09/04/22 Roger Goodman

Roger Goodman is a state Representative based in Seattle Washington. Roger is a strong proponent of harm reduction and even legalization of all drugs. Roger ranks as one of the most effective and prolific legislators in the United States. Roger is the main guest on Cultural Baggage

Program: 
Cultural Baggage Radio Show
Date: 
Wednesday, September 14, 2022
Guest: 
Roger Goodman
Organization: 
Washinton State Representative
Download: Audio icon FDBCB091422.mp3
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DEAN BECKER: (00:00)
Well, for instance, it's been too long since we, uh, spoke with our next guest. He's been with us, uh, at least since 2009 and probably before, I couldn't find other indications, but he's a, a representative from the state of Washington, uh, a man who understands the drug war and who is trying to, uh, I don't know, nuance to, uh, diminish the harms of, of this drug war through some of the committees where he serves as, uh, either the head or the, uh, one of the representatives trying to change these laws. Um, I wanna welcome my good friend, Mr. Roger Goodman.

ROGER GOODMAN: (00:37)
Hi Dean. It's good to see you again.

DEAN BECKER: (00:39)
Uh, thank you, Roger. Yeah, I, uh, I, I've been looking a lot at, uh, your neighbor there, uh, through the south that has changed their laws to decrem. And as I understand it, you are contemplating or aiming in that direction. Uh, somewhat, are you not?

ROGER GOODMAN: (00:56)
Yes, indeed. Uh, as you may know, you probably do Washington and Colorado ended, uh, cannabis prohibition 10 years ago now, which is hard to believe. And, um, those experiments are going very well. Um, and we can talk further about that, but, uh, now is the time to look at all the other prohibited substances and, uh, change policy in that regard, Oregon, by citizen initiative, um, they voted to decriminalize the possession of what they call personal amounts. So there's, there's actually a measurement about what's a personal amount and, um, uh, in Oregon, if police interact with you, they simply give you a referral, uh, to go to a treatment assessment. If you don't go to that, you pay a fine, so it's a civil penalty. If you do, it's up to you, you can follow up after the assessment and seek, uh, treatment if you wish or not.

ROGER GOODMAN: (01:52)
And so that was a model that we were looking at in Washington. It was thrust upon us in Washington, uh, last year, 2021 during the legislative session because our state Supreme court invalidated our drug possession statute. It was a case brought where a woman had methamphetamine in her gene in the pocket of her genes. She had loaned those genes to a friend, and when the meth was found, she said, Well's not mine. I, I had no idea that was, and it was true. She was not a, a user of, of meth. And, and so somehow the ended up in her genes and the, the, the court looked at the statute and found that you can't be committed of a crime. If you don't know you're committing it, there has to be an intent element. And so the lack of the, uh, the word knowingly or intentional, uh, in that statute meant that everyone back to 1970, uh, who had been convicted of, of drug possession, simple drug possession and any, uh, substance, uh, all of those convictions were invalid.

ROGER GOODMAN: (02:57)
Uh, and so over the last year and a half, we have now been re resentencing, uh, thousands of people we have been vacating from their criminal records, all of those prior, uh, convictions of drug possession, which means a lot of people have actually gotten out of prison because they had that in their past. And that w because that was their criminal record, that increased the length of their sentence. So, uh, the Supreme court basically dropped a bomb in the middle of the legislative session by invalidating the drug possession statute, and we had to do something. And so I introduced a bill in the house to decriminalize, uh, all prohibited substances modeled after the Oregon, uh, uh, statute. Uh, and we couldn't get it passed because we didn't have votes in the Senate. Uh, we were a couple of votes short. Uh, so what we ended up doing was downgrading, uh, possession, uh, from a felony to a simple misdemeanor, which is really the police don't pay attention to civil misdemeanors.

ROGER GOODMAN: (03:59)
They don't have time for that. And frankly, what the police told us during our debate was that they don't have time for drug possession anyway, takes up a lot of their time. These are people who are not contributing to, uh, you know, pub, uh, uh, community safety problems. Uh, and so in fact, it was ratifying what's going on out there. Um, we put a, we put a deadline, a a, um, uh, an end point on this, uh, for next year. So it's a two year experiment. So in 2021, we enacted a, uh, this downgrading of, um, uh, drug possession penalties to a misdemeanor until 2023. So next year, so this upcoming legislative session is coming, so we're gonna have to do something. And if we don't, it'll go back to what the state's Supreme court ruled, which is that it's, it's invalid and, and there would be no consequences whatsoever, uh, for drug possession.

