By Rob Kent, J.D.
“It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs, who comes short again and again, because there is no effort without error and shortcoming; but who does actually strive to do the deeds; who knows great enthusiasms, the great devotions; who spends himself in a worthy cause; who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who neither know victory nor defeat.” Teddy Roosevelt
I have been thinking about this quote a lot recently in the context of some current conversations about telehealth and the new methadone rules and about drug policy generally. Comments like “I do not support the use of telehealth” or “the new methadone rules don’t go far enough” or “we should not allow the use of high dose naloxone”!
Who the heck appointed any of you the lords of drug policy!
Here is question for you – What have you done recently to save another human being who uses drugs? What arena have you been in?
I am tired of folks calling interviews with drug users “research” versus what they are – opinion polls!
I am tired of those who want to limit access to all FDA approved forms of naloxone!
I am tired of government officials telling us why the rules prevent them from doing certain things and taking no action to change those rules!
I am tired of the those who call themselves “reporters” because they post on Twitter or Facebook!
I am tired of the “social arsonists”, the “take my ball home” crowd who criticize policy changes when they do not match what they believe should be happening! They show up at meetings and light the fuse on a stick of dynamite and watch the damage from afar!
I am also tired of the elitists who sit in the luxury box of the arena and preach to their peasants with disdain!
The “I know what is best for you” crowd which, by the way, includes both those who profess to be supporters of harm reduction and those who support abstinence as the only path!
If you support limiting options or taking an all or nothing approach to progress in drug policy – you support more people dying and you are clueless to what is actually going on!!
By the way – I, and many others, may be tired and frustrated, however, know this – we are not leaving the arena! Join us or find a new arena!
Rob Kent, JD, is president of Kent Strategic Advisors, LLC. He is former general counsel for New York State’s Office of Addiction Services and Supports, and the federal Office of National Drug Control Policy. For more information, go to