Monday, December 12, 2005

Steven Steiner: A sad, sad man

Steven Steiner founded Dads And Mad Moms Against Drug Dealers (DAMMADD) after his 19-year-old son, Stevie, died of an OxyContin overdose.

This sad event turned Steiner into a rabid anti-drug crusader. Well, except that his organization is funded primarily by pharmaceutical companies - including Purdue Pharma, which made the drug that killed his son. That, and his organization primarily works to oppose statewide medical marijuana legislation which his pharmadonors certainly don't want to pass. They must be worried they'd lose a lot of money if seriously ill people were able to have access to a plant that anyone can grow in their own backyard and thus can't be patented.

Steiner has gone so far as to put gut-wrenching pictures of his son's dead body up on his website. He's also set up a form on his website where visitors can submit tips to turn in drug dealers - for cash rewards.

But if you think drug policy reformers are worried about Steiner and his well-funded organization, you're wrong. His "action alerts" almost invariably contain spelling and grammatical errors. No one takes him seriously, especially the public officials these alerts are aimed at. Here's just a tiny sampling (my comments in parentheses):
"Back in September I watched a video called up in smoke this is a dvd put out by Snoop Dogg advocating drug use, violence and demeaning of women. This dvd is so over the top and something must be done about the advertisers who want to make Snoop Dogg some kind of icon. These corporations need to hear from us, so what I would like you to do is click on the link below and watch the video,(this video contains explicit language and sexuality and should not be watched by children under the age of 17) I am sorry that you have to watch this but after seeing this it will make you angry and want to react." - Dec. 9 (punctuation, anyone?)

"It was a very extraodinary year this year, we launched over 20 petitions fighting everything from medical marijuana, needle exchanges and even being a big part of the meth bill that passed here in New York State." - Oct. 25 (how "extraodinary!")

"This is a Must read For All Parents.... Marijuana Policy Project and Drug Police alliance both will tell your kids that marijuana is natural and safe??? Wrong and either is moonflower shame on them...... this is why George Soros and Peter Lewis must be stopped." - Oct. 18 (Drug Police alliance, eh?)

"We would also like to thank our corporate sponsors: Purude Pharma..." - Dec. 11 (he misspells the name of his primary funder!)
You'd think Steiner would have someone take a look at his alerts before he sends them out (or at least use his e-mail program's built-in spellchecker).

In addition to being a sad, misguided dad with terrible spelling and grammar, he's also a partisan hack. Take for example this article, in which he urges readers to resist buying auto insurance from Progressive (owned by Marijuana Policy Project, ACLU, and donor Peter B. Lewis) and instead do business with Nationwide, who Steiner says is "on your side." He links to this list of political contributions showing that 89% of the company's PAC donations have so far gone to Republicans in the '06 election cycle.

And another thing: I just don't understand DAMMADD's name. Why are only the moms mad? Are the apathetic dads just against drug dealers because their angry wives told them to be?

But seriously, my heart goes out to any family (including the Steiners) who've lost loved ones to the real and serious problem of drug abuse. But advocating for harsher punitive policies that will only ruin more people's lives is just plain sick. This grieving man is being taken advantage of by greedy pharmaceutical companies. I'm not sure he even knows what he's doing.


Steven H. Steiner said...

This is a badge of honor, I want to thank you for this article, just please leave a link to the soros monitor website.

Thanks for the compliment

Steven H. Steiner

Jonthon said...

Dear Mr. Steiner:
Your obvious distaste for Soros, and effective anti-liberal sentiments, will bleed through all your arguments and thereby taint them. Instead of relying on convenient liberal boogeyman, why don't you concern yourself with fact and substance - if you are at all concerned with such things.
Also, I wonder what knowledge you have of Soros' background. Do you hate him because he is a rich liberal who crusades for human rights? Do you offer no compassion to a holocaust survivor who became independently wealthy? Surely, if you are a true conservative, you can at least afford some respect for a man whose gains are not ill-gotten - like most of the Republican leadership I am guessing you canonize.