ROGER GOODMAN: (04:52)
There are a lot of people who support that. Uh, but I, as a lawmaker, I believe we should put something in place, some responsible law in place, uh, and we're going after the decrim, the full decrim option, uh, again, uh, but it'll, it'll be a challenge. We did, um, insert in this, uh, law. That's only lasting for two years, uh, the, uh, inability for police to arrest on the first two times. So when there's a point of, uh, encounter between police and someone who's possessing a prohibited substance, um, they can't be arrested. They have to be given this referral again, and we're building up the behavioral health infrastructure for people who really do need help. So that's the option for them. Uh, and on the third time, then police can arrest. Uh, but the problem is that police don't know how many times this person's been arrested or stopped before.

ROGER GOODMAN: (05:47)
And so nobody's counting. Uh, so in fact, it's sort of de facto decriminalization. Um, but I am concerned that people who need help, aren't getting, getting it. Uh, there's basically two GA, two categories of people who possess and use drugs, uh, people who, who need help, who have a, a, a habitual or dependent, uh, uh, relationship with the drug, and then most others who just need to be left alone. Uh, and so as far as the people who needed to be left alone, that's what's happening. But as far as the people who need help, I actually think they need a little bit more intervention, and we're gonna have to build that in as we reenact to this in the next legislative session.

DEAN BECKER: (06:31)
Okay. Uh, I, I, I like 99% of what I heard there. It's just the, um, the, the fact that certain people may need to be addressed still, um, still frightens me a bit because when given the opportunity, many within law enforcement tend to just run off the rails to take every advantage of that, uh, possibility. And, and again, Roger, I'm in Texas and down here with every stop, what's that smell in the car, you know, on down the line, there is still this mentality that the cops think they're, they're doing God's will, uh, by arresting people, no matter how minor the charge. And, and, and you mentioned something there that, uh, you know, some people buy the number of arrests, uh, you know, third time loser tends to compound your sentence, that sort of thing. And, and quite often, uh, that's abused, uh, certainly around the nation. It is here in Texas. I'll tell you that, uh, uh, third time, uh, spinning on a cop, we'll get you 20 years here in Texas. You know, it's a let let's address this disparity. It's almost like two different nations. Uh, your thought there,

ROGER GOODMAN: (07:46)
Sir, it is well, so, uh, last year 2021 was also a, uh, landmark year in Washington state and the nation on policing reform, uh, in the wake of George Floyd's murder, uh, we and Brianna Taylor, and so many others, uh, UN you know, unarmed, young black people killed by police. We enacted a very broad package of police reforms, um, here in Washington, and the police are not happy about it. Um, but we've had a 60% reduction in deaths, uh, at the hands of police in just one year. Uh, and, uh, but one of the, uh, items we had looked at, cuz we looked around the country, what other, uh, states were doing was, uh, pretextual stops where, where the police will stop somebody and they might smell marijuana. And that they'll use that as an excuse to search or whatever. And then, uh, and many stay a number of states, uh, uh, prohibited that, that you can't just because there's a smell of marijuana arrest somebody or search them .

ROGER GOODMAN: (08:48)
But here in Washington state, marijuana's been legal for 10 years already. So please can't do that anyway, you know, so, um, but yeah, in, in Texas I have to acknowledge it is quite different, uh, from up here in the, in the Northwest. Um, although it's been getting a little bit better, you know, we have to acknowledge that the war on drugs is winding down, even though there are these terrible excesses still. Um, I was elected, gosh, uh, in 2006, I can't believe how long ago it was. I was elected when the war on drugs was still raging and my platform was partly to, uh, to end the war on drugs. No one thought I could get elected. And once the people found out that I was trying to legalize drugs, uh, and a certain regulatory control rather than seed all control to the cartels, the, uh, public got on my side, on my popularity skyrocketed. So I don't think any politicians going to crank up the war on drugs again. Uh, but we do have a long way to go. But up here in Washington state, we're further along than you are down in Texas.

