Category Archives: Drugs

The DEA Is At War With Chronically Ill Patients – Again

An article on Forbes.com, written by David Kroll, caught my attention.

kratom plant

The Kratom Plant

First, it was and still is, Cannabis.  Now, it’s another plant.  A natural medicine – not artificially-produced, addictive, pain killers and human killers, known as “opioids,” by Big Pharma.

The U.S. Drug Enforcement Agency has filed a notice of intent (PDF) to place the southeast Asian plant called kratom to the most restrictive classification of the Controlled Substances Act. The plant, Mitragyna speciosa, and its two primary constituents, mitragynine and 7-hydroxymitragynine, will be temporarily placed onto Schedule I on September 30, according to a filing by the DEA today.

Mr. Kroll also states:

Various forms of kratom and teas made from the plant’s leaves are sold in cafes and on the internet. Their primary effect is to provide a short-lived peaceful and calm feeling that is described as pleasant. Consistent with this effect being opioid-like, anecdotal reports indicate that some users have used kratom to successfully recover from physical and psychological dependence on prescription opioids and heroin. Comments on my last report on kratom have also indicated the successful use of teas made from the plant in managing chronic pain without the side effects and addictive potential of prescription opioids like oxycodone, hydrocodone and morphine.

Research has shown why kratom might be a useful and safer alternative to prescription opioids:  its inherent alkaloids, metabolite and an oxidation product in the plant, minimize the opioid receptors in the body.  If the opioid receptors in the body’s cells were not reduced by not consuming kratom, you would have normal body’s “tolerance and dose escalation commonly seen with prescription opioids.”

Thank the CDC (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention – Its main goal is to protect public health and safety through the control and prevention of disease, injury, and disability) for “protecting public health” in this case; (as in the case of Cannabis – Marijuana) as well.

Last month, the CDC came out with a report that kratom “can be abused and that poison control centers have received over 660 calls between 2010 and 2015 regarding kratom intoxication.”  The report stated the plant kratom, had a “stimulant effect” and was “an opioid substitute.”  Opioids are suppressants.  How can kratom be an “opioid substitute” when it has a “stimulant effect”?  How can a plant be an opioid substitute when it actually lessens the effect of an opioid?  The plant lessens the dependency on opioids.

No scientific testing was done.  The DEA has acted only on CDC’s reports of use of kratom which showed:

  • Medical outcomes associated with kratom exposure were reported as: minor (minimal signs or symptoms, which resolved rapidly with no residual disability) for 162 (24.5%) exposures;
  • Moderate (non-life threatening, with no residual disability, but requiring some form of treatment) for 275 (41.7%) exposures; and
  • Major (life-threatening signs or symptoms, with some residual disability) for 49 (7.4%) exposures;
  • For 173 (26.2%) exposure calls, no effects were reported, or poison center staff members were unable to follow up again regarding effects.
  • One death was reported in a person who was exposed to the medications paroxetine (an antidepressant) and lamotrigine (an anticonvulsant and mood stabilizer) in addition to kratom.

The Drug Enforcement Administration includes kratom on its Drugs of Concern list (substances that are not currently regulated by the Controlled Substances Act, but that pose risks to persons who abuse them), and the National Institute of Drug Abuse has identified kratom as an emerging drug of abuse.

Among calls reporting use of kratom in combination with other substances (multiple exposures), the most commonly reported other substances were ethanol, other botanicals, benzodiazepines, narcotics, and acetaminophen.

Aspirin is a drug that could be abused; Tylenol (acetaminophen), Naproxen and Ibuprofen are drugs that could be abused.  Anything taken in huge doses, which are now “safe drugs” could turn into abusive drugs.  If a person’s intent is to inflict harm, it can be accomplished.

The last sentences of the CDC report are:

Kratom use appears to be increasing in the United States, and the reported medical outcomes and health effects suggest an emerging public health threat. Members of the public and health care providers should be aware that the use of kratom can lead to severe adverse effects, especially when consumed in combination with alcohol or other drugs.

The CDC report was based on 660 reports between 2010 and 2015 across the 50 states; more than half of which showed no harm or very little harm to those who consumed kratom.  I believe this is going “a little” overboard.

It is plain to me that the DEA and CDC are doing everything they can, to protect Big Pharma, even when it makes sense to only the DEA and CDC, for which we, with our tax dollars, are paying through the nose.  Again.  Yet.  Still.

Source:  Article by Forbes contributor, David Kroll

[Image of Kratom plant from Forbes.com]

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Why Is Big Pharma Fighting Legalizing Marijuana?

 

MJ

It’s obvious.

