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I am cross posting the following Reuters article that just came out
today about several new drugs becoming schedule 1 due to their potential
use as a 'date rape' drug.  I think few will argue with GHB being added
to this schedule, but Ketamine is included.  It is refered to in the
article as "an animal tranquilizer".  I am not personally sure how to
best organize and fight this but it would be a massive medical
disservice to many of our pediatric and adult patients for whom Ketamine
may be the best and safest drug available.   Clearly it's availability
would be almost nil should it go to schedule 1.  Lets see what we can do
to educate these legislators and to have them stop this ill advised
action.
 
Evan E. Fusco, MD FAAEM FACEP
Alaska Native Medical Center
Anchorage, AK
 
Wednesday July 28 6:18 PM ET
 
''Date rape'' drugs added to controlled substance list
WASHINGTON, Jul 28 (Reuters Health) -- Three chemicals used as ``date
rape'' drugs would be added to the federal government's schedule of
controlled substances -- and users subjected to vastly increased
penalties -- under legislation approved by a House Commerce Subcommittee
Tuesday.
 
The Subcommittee on Health and the Environment unanimously approved a
bill to list Gamma hydroxybutyric acid (GHB) and Ketamine, an animal
tranquilizer, as schedule I substances; those most tightly controlled.
In addition, Gamma butyrlactone, (GBL), a precursor of GHB, would be
added as a list I chemical.
 
``Today's vote is a big step towards getting these drugs off our
nation's streets,'' said Commerce Committee Chairman Thomas Bliley
(R-VA). ``Our nation's young women are counting on this Congress to move
this piece of legislation this year.''
 
The Drug Enforcement Administration has documented more than 4,000 cases
involving overdoses of GHB, and 32 deaths, said Rep. Sherrod Brown
(D-OH). ``These drugs are being used to commit violence against women,''
he said.
 
The measure would also authorize the Department of Health and Human
Services to mount an education and awareness campaign about the dangers
of date rape drugs, including helping women recognize symptoms and take
appropriate action if they believe they have been drugged.
 
Before passing the bill, the subcommittee adopted an amendment by Bart
Stupak (D-MI), to protect a GHB-based drug now in development for the
treatment of narcolepsy. The amendment, among other things, would lift
the requirement that the sole maker of medicinal GHB have to construct
special vaults to store the substance.
 
``Scheduling GHB as a schedule I controlled substance while it is
pending Food and Drug Administration approval but exempting the
investigational drug from costly facility security requirements will
ensure continuation of promising research and patient access to this
effective treatment,'' wrote Abbey Meyers, president of the National
Organization for Rare Disorders, in a letter to Commerce Committee
members.
 
``As you well know, patients with narcolepsy have very few options
available to them -- primarily palliative and often inadequate,
temporary symptom relief,'' Meyers continued. ``By reaching a compromise
on GHB legislation you have ensured that this hope will not be dashed
and that the promise of this new treatment can become a reality.''
 
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