DEAN BECKER: (09:51)
Oh, that's yeah. Uh, hands down true. Uh, my biggest concern these days, um, you know, the guardian newspaper and the observer and all kinds of, uh, first class media is starting to talk very boldly about this need for change, to recognize the futility and the horrors. We inflict on ourselves through this belief in drug war, but one I, I cannot find. And once again, I've tried to contact our newest drugs, our head of the O N DCP, Dr. Uh, Gupta and got no response. Of course, I, I didn't expect one. I've been making that appeal for more than 20 years. Yeah. To, to those at the top, the head of the DEA, uh, attorneys, general, all of those who pontificate, who, who preach the gospel, that drug wars so very necessary to existence for life on this planet. And they will not come on this show. They cannot defend this policy and then address that thought for me, sir, how can I force these people to face that? Well,

ROGER GOODMAN: (10:53)
Couple things occur to me. Uh, first of all, the, uh, drugs ares office, uh, under this president, um, has actually embraced harm reduction, which was heresy before you don't, you don't practice harm reduction. That's, that's not a license to use drugs. You know, uh, you have to be clean and sober and, and, and, you know, none of this, uh, substitutes or handing out needles or safe consumption sites, you know, that's, it's too radical, but, but, but this administration has actually embraced harm reduction. So they have moved pretty significantly, um, on that and on the PRI you know, the, the, uh, the primacy of, uh, treatment of behavioral healthcare for those who have a problem, but they haven't quite acknowledged that the, the libertarian sentiment behind those who should be left alone need to be left alone. They're not bothering anybody else. They're, they're putting something into their body.

ROGER GOODMAN: (11:53)
You know, I eat too much chocolate cake. You're gonna arrest me for that. You know, so this, this libertarian concept has yet to, to get into the, the, uh, government policy, but, but they have, uh, a progressed somewhat. The other thing I'll comment is that as an elected official myself, we just calculated this the other day. I received one email per minute. And so it is really hard for me to respond meaningfully to that many just I'm constantly swimming against the tide. Now, I'm not saying that that's a reason why the drugs are, doesn't answer you and your request to, um, you know, to appear on, on the show. But, uh, it, maybe they can use that as an excuse, you know? Yeah. Um, but yeah, for sure. Why, why would a, an administration want to come on the media and defend a policy that is indefensible, that you have said is the most corrosive policy, the worst policy in the United States since slavery, right? No, no one wants to defend that. Um, and so I can understand why they don't come on, but they probably have some excuse.

DEAN BECKER: (12:55)
Well, yeah. That they'll lose in a heartbeat. That's the, the main reason, uh, I would gut them like a fish. Um, well, uh, I wanted to come back to, um, a couple of things that, you know, you mentioned that, uh, kind of triggered in me, this thought that here in Texas, if you get caught, uh, going down the road, there's four people in the car and there's a, a bag of some drug found in the car by a cop and nobody FSEs up to it. Then all four people get prosecuted for that. And that, to me just seems unconstitutional and crazy as a loon. Your thought to that, sir?

ROGER GOODMAN: (13:36)
Uh, well, I guess there's a conspiracy, uh, theory there, a conspiracy approach, uh, to prosecution that if all four people were, uh, within arm's reach, then they all were quote unquote possessing of the substance. Um, that's a stretch, um, again, here in Washington state, that doesn't happen anymore. If police encounter someone with a bag of anything, they can confiscate it. That is something that we do allow, if it's a prohibited substances, they can confiscate it. But, uh, as to the person in possession, they hand a, a sheet of paper and say, uh, go, uh, go, go get a referral. And that's it. So again, uh, up here, we're, we're a few steps ahead of you.

DEAN BECKER: (14:21)
Okay. Now the last week, I think it was, I spoke with, uh, Howard Woodridge, uh, one of those, uh, founders of the law enforcement against prohibition group. And, um, he was talking about, you had a bill that was in the works that would allow people to have possession of a small amount of drugs being found by the cops and then allowed to keep that same amount, uh, without being arrested or the drugs being taken. Is that true?

