A company whose founder, CEO, and 6 executives have all been arrested for bribing doctors to prescribe opioids, was approved by DEA to sell synthetic THC.
As the Free Thought Project previously reported, one of the manufacturers of a fentanyl drug was exposed for lobbying against marijuana, while simultaneously bribing doctors to push their dangerous opioids. Now, after the federal government granted Insys permission to make a synthetic version of cannabis, they are claiming that it’s safer and more medically valuable than actual weed. Seriously.
The DEA recently announced through the federal register that the synthetic THC made by Insys, sold under the brand name Syndros, will be listed as a schedule II drug, meaning it can now be prescribed by doctors. In the meantime, actual THC—containing the exact same properties, but able to be grown in your backyard—remains on the same scheduling list as heroin, noting that it has “no currently accepted medical use” and “a high potential for abuse.”
Insys has become notorious over the last two years after six former executives and managers were arrested on charges that they engaged in a nationwide scheme to bribe doctors to prescribe a drug containing the opioid fentanyl. Now this same group of dangerous drug peddlers is being given a partial national monopoly on the sale of legal THC, by the group who claims to protect Americans from drugs.
Along with the executives, Michael Baich, the former CEO, was also charged in an indictment filed in federal court. Even the company’s billionaire founder, John Kapoor was arrested in October for his role in the bribery scheme. He was freed on a $1 million bail after pleading not guilty.
The idea that the DEA would provide a company—who was caught bribing doctors to prescribe opioid drugs that have led to one of the largest addiction problems in the history of the world—with a pass to sell their synthetic version of a plant they continue to kidnap, cage, and kill people over, is infuriating, to say the least.
When asked about this overt conflict of interest and unscrupulous handout to Big Pharma, the DEA answered with a typical bureaucratic reply.
As VICE reported, the DEA noted in its announcement on Wednesday that it received public comments from people opposed to making synthetic THC products Schedule II while keeping marijuana Schedule I. The DEA also said: “two commenters expressed concern that pharmaceutical companies are making a profit from approved drugs containing marijuana constituents.”
“The DEA notes that FDA-approved products of oral solutions containing dronabinol [THC] have an approved medical use, whereas marijuana does not have an approved medical use and therefore remains in Schedule I,” the agency said in its response.
What makes this information so damning and hypocritical is that in September 2016, the Free Thought Project helped to expose Insys Therapeutics for paying hundreds of thousands of dollars to keep marijuana, a plant that has never killed anyone, illegal.
In a glaring display of hypocrisy, Insys, who makes Subsys, a sublingual fentanyl spray, claimed that marijuana is dangerous because it could hurt children. At least that was their public reasoning for shoving $500,000 towards a campaign opposing marijuana legalization in the US. Now, they are pushing the same drug!
If you want to know why there is a drug war, ask yourself, ‘who benefits from it’?
Legal pot is detrimental to the opioid crisis and reduces addiction. However, this is bad business for big pharma and their lapdogs in the DEA.
Opiate addiction, overdose, and accidental death problems might simply be avoided if, ironically enough, marijuana is made legal nationwide. This would drastically reduce the scope of the DEA’s enforcement as well as threaten the grip opioid manufacturers currently have on addiction.
As TFTP has documented on several occasions, cannabis holds the promise of helping opiate addicts kick their addiction by substituting their cravings for opiates with the non-addictive painkilling properties of marijuana. And it’s not folklore. Doctors have experimented with cannabis as a substitute for opiates with high degrees of success.
Study after study has confirmed that medical cannabis access reduces harm from opioid abuse among the population. A recent study published in the Drug and Alcohol Dependency journal found that states with legal medical cannabis experience fewer hospitalizations related to opioids.
“Medical marijuana legalization was associated with 23% and 13% reductions in hospitalizations related to opioid dependence or abuse and [opioid pain reliever] OPR overdose, respectively; lagged effects were observed after policy implementation.”
Researchers from the University of California analyzed hospital administrative records for the period of 1997 to 2014. The author reported:
“This study demonstrated significant reductions on OPR- (opioid pain reliever) related hospitalizations associated with the implementation of medical marijuana policies. …We found reductions in OPR-related hospitalizations immediately after the year of policy implementation as well as delayed reductions in the third post-policy year.“
From the outside, this entire scenario looks like a case of big pharma pushing its deadly drugs while reaping massive profits. However, if we look closer, that scenario is not only made possible by, but fostered through, pharma’s ties to the state. As people beg the state for more regulation, real free enterprise solutions, like legal weed, are being ignored, or worse, prosecuted.
Until this paradigm of government and pharmaceutical collusion and the war on drugs comes to an end, we can only predict that this epidemic of mass opioid overdoses and the war on the potential cure to get far worse.