Mandating Drug-Testing of Unknown Validity while removing the procedural safeguards of forensic drug testing: The plan to Introduce Laboratory Developed Tests into Mainstream Healthcare

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Chain-of-Custody refers to the document or paper trail showing the collection, control, transfer, analysis and disposition of laboratory tests.  It is the written documentation of a specimen from the moment of collection to the final destination to the review and reporting of the final results.   The multi-part chain-of-custody form or “custody and control” form is part and parcel of this process. It contains stickers to sign and seal the specimen so that it cannot be tampered with and the form itself is signed by the appropriate parties as the test specimen travels from place to place. Information is added to the form as it travels from person to person.  It has been given the status of a legal document as it has the ability to invalidate a specimen with incomplete information.  Once the sample is analyzed it is reviewed by a Medical Review Officer (MRO) for final review. In the case of a positive test it is the responsibility of the MRO to ascertain an intact  chain-of-custody, determine whether an alternative explanation exists for the positive test such as a prescribed medication, and then and only then report the test as a “true positive.”

The MRO looks for what are called “fatal flaws” and,  should one be present, invalidates the test.  A fatal flaw requires the test be rejected as it were never drawn.  It invalidates it and it cannot be used. screen-shot-2013-12-19-at-12-20-46-pmAny and all drug testing requires strict  chain-of-custody procedures. It documents not only the whereabouts of the specimen at any given time but the management and storage of the specimen. This is important because time and temperature can influence the results of certain tests.  One such test is alcohol.

Specimen integrity is critical in forensic drug testing, but so too is the integrity of the people involved.


Forensic Versus Clinical Drug Testing

According to the ASAM White Paper on Drug Testing, clinical drug-testing “employs the same sound procedures, safeguard, and systems of information management that are used for all other health-related laboratory tests, tests on which life-and-death medical decisions are commonly made.”  In the box below they describe the multiple safeguards in place and requirements demanded of “forensic” drug testing but do not mention the reason these uncompromising and multiple specifications exist is to protect the donor from a false accusation of drug or alcohol use.  They proceed to define “clinical drug testing” as “part of a patient examination performed for the purposes of diagnosis, treatment, and the promotion of long term recovery” noting that clinical testing “must meet the established standards of medical practice and benefit the therapeutic relationship, rather than meeting the formal legal requirements of forensic testing.”  The authors then state that the “majority of drug testing done today” includes both forensic and clinical elements using individuals on parole and probation as examples.

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From the ASAM White Paper on Drug Testing

The logical fallacy here is striking.  It is comparing apples and oranges.  After detailing the specific quality assurance safeguards designed to prevent the donor of a drug or alcohol test from being falsely accused of illicit use, the authors give a general  definition and purpose of  “clinical” testing  then state that when testing for drugs the systems in place are up to snuff as they are already being used to make  “life-and-death medical decisions.”  The take-home message is that “forensic” testing is unnecessary hyperbole designed for legal challenges. The clinical lab  systems in place are used for critically  important testing and can therefore be used for drug-testing–after all, parolees and probationers don’t require it.

Forensic guidelines were developed in collaboration with occupational and environmental medicine specialists, clinical and forensic toxicologists, pathologists and others and the recommended  requirements agreed upon by this consortium exists solely to  assure validity and accuracy in the testing process.  These requirements exist to protect the donor and If the “clinical” testing context fit the bill then “forensic” testing would not have evolved.

Labs ordered clinically in the course of patient care are interpreted within the context of multiple other pieces of data.  Lab errors occur all the time and are interpreted in that context. Oftentimes a lab will not fit with the clinical picture and, when that happens, a repeat lab is ordered for verification.  Specimens get collected in the wrong tube and specimens get lost but in the clinical setting they simply get reordered and there are no consequences to patient care.   In contrast drug testing is an all-or-none one-shot test and the results have consequences. It is for that reason they must be valid.  Chain-of-custody and MRO review are critical and that is why most drug-testing programs follow the forensic protocol.  And the example of non-forensic drug-testing  parolees and probationers is misleading.   Any Employee Assistance Program that has a union or some other group looking out for their best interests uses strict “forensic” guidelines.   Parolees and probationers have no power  and have no choice.  Besides, the  National Association of Drug Court Professionals uses the Laboratory Developed Tests these same people introduced to test  individuals on probation or parole in the criminal justice system just as they do in the PHPs.

