Of course everyone wants to “do something” about the widespread abuse of opioids. It’s sort of a new crack epidemic, instead this time the crisis is not focused in the inner city but in the broader heartland of America. Millions of people have been touched by it. Many have died from overdoses. Still others suffer through addiction personally or watch loved ones suffer through it. Addiction is an insidious disease.
But the answer is not in giving Attorney General Sessions broad new powers to enforce draconian laws in an effort to stamp out the scourge. That would be a huge mistake which in many respects could make the opioid situation worse.
However the harmful potential impact of the Stop the Importation and Trafficking of Synthetic Analogues (SITSA) Act, which has already passed the House and is now in the Senate, could be profound for non-opioid users and indeed those RECOVERING from opioid addiction.
Some still subscribe to a purtainistic view of drugs and drug use. For some, even coffee is a step too far. Beer? The devil’s brew. Cannabis? The devils weed. And on down the line.
This is not to dismiss the life destroying effects of opioids, which can be, and all too often are life destroying, but this legislation is backed by one of the “great” busybodies of the Senate, Diane Feinstein. Her aim is likely more broad than simply clamping down on fentanyl. The same can probably be said for Jeff Sessions.
Supplements may come under the gun. Legal canabis might be threatened. Epilepsy easing CBD oil might even see hyper-regulation. Kratom, which is reportedly helping addicts exit opioids may disappear from the above ground market (and may be the/a main target here). All sorts of beneficial substances might become foci of neo-drug warriors. And that folks, is not the right direction.
But it is a direction that Big Pharma would likely love to see the country go down. You know, the people who sold the opioids originally.
(From The Alliance for Natural Health)
Under normal circumstances, the US AG and the Justice Department must work with Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) and the Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) to make additions to the controlled substances list. By law, the AG must ask HHS to conduct a scientific and medical evaluation and to make a recommendation concerning the substance the AG wants to add to a drug schedule. HHS’s recommendation is binding—if they decide the substance shouldn’t be scheduled, the AG cannot add it. The SITSA Act removes this step and allows the AG to proceed with scheduling without this input from HHS. The bill also increases the length of time a substance can be temporarily scheduled, from three to five years.
The main target of the bill appears to be synthetic opioid analogues: it adds twelve fentanyl analogues to schedule A. Our concern, however, is that the language in the bill is so broad that it creates a pathway to add natural substances to schedule A, with virtually no checks on the AGs power. Chamomile, for example, shares certain characteristics with benzodiazepine, a schedule IV drug in the US. Herbs and supplements used in natural medicine that exhibit neurological affects could be threatened, under the letter of this law. When it’s the federal government that gets to decide what is and isn’t “substantially similar” to a scheduled substance, the situation is ripe for abuse—and to further entrench Big Pharma’s monopoly over medicine by removing the competition. Usually, it’s the FDA or the FTC that goes to bat for the drug industry; now, the AG will be able to step in when these agencies can’t eliminate competition for pharmaceutical drugs.