We all know by now that most prescribed pain killers (especially opioids) are addictive, and yet, our government bows down to Big Pharma and continues to allow clinicians to prescribe them indiscriminately.

Many, many committees, commissions, agencies , etc., have been holding meetings to discuss this problem.  Has anything been done?  Of course not.

All the “conclusions” of these “get-togethers” have amounted to: ZERO.

Now, we have something else to throw into the “pot.”

There’s a body of research showing that painkiller abuse and overdose are lower in states with medical marijuana laws. These studies have generally assumed that when medical marijuana is available, pain patients are increasingly choosing pot over powerful and deadly prescription narcotics. But that’s always been just an assumption.

Now a new study, released in the journal Health Affairs, validates these findings by providing clear evidence of a missing link in the causal chain running from medical marijuana to falling overdoses. Ashley and W. David Bradford, a daughter-father pair of researchers at the University of Georgia, scoured the database of all prescription drugs paid for under Medicare Part D from 2010 to 2013.

Medical marijuana is being used for medicinal purposes and not for “recreational” purposes.  There is this misconception held by very conservative groups:  medical marijuana will be used for recreational purposes or will lead to recreational marijuana use in order to get “high.”  Medical marijuana is used as medicine to relieve pain and other symptoms of chronic and/or serious medical conditions.

fewer pills

The graph above, published by Bradford and Bradford, Health Affairs, July 2016, sheds much light on the impact the use of medical marijuana has had and continues to have, on addictive drug use.

Let’s get on with it, elected officials!  Let the light shine through, and give our ill citizens availability to this plant that has many healing qualities, especially relief from many types of pain.  Some of your colleagues have seen the light and passed state laws allowing prescribing of medical marijuana.  Until the federal government passes a national law or properly amends the scheduling of marijuana, I hope more states will join the almost 30 states which have already passed marijuana laws.

Source:  Article in the The Washington Post by Christopher Ingraham

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The U.S. State Department May Push for Decriminalization of Drugs at UNGASS Convention

 

As reported in High Times, the U.S. State Department seems confident that prohibition may become unhinged at some point in 2016 and lead to the possible decriminalization of all illegal drugs around the globe.

On Tuesday, William Brownfield, Assistant Secretary of State for the Bureau of International Narcotics and Law Enforcement Affairs, told reporters that U.S. officials are currently at the drawing board in an attempt to draft an all-powerful piece of documentation — what he calls a “pragmatic reform agenda” — that they intend to present at the upcoming United Nations General Assembly Special Session (UNGASS) on drugs next month in New York City.

Brownfield suggests that the proposed “recommitment” to the international drug conventions would be designed to persuade countries to remove the focus of the Drug War away from arrests and harsh penalties, and instead attack the issue from a public health standpoint.

President Obama has said many times publicly, that “we should decriminalize much of the basic behavior in drug consumption in order to focus law enforcement resources on the greater challenge of the large transnational criminal organizations.”

Major rewrites to the UN’s drug treaties would be necessary before governments could begin exploring new approaches to handling drugs without violating international law.

The details of the Obama Administration’s recommended revisions are not completely clear; however, they may support the philosophies that are in line with the text of the current three major international drug control treaties.

This is a great opportunity for the global community to recognize the realities of drug use in our modern world, and make choices that are more in sync and common-sense related, while prioritizing health issues.

 

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The UN Is Assessing the World’s Drug Problem

 

united nations

An historic opportunity to achieve more humane and effective drug policy is at risk.

The 2016 UN General Assembly Special Session (UNGASS) on the world drug problem is an initiative that came from sitting presidents of Colombia, Guatemala and Mexico.  The UN General Assembly endorsed the call for an open, honest and evidence-based debate.

The UN General Assembly Special Session (UNGASS) will be convening in New York from April 19-21 and is the first such meeting in 18 years.

Since the deliberations began in Vienna in 2015, they have been neither transparent nor inclusive.  In other words, closed doors negotiations ensured that crucial priorities were neglected and outdated policies retained.

It is expected that the outcome of the April meeting will not result in meaningful change; however, there is evidence of ways to put people’s health, safety and human rights first.  These fundamental aspirations cannot be met without:

 Ending the criminalization and incarceration of drug users;

 Abolishing capital punishment for drug-related offenses;

 Empowering the World Health Organization (WHO) to review the scheduling system of drugs on the basis of scientific evidence;

 Ensuring a broad spectrum of treatments for dependent people and services designed to reduce the harms of drugs; and

 Allowing governments to apply different approaches to drug regulation in order to maximize public health, and destroy the power of organized crime.

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