April 2017

The Midnight Sun Podcast April 30

For our April 30 episode of Alaska’s most listened to political podcast, we change things up a bit. Casey Reynolds and Forrest Dunbar were both traveling this week so before we took off we recorded something a little lighter than our normal political content. Let us know what you think and don’t worry, next week we’ll get back to the politics.

Bernie Sanders’ Drug Importation Idea has Many Risks.

Throughout my long career in law enforcement, I’ve witnessed the damage drug use can inflict on communities. This leaves me deeply concerned about new congressional proposals to allow the importation

More than 1,000 people end up in American emergency rooms every day because of opioid overdoses and a large percentage of these hospital visits stem from illicitly produced drugs. Cutting off these black-market opioids is vital both because they make up a very large percentage of drugs sold on the streets and because they threaten to hurt people who really do need pain relief.

Rather than cracking down on criminal enterprises selling these substances, some members of Congress are happy to allow personal and commercial importation of medications from pharmacies and middlemen outside the United States.

In short, many of these pharmacies are outright scams. One 2016 study by the National Association of Boards of Pharmacy found almost 10,823 bogus online pharmacies composing 95.8 percent of the websites they studied. While most Americans will probably buy from websites claiming to operate in well-regulated countries like Canada and the United Kingdom, the drugs these illicit websites sell often come from another country and may be counterfeit or adulterated. Unsurprisingly, while it’s illegal to purchase controlled substances like opioids online, there is no way to police all the websites, many of which maintain little more than a post office box (if that) in places where they claim to conduct business and instead operate from less-developed countries.

There’s simply no way U.S. agencies could ever regulate drugs that are outside the FDA’s purview. While importation of opioids will likely still be illegal, the products non-U.S. pharmacies sell may be little more than sugar pills or they could be poisonous substances; there’s simply no way to know and allowing their sale is sure to accelerate an already severe opioid crisis on America’s streets.

Put more starkly, people could die in large numbers if we allow unregulated opioids into the country.

Charlie Cichon, a former law enforcement professional, is executive director of the National Association of Drug Diversion Investigators (NADDI)yl (a powerful and widely abused synthetic opioid) could be scaled up one hundred-fold if we let down our guard. We are in the grip of our most severe drug epidemic since crack cocaine swept cities across America in the 1980s. Allowing medicines to flow unregulated into our country is a recipe for disaster that every public official must work to avert.

It’s true that prescription opioids have legitimate medical uses, primarily for those with severe pain that cannot be treated adequately with non-opioid medicines. However, we’ve also seen a disturbing increase in the abuse of pain medications. These abuses have contributed to total overdoses more than doubling since 2002 and opioid-related deaths quadrupling since 1999. In 2014, the Centers for Disease Control determined that

The Midnight Sun Podcast (April 23)

In the April 23 episode of Alaska’s most listened to political podcast, Casey Reynolds and Forrest Dunbar discuss the state budget gridlock in Juneau, certification of Jim Minnery’s restroom initiative targeting transgender people in Anchorage, why Real ID matters, and a new poll showing how gubernatorial hopefuls might do in their primary races. We are also joined by State Senator Berta Gardner to talk about everything that is happening — or not happening — in the legislature.

Coghill Keeps Promise and Delivers

Senator John Coghill emerged victorious in last November’s election. Coghill won reelection by a solid margin, but it’s also true to say that his campaign was a bruising affair. Most of the bruises came from combined criticism over his criminal justice reform bill, SB 91, and the state senate’s failure to pass the Police & Fire Survivorship bill.

The Midnight Sun Podcast (April 16)

In our April 7 episode, Casey Reynolds and Forrest Dunbar discuss what happened in Anchorage’s local elections now that all the votes are in, what is going on in the state budget and PFD reform efforts, and the state of internet privacy protection legislation. We are also joined by Assemblyman-elect Felix Rivera to talk about what he saw and heard on the campaign trail and his thoughts as a member of the LGBT community on legislators objecting to letting Drew Phoenix serve on the Alaska Human Rights Commission because he is transgender.

Opposition to Lindemuth Confirmation Perplexes

Jahna Lindemuth, Alaska’s Attorney General, faces her confirmation vote on Thursday. Lindemuth will need 31 votes for confirmation. That’s 50% plus one of the combined joint session of the State House (40 folks) and State Senate (20 folks).