Joyce Nalepka said I was handsome and articulate said...

Well, with the run-on sentences, we know for sure it's Steiner. Maybe grammatical errors are a sort of calling card that he uses in order for others to know that it's really him writing. :-)

I'm guessing that the hope of the original post was get him to do just what he did -- send out this website to a new audience. Sadly, from the looks of the traffic report, he doesn't really have enough readers to give this site any bump in traffic.

And what is the badge of honor -- that the company that makes the drug that killed his son is now funding his org? Or that an organization (SSDP) that he disrespects points out his flaws? I would love for Steiner to at least defend himself and try to set the record straight -- grammar errors and all. SSDP should be willing to have a dialogue with even those who are unable to speak, write, or think as clearly as its own supporters.

Professor Bentley said...

Got the link to your Blog off the MAPTalk list and I'm glad I did. Keep up the great work young man.(Making assumptions there on the SSDP credit) In any principled stand we must brace ourselves against the hot air blowing from reactionary forces of Puritanism. This guy Steiner has no chance. He's obviously milking his son's unfortunate death and it will be easy to expose him for the Elmer Gantry he is. Good luck and check MAP out. I am really impressed with the SSDP and the young people who make it go. I'd like also to take this opportunity to thank Prohib-tician Mark Souder for the HEA and the militancy it's engendered.

kaptinemo said...

If this was an attempt to garner 'street cred' by showing up in the 'lion's den' and announcing himself, I'm afraid Mr. Steiner will have much farther to go in order to achieve what he seeks.

If by doing so he seeks the attention of much more established DrugWarriors by showing how 'brave' he is in doing so, he may find himself accepted into their fold...but relegated to the back benches; they already have such 'superstars' as Calvina Fay and DeForest Rathbone acting as mouthpieces.

You see, the prohibs have an entire stable of what that old murderer Lenin called 'useful idiots'...they don't require any new applicants.

Anonymous said...

just to let everyone that i know who JR his son was..and from comments that he has said on local news and so fourth,his steven was no perfect angel he was big on X cronic marijuana use just like snoop dogg cocaine use drank and was a dealer mom always told me if you make your bed sleep in it,and thats what happened to this young man/friend,the abuse of the drugs finally reached its point and then he died i found out at school when his cousin said JR past on,most of us had a good idea what he died if mr.steiner wants to go after someone why not go after the ones who sell the drug that killed his son?because this man lives day to day living off the money that people send him,he nor his wife work,how do they live?off a NON FOR PROFIT organization...this man is a real piece of work and a CON

Anonymous said...

Stop bugging Steve. He is good-intentioned, and Tom Angell's mean-spirited post was a response to Steve putting up a pathetic video of Ethan Nadelmann off of youtube.

I wish that SSDP/DPA, etc just at least have some respect and come clean about their true goal: legalization.

Jonathan Perri said...

I guess anytime we prove someone wrong we are "bugging them". How bout you Stop bugging sick and dying patients for their choice of medicine. Stop denying sick and dying patients the amount of pharmacueticals they need to control pain. Stop wasting BILLIONS of tax dollars and feeding disproven propaganda to our youth in an attempt to "help them."

Furthermore, this post is from a year ago. Look at SSDP's progress compared to DAMMADD in this time. Wait, DAMMADD hasn't made any; besides making money for Mr. Stiener and Big Pharma.

And has SSDP/DPA ever denied that a system of legalization and control by the government, instead of a black market that fuels violence and disease, is something we wish to see?

(any spelling errors are here to make Mr. Steiner feel better.)

Anonymous said...

Steve, I want to genuinely thank you for engaging us in debate. It's not everyday that prohibitionists are willing to discuss the actual issues with drug policy reformers.

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That's to sad, I wonder what we expect in a world that works like this, where human life doesn't matter and the only matters people is money.