ROGER GOODMAN: (14:50)
No, we actually have always included, uh, the ability for the police to confiscate. And that's not because it's a good idea or because you know, that person should be, have his, his substances taken away. It's just politically, uh, and as far as the public is concerned, that's just kind of something we've gotta give, uh, that when there is a point of encounter with police, the, the soccer moms, let's say, you know, those folks who are kind of in the middle of the political spectrum, they'd kinda like to, and it's, we're buying into the drug war ideology here, but they would like to have the substances confiscated. And so that's, that's kind of a give for us. Um, but, uh, the proposal, uh, again, I had introduced this bill to decriminalized possession of what we call personal amounts model after the Oregon statute. I don't like that idea.

ROGER GOODMAN: (15:48)
I don't like a cutoff, an arbitrary cutoff of two grams or three grams or four grams or whatever it happens to be. We heard from a number of people who use methamphetamine, that if they're, uh, that two grams is not enough that when they obtain their substances, they don't just get two grams, they'll get 10 grams because they don't know when they're gonna see their dealer again. Uh, and they want a reliable supply. And so they might have six, seven grams on them. In which case, uh, you know, then they're gonna be arrest, then it's a felony. Yes. So I don't, I don't like those arbitrary cutoffs in Oregon. They put those cutoffs of two grams or three grams, depending on the substance, again, to, to kind of give the public, the voting public, some sense of relief that we're not gonna be allowing possession of huge amounts by individuals.

ROGER GOODMAN: (16:35)
But the reality is if someone possesses a large amount is on them, on their person. And there's probably other indicia of, of dealing, you know, they might have a lot of baggies or they might have scale or, or something like that. Prosecutors are gonna bring a different charge, not possession, but intent to distribute or a deal, you know, drug dealing. And that's separate. That's another matter. Uh, and as you, and I know we, we have to change our drug policies fundamentally, so that there is a market, a, a, a regulated market for all these substances. So there's still this so-called illicit market that we are dealing with. But, um, I don't like this cutoff of what's a personal amount of, what's not because, uh, in reality, whenever there is, uh, uh, interaction with the police, they know whether it's personal amount or whether they're actually dealing.

ROGER GOODMAN: (17:27)
So in the future, I wouldn't introduce legislation with that personal amount. I, I don't, I was actually regretting, uh, that I did that. Um, but that might leave the public a little bit, uh, wary or uncomfortable if you could possess sort of any amount and imagine, and this is what I wanted to, to, to point out the media loves to, to whip up fear. Oh yeah. And cuz that's good for their bottom line. And so they're gonna talk about kids shooting up in the park and, you know, 12 year olds, uh, you know, taking meth and, and, and all this. And so to try to scare people. And so getting rid of that personal amount threshold might open us up to accusations that we're gonna allow people to have as many drugs as they want on their person. Uh, and that might scare people. So that's, that's a consideration we have to take, take into account.

DEAN BECKER: (18:18)
Okay. Um, to, uh, kind of address your thought on the amount of drugs a person might be holding, whether that might indicate, uh, uh, sales or use or whatever. And, and I, I'd just like to say this, that back when I used to travel to see streets of Houston to buy drugs, I preferred to buy a bigger batch so I could bring it home so that I wouldn't be on the street four times instead of once buying a quarter pound or whatever. And, uh, I might carry a scale with me to make sure I didn't get burned when I was buying the purchase. Yeah. So these factors that district attorneys use to indicate that he's a, he's a seller, um, really don't hold any water from my perspective, my, uh, actual life on this planet. Your thoughts. Yeah,

ROGER GOODMAN: (19:05)
Yeah, yeah. I get that. I just, sometimes in the political realm, we've gotta make some, you know, compromises and, uh, I would, uh, you know, in the, in the big picture, if we stop arresting and incarcerating people for possession of, uh, personal amounts, um, most of those people are gonna be people of color. We are going to make great progress in reducing racial disparities in the harshness, the adverse effects of our justice system. Uh, and so I wanna, I certainly wanna move in that direction. Um, you know, I guess we can't go, it has to be incremental and I know that's frustrating, but, uh, I think we can, we can continue to move in the right direction.

