Headline: June 10, 2016 AD
Two honorable Utah firefighters were arrested and charged with illegal drug use after a warrant-less search of medical records.
What is the back story on the Fourth Amendment? Why did our Founding Fathers include it in the Bill of Rights?
Before the outset of the American Revolution British customs officials used “writs of assistance” to search anyone, anywhere, anytime without warrants and without reasonable suspicion.
In the case with which the Framers of the Constitution would have been most familiar, James Otis defended several colonial smugglers against seizures made through the use of “writs of assistance,” which permitted the customs agents to search any place in which smuggled goods might be concealed, even if there was no particular suspicion the goods were there. Though Otis lost the case, no less an authority than John Adams saw the dispute as the spark of the American Revolution: “Then and there was the child ‘Independence’ born.”
The Searches and Seizures Clause may have independent meaning from that of the Warrant Clause. When Congress first considered the Bill of Rights, the text had no mention of “reasonableness.” Representative Elbridge Gerry of Massachusetts said that he “presumed there was a mistake in the wording of this clause; it ought to be ‘the right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable seizures and searches.'” Thus, the Searches and Seizures Clause can be thought of as an independent prohibition on the acts of governmental agents. – The Heritage Guide to the Constitution
Drug abuse is a national problem. It’s an international problem. But, our drug problems have not their genesis in cheap drugs flowing across our southern border. The American drug problem started in the offices of licensed medical professionals: your doctors. Chiefly, the addiction problem lies with excessive prescriptions of highly-addictive opioids. What are opioids?
Opioids are medications that relieve pain. They reduce the intensity of pain signals reaching the brain and affect those brain areas controlling emotion, which diminishes the effects of a painful stimulus. Medications that fall within this class include hydrocodone (e.g., Vicodin), oxycodone (e.g., OxyContin, Percocet), morphine (e.g., Kadian, Avinza), codeine, and related drugs. Hydrocodone products are the most commonly prescribed for a variety of painful conditions, including dental and injury-related pain. Morphine is often used before and after surgical procedures to alleviate severe pain. Codeine, on the other hand, is often prescribed for mild pain. In addition to their pain-relieving properties, some of these drugs—codeine and diphenoxylate (Lomotil) for example—can be used to relieve coughs and severe diarrhea. – National Institute on Drug Abuse
The War on Drugs is a dismal failure. The United States of America now has the largest prison population on the face of the earth, as a percentage of our population and in total. We have more people in prisons than the two largest countries in the world: India and China.
Half (50%) of all persons incarcerated in federal prisons are serving time for drug offenses. Over one million Americans are on probation for drug offenses, alone, not convicted of any other crime.
As the drug problem grows, so do government assaults on individual liberty and so do prison populations. Prison and jail construction are growth industries.
As governments escalate methods and means to thwart drug abuse, our rights diminish. The War on Drugs left unchecked, at some point in time, all our hard-won rights will be but memories. As evidence, I draw your attention to the news story headlined above. Now the feds want unrestricted access to your medical records. You have nothing to hide, you say? Neither did Ryan Pyle and Marlon Jones, firemen in Cottonwood, Utah.
What is the contemporary definition of insanity? Is it not doing the same thing over and over, expecting different results? This describes the War on Drugs.
Tell your U.S. Representative to restrict funding for the DEA. Tell them to address the problem at its root: OVER-PRESCRIPTION OF OPIOIDS
In the Fourth Congressional District of Texas, contact the Honorable John Ratcliffe via his contact form: https://ratcliffe.house.gov/contact/email
If you are unsure who represents you in the House of Representatives, use this link: http://www.house.gov/representatives/find/