Wednesday, 25 November 2015

Can we trust Kevin Sabet

This post is about Kevin Sabet who runs Project SAM (Smart Approaches to Marijuana/Cannabis), can we trust him, I think not, earlier this year did a article on Kevin Sabet where he was caught outright lying about his connections to the Drug Free America Foundation run by Betty and Melvin Sembler, the Drug Free America Foundation is actually Straight Inc where from 1976 to 1993, over 50,000 people were abused until congress shut it down, Straight Inc also had involvement from Robert DuPont who was involved with the NIDA in the 1970s. According to this article from Kevin Sabet was actually caught lying about his time working for the Drug Free America Foundation and Betty and Melvin Sembler:
But just as I was wrapping up my exchange with Kevin, Maia Szalavitz, who I’d spoken with about the whole activist thing, brought up some names I hadn’t heard in a while: Mel and Betty Sembler.
The Semblers are notorious anti-drug crusaders and the masterminds behind Straight, Inc., a drug program so misguided and cruel that lawsuits resulted in millions being paid out to abuse victims. The courts heard terrible reports of young people held on the floor so long that they soiled themselves, sleep deprivation, gagging and more. Despite the horror stories, the Semblers remain key players in the anti-drug movement, although of a very different stripe to the image Project SAM wants to project.
“You know something,” Maia told me, “I’ve always wanted to ask Kevin about when he worked for them…”
So I asked him, and once again got a flat denial.
“I never worked for them,” he said. “I am against the use of any of those techniques for treatment or anything else. DFAF [Drug Free America Foundation, the Semblers’ new project] has nothing to do with SAM—it has zero involvement. No money. No influence. Nada. We agree on some issues, yes, but I think you’ll find we are different organizations with different approaches. And I only became aware of any allegations after a few articles on the subject some years ago.”
Which seemed definitive enough. But then Maia sent me something very interesting: the 2007 DFAF Annual Report, which listed a certain Kevin Sabet as a member of their advisory board in the role of “drug prevention expert.” Sabet was also listed as a member of the editorial board for the journal of the Institute of Global Drug Policy, a division of DFAF.
I reached back out to Kevin to ask, “What gives?”
This time, his answer was rather different.
“Tony, I was on the advisory board along with Jeb Bush, Bob DuPont and others for a few years—that’s all unpaid.”
Robert DuPont was the US “Drug Czar” from 1973 to 1978, and now makes a lot of money running Besinger DuPont & Associates, a workplace drug testing company. He’s also advocated that unhealthy patterns of drug use “warrant ‘stigma’.” Worried perhaps about what would happen to those piss-test profits if marijuana were legalized, DuPont once compared legalizing marijuana to “legalizing drunk driving.”
“And I’ve published in their journal and reviewed for them,” Sabet continued, “as have about 100 other academics. In fact their journal is peer reviewed (blindly) and people like Jon Caulkins and other reputable academics have published in it.”
Just to give you a flavor of the kind of guff that the Journal of Global Drug Policy and Practice has preached, take a look at this study, which comes to the conclusion—contrary to the World Health Organization and every other reputable body—that the effectiveness of needle exchanges in reducing the spread of HIV among intravenous drug users is “overrated,” and that access to clean needles for HIV-positive drug users as the major method for combating the spread of HIV among this population is “not correct.”
Given such claims, it’s little wonder, in light of his efforts to rebrand himself as some kind of anti-pot centrist, that Sabet is now eager to distance himself.
He was quick to add: “That work was 8-9 years ago. I’ve never been an employee of theirs. And they have never given a penny to SAM and there’s no connection between them and SAM. Making any connection between DFAF and SAM or me personally and DFAF would be false and unrepresentative of the truth.”
Making “any connection,” one assumes, except for the whole “being on their advisory board, writing and reviewing for their journal, and doing consulting work at the UN for them under the SUNDIAL moniker” thing. (SUNDIAL was, in effect, a “let’s keep prohibition tough” campaign, built around ensuring that the UN drug laws didn’t change and that all signatories stuck to them.)
“While a student in the mid-2000s I did do some consulting work for them regarding the UN—that’s what SUNDIAL was,” Kevin says. “A project I led for them to support the UN conventions, which I’m proud of. We got 1 million signatories to show support. They along with some other groups around the world supported me to do that…”
I wonder if Kevin was really so “proud” of his work with them, when he refused to even acknowledge it until I sent him the evidence.
Looking at the things DFAF believes, it becomes harder to see Kevin’s shift toward the “third way” as anything but opportunistic. DFAF advocates drug testing all school children, and an approach to “harm reduction” that would shutter needle exchanges and methadone clinics around the country, leading to the kind of public health emergency that hasn’t been seen here since the onset of the AIDS epidemic.
It’s little wonder that Kevin is eager to distance himself from his extremist past—it would hardly endear him to any millennials currently taken in by his “compassionate” schtick.

This proves Kevin Sabet cannot be trusted at all as he has been caught outright lying about his connections to the Drug Free America Foundation.

1 comment:

  1. Glad to see this post- excellent job, I look forward to seeing way more posts on your blog.

    Arnold Trebach, co-founder of the drug policy Foundation did some good work at exposing 'Straight' type outfits.

    But what can be said about the silence regarding such of Ethan Nadelmann and Ira Glasser that now run the DPF's successor organization the drug Policy Alliance/