DEAN BECKER: (19:47)
No, uh, what Oregon has done and maybe, uh, emulating them and or Portugal, uh, the, the Portuguese have had this scenario in place for, I think more than 20 years now, if I, if I'm not mistaken. That's right. Uh, I, I did a, um, uh, interview with Dr. J GAU. The drugs are, and I'm trying to remember the exact totals, but it was something like, uh, they had 27 overdose deaths in the year 2016 and we had 60,000.

ROGER GOODMAN: (20:17)
Wow.

DEAN BECKER: (20:18)
And, and what that, um, per, per capita, it wound up that they had, we had 73 times as many overdose deaths as the Portugal, under their policy. It, it speaks, um, loudly of the, the need to go in that direction. Does it,

ROGER GOODMAN: (20:37)
It does. It, it's a reflection of the difference between obviously American and Portuguese drug policy, but it's also a reflection of the difference in, in culture, uh, of those two countries, uh, in Portugal. Um, and we have looked at Portugal and actually I'm thinking about taking my committee to Portugal to see. And we, we had the drugs are, uh, the Portuguese drugs are Dr. testify, uh, by zoom on my, in my committee, uh, as, as well as the former president of Switzerland, uh, she testified in my committee, uh, as, uh, to support our decriminalization effort. And it was very compelling, but in Portugal, uh, they have a little bit more of an aggressive response. So they have these dissuasion committees of, uh, experts in the community who kind of put a little bit of a heavy hand on the individual who's been stopped, uh, no criminal consequences, but they're not just gonna give 'em a piece of paper and you all go do what you wanna do.

ROGER GOODMAN: (21:34)
It, it, there actually is some sense of obligation and maybe even limitation of travel, uh, rights and that sort of thing. So, um, the response is more therapeutic, but more, as I said, kind of heavy handed, not criminal. Uh, but the, the issue in, in the United to try to compare the United States with Portugal is that Portuguese society is very, um, uh, I don't wanna say traditional, but very conservative. Uh, the Catholic church has had, you know, uh, uh, centuries of strong influence there, uh, families are, uh, are much tighter and more extended. Uh, and so there's more of a social network, a more of a ability for the social sanction to take place, to discourage someone from, uh, problematic drug use. Whereas in our country, we don't ha have that, that safety net. We don't have that those strong families and that, you know, everyone's kind of out for themselves and they're, you know, they're all, you know, they gotta fend for themselves.

ROGER GOODMAN: (22:37)
Um, and so there might be a challenge there to introduce the Portuguese model in our country, just because of the social structure. Sure. Um, in Oregon, uh, and this is a, this is an issue, a huge issue because it's gonna affect whether what we can get done in, in the next legislative session in 2023 in Washington, the Oregon experiment, which has been, I think it's two years in now, more than that, the pandemic has changed my perception of time here. But, but, uh, again in Oregon, if there's a point of encounter between police and an individual with substances, the substances are confiscated and the person is given a referral. If they don't attend that referral, they pay a fine if they do that's, that's the end of their obligation. And so what we have seen is of those who do again, a referral for treatment, 1% actually pursue treatment.

ROGER GOODMAN: (23:33)
And that doesn't look like a very good number. There're probably more than 1% of individuals who are in public places, you know, on the streets with substances who probably need some help, uh, behavioral health, uh, treatment and other supports. Um, but they're not voluntarily seeking it and that's all that's required. So that, that is an issue that's gonna make it difficult for us to do the same model in Washington, because they're gonna say, oh, well, look at Oregon, it's a failure. Nobody's getting treatment. And everybody's still, you know, out there in public with drugs. The other big impediment for us is the current political environment out of the pandemic came, uh, significant increases in substance misuse, including overdoses, uh, increases in certain crimes, uh, you know, shoplifting, uh, auto theft murder actually related to domestic violence and gangs is up. Uh, and so again, the media is whipping up, oh, crime outta control drugs, outta control, our kids aren't safe.

