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Jackson Nomination Reveals Pill-Popping On The Hill

by Countable | 4.26.18

What’s the story?

  • Dr. Ronny Jackson may have withdrawn himself from nomination for VA Secretary Thursday morning, but the allegations surrounding him have exposed a culture of pill-popping on Capitol Hill that many Americans may be unaware of.
  • Jackson is alleged to have distributed Ambien, a sleeping pill, and Provigil, a stimulant, to White House staff on Air Force One “without asking patients questions or tracking the pills” reports Politico.
  • Nearly a dozen current and former officials told the outlet, “that casual use of some prescription drugs is an established fact of life at the highest echelons of government.”
  • Senate Minority Whip Dick Durbin (D-IL) commented,“It does happen. I’m not one of those. I might have tried that once; it didn’t work, and I’ve never tried it again. But people trying to avoid jet lag and go back to work and have a normal life? Sure!”
  • “On overseas, yeah, sure. People take Ambien to help them transition through time zones. It’s pretty common, I’m led to believe,” said Senate Majority Whip John Cornyn (R-TX).
  • The use of stimulants is also common in the military and diplomatic corps, reports Politico, “pill-popping in the ranks for performance and to encourage rest between missions has been standard practice for decades.”
  • Jonathan Wackrow, a former Secret Service agent, defended Jackson to CNN, saying that for the White House Medical Unit, dispensing Ambien on foreign trips was "part of their medical protocol pursuant to the job requirements."


What do you think?

If the “casual use of prescription drugs” is commonplace in Washington as suggested by lawmakers, is that a problem for you? If lawmakers and government officials require prescription drugs to do their jobs, is that an issue of the person or the job? What, if anything, should we do with this information about our government?

Tell us in the comments what you think, then use the Take Action button to tell your reps!

— Asha Sanaker

(Photo Credit: Marine Corps / Creative Commons)

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