The  ASAM White Paper:

 “Encourages wider and “smarter” use of drug testing within the practice of medicine and, beyond that, broadly within American society. Smarter drug testing means increased use of random testing* rather than the more common scheduled testing,* and it means testing not only urine but also other matrices such as blood, oral fluid (saliva), hair, nails, sweatand breath when those matrices match the intended assessment process. In addition, smarter testing means testing based upon clinical indication for a broad and rotating panel of drugs”

As a physician-patient relationship renders drug testing “clinical” rather than “forensic” the consequences become “treatment” rather than “discipline.”  And that is the real reason behind all of this.    A positive “forensic” test in most employee random drug screening programs today will result in an “assessment” for substance abuse.  Most EAPs allow a choice in where that assessment takes place.  The model this system is based on, Physician Health Programs. do not allow choice as evaluations are mandated to “PHP-approved” assessment centers; a rigged game.

A positive “clinical” test will result in the same thing under the ASAM White Paper proposal.  But the assessment will be at an ASAM facility and if a Substance Use Disorder (SUD) is confirmed it will result in mandated abstinence of all substances (including alcohol) and lifelong spirituality involving 12-step recovery   And by using the healthcare system as a loophole and calling this testing “clinical” rather than “forensic” the ASAM will have successfully introduced widespread testing of a variety of Laboratory Developed Tests (LDTs) of unknown validity while removing  the safeguards provided by forensic testing including chain-of-custody and MRO review.

 

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Anatomy of a Forensic Fraud: The Reality of Drug and Alcohol Testing

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The juxtaposed documents in and of themselves reveal a number of red flags.  How does one “revise” a chain-of-custody”?    If you do a google search you will not find “chain-of-custody” as an object of the verb revise. It is an oxymoron.  A document or opinion can be revised.  A chain-of-custody, by its very definition, cannot.  This collusion to fabricate a positive test has coined a new oxymoron—“revised chain-of-custody.”     Go ahead and look it up. It is a novel one.     As it should be.

What these documents show is, in fact, indefensible ethically, procedurally and legally.  The first document signed by Dr. Luis Sanchez, past President of the FSPHP and past Medical Director of Physician Health Services, Inc.  (PHS) was sent to the Board of Registration in Medicine on December 11, 2012 and is notable for two statements.   The letter from Dr. Sanchez asserts that “Yesterday, December 10, 2012, Physician Health Services, PHS received a revision of a laboratory test result,” but it did not matter because PHS was {unaware} ” of any action taken by the Massachusetts Board of Registration in Medicine as a result of the July 28th, 2011 report.   However, based on the amended report, PHS will continue to disregard the July 21st PEth test result.”

The second document, addressed to Dr. Luis Sanchez, is dated October 4, 2012 (67 days earlier) and shows the first document to be a bald-faced lie.

On July 28h 2011 Dr. Luis Sanchez reported to the Medical Board that I had a positive alcohol test.

Although I knew that Dr. Sanchez had fabricated the test I  had no way of proving it. I requested the “litigation packet,” which records “chain-of-custody” from collection to analysis in August of 2011.  At first they  refused.  PHS then tried to dissuade me (“it will be costly, involve attorneys, etc). Finally they agreed but threatened me with “unintended consequences.”

I was finally able to get a copy of the “litigation packet”  in December of 2011.  Remarkably, it  showed that Sanchez had requested my ID # and a “chain-of-custody” be added to an already positive specimen. I reported this to the Board but they ignored it. I also filed a complaint with the College of American Pathologists.Screen Shot 2014-11-06 at 11.17.32 PM

On October 23, 2012 Sanchez reported to the Medical Board that I was “noncompliant” with requirements with A.A.  meetings that I was supposed to go to as a direct result of the positive test and my license to practice medicine was suspended as a result in December 2012.

On December 10, 2012 I contacted the College of American Pathologists who told me the test was “amended” from “positive” to “invalid” on October 4, 2012. I confronted Sanchez and PHS and they said they did not know anything about it.

