A recent New York Times exposé, which revealed just how lucrative drug testing can be these days. The article profiled one young man—now dead from an overdose—who racked up a $260,000 drug testing bill in just a few months while rehabbing at an outpatient facility that routinely charged $2,000 or more per specimen for drug tests, with patients often submitting to drug testing 2 to 3 per week.
DuPont (no relation to the family that founded the chemical company) began his lifelong obsession with human waste in 1969, when the Harvard-trained psychiatrist moved from the National Institutes of Health to the D.C. Department of Corrections. During his time at Corrections, DuPont noticed that many of the inmates placed under his care struggled with heroin addiction. To gauge the scope of the issue, he undertook a study that changed forever how he thought about “the crime problem.”
“I got together a group of unemployed college students,” DuPont explained to Frontline several decades later. “We went down to the D.C. jail with our urine cups, and collected urine from everybody who came into the jail… What we were able to show is that the crime epidemic was directly tied to the rise in heroin addictions in the city. That link was very important to everything that happened afterwards.”
What happened afterwards: The US launched the modern war on drugs, one of the greatest public policy disasters in modern American history. That policy ruined millions of lives, and enriched a handful of entrepreneurs like DuPont.
Perhaps more than anyone alive, Robert DuPont embodies every false promise and failure of America’s oppressive approach to drug policy. He headed an agency (NIDA) that relentlessly cooked the books on medical cannabis research for five decades. He served as Richard Nixon’s drug policy advisor during the creation of the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), a rogue federal agency that has put generations of otherwise law-abiding cannabis consumers in prison. And he almost singlehandedly popularized the “gateway drug” theory of cannabis, which has since been thoroughly debunked.
DuPont even found a few ways to cash in directly drug testing and on the spoils of the drug war.
In 1982, he and former DEA Administrator Peter Bensinger founded Bensinger, DuPont & Associates, a firm that provided drug testing services to the growing number of corporations that felt entitled to scrutinize their employees’ urine during the “Just Say No” era. He also served as a paid consultant to Straight Incorporated, a notorious chain of drug treatment centers that targeted predominantly teenage patients for torture-like “therapy.”
The severity and scope of Straight’s malfeasance is staggering. In the late 1980s, California state investigators received complaints about the company systematically subjecting patients, including many minors, to “unusual punishment, infliction of pain, humiliation, intimidation, ridiule, coercion, threats, mental abuse…and interference with daily living functions such as eating, sleeping and toileting.” Eventually a string of government investigations and civil lawsuits alleging widespread physical, psychological and sexual abuse would lead to Straight Incorporated’s downfall, but DuPont never publicly withdrew his support.
At 81, he serves as scientific advisor for CAM International Ventures, a global company started up in 2013 by several big names from the liquid gold racket. Bensinger, DuPont & Associates lives on as BDA/Morneau Shepell, a consulting firm that offers corporate HR departments a “comprehensive portfolio of solutions” that include drug testing management, and helpline services for employees who are suffering from gambling problems, drug addiction, or other behavioral health issues.
DuPont denies that his financially rewarding drug testing business in any way informs his belief that what the world needs now is more drug testing.
“I find it bizarre [that people] think my interests after all these years were financial,” he told The Daily Beast. “There is a financial incentive in drug testing, but the reason I’m interested in drug testing is that there is an interest from the disease standpoint.”
That’s US Attorney General Jeff Sessions walking out of a closed door policy session, late last year, with a group of longtime cannabis legalization opponents. The agenda of the Dec. 2017 meeting was meant to be secret, but Marijuana Majority’s Tom Angell saw this photo online. Angell enhanced it and caught the US Attorney General inadvertently leaking the details of his own strategy sesh. Third on the agenda: Bob DuPont.
In addition to DuPont, the agenda listed:
- Dr. Bertha Madras, a longtime opponent of medical cannabis in any form.
- Dr. Hoover Adger, who likes to say “medical marijuana is an oxymoron.”
- David Evans, executive director of the Drug Free Schools Coalition. Evans has long argued that regulated legalization “will mean millions more damaged young people,” despite data that clearly shows cannabis use among minors unchanged or decreasing in states that legalize and regulate.
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Colorado Rocky Mountain HIGH Tours will be doing 420 BUD-RUNS from the venue to recreational dispensaries in Pueblo. Limos stocked with Breakfast Burritos, Donuts and non-alcoholic beverages. On board Cannabis Concierge.
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