One of the people advising Attorney General Jeff Sessions on marijuana policy said doctors should routinely test patients for illicit drug use and be able to force suspected addicts into receiving mandatory treatment, according to a new report.
Dr. Robert DuPont, a former White House drug czar during the Nixon and Ford administrations, was among a small group of participants who attended a closed-door meeting on marijuana policy with Mr. Sessions last month while the Department of Justice weighs what to do with respect to the plant’s legal status.
The details of the Dec. 8 meeting haven’t been made public, but Mr. DuPont detailed his stance on drug policy during an interview conducted by The Daily Beast published Wednesday.
“Drug testing is the technology of addiction medicine, but it’s underutilized,” Mr. DuPont said. “We want [drug screens] to be routine in all medicine. The health-care sector in general should approach addiction in the same way as diabetes, and that includes monitoring. Doctors already check for things like cholesterol and blood sugar. Why not test for illicit drugs?”
Mr. DuPont, 81, made the remarks in a lengthy interview conducted earlier last year while he pitched a proposal called the “New Paradigm for Long-Term Recovery,” The Daily Beast reported.
“Among other things, he proposed giving doctors the authority to compel suspected substance abusers into treatment against their will. Once in treatment, patients could face as much as five years of monitoring, including random drug tests,” The Daily Beast reported Wednesday.
Mr. DuPont was the White House drug czar from 1973 to 1977. He briefly advocated for marijuana legalization after leaving the executive branch, but he became a hardline pot opponent the following decade.
“Decriminalization is a bad idea. Marijuana is not non-addictive. In many ways, it’s the worst drug of all the illegal drugs,” he told PBS’s Frontline in 2000.
In 2010 he helped write a model bill that favored authorizing law enforcement officials to drug test any driver suspected of being under the influence of controlled substances, The Daily Beast reported.
Mr. DuPont was slated to present on the topic of “drugged driving” during the Dec. 8 meeting with Mr. Sessions, according to a leaked photo of their itinerary circulated online last month.
Mr. Sessions “agrees with the Centers for Disease Control that driving while impaired by marijuana is dangerous as it negatively affects a number of skills required for safe driving,” a Justice Department spokesperson told The Daily Beast when asked to weigh in on the doctor’s remark.
Mr. DuPont has direct ties to several drug-testing industry firms, but he denied having any financial motivation in wanting expanded tests, The Daily Beast reported.
Since 2012, eight states and the District of Columbia have passed legislation letting adults use marijuana for recreational purposes, notwithstanding the federal government’s longstanding prohibition on pot. The Obama administration declined to intervene in states that passed their own weed laws, and Mr. Sessions said the Trump administration is still weighing whether it will take the same course.