addiction, portugal and switzerland. which one do you favor and which you think would be best for the united states?
mr. hari: different places need to experiment with different models. we are so far -- we need to have intermediate steps to get there into it -- anyway. there are some weaknesses and we need to experiment. dr. drew: something we have not discussed, medical literature is deeply flawed for two big reasons. they rely on self reporting, and the timeframe of most medical literature is very short, so you have to refer back to people that have long-term sobriety and treat people in conditions with a timeline of 10 years, not six months. >> this is for governor christie. it is sort of just a general question about serving as governor. the reason why people generally don't like politicians is because you guys talk like salesman, which you have to do to get people sold on an idea to get elected. i am a bleeding heart liberal and i probably always will be. i'm a bleeding heart liberal.
you give me the impression, and you are a conservative republican governor, that you give me the impression of being more real than other politicians. the truth is -- my question is coming right up. the truth is as governor, you have done things that have saved lives and helped people, and you have hurt lives and even taken lives. my question is, and that is the same for any head of government, same thing with obama and trump, so how does your conscience come to terms with that and feel free to use how you fought the opioid academic as an example. gov. christie: i disagree in part with the premise of your question. i don't think anything that i did when i was governor directly took lives from people.
we can probably debate that i guess from a liberal versus conservative perspective. what i tried to do as leader of the state was bring my own personal experience, familial experience that is informed by all of the people you get the opportunity to meet when you are in a position like that who tend to open up to you more than they would to others. because they see an opportunity to talk with someone who might be able to make a difference. so when i was governor, i made over 400 visits to drug rehabilitation centers, and i would do the same thing every time. i would ask them to put a group of folks around the table they chose, and i would sit down and say, tell me how you got here, tell me your experience, how we can help you, what is happening now that is making your life harder. are there ways we can get the barriers out of the way to make your life better? it is amazing the stuff you would learn from those conversations.
in the end, how do you put your head on the pillow when you are in a position like that, knowing not every decision you make is right, and as a result what you saw achieved, maybe the opposite of what you had hoped for, the only way to do that is to know that your heart is pure. it is whatever motivated you was because you thought it was what was best for the people that elected you and that you serve in the state every day. after eight years of doing that, there are things i would do differently if i had the chance to do it again, but that is not the way life works. you don't get the chance to do it again. it is a motivation that helps you sleep at night, not results because they are not always what you wanted. the part about being more real, only thing i will ever say to a liberal about that is i know lots of real liberals too, and you can tell the difference, not
just liberal-conservative but real and baloney. you can tell the difference. in the end, the people we should be electing to office are the people who are real even if you disagree with them because in the end you know where they are coming from. the train has a bright light, you see it, even if you don't like it, you know, the person is real and tell what they think. you don't want people that change their view space in front of who they are front of. it is a good question. >> i'm a psychology instructor. i use dr. hari's work. if you could give us one specific recommendation as a country legislatively, what could we do? sec. grimes: the question was for johann.
sec. grimes: i have spoken about legalizing medical marijuana. it is only a matter of time. i would like to see states embrace it. it will better protect patients in the long run, and make sure the black market doesn't go crazy over it. in terms of the legislative action we can take, you have heard some eloquent comments here today. this is my third year coming to politicon. first time we were talking about the opioid war. this is a conversation that must continue, one that needs to continue to you heard from new jersey how they have taken date --treatment prisons and turned them into treatment centers. why are we not modeling after that?
you heard about dr. drew treating the whole patient great you had johan to you about the other countries. we have to look outside what united states is doing and what each of our own respective states are doing and start trying to take an all in approach to something that is a national health crisis and i would argue an economic and national security crisis. mo'kelly: we are going to have time for one more question. the panelists could be available afterwards, i do not want to speak for them, but we have one more to stay on schedule. thank you. >> thank you, everyone. i have been involved in harm reduction work. i have seen amazing results. amazing results with people who were struggling with abstinence recovery. my question is how can we destigmatize i guess addiction when -- >> we have got to destigmatize the idea of molecule is bad. >> then why is being sober superior to having recreational use? >> it is not for some people.
>> i have friends that have gone from heroin to marijuana, but they still feel stigmatized because marijuana is stigmatized whether it is legal or not. how can we say molecules are not inherently bad and say don't replace heroin with marijuana, just go sober? mr. hari: when it comes to something as complex as addiction, there needs to be abroad menu of options. one of those should be abstinence-based treatment, and that is -- it should not be the only thing on the menu because for most people, abstinence-based treatment is not what they need at the start and for some it is never what they need. you are right. at the moment, the vast majority of places in the united states, the only help you are offered is abstinence-based. dr drew: the opposite now. you are given a prescription. mr. hari: i'm talking about outside prescribed opiates. the fact that for example in the u.s. there are still no
supervised injection sites which have been used all over the world to reduce deaths, that is scandalous. that is one of the most robust pieces of evidence in the whole literature on addiction and injecting drug use. you are doing heroic work. it is not a competition. you are right. we need to have all of these options. people have different needs and need a broad menu of options. mo'kelly: a round of thanks and applause for secretary grimes, johann hari, dr. pinski, and governor christie. [applause] [captions copyright national cable satellite corp. 2018] [captioning performed by the national captioning institute, which is responsible for its caption content and accuracy. visit ncicap.org] >> who was martin van buren?
good question. a lot of people need to ask that question. martin van buren was the eighth president of united states. forgotten his presidency was four years long. ted oner: sunday on q&a, his biography of president martin van buren. >> he spent a lot of time on ehrenberg. -- aaron burr. there were rumors throughout his persistent, that he planted them in his novel. then martin van buren may have been the illegitimate sun of ehrenberg -- aaron burr. we do not know. john quincy adams once wrote in his diary that martin van buren looks a lot like aaron burr. and that's a lot like aaron
burr. and would get southerners northerners and blood alliances. announcer: sunday night at eight eastern. listen to c-span's the weekly print this week part one of a two-part interview with historians. douglas brinkley, edna green and richard norton smith. >> i see him as an andrew johnson like president. meaning someone who has impeachment swirling around him close orne not able to do what the racial divide. >> there is a real animosity between the press and presidents as early as john adams because he is the person who was pushing for this edition act of 1798. what that does is tries to
predict racism of the government and president. announcer: on the free c-span radio app. or wherever you go for podcasts. new congressen the starts in january, there we more than 100 new house and senate members for the democrats will binge on the house, the republicans the senate. new congress, new leaders. watch the process unfold on c-span. announcer: former president former president george w. bush and the first lady laura bush receive a liberty medal.