Dr. Scapegoat, I Presume? Gosy Indictment Signals Feds Expanding War on Drugs, Freedom

by Jim Ostrowski

The war on human beings who use, sell or possess drugs (private property), is, from the perspective of reason or morality, dead. Yet, it survives in political backwaters such as Buffalo and in the intellectual backwater of progressivism. The drug war is the classic progressive policy failure. The progressives invented it. They defend it. They sustain it and they prosecute it, while often blaming Republicans for it. 

Since it is a progressive program, progressives can never bring themselves to admit its failure.  Any evidence of its failure is simply reinterpreted to justify even greater force, effort and expenditure.  As I explain elsewhere, progressives have developed a sophisticated system of scapegoats to distract attention away from their policy failures. “Why Progressives Make Bad Journalists,” LewRockwell.com, Dec. 30, 2015. With drugs plentiful and cheap and overdoses rising, the drug warriors have identified a new scapegoat, the medical doctor.

Accordingly, Dr. Eugene Gosy’s office was subjected to a massive raid which allowed the feds to search through thousands of private and confidential patient records. The 4th Amendment was designed to limit such general searches but it is a dead letter in that regard as evidenced by this and other recent cases.

Keep in mind that in the progressives’ system of scapegoating, the scapegoat is always someone or some institution outside the government.  The government itself can never be blamed or that would undermine the premise of progressivism that government can solve all human problems.  Gosy, a private citizen who operates a private business, is perfect. The government school, the institution that basically raises most American children these days, and the place where many young people are first exposed to drugs, can never be blamed although its causal role is obvious.  Nor can we question the progressive state’s role in destroying the family unit that used to raise kids. Kids are now raised primarily by day care, government schools and often a single working parent when she can. The progressive economy hasn’t given working people a raise in decades. The intractable problems caused by the progressives have left many in a state of depression that often leads to self-medication through illegal drugs. 

But never mind. It’s all Doctor Gosy’s fault! 

I have read the Gosy indictment and have a few quick thoughts. Of course, I have no knowledge of whether the accusations are true or false. I expected that the indictment would rattle off instances where Gosy’s alleged crimes resulted in tangible harm to people such as overdoses, suicides or diversion of drugs into the black market and into schools. There are no such allegations. There is only one brief and conclusory reference to “abuse” of drugs but no evidence or details are provided. There are also no allegations that Dr. Gosy was acting as a de facto drug dealer and simply dispensing drugs to people who had no disease that was causing chronic pain. 

There are 114 counts in the indictment. 96 of them involve the alleged improper prescription of one obscure drug called buprenorphine. This drug is used to wean people off of narcotics after they have become addicted. If I understand the indictment, the charge is in part based on the argument that Gosy was only allowed to treat 100 patients for this condition and to evade that arbitrary legal requirement, he prescribed the drug under the rationale of pain management instead of combating opiate addition. As Matt Damon said in “Ocean’s 11,” “oooh.” 

What is striking about the charges is that they involve people who are not medical doctors — the DEA, the FBI and federal prosecutors — sitting in judgment over doctors concerning the meaning of “proper medical practice.” This absurd state of affairs is a necessary feature of the progressive’s war on drugs as exemplified by the fact that many of those first charged with violations of the Harrison Narcotics Tax Act of 1914 were medical doctors. So, with all the talk about liberalizing the drug laws, the Gosy case suggests that the drug war, far from going away as all barbaric and uncivilized ideas should, is intensifying and returning to its bad old days.

All of the charges against Dr. Gosy were approved by a grand jury deliberating in secret that likely heard nothing from the defendant or his lawyers. As I explained in my last column, the grand jury, as a check on the power of the state, has been denuded over the years. The last thing you will learn in progressive government school is about the true history and purpose and powers of juries. That’s because jurors are private citizens whose original function was to check and restrain the almighty godvernment that progressives worship. A simple reform would be to allow the suspect’s attorney to speak to the grand jury before indictment and present the case for a “no bill,” a decision not to prosecute. Yet, the legal system in the progressive era is all about keeping jurors ignorant, passive and afraid.

Jim Ostrowski is a trial and appellate lawyer in Buffalo, NY.  He is CEO of Libertymovement.org and author of several books including Progressivism:  A Primer on the Idea Destroying America.

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