Addiction, Pain, and Public Health website
Drug War Statistics
by Alexander DeLuca, June 17, 2004.
Issued and posted 6/17/2004;
DRUG WAR STATISTICS - Table of Contents:
[Full Text of this Article
as PDF] -- [Modern examples
of Flash Trash in table format
Updated! - 2007-05-29]
Flash Trash is a very commonly employed prosecutorial tactic in the War on Doctors, appearing in almost every case, usually when the government attorney announces the indictment allegations in a press conference. Flash Trash is inherently and purposefully misleading; it's purpose is to prejudice the local jury pool while reinforcing the Big Lie of the 'drug crisis' in the general population. The prosecutor bets that no one, especially journalists, will bother to 'do the math' - and this bet almost always pays off. <sigh>
A famous example of Flash Trash is contained in the important Behrman case discussed in the "Historical Antecedents" section of "The War on Drugs, the War on Doctors, and the Pain Crisis in America - Eighty Years of Naked Emperors." [DeLuca, 2004] Dr. Behrman was arrested for prescribing at one time 150 grains of heroin, 360 grains of morphine and 210 grains of cocaine for use "as the addict saw fit." These amounts are not as outrageous as they might seem. Just to put the dosing here in perspective, and examining here only the morphine component of the medication regimen, 360 grains represents near ideal outpatient dosing for an opiate dependent person based on a modern understanding of methadone dose-effectiveness research.
I have no knowledge of Dr. Behrman other than what is written about him in the document by Rufus King in his "Jailing the Healers and the Sick" article [King, 1953] and 1972 book, The Drug Hang-Up [King, 1972b] and in Brecher's 1972 Licit and Illicit Drugs, [Brecher, 1972c] and I do not know what his intentions were. Assuming for the sake of argument that he was acting as a legitimate physician, we could hypothesize that the morphine / heroin / cocaine regimen was part of a detoxification-to-abstinence regimen starting with morphine at, say, 200 mg /day decreasing the dose on a weekly basis, faster at first slower towards the end, switching at some point to heroin (believed at the time to be an effective 'cure' for morphine dependence) and ultimately tapering to abstinence using the cocaine, in the accepted manner of the day, to mitigate the depression and ennui known to accompany detoxification from opiates. This detoxification regimen could be accomplished, given the amounts of the medications involved, in six to twelve months depending of the patients' progress.
For another example of Flash Trash, consider the following sentence from a DEA document entitled, "A Closer Look At State Prescription Monitoring Programs" in the "Scope of the Problem" section by Susan Peine, DEA Program Analyst: "In the last five years of her life, Renee obtained at least 469 prescriptions - 11,684 doses of pills - from 43 Treasure Valley pharmacies under the names of 110 doctors." [Peine, 2003] (Presumable there were many forgeries or did she see two docs a month for 5 years? Your tax dollars at work. <sigh> See the More Examples table, directly below, for an algebraic breakdown of this little gem.
More Examples of FLASH TRASH from Recent Cases in the War on Drugs
DeLuca A. The War on Drugs, the War on Doctors, and the Pain Crisis in America - Eighty Years of Naked Emperors, Addiction, Pain and Public Health website (doctordeluca.com), 2004. (Available: http://www.doctordeluca.com/Library/WOD/WOD-PCA-TOC.htm).
King RB. The Narcotics Bureau and the Harrison Act - Jailing the Healers and the Sick. Yale Law Journal, 784-787. 1953. (Available: http://www.doctordeluca.com/Library/WOD/JailingHealers&Sick53.htm).
King RB. The Drug Hang Up, America's Fifty-Year Folly. Springfield, IL: Charles C. Thomas, 1972b. (Available: http://www.druglibrary.org/special/king/dhu/dhumenu.htm).
Brecher EM. Licit and Illicit Drugs. Norton, 1972c. (Available: http://www.druglibrary.org/schaffer/Library/studies/cu/cumenu.htm).
Peine SI. A Closer Look at State Prescription Monitoring Programs. DEA Report to the Office of National Drug Control Policy, Washington DC, 2003. (Available: http://www.deadiversion.usdoj.gov/pubs/program/rx_monitor/index.html).