DEA Administrator to Step Down

DEA Administrator to Step Down

photo - Michele Leonhart

Michele Leonhart

The chief of the Drug Enforcement Administration is going to retire.

Michele Leonhart is stepping down amidst a controversy after an inspector general report found that some DEA agents had sex parties in Colombia with prostitute paid for by drug cartels.

Leonhart, who is a hawk on drug enforcement, last year took issue with President Obama’s comments that marijuana isn’t a dangerous substance or is no more dangerous than alcohol.

Some chronic pain patients and advocates have not been thrilled with Leonhart. It was under her watch that the DEA ruled last October to change hydrocodone combination products from Schedule III to a stricter Schedule II.

The result appears to be fewer hydrocodone prescriptions being written and filled which has drawn the ire of some chronic pain patients and providers.

There’s no indication to believe that Leonhart’s resignation will mean a change in the DEA scheduling of hydrocodone.

Those who are working to get marijuana approved were happy she is stepping down. Dan Riffle, director of federal policies for the Marijuana Policy Project issued this statement this afternoon.

“Ms. Leonhart consistently and recklessly undermined President Obama’s mandate that public policy be guided by science instead of ideology. Her resignation will allow the president to appoint an administrator who will rely on the facts rather than ignore them.”

“Most Americans, including President Obama, recognize the fact that marijuana is less harmful than alcohol. Yet, Ms. Leonhart was unwilling to even acknowledge that marijuana poses less potential harm than heroin and methamphetamine.”

“While most of the country has been progressing in its views on marijuana policy, Ms. Leonhart has maintained a mindset straight out of the 1930s. Hopefully her resignation will mark the end of the ‘Reefer Madness’ era at the DEA.”

Leonhart appeared before Congress on April 14 where she had to answer the charges raised by the Inspector General report. The investigation of allegations of misconduct has been underway since mid-2013.

She had a tough day of it, as CNN reported.

 

 

Authored by: Ed Coghlan

There are 4 comments for this article
  1. marty at 5:00 am

    Personally at the age of 63 and living with chronic pain mainly the last 4 years that I would like the choice of being able to try marijuana to help with my pain. I have lived for almost 30 years with Fibro, CFS etc and learned to deal with the pain thru diet and exercise etc. But when you hit my age and joints are bone on bone and you have OA in your back so bad that every step brings a tear to your eyes well it’s time to let us try something else. I am not a drug seeker, I live on 1 pain pill after trying them all. I don’t sell them, I need them!! Chronic pain robs a person of their life

  2. Kurt W.G. Matthies at 1:43 pm

    I couldn’t care less about the sexual practices of DEA agents. My huge complaint about the DEA and it’s ilk is their gestapo-like tactics used against licensed physicians who choose to treat pain with unpopular medications.

    The DEA is responsible for the investigation and prosecution of over 2000 US physicians prosecuted in 2014 for treating pain. Their assumption is that these docs are practicing outside of traditional standards of care, but in truth, standards of care for chronic pain have little to do with efficacy of treatment, and everything to do with limiting access to opioid analgesics.

    The pain management world is upside down. Doctors, under the ‘chilling effect’ of a threat to their license for the adequate treatment of pain must consider “first, make no waves” before they consider “first, do no harm.”

    And the long term harm of untreated or under treated chronic pain is poorly understood by a large majority of licensed medical practitioners.

    If I were to advise the new DEA administrator, I’d say first clean your own house. Get the profit out of prosecution by eliminating seizure laws. And if there’s to be a war on drugs, make it a war on the illicit drugs that cross our borders in record numbers, instead of looking for the easy score of persecuting trained medical specialists who are working to alleviate suffering.

    To whomever is the new DEA commissioner is ask — what kind of care would you want for your mother who suffers from serious intractable pain?

  3. Judi at 5:33 pm

    Ms. Leonhart stepping down will be a win win situation!

  4. BL at 3:55 pm

    Zohydro was approved over the recommendations of the REMS Advisory Committee under her watch. People need to realize that not just one person makes these decisions. Those that have wanted her to resign because they blame her for not being able to get their pain meds, may wish she was back when a replacement takes over her job. In other words, the worst is yet to come.