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DEA "EMERGENCY SCHEDULING" AUTHORITY IN REP. HUGHES' (D-NJ) BILL

Executive Summary

DEA "EMERGENCY SCHEDULING" AUTHORITY IN REP. HUGHES' (D-NJ) BILL should be limited to drugs "which have no currently accepted medical use in treatment in the U.S.," the House Judiciary Subcmte. on Crime agreed April 26. The subcmte. unanimously passed the amendment during a markup of Hughes' Dangerous Drug Diversion Control Act (HR 4698). In a memo to subcmte. members, Hughes explained that with the revision the emergency scheduling authority "is intended to apply to the problem of 'designer drugs' which are the chemical analogs of existing controlled substances but have no medical use or value." As examples, the memo cited PCE and PHP, "which are clandestinely developed and manufactured analogs of the psychedelic drug PCP, or various substances sold as 'synthetic heroin.' As originally introduced, the bill would have permitted emergency scheduling of "any drug or other substance." Under the revised emergency scheduling provision notification in the Federal Register is required "at least 30 days prior to the Attorney General's scheduling action." Additionally, the bill would require "30-days notice to the secty. of HHS" in order to obtain comments from the dept. In addition to the emergency scheduling provision, the subcmte. made several other changes in the legislation, relating to OTCs, imports and exports, grants, placing controlled substances under seal when practitioners go out of business, and registration of practitioners. The revised bill was reported to the full House Judiciary Cmte. The revised bill restores the mandatory exemption from scheduling control for OTC drugs. Hughes' memo noted that the provision was "inadvertently" changed when the bill was first drafted. In another change the bill is "clarified to allow the importation of poppy straw and concentrate of poppy straw . . . under other than emergency circumstances," the memo says. During the mark-up Subcmte. Chairman Hughes indicated that a DuPont request that thebaine importation be permitted under this provision will be considered when the bill goes to the full cmte. The company formally asked for the change in April 25 letter to Hughes. The provision, DuPont Biomedical Products VP Hazen Richardson said, would more easily assure "a reliable supply of reasonably-priced thebaine." DuPont, which uses the substance in producing a number of products such as naloxone, naltrexone, and hydrocodone, currently "is limited" to purchasing thebaine from three domestic mfrs. whose price, $702 per kilogram, is more than double that which foreign producers have offered, he said.

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