The Palm Beach Post from West Palm Beach, Florida on December 12, 1976 · Page 6
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The Palm Beach Post from West Palm Beach, Florida · Page 6

West Palm Beach, Florida
Issue Date:
Sunday, December 12, 1976
Page 6
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Page 6 article text (OCR)

T3 1 I v p -. Calls for Ban Cites Abuses Drug Agency Head On Amphetamines, A6 Palm Beach Post-Times, Sunday, December 12, 1976 Codeine Poppy May Be Approved ter the Food and Drug Administration makes decisions about their medical value. Dr. Robert DuPont, head of the National Institute on Drug Abuse, complained that some doctors persist in prescribing amphetamines to help overweight persons curb their appetites. But he said the drug is of doubtful value as a long-range dieting aid. Doctors who rely on amphetamines for their dieting patients "are using poor judgment," DuPont asserted. In the report, the Strategy Council on Drug Abuse said nothing about a ban on amphetamines but called for stricter enforcement of the law to prevent abuse of that drug along with tranquilizers and barbiturates. Amphetamines, used for other than medical purposes, produce euphoria, a "high" in drug slang. The council includes representatives of the departments of State, Defense, Justice, Health, Education and Welfare and the Veterans Administration. The White House Domestic Council coordinates the work. Richard Parsons, an associate director of the Domestic Council, acknowledged that the Ford administration won't be around to carry out the strategy it is announcing. WASHINGTON (AP) - The head of the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) suggests the government should ban amphetamines because of growing abuse of the drug sometimes prescribed for dieters. "I seriously question whether amphetamines should be made available at all," said DEA Administrator Peter B. Bensinger. He discussed the amphetamine problem at a news conference announcing the Ford administration's recommended strategy to fight drug abuse. The strategy report was made public yesterday. Bensinger noted that DEA has reduced the quantity of amphetamines which can be legally produced and sold. But Bensinger said his agency takes the position that the FDA should consider whether amphetamines are "an appropriate and needed drug." Bensinger said he believes the "FDA is looking at that very seriously." Under federal law, amphetamines are in a category which allows them to be prescribed by doctors but sets restrictions on the frequency of the prescriptions and imposes quotas on production. DEA enforces the restrictions on various drugs af World quotas for growing opium poppies have been negotiated through the International Narcotic Control Board, which tries to balance the supply from the Soviet Union, Eastern Europe, Turkey, India and other producing areas with the legitimate medical demand, which is growing faster in the United States than in any other country. The DEA has offered all government and private agencies and individuals a chance to comment on its proposal to begin licensing commercial crops of the new poppy. After the Dec. 21 deadline for comments, the DEA will decide if the issues raised justify a public hearing before the final decision. Peter B. Bensinger , . . questions drug's value JM HAS FAMED DESIGNER SPORTS SHIRTS THAT SOLD FOR 27.50 TO 32.50 ON HAND NOW FOR HOLIDAY GIFTING FOR ONLY 14.99 The designer names are the most acclaimed. The styles and detailing, the most current! Save on long sleeve sport shirts in polyester, cotton and polyestercotton including fine imported nylon knits. Choose status belt buckle patterns, florals, geometries, stripes and more in colors to complement his Florida wardrobe. Give him something special and save, too! S to XL. Men's Sportswear, at all jm stores Sorry, no mail or phone orders lipi 4 Ifi A unit of Allied Stores By ANDREW MOLLISON Cox Nowspaperi Washington Burtau WASHINGTON - The Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) is on the verge of approving commercial production of a new kind of poppy, the first ever developed that is good for making codeine, but not heroin. Federal law enforcement and agricultural officials agree it could lower the cost of sedatives and painkillers, while avoiding the risk of adding to the illegal supply of addictive heroin. '. It would be a substitute for the opium poppy, which legally cannot be grown within the United States, federal officials believe a lot of the heroin sold in the streets comes from illegally diverted products of poppies grown legally elsewhere to supply world medicinal needs. The State Department sees diplomatic risks in raising the new crop in this country, according to Edward E. Johnson, chairman of the interagency Opium Policy Task Force. "A number of U.S. pharmaceutical firms have proposed that we change our traditional policy of relying entirely on imports to meet domestic needs for opium-based drugs, and authorize limited domestic growth and process of (the new poppy) papaver bracteatum," he said. "While such a change in policy might result in a somewhat cheaper and more certain raw material supply, the State Department believes that it might also have a serious impact on our ability to convince foreign nations less able to control production to stay out of licit (legal) production," he said. DEA Chief Counsel Donald E. Miller said his agency is well aware that "unless production is carefully and slowly developed under strict government controls, you might upset the delicate world balance of supply and demand." The DEA proposes to license only a handful of American drug companies to grow the new poppy. Crops would be phased in, with the size limited to the amount needed to supply one-fifth of the U.S. need for opium-based medicines. The companies could grow the poppy only in fields surrounded by four-strand barbed-wire fences, alarm systems, armed guards during the harvest season, and under other strict growing, storage, milling, threshing and processing controls. "You don't want to turn off the faucet (on imports of opium gum or poppy straw concentrate) here, if that just turns it on full force somewhere else," Miller said, justifying the gradual and limited approach. In tact, Department of Agriculture plant specialists who developed the new strain from a few grams of wild seed imported from Iran in late 1972 think the proposed precautions too elaborate. "A few people already grow it for ornamental purposes," D. W. Fishier of the Department of Agriculture's research service said. "One lady wrote us that she already bought seeds for a few flowers from a plant dealer in Miami." If the precautions for commercial crops raise the price of the new poppy too high, the drug companies wouldn't use it, he said. One justification offered for the elaborate security arrangements is that, although the new poppy does not produce the morphine from which heroin is made, it does produce thebaine, a source not only of pain-killing codeine but of the "Bentley compounds." "Bentley compounds have the effect of heroin, only they are 1,000 to 10,000 times as strong," said Sybil Cline of the Drug Abuse Council. "A lethal dose would be a drop from the end of a pin. It can be, and is, used to knock out elephants." Fishier scoffs at tears of illegal diversion. "Thebaine's been around for years. It costs so much to process that anyone who wants to get involved in illegal drug traffic would get into something else," he said. After four international conferences, the U.N. Commission on Narcotic Drugs came to much the same conclusion: "While much research remains to be done, we believe that enough is now known so that we can anticipate the day in the near future in which papaver bracteatum begins to be planted in commercial quantities, and thebaine begins to fill part of the world's requirement for codeine." A U.N. study by scientists in Geneva concluded: "Should heroin cease to be available, it would be most likely to be replaced by certain wholly synthetic materials whose potency . . . effects and ease of preparation from uncontrolled materials would make them more attractive to illicit operators than compounds preparable from thebaine." Johnson, whose task force is coordinating efforts by more than a dozen federal agencies in dealing with the problem, said that the United States has been trying gently to pressure some opium-growing countries to switch to the new poppy. But the new poppy requires less manpower to grow and uses less land, two factors which displease economic planners in the relatively poor countries that grow opium poppies. Our Mail is Open for Inspection! Keep aware of what goes on in our town. Read "Let-ten to the Editor" daily in The Poit. Call Circulation Dept. 659-1450 for home 1 ft f5 V Hi SHOP ALL JM STORES SUNDAY, 1 1 AM TO 7 PM!

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