Why did you decide to run for public office?
I feel like the duties of the U.S. Representatives in Utah's 2nd district are not being done to the best benefit of the majority. I represent everyone, of any race, creed, color or gender preference. I get things done, and nothing is being done to fight racism and prejudice.
What is your background? Profession, skills, etc.?
My background is business and philanthropy. I have started three companies and two foundations, both dedicated to the homeless. I also serve on the board of three larger companies, as well as various community organizations. My Bachelor's degree is in Mathematics and Statistics.
What is your general experience with drug policy and substance abuse?
The first foundation for the homeless in Mexico City included a home for rehab for men and another home for rehab for women.
At the second foundation for homeless women, in Salt Lake City, I did routine surprise drug testing. Then would address the issues.
Do you support the creation of a medical cannabis program? Can you expand upon your general feelings about medical cannabis?
Yes, I support the legalization of medical cannabis. It has been scientifically proven, and tested with positive results on thousands of occasions.
What steps would you take to reduce the number of overdose deaths? Do you have any personal experiences with overdose?
I do realize that opiate overdoses are the #1 accidental killer in the U.S. Medical cannabis is a better pain killer, as it is not addictive and one cannot overdose on cannabis. Although no personal experiences, legalizing medical marijuana for a more effective pain killer could help reduce the number of overdose deaths due to opiates.
Do you agree with this analysis? Please feel free to elaborate.
We must also analyze the pushing of prescription medication by Big Pharma, and medical doctors, it is killing people. At the same time the over pricing of medication is also killing people who cannot afford their medication. I wrote a newsletter recently (see charlenealbarra.com, tab newsletter) about how Big Pharma pushes drugs. We must address this issue on a national level. I will take it to Congress, and I am quite sure if it passes it will save lives.
Are you familiar with the principle of harm reduction? Do you have any experience with harm reduction policies? Please feel free to elaborate.
I agree that we will never have a drug-free society. Abuse of prescription drugs alone seems to be taking over. A number of drug users are masking a bigger problem; we need to get to the root of their problems.
What are your general thoughts on the decriminalization of cannabis? Please elaborate.
I absolutely agree! Our jails are overcrowded and costing tax payers’ large expenses, due to small amounts of cannabis use. In addition to life-altering collateral consequences, many times it augments the problem for small users to be exposed to criminals with a more serious records.
I do support moving to decriminalize possession of small amounts of cannabis.
Are you interested in sponsoring drug policy reform legislation if you were elected? What would be some specific areas of focus or interest for you?
Yes, I do support the use of medical marijuana, and I do support decriminalizing users of small amounts of cannabis.
You are doing a good job. Keep up the good work, together we can make a difference!