Drug Policy Alliance Urges Rush Limbaugh to Use Power and Influence to Benefit Hundreds of Thousands of Fellow Addicts Languishing in Prison

Press Release November 17, 2003
Media Contact

Tony Newman at 212-613-8026 or Ariel Kalishman at 212-613-8036

The Drug Policy Alliance supports Rush Limbaugh’s process to overcome his addiction to opiates in private and out of prison, recognizing that the struggle is lifelong and that relapse is common. Now, however, back on the air in front of 20 million listeners, the Alliance is urging Limbaugh to use his life experience as an opportunity to support changes in the nation’s drug laws.

“Rush Limbaugh prides himself on amplifying scandals,” said Ethan Nadelmann, Executive Director of the Alliance. “Well, the real scandal is how many people are in prison for being addicted to drugs. Limbaugh should publicly support drug treatment, not prison, for those like him who struggle every day.”

Yesterday, Limbaugh’s first day back on the air, he said to his listeners: “I’m just like anybody else who has an addiction. I’m powerless over it.” Yet, in fact, he is unlike the vast majority of Americans who are addicted to drugs, in that most of them are punished with a lengthy prison sentence, and do not have access to quality drug treatment.

“Rush Limbaugh should encourage all Americans to be treated the way he or any member of his family would want to be treated if they had a substance abuse problem,” said Nadelmann. “Limbaugh should use his influence with the public and our elected officials to help make our drug laws more rational and compassionate.”

The Drug Policy Alliance argues that all Americans struggling with drug addiction should be treated equally under the law, and that as long as no one else is harmed as a consequence of their drug use, people should not face criminal punishment for what they put into their own bodies. Consistent with these principles, the Alliance urges the media and the public to consider certain key issues as the debate about the Limbaugh case continues to unfold.

A young woman holds a sign that says "End the Drug War."

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