Debbie Wasserman Schultz Has Some Interesting Thoughts About Drugs

"There is a difference between opiates and marijuana."

The response in Ana Marie Cox‘s NYT Magazine interview with DNC chair Debbie Wasserman Schultz that has set writers’ fingers afire is in the Q&A’s headine: Debbie Wasserman Schultz Thinks Young Women Are Complacent. This in response to a question from Cox about whether there is a “generational divide” in differing levels of excitement about Hillary Clinton among women.

You don’t know what it was like pre Roe v. Wade is the gist of Wasserman Schultz’s response, plus the complacency accusation.

Far from the interview’s only fascinating moment–really, we find it an example of a fast and quick interview working really well–this exchange about drugs, legal and illegal, is what caught our attention.

You’re one of a dwindling number of progressive politicians who oppose legalization of even the medical use of marijuana. Where does that come from? I don’t oppose the use of medical marijuana. I just don’t think we should legalize more mind-altering substances if we want to make it less likely that people travel down the path toward using drugs. We have had a resurgence of drug use instead of a decline. There is a huge heroin epidemic.

The follow-up, from Cox:

Heroin addiction often starts with prescribed painkillers. Pill mills were a problem in Florida, but the state didn’t make prescribing opiates illegal. There is a difference between opiates and marijuana.

And just what is that difference? Forty-four Americans die every day from overdosing on prescription opioids, per the CDC.

How many people have overdosed on marijuana? There has been one suspected, and questioned, case.

This isn’t to say that marijuana use doesn’t have its attendant problems, but to essentially dismiss the problem of prescription opioids, which comprised 61 percent of drug overdose deaths in 2014–we find that strange, at the very least.

There was one more question on the matter:

Still, your opinion on this does seem like an outlier. It’s perfectly O.K. to not be completely predictable. I am a person, and I have individual opinions that may not line up ideologically. They’re formed by my personal experience both as a mom and as someone who grew up really bothered by the drug culture that surrounded my childhood — not mine personally. I grew up in suburbia.

Apparently they don’t do drugs in the suburbs.