ROGER GOODMAN: (24:35)
Uh, and so in this environment, it's gonna be hard. Uh, I don't know if we'll be able to get it done, but with the other side saying, you're just gonna make drugs even more available to kids, and there's gonna be needles in the parks and police can't do anything about it. And, and so forth. It it's gonna be a hard narrative to, uh, to counter. Uh, but if you take a look at the polls, very reliable polling in our state, uh, shows more than 60% of the public supports full decriminalization, this model of giving someone a referral, and that's the end of your obligation. So the public is there, but when you get down into the arena in the capital, you know, the dynamics are different. And so, uh, we'll, we'll see what happens, but I'm gonna continue to push, I shouldn't say the word push that drug pusher, but I'm gonna continue to, uh, uh, to, to foster, uh, decriminalization policy.

DEAN BECKER: (25:32)
Well, it, it is quite often, most often the police influencing the politicians that somehow they're, they need these laws to, I don't know, wages their war, but that's, that's, that's beside the point, I guess now I, I wanted to talk about the, uh, the situation with the injection site, just north of your city there in Vancouver. I think they've been at it for 20 years, Ken, uh, with a safe injection site, never had one overdose death, uh, happen within their facility. They've got them at all across Canada. Now, New York has the, a, the very first here in these United States, um, governor Newsom in California, just vetoed a bill, which would allow it, I think, in San Francisco or perhaps even in California. What's your thought on these safe injection sites and, uh, what is the future hold there?

ROGER GOODMAN: (26:28)
Yeah. Again, well, well, uh, so first of all, is the language right? Safe injection sounds super scary to your soccer mom. So we, yeah. Yeah. So you have to, you have to kind of reuse the right words, unfortunately. So we talk about, uh, even safe consumption sites is scaring people. So we talk about overdose prevention sites. These are overdose, which is what they are, they're overdose prevention sites. Yeah. They're also, they're a gateway to treatment for people who otherwise wouldn't have sought it. It's all good. Right? The data is all the research is solid. Um, reduction of use reduction of overdose, reduction of dependence on substances, uh, gateway to treatment children use less because they see it as a medical matter. Uh, the streets are cleaned up. I mean, it's all good. Um, but, um, uh, governor Newsom vetoed the bill, cuz he's running for president and this, if he, they would, the other side would use this every single day, right.

ROGER GOODMAN: (27:26)
That he's like pedaling drugs to kids in the schoolyard. So he knew that he couldn't sign that bill. And he came up with an excuse for, uh, as it was too broad or whatever the excuse was. So that's a purely political matter why governor knew some, a vetoed, the bill, uh, in Seattle, we do have the authority now. Uh, we went through a, a long task force process to create a safe consumption site in Seattle. Uh, and one other site in king county, king county is not just Seattle, but the suburbs. And I actually represent those suburbs. And that's a different matter when you're talking about a safe consumption site in the suburbs, then people get all upset again. Uh, so we're still engaged in this debate, uh, but it's, it's definitely a flashpoint for the opposition, uh, because they can, again, P appeal to people's fears and paint these pictures of these. It's almost like, uh, uh, reefer madness, you know, these demons running around the streets, uh, you know, with needles and, and committing crimes and so forth. So, uh, it's we have headwinds, but we're not gonna rele in our efforts. Uh, we were actually competing in a friendly way with New York city to have the first opened in Seattle ahead of New York. But I guess New York beat us. But again, up here in the, in the left corner of the country, we are making progress, but we haven't quite gotten there yet.

DEAN BECKER: (28:47)
No, I was privileged. Uh, and again, you know, you talk about COVID putting a hole in your timeframe reference. Uh, I think it was three years ago. I was in, uh, uh, Switzerland. I, uh, went to burn. I met with the, uh, gentleman who designed their, their, uh, heroin injection program. Um, I learned that they have, um, provided free heroin for Swiss citizens who signed up for their program, that they have injected this pure heroin, 20 more than 20 million times now with zero overdose death. Yeah. And, and it is the true success of things like that, that I, I wonder why, um, politicians over here cannot accept or embrace this, this obvious, uh, improvement in things by allowing for pure heroin rather than this contaminated fentanyl bull stuff.

