The DEA just added a promising anti-opioid addiction herb to Schedule 1, because reasons


#1

Originally published at: http://boingboing.net/2016/09/13/the-dea-just-added-a-promising.html


#2

The only things that should be on Schedule 1 are things like polonium — something where the LD50 is so low that there can be no possible clinical benefit.

Everything else should at least be Schedule 2 so that further research can be done, and maybe some innovative uses of existing drugs can be found rather than having to create new chemicals from scratch.


#3

This is utterly ridiculous, but not surprising. I know several people who have used it to help with addition to much more dangerous opiates.

BTW, there is a petition up on We the People:

https://petitions.whitehouse.gov/petition/please-do-not-make-kratom-schedule-i-substance

(I don’t normally forward such links, because I actually think the site is the “democratic” equivalent of an elevator close-door button – a placebo meant to make people think they have a voice, thus perpetuating a corrupt system, but…)

BTW, one minor correction:

Kratom actually is mildly addictive, but the operative word here is mildly, as opposed to, say, every other opioid meant to help people kick their habits (methadone, anyone?).


#4

It is however vastly used as a recreational drug. While I agree with decriminalization efforts, they “but you can wean yourself off drugs!” is not a viable or convincing argument. Heroin was excitedly used to get people off cocaine addiction, after all.


#5

So…I just…WTF?

How the hell do we reign in this ridiculousness? If my facts are correct they just passed on the opportunity to reevaluate Cannabis as schedule 1 a few weeks ago and now this?

I feel like the American people are very clear on how they want this agency to be behaving on issues like this, but then they call my dad before making every decision.


#6

Yes – it can be used recreationally (not sure about the vast part), but…

While I agree with decriminalization efforts, they “but you can wean
yourself off drugs!” is not a viable or convincing argument.

Why? Just because some people enjoy it doesn’t mean it isn’t widely used by people who a) need some kind of pain relief but want to stay off more dangerous and addictive pharmaceuticals, and b) people who are trying to kick a habit from those drugs.

Take a look at the hundreds of comments in this article:

http://www.forbes.com/sites/davidkroll/2016/08/30/dea-to-place-kratom-mitragynine-on-schedule-i-premature-move-may-compromise-research-benefits/#6a1935e07924

And then note that this is Forbes, not High Times. I mean, I guess they could all be lying…

The fact that some folks use it recreationally should have no bearing on its availability to those who need it.


#7

Morphine addiction, I recall. So many of the surviving wounded from the U.S. civil war were hooked on the stuff that heroin was widely advertised as a cure—deliverance from morphine’s tenacious clutches. Then the medical establishment eventually realized that they’d freed a wounded pigeon from the talons of a sparrow hawk only to see it get picked up by a crowned eagle.


#8

Yes, it was invented by Bayer and was named “heroin” because it was supposed to be a savior, providing addiction-free pain relief, unlike morphine.

They were dead wrong, of course.

The difference here is that there actually are data showing it to be less addictive. Unlike heroin.


#9

Everything not mandatory is forbidden.

and also

Everything not forbidden is mandatory.


#10

Please don’t, Cory. I’m with you in that DEA over-scheduling has killed promising research but this argumentative tactic is bullshit at best. In Linnaenan terms, yeah, they’re in the same family. Biochemistry-wise, that doesn’t mean much. Talk about the plant on its own terms rather than trying to polish its image through association with a very distant relative whose own alkaloids don’t even target the same receptor systems.


#11

While what you say is true, such BS tactics – guilt by association – seem to work well for the DEA, so maybe he’s fighting fire with fire?


#12

I don’t find this surprising. I work at a big government agency associated with the military. Any mention of pot, or anything of that nature is filled with Reefer Madness style hysteria. There is a culture of hysterical overreactions to anything that isn’t alcohol.

This issue with pot and other benign substances does not follow through to alcohol. I have seen full conferences of workers shitfaced drunk, aggressively hassling restaurant and hotel staff, and then proud of it the next day. Soooooooo much hypocrisy, but it comes from the top down.

I suspect all government agencies are kind of like that because there is a shift of workers between different agencies in the higher pay grade levels. The culture is really out of touch.


#13

It’s almost as if putting an agency in charge of identifying the things it has jurisdiction over, and receives money for, is a bad idea.


#14

Like I said: bullshit at best.

I’m using Harry Frankfurt’s definition of bullshit. Bullshitting is making a statement with an end-purpose in mind, while not knowing whether the statement is true and the person’s own interest in its veracity is wholly secondary to achieving the intended goal of making the statement. This is very different from lying, where the person is also making a statement with an end-purpose in mind, but they’re aware of its falsity. Thus, a liar has more knowledge of the truth than a bullshitter.


#15

Cocaine is on schedule II, not schedule I.

(error in original article, too)


#16

Yeah, but let’s not emulate the tactics of those we despise. The facts should speak for themselves; we don’t need to augment them with misrepresentations and half-truths.

On the other hand, I think it’s difficult to figure out what’s true in instances like this. People tend to ardently defend their drug of choice, and dismiss any counter-arguments out of hand. Wikipedia has this to say about kratom’s possible harmful effects:

Minor side effects may include itchiness, vomiting, and constipation.[3] More severe side effects may include respiratory depression (decreased breathing), seizure, addiction, and psychosis.[3] Other side effects include high heart rate and blood pressure, liver toxicity, and trouble sleeping.[7][8] There is a risk of addiction.[3] In the United States between 2014 and 2016, 15 deaths have been associated with kratom use.[7] Though not an opiate itself, kratom is thought to behave similarly to an opiate like morphine.[9]

As of 2015 there was a growing international concern about a possible threat to public health from kratom use.[4][10] In some jurisdictions its sale and importation have been restricted, and a number of public health authorities have raised alerts.[7][10][4]


#17

Am thinking the same thing. Perhaps a new (responsible) owner/custodian of the schedules should be selected. I am thinking either the FDA and/or the CDC. At least with these two groups, some of the decision makers will have a MD after their name and not a (D) or ® after their name.


#18

Yes yes, but then the war on drugs might get won, and the widespread problem with addiction would become just another medical issue to be dealt with at very small scales…

And all those psychopaths at the DEA would be out of work.


#19

The plant seems non-descript enough that someone that would need to rely on taking it could grow it themselves. But the ban on the herb is really ridiculous and having to go around a law like this is equally dumb.


#20

Sadly, the reason kratom relieves pain and treats opioid withdrawal is it contains opioids. There’s an entire book about it: Kratom and Other Mitragynines: The Chemistry and Pharmacology of Opioids from a Non-Opium Source. (Google Books has a partial copy.) And while the members of the recreational drug community reassure each other that one can’t overdose on it, the medical community has case studies of people overdosing and dying as a result, such as An accidental poisoning with mitragynine.

Do not fall for the appeal to nature fallacy.