The following day, December 11, 2012, they sent out a letter saying that the test was invalid but that they were “unaware of any action taken against my license as a result of the test.”  

The documents show that on  July 19th, 2011 Sanchez requested my ID # 1310 and a “chain-of-custody” be added to an already positive specimen and on October 4th 2012 the test was “appended” to “external chain of custody not followed per standard protocol.”

Please note again that  Dr. Sanchez stated on December 11, 2012 that he “just learned” about this on December 10, 2012. He reported me to the Board as “noncompliant” on October 23, 2012 and my license was suspended in December 2012.   These documents show he had full knowledge that the test was invalid and as an agent of the Board this is under “color of law.”   Both he, and PHS, need to be held accountable for this.

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Lies, Lies, and More Lies

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The contradictory documents from Sanchez alone constitute a crime (withholding information in concealment and providing false information to a state agency).  But what he did is far far worse.

I just obtained the October 4th document. Although I knew it existed, PHS suppressed it and refused to acknowledge it.   But in response to a complaint I filed against PHS and the labs it was revealed by USDTL that the test in question (phosphatidyl-ethanol) was not sent as a “forensic” specimen but collected as a “forensic” specimen, then changed to a “clinical” specimen at the request of PHS Program Director, Linda Bresnahan.   The specimen was kept at the collecting lab (Quest) for 7 days as a  “clinical” specimen, then sent to the analyzing lab (USDTL) with specific instructions from Quest to process it and report it as a “clinical” specimen.  PHS then used it as a “forensic” specimen by reporting me to the Board of Registration in Medicine and  requesting I undergo an evaluation for alcohol abuse.

As a “clinical” specimen it is rendered “Protected Health Information” (PHI) and thus under the HIPAA Privacy-Rule.   So with the help of the College of American Pathologists I requested my PHI from both Quest and USDTL. Quest refused (for obvious reasons) but USDTL complied.   And that is how I was able to obtain the October 4th document revealing that Dr. Sanchez lied to the Medical Board.     I would love to hear him, or PHS MRO Wayne Gavryck, defend the indefensible (and unconscionable).

Dr. Sanchez is correct when he pleads ignorance of any action taken by the Board as a result of the July 21st PEth result.   It was his report to the Medical Board  that I was “noncompliant” with attending AA meetings (that I was supposed to go to as the direct and sole result of the positive test)   that he reported to the Board just two weeks after the October 4th appended test.

The test was sent as a “clinical” specimen intentionally. PHS is not a clinical provider but a monitoring agency. They cannot send clinical samples.   But since clinical samples are “protected health information” and under HIPAA the lab had to give me the records and here you have them.

The distinction between “forensic” and “clinical” drug and alcohol testing is black and white.  PHS is a monitoring program not a treatment provider.  The fact that a monitoring agency with an MRO asked the lab to process and report it as a clinical sample and then used it forensically is an extreme outlier in terms of forensic fraud.  The fact that they collected it forensically, held it for 7 days and changed it from “forensic” to “clinical” to bypass strict “chain-of-custody” requirements  deepens the malice.  The fact that they then reported it to the Board as a forensic sample and maintained it was forensic up until now makes it egregious.   But the fact that the test was changed from “positive” to “invalid” on October 4th, 2012 and Sanchez then reported me to the Board on October 23rd 2012 for “noncompliance,” suppressed it and tried to send me to Kansas for damage control makes it wantonly egregious.   (they didn’t think I’d ever find out).

Add on that the fact that I’ve been questioning the validity of the test since day 1 and they violated the HIPAA Privacy Rule over and over and this is reckless and major health care fraud.

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Fax from PHS to USDTL on July 19th, 2011 asking that my ID #1310 be added to an already positive test and a “chain-of-custody” be “updated”

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USDTL complies with PHS request to and adds my ID #1310 and a date of collection (July 1, 2011) to an already positive specimen

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No date of collection, no unique identifier linking specimen to me. Multiple “fatal flaws.”