ROGER GOODMAN: (29:44)
Yeah. Well, so, uh, years ago everyone had to be clean and sober. No, no drugs at all. Uh, and, and then came this idea of medication assisted treatment, right. Have you heard about medication assisted treatment where you use another type of substance as a substitute to ease someone out of their, uh, addiction? So for instance, um, uh, buprenorphine or some of these other agonists or antagonists for those who are dependent on, uh, short acting opiates, like a heroin. Um, and so what's interesting is that the medication assisted treatment has, uh, has taken hold, but that's because they are pharmaceuticals. They are products that companies profit from, right. And so it's not like they're substituting diamorphine, which is heroin for heroin, they're substituting something they can make money on, uh, for heroin. And so there's a, there's sort of this, uh, economic, uh, imperative there. Um, but there are so many effective ways.

ROGER GOODMAN: (30:50)
So in, in, uh, what I support actually is substituting, um, um, I'm trying to think of the, the name of the drug diamorphine is heroin. Um, I'm trying to think of it. It's a, it's a in a pill form and, uh, you put it under your tongue and it says a sublingual tablet instead of injecting a needle, but it does provide that, that high feeling, but much less harmful, uh, and provides stability to people. So I, I support that idea as to, uh, substitute, uh, the less harmful substance. Uh, but again, uh, we, we get this rhetoric on the other side, you know, how could we be handing out drugs to people? Uh, it just, uh, it's so easy to come up with these soundbites to play to people's fears.

DEAN BECKER: (31:43)
Sure. No, I, I would just say in response, given that, you know, uh, inquiry from the other side that, well, the people that get this heroin, they don't go out hoing, they don't go out shoplifting. Um, they go to school, they go to work, they tend to their children, they have normal lives, cuz they're no, they don't spend the day looking for their next fix or trying to score the money to acquire that fix.

ROGER GOODMAN: (32:09)
Right. There's actually an interesting study out of Scotland. Uh, it was about 20 years ago. Uh, they, they followed about 120, uh, daily heroin users, uh, and O over a long period of time. And they all worked, uh, eight properly lived with their families. Uh, I think out of the 120 individuals, there was one divorce that was like the worst that happened, uh, where, and so you, you never know you're, you're going to the local Starbucks and, you know, your, your barista might be a heroin user. You, you never know, right? Yeah. Because they're, they're able to live their lives, just like people are able to live their lives, popping pills all day. Right. I mean, it's, it's, uh, it's not just these prohibited substances that are altering people's consciousness and people are dependent on there's a lot of legals, more legal substances that people are dependent on. So, uh, we're just a country, uh, pumped up with drugs.

DEAN BECKER: (33:05)
That's certainly true. Uh, well friends, we're gonna have to wrap it up here. We've been speaking with my friend, uh, representative Roger Goodman based there in the state of Washington, uh, Roger, uh, close and thought,

ROGER GOODMAN: (33:16)
Well, it's always good to see you again. Uh, Dean and I, uh, maybe next time I come down to Houston, I can meet with some of the public officials and sway them our way. I'd be happy to do that actually. Um, but, uh, this is a, a long fight. Uh, it began, uh, actually in the late 18 hundreds, right? Uh, the opium, uh, opium laws against the Chinese, and then the cocaine laws against the, the crazed Negro, as they said. And then marijuana was about the Mexicans and, uh, uh, and methamphetamine was about the poor whites, uh, rural whites, not necessarily skin color. We're talking about class warfare here. Yeah. Uh, but you know, we really are, the public is awakening and we really are making great progress. I've known you for almost 25 years and you must acknowledge that we've made a lot of progress, uh, since the, the turn of last century that the drug war is winding down, still causing so much harm.

ROGER GOODMAN: (34:16)
Um, but I think we I'm very, uh, uh, well, I don't know, well, whether we'll end the drug war because there's so much money involved. Right. Um, but, uh, the public is certainly they're way past the tipping point where the public wants to see this end and they want a more responsible, um, you know, medically, uh, uh, proven approach to people who have problematic, uh, drug use and to leave everybody else alone. And, uh, we'll, I'm gonna continue to push for it in my, uh, state. And, um, I hope that we continue to make progress.

DEAN BECKER: (34:49)
Roger Goodman. Thank you, sir.

ROGER GOODMAN: (34:52)
Thanks very much, Dean.