Vermont Governor is Deciding Whether to Sign on to Legalizing Marijuana

I am in favor of legalizing marijuana–and, in fact, all drugs–and was interviewed for this piece on Vermont Public Radio about my opinion on this issue.

Would decriminalization lead to huge rates of drug abuse?  I doubt it because of what happened in Portugal, where drug use was decriminalized in 2001.  After that, instead of being thrown in jail, drug users were offered access to treatment and rehab. The result was that a decade later, drug abuse was cut in half.  Among Portuguese teens in grades 10 through 12, lifetime prevalence rates of marijuana use decreased from 26% in 2001 to 19% in 2006.  Additionally, the medical problems associated with illicit drug use–such as Hep C and HIV infections–dropped instead of increased.

By legalizing marijuana we would automatically lower the crime rates, lower rates of incarceration (which overwhelmingly affect minorities here in the US–see the documentary 13th (5 star rating by me–must see!)), and could use the tax dollars from drug sales to promote public health programs and drug awareness programs.

I have heard more than once from DEA agents and their surrogates that the war on drugs is a farce, doesn’t work and that they in full support of my call for legalizing drugs.

PS  I think this is where I am supposed to say these opinions are my own and not those of any institution with which I am affiliated.  Done–this is true.


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Search for mental health care for children is often fruitless

The Boston Globe reported our story on its front page this week.  This study was conducted by colleagues at CHA and myself and required scores of hours to make the phone calls, tabulate our data, and then prepare the manuscript.  The paper was rejected by at least a half dozen journals before it was accepted.  So delighted it received this coverage about such an important topic.  As I told a colleague, sadly we were merely documenting what anyone who has ever tried to obtain needed mental health care for a child already knows.

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Is Torture Effective and Can It Be Justified?

Radio interview in Great Britain about torture with discussant Professor Jeffrey Addicott and myself.

Torture only serves to bring us down to the level of our worst, immoral enemies.  It also goes against every international code of ethical conduct and many international agreements we’ve signed.

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Letter to our Patients in Support of Basic Human Rights and Access to Health Care

Colleagues and I have written a letter in support of access to health care and human rights more generally.  Please feel free to sign the letter and, as importantly, forward the letter to all of your colleagues.

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Vote Yes on 4 in MA–Time to Legalize Cannabis

We need to legalize marijuana and begin regulating and taxing it. Here is a piece covering a press conference yesterday morning on the step of the State House in Boston in support of legalizing marijuana.  Marijuana is far from safe–whether someone is underage with a still-developing brain or a mature adult who still needs to drive home–but legalizing it is far overdue.  Do we really want to continue to jail users or have kids see the police as the enemy?



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Do programs to help doctors with substance abuse treat them fairly?

Here is a newly published piece for the Conversation about physician health programs and the ways in which physicians who are suspected of having substance use disorders are treated.

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Time to Legalize Marijuana

See the op-ed here that Sunny Patel and I wrote in the Springfield (MA) newspaper in support of legalization of cannabis.

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Letter in NY Times about Psychologists’ Participation in Torture during the “War on Terror”

The letter can be found here .  The fact that the US engaged in torture–by any international definition of torture– during our “war on terror” will go down as one of our most egregious ethical lapses.  Even calling it a “lapse” is too polite . . . To be blunt:  we have stooped to the level of many of the world’s worst dictators ever.  Black sites.  Beatings.  Stripping naked.  Dowsing with cold water.  Threatening with death.  Waterboarding.  And even killing.

Given that Eleanor Roosevelt helped draft the Universal Declaration of Human Rights that was approved by the UN in 1948, we came full circle in committing multiple crimes against humanity under Bush.  To think that the leadership of the American Psychological Association colluded in this endeavor is appalling.  To know that its Ethics Office–headed by a brilliant JD, PhD–facilitated and lubricated all of these dealings is Orwellian.



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Countering Violent Extremism (CVE)

Co-author Alice LoCicero, PhD, and I wrote a piece in Psychology Today decrying CVE.

We start by asking whether or not CVE is the new Cointel-Pro.  And just what is Cointel-Pro?

“Cointel-Pro (short for Counterintelligence Program) was launched “…in 1956 to disrupt the activities of the Communist Party of the United States. In the 1960s, it was expanded to include a number of other domestic groups, such as the Ku Klux Klan, the Socialist Workers Party, and the Black Panther Party . . . Cointel-Pro was later rightfully criticized by Congress and the American people for abridging first amendment rights and for other reasons” (1).

But if the FBI learned anything from the rightful criticism of its Cointel-Pro, it has since apparently forgotten it.”

You can find the whole piece here.

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Can Trauma Trigger Violent Crime in Mentally Ill?

A piece in US News and World report about mental illness and violence:


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