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I file complaint with CAP January 12, 2102. CAP forces USDTL to amend test from “positive” to “invalid” which they do on October 4, 2012. PHS conceals this fact until December 11, 2012

Letter from Chief of Toxicology at MGH–Ignored by PHS, USDTL, and the BORM         11:5:12-Dr. Flood Letter–Ignored by PHS:USDTL:BORM

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A Golden Age

BY TIMOTHY STEELE

Even in fortunate times,
The nectar is spiked with woe.
Gods are incorrigibly
Capricious, and the needy
Beg in Nineveh or sleep
In paper-gusting plazas
Of the New World’s shopping malls.
Meantime, the tyrant battens
On conquest, while advisers,
Angling for preferment, seek
Expedient paths. Heartbroken,
The faithful advocate looks
Back on cities of the plain
And trudges into exile.
And if any era thrives,
It’s only because, somewhere,
In a plane tree’s shade, friends sketch
The dust with theorems and proofs,
Or because, instinctively,
A man puts his arm around
The shoulder of grief and walks
It (for an hour or an age)
Through all its tears and telling.

Timothy Steele, “Golden Age” from Sapphics and Uncertainties: Poems 1970-1986. Copyright � 1986, 1995 by Timothy Steele. Reprinted with the permission of the University of Arkansas Press, www.uapress.com.

Source: Sapphics Against Anger and Other Poems (1986)

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Disappointed that his grandiose proposal to test the urine of half the U.S. population for illicit drugs was declined in the 1980’s, Bob realizes such a large swath was too tall an order. Acknowledging that his dream of lifelong urine drops for each and every one of the riffraff at least once a fortnight will take time, he decides to focus his attention on specific subsets of the great unwashed such as school-children, welfare mothers, the unemployed and whatever they are calling Hippies these days.

The Addiction Medicine Control Machine

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In his 1969 novel The Wild Boys, William S. Burroughs writes “Under pretext of drug control suppressive police states have been set up throughout the Western world…. The police states maintain a democratic façade from behind which they denounce as criminals, perverts and drug addicts anyone who opposes the control machine.”

15 years earlier Dr. Ruth Fox formed the New York City Medical Society on Alcoholism. This organization subsequently became the American Medical Society on Alcoholism and eventually the American Society of Addiction Medicine.    The goal has always been to convince the medical establishment that 12-step recovery is the one and only treatment for alcoholism and drug addiction.

Unable to convince the medical establishment of this they decided that a better tactic would be to impose it on them.

And through propaganda, misinformation, lobbying, misleading public relations, and myriad other machinations used to promote a static ideology and suppress anything that contradicts, detracts, or otherwise not fit their world view as a product of themselves, they have admittedly succeeded.

This  includes creating a  “medical specialty” that requires neither knowledge nor competence.  Like Grimm fairy tale number 98, Doktor Allwissend (Doctor know-All) in which a poor peasant becomes a famous medical expert by declaring himself so ( by dressing like an expert, brandishing an ABC book with a rooster on the front, and having a sign painted with the words ‘I am Doctor Know-All’ and nailing it above the door to his house), the ASAM has “faked it til they made it.”

To make this point I sat for the exam with absolutely no preparation in 2010, passed by a respectable margin, and was “board certified” in addiction medicine. ABAM “board certification” is not recognized by the American Board of Medical Specialties (ABMS).  It is a “self-designated” medical specialty which means exactly what it sounds like.  “I hereby declare myself..”

Except for a year of psychopharmacology research, some MRO work, and “moonlighting” at local mental health facilities I have no education or training in addiction yet I was able to join the ASAM fold—–an exercise somewhat like showing how easy it is to buy a gun at Walmart.  The analogy does not end there however as they can both be “licenses” to kill.

Like  an NRA wallet card I never intended to use it.  I let it lapse so there is no need for the ASAM to revoke it.    It was in effect an  “academic exercise” to make a point-and that point being that I am no “expert” in addiction medicine and neither is 4000 of me.

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By proclaiming themselves the cream of the crop, bestowing phony “board certification,” and creating the myth of expertise at the expense of the real experts and lobotomizing evidence based thought and critical thinking they have created a monopoly of despotism in addiction medicine treatment.  The ASAM and FSPHP  have created a tyranny in regulatory medicine that is unsupervised and opaque.  Moreover, they have grand plans for the rest of the population. They have influenced the DSM-V, are trying to gain control of MRO education and regulation, and pose a great danger to all of us.  This front-group for the 12-step assessment and treatment centers and the drug and alcohol testing industry is indeed fulfilling Burrough’s prediction of a police state.

