January 11, 2012
By Michael Gormley
Following fatal shootings in two New York pharmacy robberies, a U.S. senator is warning that a new batch of “super painkillers” now under review could force repeats of recent violent robberies that left six people dead.
“It’s tremendously concerning that at the same time policymakers and law enforcement professionals are waging a war on the growing prescription drug crisis, new super-drugs could well be on their way, flooding the market,” said Sen. Charles Schumer, D-N.Y. “The FDA needs to grab the reins and slow down the stampede to introduce these powerful narcotics.”
A message seeking comment from the Food and Drug Administration was not immediately returned Friday.
The Associated Press reported last month about addiction experts’ fears over four drugs being tested that contain a more powerful version of one of the nation’s most abused painkillers – hydrocodone.
Schumer is particularly concerned about legalizing the drugs for prescriptions because they would be prized commodities in the black market.
Experts say painkiller addiction has been driven partly by a loophole in the 1970 Controlled Substances Act that classified pure hydrocodone – a super painkiller – as a strictly controlled Schedule II drug. But the law put combination products, such as pills containing hydrocodone and acetaminophen, into the less strict Schedule III.
Because of the loophole, patients can refill a prescription for a hydrocodone-acetaminophen drug like Vicodin up to five times. A prescription for a similar oxycodone product, such as Percocet, can be filled only once. Critics say the loophole has flooded American medicine cabinets with hydrocodone.
November 28, 2011
By Ethan A. Huff
“If people want to take marijuana, let them. Not only is it may less harmful than cigarets and alcohol, it actually has some amazing medical benefits for people who are sick. Why does the government care? Oh wait, they make more money and keep people down and in jail for pot. It’s a way to control us. It’s not because they are concerned for your health. If that was the case, they would ban high fructose corn syrup.” –KTRN
The battle continues to rage between the individual states and the federal government over the legalized cultivation and use of medical marijuana. Americans for Safe Access (ASA), the nation’s largest medical marijuana advocacy organization, has now filed a lawsuit against the Obama Administration’s Justice Department for aggressively trying to subvert state and local laws by shutting down legal medical marijuana dispensaries.
California, Oregon, New Mexico, Colorado, and a handful of other US states all have laws on the books that permit the growth, possession, and use of medical marijuana in some way, shape, or form. But the federal government still ignorantly classifies the natural plant as a Schedule I narcotic under the Controlled Substances Act, a tenet of the “War on Drugs” that has been a source of much conflict over the past several years.
This ongoing clash between state and federal law has led to numerous federal raids of medical marijuana growers and distributors, particularly in the State of California where medical marijuana laws are among the most lenient, and where the plant is most utilized. The federal government also routinely intimidates local officials to try to get them to ban medical marijuana dispensaries.
In a most recent raid, for instance, the US Department of Justice (DOJ) stormed Northstone Organics, a fully-licensed marijuana cultivation collective in Mendocino County, Cal. Agents reportedly cut down all 99 of the group’s marijuana plants, and handcuffed the owner and his wife with zip-ties.