In a recent New York Times essay, a professor of anesthesia and pain management recently protested the Drug Enforcement Administration's opioid manufacturing quotas and micromanagement of doctors treating their patients' pain. At a time when DEA S.W.A.T. teams frequently raid doctors' offices for "inappropriate" prescribing, the professor's essay demonstrated boldness. Unfortunately, the professor's reform proposals were much less bold.
The FDA has proposed changing the classification of marijuana from a Schedule I to a Schedule III drug. What impacts could this regulatory status change have on public health and drug regulation around the U.S.? Let's listen in.
The DEA recently added six "new" synthetic cannabinoids to its Schedule I list of illegal drugs (aka Spice, K2, bath salts). Has doing this ever worked in the past? No. Will it work now? Of course not. There are plenty of reasons. Here are some of them. Plus, here's another Dreaded Chemistry Lesson from Hell for all you masochists.
Last year, Congress passed the Mainstreaming Addiction Treatment (MAT) Act, seeking to expand access to buprenorphine, a proven treatment for opioid use disorder. However, a recent proposal by the Drug Enforcement Administration threatens to undermine Congress' intention. Now, some members of Congress appear ready to push back.
“Last month, California lawmakers passed a bill that would decriminalize the personal possession of small amounts of a few plant-based psychedelics. This raised hopes that this could be the first of many reforms to unlock the therapeutic potential of psychedelics. Unfortunately, Governor Newsom vetoed the bill, citing reasons that can only be characterized as specious.”
“It never made sense for the DEA to list marijuana as a Schedule I drug. Making it a Schedule III controlled substance will make researching the drug’s medicinal uses easier. But it still makes federal criminals of the millions of adults who have been using marijuana recreationally for millennia and makes as much sense as it does to require people to get a prescription to ingest beer, wine, or whiskey.”
Recently, Newsday's David Olson wrote about opioids in an honest way not often seen in mainstream media. He emphasized the harm caused by the “overcorrection of the pendulum” – the shortage of medically legitimate opioids caused by ill-advised restrictions on prescribing. He gives personal accounts of practitioners, pharmacists, and patients struggling to navigate the unforgiving terrain of new laws and policies. Thumbs up to Mr. Olson for this important article.
Clinical researchers have recognized the therapeutic potential of psychedelics for decades. In recent years, veterans groups and some lawmakers have also begun to appreciate this. But none of that matters if law enforcement disagrees.
For the past five years, the DEA has classified fentanyl-related substances as Schedule 1 drugs, hoping it will reduce fentanyl-related overdose deaths . Deaths have nearly doubled since then. But, inexplicably, some in Congress think that placing fentanyl-related substances permanently on Schedule 1 will bring the overdose rate down.“
It should come as no surprise to anyone trying to get or fill a prescription for a controlled substance that our drug laws are nuts. But you probably don't fully appreciate how nutty they really are. This article just scratches the surface of the nut. But that's still plenty.
The shortage of Adderall, an important medication used to treat ADHD – attention deficit/hyperactivity disorder – is a story of supply, demand, the invisible hand of market forces. It’s also about a bureaucracy focused on regulation rather than outcome. It has all the hallmarks of the opioid crisis. We have learned nothing.
In response to Tranq – a horrifying "new" drug sweeping the nation – Kolodny, America's "drug expert," proposes a solution. And gets it all wrong.