They have money and and a monopoly of force by number (they outnumber Addiction Psychiatrists by 4:1) and the risks of this unqualified authoritarian control and influence involve all of us as a society.  And it impacts freedom, life, and liberty.

Alarmist call to arms about the dangers of drugs and hidden addicts protected by others and posing danger to create untrue hype is propaganda and misinformation to further the ASAM drug-testing 12-step inpatient rehab agenda and gain control. Drug war sloganeering designed to get everyone aboard. Logical fallacy, deceptive facts, pseudoscience, and misinformation is obvious if anyone cares to look a little deeper. The conflicts-of-interest are immense. The ASAM and FSPHP are front-groups that use ends-justifies-the-means coercion and deception to get public recognition of the righteousness of the twelve steps of recovery.

Neither doctors nor US citizens should be subject to the whims of a religion based political group composed of unqualified, inexperienced, paternalistic and biased individuals who are truncheons of dogmatic ideology and refuse to accept evidence based treatment, transparency, and accountability as important. ASAM board certification is not recognized by the ABMS. These are self-proclaimed specialists–great pretenders.   Underneath is a Potemkin village.  The emperor is bereft of all clothes.

The problem is that regulatory agencies, politicians, medical boards, and others have bought into the lie. Most people take them at face value resulting in the perception that they are indeed experts in addiction medicine and they are well on the way to becoming the only experts in addiction medicine. Within the next couple of years this will become a reality. The ASAM will shortly gain ABMS specialty certification. They are well funded.

The addiction psychiatrist subspecialty has already being pushed into a corner. Some have even joined in in rather than fade away–kind of like what happened to the proctologists as the gastroenterologists moved further up. But that analogy doesn’t quite work  as gastroenterology swallowing proctology represents an advancement in science.  Medicine, like all of science is fluid. What they represent is frozen.  Additionally it’s a lucrative gig.

This situation is more like the anti-vacciners parading themselves as experts in immunology and gaining enough support to run out the real McCoy.

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 Pseudoscience, groupthink, deception, and coercion. A framework not built on the scientific method, evidence based decision making, autonomy and benevolence; but based on unproven ideological dogma, righteous inflexible worldview, rigid rules, obedience, and control. Drug testing of all physicians will be done by ASAM, FSPHP physicians. They will demand prohibition, testing, and treatment and will be in complete control. Even with 100% specificity and sensitivity there are valid arguments against this. But if you throw in the corruption and other issues that are obvious if one looks, then medicine as we know it is going to be lobotomized by dabblers and clowns.

It will come in a whimper not a bang and by then it will be too late. The goal of the ASAM has been to be recognized as the “experts” in addiction medicine ever since The American Society of Addiction Medicine (ASAM) was started by Dr. Ruth Fox in the 1950’s to promote AA and the 12-steps to doctors as a treatment for alcoholism.

PHP’s function to monitor and control. . Mandating coercive 12-step ideology onto physicians is SOP. The marked rise in physician suicide over the past decade is directly correlated with the FSPHP taking over state impaired physician programs. And the “kill em all let God sort em out” logical fallacy of saving doctors and protecting patients is propaganda with no evidence base.

This system, that encourages referring doctors confidentially for evaluation, is a nearly foolproof means to silence any physician they feel the need to. An accusation of substance abuse is made relatively easy. Then recommend an evaluation to one of your own people who will confirm the problem and force them into a 5 -year monitoring program where you must abide by the twelve step road to salvation.

By colluding with a short list of inpatient drug treatment centers such as Hazelden, Talbott, Marworth, Farley, and others where co-conspirators there will engage in “confirmatory bias” and “confirmatory distortion” to make the assessment fit the diagnosis they have a nearly perfect system to remove any physician from practice. It is “political abuse of psychiatry.”

