cannabisnews.com: DEA Sets Drug Availability, Drug-Makers Have Voice





DEA Sets Drug Availability, Drug-Makers Have Voice
Posted by CN Staff on January 23, 2003 at 09:24:03 PT
By Charles B. Camp, Knight Ridder Newspapers
Source: Lexington Herald-Leader 
A federal agency that spends nearly $100 million dollars a year fighting illegal prescription-drug use has also been contributing to the problem's growth. The Drug Enforcement Administration is best known for busting heroin gangs and cocaine smugglers.But in one of its lesser-known roles, the DEA has also authorized narcotics-makers to increase their annual output sharply over the last 10 years. The result has been hundreds of millions more pain pills - some of which inevitably wind up in the hands of abusers and street dealers.
No one knows just how much of America's legal drug supply is used illegally. But a rule of thumb is that as the availability increases, illegal use grows proportionately, if not faster, according to many physicians, regulators and law-enforcement officers."There's definitely a correlation. The very same drugs that show up in the statistics are the ones we see when working cases," said Mark Caverly, a supervisor in the DEA's Louisville office.Under federal statutes, the DEA deals with both. It must decide how much of the most abuse-prone painkillers, sedatives and other medications are needed to meet bona fide needs.It then must try to keep those same substances out of the wrong hands.The agency controls total availability by setting annual manufacturing quotas for scores of legitimate chemicals used in painkillers and other drugs.The DEA must be careful to ensure an adequate, uninterrupted supply for legitimate medicine while preventing oversupply that would feed abuse, said Frank Sapienza, chief of the drug and chemical evaluation section."These substances are not marijuana or heroin. These are good medicines when given to the right people for the right reasons," Sapienza said.To arrive at volumes it thinks will meet domestic, export and inventory needs, the DEA collects data on production, sales and inventory from manufacturers. It also reviews information on new products, total U.S. medical needs and prescription trends.It divides the overall quota for each chemical among the companies that use it in their products.Most of the process is secret. The DEA says information that companies provide is confidential under trade-secret laws. The same goes for their allotments; only totals for each broad chemical category, expressed by weight, are made public.The DEA has a good relationship with drug-makers, Sapienza said. That helps avoid surprises that could create shortages of important drugs. But the companies don't get everything they want, he said.Their market projections are viewed with caution because "companies are generally optimistic," Sapienza said.Drug-makers that don't like the DEA's quotas have the right to squawk.For example, the DEA posted its first 2003 quotas in November. Ten companies wanted more of 20 drugs, according to the Federal Register, the daily record of government actions. In response, the DEA raised 11 quotas.Twelve requests and five increases were for materials classified as narcotics.The latest version of that list, issued last month, authorizes a total narcotics output that is 27 percent higher than five years ago and 75 percent higher than a decade ago.This year's quota for output of hydrocodone, which is used in many brands of pain pills, is 14 percent higher than last year's and 79 percent higher than five years ago.The ceiling for oxycodone, the active ingredient in OxyContin, remains the same as last year's, 26 percent below the record set in 2001. But it's nearly triple 1998's level. Many doctors say adverse publicity in 2001 slowed their prescribing of OxyContin.The DEA has made huge midstream adjustments in the past. In 2000, it raised the oxycodone quota four times to nearly double the 1999 level.In one round, Purdue Pharma, the maker of OxyContin, advised the DEA that it would seek a formal hearing if the oxycodone quota and one other quota weren't increased to meet its estimates of medical need. The oxycodone quota rose 35 percent. Purdue said it didn't ask for a hearing.In 2001, two DEA administrators told Congress, about six months apart, that they might cut quotas to fight OxyContin abuse. The oxycodone limit fell in 2002, but by then demand was slowing, too.Sapienza said that it is impractical to try to quell potential abuse just by adjusting quotas. "If we cut a certain percentage, how do we know that's the percentage going to the abusers?" he asked.That's where the DEA's other job comes in. The agency has requested a $114 million budget this fiscal year - an increase of $24.6 million - for its division that combats prescription-drug diversion. Much of that money would pay 75 new investigators to help chase down illicit pill users and suppliers.Complete Title: DEA Sets Drug Availability, But Drug-Makers Have Big VoiceSource: Lexington Herald-Leader (KY)Author: Charles B. Camp, Knight Ridder NewspapersPublished: Thursday, January 23, 2003Copyright: 2003 Lexington Herald-LeaderContact: hleditorial herald-leader.comWebsite: http://www.kentucky.com/mld/heraldleader/CannabisNews DEA Archiveshttp://cannabisnews.com/news/list/DEA.shtml
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Comment #10 posted by FoM on January 23, 2003 at 16:35:56 PT
Doobinie
If you condemn the USA you really are only condemning the system of oppression we live under. I understand. 
