We strive to help eliminate unnecessary pain and suffering caused by well-intentioned drug control policies. Through science-based research, education, and outreach, CERPSA does something governments fail to do: evaluate the drug control policies they create, identify barriers that interfere with legitimate access, and advocate for change.
WHO WE ARE
We are led by a team of policy researchers, clinicians, and educators who share a common goal: Improving the way drugs are controlled so that they reach those who need them -- while preventing their misuse and abuse. A science-based nonprofit and project of the Colorado Nonprofit Development Center, we believe that there are good public health reasons for controlling drugs, but . . .
The FDA believes that drugs should be both safe and effective. So should drug control policies. There are many ways you can help advance our mission, from signing petitions to spreading the word through social media.
Examples of drug control policies we want to evaluate
and help improve:
What is the difference between Hemp and Marijuana? 0.3% THC (a fraction of 1%). Hemp is a legal agricultural product, but if the plant’s THC concentration exceeds 0.3% it suddenly becomes illegal under federal law. This arbitrary THC limit has resulted in the destruction of crops in Colorado and throughout the United States, harming both farmers and the environment. An evaluation of the origins, impacts, and validity of the federal limit is needed.
Federal law restricts the ability of scientists to conduct research on the potential risks and benefits of cannabis as a drug to relieve suffering or treat illness. Although marijuana is legal in Colorado and throughout most of the United States at the state level, it is currently illegal under federal law and rules relating to its study are so restrictive they effectively prohibit efforts to examine its medical potential.
Millions of people in Colorado and throughout the world are in pain because they have no access, or limited access to prescription opioids to relieve their suffering. At the same time, one person in Colorado dies of an opioid overdose every 17 hours. Although most opioid overdoses are directly linked to the use of illegal, counterfeit opioids, well-intentioned government efforts to reduce overdose have resulted in unintended harms to the very people that need them. Preventing drug abuse and treating pain are two important goals in medicine and drug control policy, but they are not zero-sum games where one must be sacrificed for the benefit of the other. Ineffective drug control policies, like drugs themselves, can result in harmful side effects to both patients and society and must be continually evaluated for their ability to ensure access, prevent misuse and abuse, and intrusion by the illegal market.
"Drug control policy can be a matter of life and death, especially when it involves drugs that can relieve suffering at the end of life and are considered essential by the World Health Organization,” says Dr. Stephen Ziegler, CERPSA’s Founder and Director.