Drug-sniffing Denny 

To Sen. Denny Altes the illness of his fellow man is insufficient hardship. Altes wants to violate their privacy as well, and make it harder for them to get relief for their pain. If they didn’t deserve to be punished, the reasoning goes, God wouldn’t have made them sick.

A Fort Smith Republican — an always dangerous type — Altes is the sponsor of SB 20, which would require the state Health Division to keep records on every Arkansan who takes certain prescription drugs: the patient’s name and address, the amount of the drug, the prescribing physicians’s name, the source of payment for the drug, etc. Pharmacists would be compelled to hand over the data, and be subject to criminal penalties if they didn’t. The Health Division would share the information with law enforcement, professional and regulatory agencies. Physicians already intimidated by various “drug warriors” would be even less likely to prescribe the medications their patients need.

Only Big Government would gain from SB 20, as bureaucratic snoopers would be given even more opportunity to harass taxpayers. This is the sort of bill that people like Altes, who call themselves “conservatives,” should hate, but instead embrace all too often. They don’t understand that addiction to freedom is no vice. So it’s up to the liberals and the civil-liberties groups to defend the little guy against government oppression. Thank heaven for the ACLU.

During debate on SB 20, Altes speculated aloud that one of his colleagues who opposed the bill might be a drug dealer — a disturbing prospect, to be sure. But if drug trafficking on the Senate floor is a problem, there is another, more meritorious proposal to deal with it. Always on call, dealers are known to keep their cell phones and pagers with them fulltime. A new rule endorsed by the Senate Rules Committee for submission to the full body would prohibit the use of cell phones, audible pagers and similar electronic devices in the Senate chamber, the committee rooms, and the galleries where the public sits. The main purpose of the rule is to restore decorum and order to the Senate; that it might disrupt some drug deals too would be icing on the cake.

White mischief

John White will do for the whole University of Arkansas athletic department what he’s already done for the women’s basketball team. Though they may not admit it, even the fiercest Broyles-haters know it would be better to have Frank Broyles choosing a replacement for John White than the other way around.


Sign up for the Daily Update email


Showing 1-1 of 1

Add a comment

Subscribe to this thread:
Showing 1-1 of 1

Add a comment

More by Max Brantley

More by Arkansas Times Staff

Latest in Editorials

  • The end of an era

    We're sad to report that Doug Smith has decided to retire. Though he's been listed as an associate editor on our masthead for the last 22 years, he has in fact been the conscience of the Arkansas Times. He has written all but a handful of our unsigned editorials since we introduced an opinion page in 1992.
    • May 8, 2014
  • A stand for equality

    Last week, Attorney General Dustin McDaniel became the first elected statewide official to express support for same-sex marriage. His announcement came days before Circuit Judge Chris Piazza is expected to rule on a challenge to the state's constitutional ban on same-sex marriage. Soon after, a federal challenge of the law is expected to move forward. McDaniel has pledged to "zealously" defend the Arkansas Constitution but said he wanted the public to know where he stood.
    • May 8, 2014
  • Same old, same old

    Remarking as we were on the dreariness of this year's election campaigns, we failed to pay sufficient tribute to the NRA, one of the most unsavory and, in its predictability, dullest of the biennial participants in the passing political parade.
    • May 1, 2014
  • More »

Most Viewed

  • The Malvern connection

    If you read the daily newspaper or the Arkansas Blog you might have seen reporting on activities of the Arkansas Teacher Retirement System.

Most Recent Comments


© 2018 Arkansas Times | 201 East Markham, Suite 200, Little Rock, AR 72201
Powered by Foundation