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Major Studies of Drugs and Drug Policy
Twentieth Annual Report of the Research Advisory Panel - State of California





In previous annual reports the Research Advisory Panel has used the experience acquired during its operation to be critical of the research community and to summarize other problems of drug abuse important to the State of California. In this annual report, the Panel presumes to suggest that the Legislature act to redirect this State away from the present destructive pathways of drug control. The Panel suggests that this legislation be formulated following four principles. First, separately consider the different drugs involved and not consider that there is one massive drug problem; second, distinguish between the effects of drugs and the associated criminal activity; third, design the legislation being aware that these are initial efforts subject to change with experience; and fourth think of "drugs" as including alcohol and nicotine, not as being separate substances.


The Panel presumes to make these suggestions because of the long experience of Panel members in activities relating to drug abuse, both in their role as members of the Panel and also from their comprehensive experience outside of their Panel function in areas related to the effects of drugs, the treatment of drug abuse and societal response to drug abuse.

The.Panel approaches the Legislature differently from most advocates that appear before you. Such advocates have some conflict of interest, but that conflict is not always disclosed nor easily apparent to the Legislature or to the persons themselves. It is not easy or pleasant, but it is essential, to acknowledge that even peace officers and workers in the drug abuse treatment industry (not to mention simple "legalization" advocates) have an interest in maintaining and initiating


[start footnote]

This report represents a consensus among Panel members acting as individual experts. It does not represent policies or positions of the appointing agencies nor have those agencies been consulted during its preparation.

The diversity of opinion and choice of tactics is so great that no Panel member adheres completely to every item herein. One Panel member disagrees with the commentary portion of the Annual Report on the grounds that the legislative recommendations are not within the authority of the Panel as granted by the Legislature. Two members disagree with certain legislative recommendations within the commentary. Their comments are contained in minority reports at the end of this commentary.

[end footnote]


certain practices. With minor exceptions, members of the Panel over the past twenty-two years have had no vested interest in drug treatment programs or sources of research support. Panel members are appointed by different agencies within the State and most receive compensation from their primary employment and are relieved of any tendency to react out of self interest to suggestions for change.

After years of informed discussion and sensing a change in the attitudes of a large fraction of the population, Panel members have agreed that we are mandated as an advisory group to the Legislature to suggest that some legislation be attempted to reduce the damage to society now being imposed by drugs (always including alcohol and tobacco) and by inappropriate societal reaction to drug use.



Edward P. O'Brien, J.D.
Panel Chairman
Appointed by the Attorney General

Frederick H. Meyers, M.D.
Panel Vice-Chairman
Appointed by the University of California

Thomas K. Hazlet, Pharm.D.
Appointed by the Department of Health Services (March 1989)

Luis Icaza, Pharm.D.
Appointed by the State Board of Pharmacy

Nancy C. Miller, R.N. (resigned during 1989)

M. Douglas Anglin, PhD.
Appointed by the Governor (December 1989)

Carmel M. Roberts, Ph.D.
Appointed by the University of Southern California
Designated private university

Donald R. Wesson, M.D.
Appointed by the California Medical Association
Designated professional medical society


David W. Schieser, Ph.D.
Executive Secretary

Brenda J. Crommie


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