Drug Maker Contributing to Heroin Overdose Epidemic Lobbying to Keep Pot Illegal

Harmless Pot Demonized but Overdose on legal Opiates Ignored

Maker of Drug Fueling Heroin Overdose Epidemic Is Lobbying to Keep Weed Illegal

By: Carey Wedler

In 2016, cannabis is still illegal in many parts of the country, and pharmaceutical giant Insys Therapeutics Inc., a manufacturer of fentanyl, just demonstrated much of the reason why.

Arizona is currently gearing up to vote on legalizing recreational cannabis. Ahead of that vote, Insys just contributed $500,000 in the fight against Proposition 205, U.S. News and other outlets report.

The Arizona-based pharmaceutical company recently gave the funds to Arizonans for Responsible Drug Policy, an anti-legalization campaign group actively fighting to defeat the ballot measure.

Insys’s contributions are particularly unsettling considering the company currently markets only one product — a spray version of fentanyl, a powerful opiate.

Fentanyl has become one of the country’s most dangerous prescription drugs. It is more potent than traditional addictive opiates, which already claim thousands of lives every year and drive addicts to graduate to heroin use. Fentanyl is 50 times stronger than heroin and has been linked to a growing number of deaths in the United States. It is particularly dangerous when sold on the street and cut with other drugs. Fentanyl has been blamed for worsening the sharp rise in heroin overdoses as dealers across the country have begun adding it to heroin to make it stronger.

Yet Insys and opponents of legalization are more concerned about a plant.

According to Arizonans for Responsible Drug Policy, four states and the District of Columbia have already legalized [cannabis] and are seeing disastrous repercussions for their youth, workplaces and communities.

Of course, this assessment is incorrect.

Colorado has lower rates of teen cannabis consumption than the national average, and studies have shown driving while under the influence of the plant is far less dangerous than alcohol, a legal drug. Colorado has seen a spike in tourism, business, and tax revenues as a result of legalization.

Interestingly, a study by Johns Hopkins university last year found states with medical marijuana had lower rates of overdose from opiates.

In spite of Arizonans for Responsible Drug Policy’s claims they care about communities, it is completely comfortable taking half a million dollars from a company that produces one of the most toxic and addictive drugs on the market. Unsurprisingly, Insys previously sold a synthetic cannabis product and has already gained approval from the FDA to launch a similar one in the near future. These business ventures provide an even deeper understanding of why they oppose legalization.

[W]e are truly shocked by our opponents’ decision to keep a donation from what appears to be one of the more unscrupulous members of Big Pharma,” J.P. Holyoak, chairman of the Campaign to Regulate Marijuana like Alcohol said.

His statement continued:

Our opponents have made a conscious decision to associate with this company. They are now funding their campaign with profits from the sale of opioids – and maybe even the improper sale of opioids. We hope that every Arizonan understands that Arizonans for Responsible Drug Policy is now a complete misnomer. Their entire campaign is tainted by this money. Any time an ad airs against Prop. 205, the voters should know that it was paid for by highly suspect Big Pharma actors.

Considering the myriad healing properties of cannabis, it is obvious why a pharmaceutical company in the business of selling powerful painkillers is eager to invest in maintaining prohibition. Legalizing and normalizing cannabis pose a direct threat to pharmaceutical profits considering cannabis is effective at treating pain, anxiety, degenerative diseases, and potentially even cancer. Though much more research is needed to determine the true efficacy of cannabis as medicine, the federal government’s insistence on keeping it illegal stifles further scientific examination.

There are legitimate concerns about treating cannabis like alcohol — namely, that convoluted regulations make legalization a bureaucratic headache compounded by the substance’s illegal status with the federal government. Nevertheless, powerful interests are aggressively trying to keep cannabis illegal — Insys’s donation is the largest any group associated with Proposition 205 has received.

Around the country, the pharmaceutical fight against legalization is joined by the tobacco lobby, the alcohol lobby, the private prison lobby, and law enforcement.

Still, U.S. News reports the ballot measure is gaining popularity among Arizonans. While corporate cash has been known to influence election outcomes, only time will tell if Insys’s desperate attempts to keep a plant illegal will sway voters.


About the Author: Carey Wedler joined Anti-Media as an independent journalist in September of 2014. Her topics of interest include the police and warfare states, the Drug War, the relevance of history to current problems and solutions, and positive developments that drive humanity forward. She currently resides in Los Angeles, California, where she was born and raised.

This article (Maker of Drug Fueling Heroin Overdose Epidemic Is Lobbying to Keep Weed Illegal) is free and open source, used with permission under a Creative Commons license with attribution to Carey Wedler and theAntiMedia.org.


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3 Comments on Drug Maker Contributing to Heroin Overdose Epidemic Lobbying to Keep Pot Illegal

  1. More moderation from so-called “Liberty” news blogs? Interesting. Guess people here will play the cover-up game in media too. So much for free speech and the needed spread of information. Liberty???

  2. We were told to sign new pain med contracts with the Indianapolis VA or do without health care. Meaning, we would be forced to take anti-depressants regardless of side effects, forced. To never use civilian care for anything including heart attacks, accidents, broken bones, etc., nothing. And many other totally insane demands. Told we were too stupid and irresponsible to handle our own needs and health care. If we didn’t agree, we were told we’d never get health care in the state again since the VA, medical colleges, politiicians, Homeland Security, the DoD, med boards all stand together and control every aspect of helaht care in this miserable state. Thanks Pence and all those Demoncrats.

    We were also told if we had to, for not bowing down to the fascist pigs, go to the streets and buy whatever we needed, were getting from the VA, and told to use street dope and heroin for pain instead.

    We don’t live in America any longer and we don’t have representatives or any truth or reality from lousy media on all levels. Just lies, propaganda and cover-ups. That is why so many people either vets or civilians are killing themselves. It’s not just mere accidental overdose, it’s mostly intentional, but insurance won’t pay out on suicides from dealing with chronic pain and dealing with all the professional scum and corporate pigs and government we are forced to deal with while getting nothing in return but more corruption, threats, files flagged, more threats, and ending in total distrust with any one associated with any of those ‘professionals’ or self centered medical cabals or mafias for our care.

    Now another herb Kraton is made illegal since it helps more than kills. Don’t try accupuncture either since buying those needles are illegal to buy here too. Welcome to the police state and big brother controls it all.

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