 

In the former Soviet Union during the Khrushchev-Brezhnev era, the KGB used its forensic psychiatric institutions to brand, arbitrarily and for political reasons, large numbers of political dissidents as suffering from “schizophrenia” and “paranoid psychosis” and then incarcerated them for long periods in “special psychiatric hospitals.” In 1976, the Soviet Union was severely censured on this account by psychiatrists from all over the world at a conference in Hawaii of the World Psychiatric Association. Only after Gorbachev’s rise to power were these errors rectified. We have now discovered that similar practices have also occurred in certain parts of China.”1– Jia Yicheng (China’s top forensic psychiatrist), 1998

 

 

Well to quote Zoolander “Earth to Mathilda” it’s occurring right here in the U.S. of A. but they have substituted “substance use disorder” for “schizophrenia” to delegitimize, marginalize, and ignore.

The ASAM claims an 80% success rate. If you look at the data they are basing this on it is illusory–sloganeering and propaganda with no substance.

The biggest obstacle is that this system allows them to throw the normal rules of conduct under the imperative of a higher goal assumed to trump all other consideration. Those outside of the FSPHP, ASAM system either defend or ignore the reports of ethical and criminal violations, complacent in their trust of these “experts” claiming they are just helping sick doctors and protecting the public.

The ASAM and FSPHP are gaining power and expanding in scope. They have effectively muscled forth the “war on drugs’ agenda to further their goals by establishing a system that of coercion, control, secrecy, and misinformation. The first wave was substance abusers, they then added any psychiatric diagnoses, then the disruptive physician”, and the next target is the “aging physician”.  Goodbye Dr. Welby.

The testing of physicians will inevitably include EtG and PEth—tests that Alabama PHS Director and ex-felon Greg Skipper introduced, proselytized, and brought to the drug testing industry like a carnival huckster. Introduced as  Laboratory developed tests (LDTs) to bypass FDA approval and regulation this junk science was commercialized, marketed, and paraded as scholarship.  Introduced with an arbitrary cutoff point of 100 it ruined countless lives.  God knows how many suicides were caused by this prohibitionist profiteer.

A 2011 study revealed that hand sanitizer alone can result in EtG levels c lose to 2000 ng/ml.

Dr. Skipper and Robert Dupont, are now recommending PEth as a confirmation test for an elevated EtG.

The evidence base is empty. Anecdotal reports supporting these tests and mostly done with Skipper as a co-author are essentially all that exist.

The June 2013 journal “Alcoholism: Clinical and Experimental Research”contains an article coauthored by Skipper and DuPont , Greg Skipperand Robert Dupont looking at 18“subjects” who tested positive for EtG and concluded that “positive PEth testing following positive EtG/EtS results confirm recent drinking.”Although they were unaware of it, these “subjects” were physicians enrolled in the Physician Health Program.

This is a system that oppresses physicians and is about to enter the domain of individual freedom, destroy the Bill of Rights, force 12-step philosophy and erode freedom of religion, stifle freedom of speech, and take us back decades.. They have convinced medical societies, medical boards, regulatory agencies, parole boards and others to not only accept them as experts, but to write legislation in states to declare them “the” experts in addiction medicine. They did this with a torrent of strategic lobbying efforts on behalf of the 12-step addiction treatment industry towards the AMA (and indirectly through the FSPHP towards the AMA), ABMS, APA, FSMB, ABIM, JCAO, CSAT, consumer groups, presidential candidates, state medical societies, congress, corrections agencies, social service agencies, faith-based community centers, the media and many other targets.

By convincing others of their expertise they have strategically placed themselves in a position of power that includes the ability to remove any doctor from practice.

“With one arm around the shoulder of religion and the other around the shoulder of medicine, we might change the world.”-Twelve Steps and Twelve Traditions, AA World Services, Inc (1953).

And unless something is done soon, every physician in the US will be at risk of losing everything at the whim of of a 12-step front group that places ideology above evidence base and dogma above virtue.

Claiming success they now want to bring it to you. Take a look at Robert Dupont’s keynote speech before the Drug and Alcohol Testing Industry Association.  Prohibitionist profiteers euphoric about the future bumper crop of clear cups and urine. “Test em all” Dupont wants to include schools and children in the net.  Reminiscent of the Nuremberg rallies he received a a thundering standing ovation.    And for this to happen all you have to do is one thing-nothing.

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