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Comment #9 posted by Doobinie on January 23, 2003 at 13:54:44 PT
I have a question for the collective
The above article says that "The Drug Enforcement Administration is best known for busting heroin gangs and cocaine smugglers." It also says that "The DEA has a good relationship with drug-makers, Sapienza (chief of the drug and chemical evaluation section)said."My question is this. If the DEA busts smugglers and confiscates their herroin and cocaine, what do they do with the confiscated drugs? Do they sell it to the 'legitimate' drug suppliers, who use these products in the drugs that they make? They do have a good relationship, so it would not be absurd to think that the drug companies might offer to take the drugs off the DEA's hands, you know, just to help out a friend in need. "Let us take those nasty drugs off your hands, and we will make them into something that is good." Hey, it looks like a win-win situation to me, unless you consider the DEA to be highway robbers, imposing penalties on anyone and anything that might undermine their business relationship with the Drug companies. Essentially, it comes down to Pirates raping and pillaging the people to sell the spoils to their friends, whom they license to make and sell drugs, to sell to those who were raped and pillaged in the first place. It really makes you question what they mean by 'the land of the free'. I guess it just goes to show that Americans are correct to be very suspicious of their government. Canada is more like a small town. Our elected official can't get away with as much as American politician do because there are so few of us that everybody knows everybody else (I figure that Canadians are actually only at 3 or 4 degrees of separation from each other) and therefore the cloak of anonymity is more difficult to find.I am sure that this has been brought up before, but I thought I would throw it out there to see if any of you wanted to comment or add anything. Love and Peace,DoobiniePS. Please note that I do not say anything in a spirit of condemnation. What I really hope to do is to provide you with extra ammunition (arguments) for the debate that is brewing, and the battle that is iminent on your side of the 49th.
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Comment #8 posted by FoM on January 23, 2003 at 10:27:51 PT
Thanks druid
I appreciate it! Cannabis is a universal issue. One that bring us all together not one that tears us all apart. Isn't that the way it should be? I sure think so!
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Comment #7 posted by druid on January 23, 2003 at 10:04:48 PT
full JPost article
US Embassy hosts pro-marijuana party
Nina Gilbert Jan. 23, 2003The Green Leaf Party leadership was hosted by the US Embassy on Thursday to enable the embassy political staff to get to know the party's ideas and plans if it is elected to the Knesset.No. 2 on the Green Party list, Canadian born Dan Goldenblatt said he was buoyed by the invitation, since the embassy usually only invites parties that are already in Knesset.Goldenblatt said the meeting focused mainly on the party's cannabis legalization views and its environmental platform. He said the US officials were interested in knowing whether the party supports other drugs besides cannabis.Green Leaf is polling at close to the electoral threshold. But Goldenblatt said that he is optimistic about the party's chances of winning seats, given the margin of error in polls and the fact that many Green Leaf voters are not polled because they are not heads of households
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Comment #6 posted by druid on January 23, 2003 at 10:03:13 PT
oops!
sorry about that. I did a search to see if it was already posted and I guessed I missed it!doh!
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Comment #5 posted by FoM on January 23, 2003 at 10:00:05 PT
druid and everyone
If you want to comment about the article here it is!Holland Reconsidering Cannabis Coffee Shops? Sure: http://cannabisnews.com/news/thread15242.shtml
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Comment #4 posted by FoM on January 23, 2003 at 09:56:40 PT
druid 
Are you registered with the Jerusalem Post? If so could you post the article here? I can register but if you already are that would make it work just fine too. Thanks!
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Comment #3 posted by druid on January 23, 2003 at 09:55:15 PT
Holland Reconsidering Cannabis Coffee Shops? Sure.
In BLACK & WHITEMichael HessBBSNews 2003 Holland Reconsidering Cannabis Coffee Shops? Sure..."The truth is that marijuana legalization would be a nightmare in America. After Dutch coffee shops started selling marijuana in small quantities, use of the drug nearly tripled (from 15% to 44%) among 18-20 year olds between 1984 and 1996. While our nation's cocaine consumption has decreased by 80% over the last 15 years, Europe's has increased...and the Dutch government has started to reconsider its policies." [Please see sidebar.]From the BBSNews Series: A Material Breach of Marijuana FactsBBSNews - 2003-01-21 -- By Eric Johnson, January 21st, 2003 -- So a minion in the Drug Czar's office says in a letter that Holland is reconsidering its policies. Interesting that Czar John didnít have the courage to take the responsibility for this letter himself. This letter is a good example of either blatant lying or a simple misunderstanding due to lack of Dutch language skills. I wonder which it is? Let's find out.On the ground in Holland the following rules are in effect: One may purchase 5 grams of marijuana or hash at any one of the nearly 1000 marijuana coffee shops in the land. One may smoke it anywhere where the owner of the property does not object and in all public spacesFive-gram purchase(s) at up to six different coffeeshops may be made until a maximum of 30 grams per person is reached. One may also visit the same coffeeshop six times. A visit is defined as walking through the door. 
The rest of the story...
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Comment #2 posted by druid on January 23, 2003 at 09:42:20 PT
US Embassy hosts pro-marijuana party
Jan. 23, 2003
US Embassy hosts pro-marijuana party
By NINA GILBERTThe Green Leaf Party leadership was hosted by the US Embassy on Thursday to enable the embassy political staff to get to know the party's ideas and plans if it is elected to the Knesset.No. 2 on the Green Party list, Canadian born Dan Goldenblatt said he was buoyed by the invitation, since the embassy usually only invites parties that are already in Knesset. --------snip----------------------
US Embassy hosts pro-marijuana party
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Comment #1 posted by FoM on January 23, 2003 at 09:31:31 PT
Just a Comment
Maybe there have been articles like this one but this is news to me. Legal drugs are ok even if addicting and expensive but illegal drugs that would be much less expensive can't be used or even grown. We wonder why teenagers don't understand.
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