Maker Of Drug Fueling Heroin Overdose Epidemic Is Lobbying To Keep Weed Illegal

Tyler Durden's picture

Submitted by Carey Wedler via,

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.

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knukles's picture

No shit
The Whole of Big Pharma want to keep weed illegal for it will "compete" with a number of their "medicines"
Like CBD for pain ...  Reteaching way into the reaches of the opiates


NoDebt's picture

If aspirin gave you a buzz, it would be illegal, too.


Manthong's picture

We need to advocate for the responsible use of fentanyl, captagon, all forms of opiates and LSD.

.. if only for the children.

Bunghole's picture

Still havent overdosed in 30+ years on cannabis

Never done pills.

Weak sauce


erkme73's picture

Can someone explain to me why the Feds had to go to the states in 1920 to get alcohol banned (by way of the 18th amendment)?  And then, 13 years later, after they came to their senses and realized that legislating morality didn't work (a la Capone), the again went to the states to reverse teh probition (21st amendment)?

What happened between then and now, where States approval was not only sought, but REQUIRED for things not expressly permitted in the Constitution - but now, all it takes is for some CONgressional votes, and the states have no say at all?

melor's picture
melor (not verified) erkme73 Sep 11, 2016 8:29 PM

Maybe they should continue to legislate immorality to include murder, etc. You'd be happy right?

bleu's picture
bleu (not verified) melor Sep 11, 2016 8:30 PM

There's a MALAISE eating AWAY at America's soul.

melor's picture
melor (not verified) bleu Sep 11, 2016 8:34 PM


erkme73's picture

And now we know what Bleu's backup account is for when Bleu gets banned.  

jeff montanye's picture

treat them all like alcohol.  that's what my only tobacco and alcohol using mother told me in 1958 and she was right.

Stainless Steel Rat's picture
Stainless Steel Rat (not verified) jeff montanye Sep 12, 2016 1:49 AM

I had a buddy who had a bale full of cannabis fall on his head from an altitude of 2000 feet.  Don't let anybody kid you about this stuff!!!

Fish Gone Bad's picture

healing properties of cannabis

People often confuse treating symptoms with treating the disease.  Diseases are cured, or "healed".  Symptoms are treated, or "improved".  Weed may improve many symptoms, but it does not cure any diseases. Example: Diabetes is treated with insulin.  Diabetes may be cured by limiting (or removing) carbohydrates from the diet. Weed is a treatment in search of a symptom to treat.

wildbad's picture

i don't like the stuff, beer's my thing but i grow great weed and make brownies for a kid I know with cancer.  he's getting better and eats like a weevil when nothing else helps him.


auricle's picture

Arizonans for Responsible Drug Policy have shown themselves to be nothing more than a front for big pharma. 

Shockwave's picture

Uh, pretty sure murder infringes on someones constitutional right to life, liberty, and pursuit of happiness.

Drugs do not, in and of themselves. Since theyre illegal however, the lifestyle that comes along with drugs can interfere with other constitutional rights...

I.e. theft, murder, fraud.

Make them legal and watch crime and incarceration rates drop.

Heroin and cocaine used to be legal, and there really wasnt that big of an issue. When you make it illegal, people get sucked into a shitty lifestyle whereby everytjing they do is to get the drugs.

Addicts are going to abuse shit whether its legal or not. Hell, some addicts even abuse positive things like exercise, because addiction IMO is a mental complex.

I feel our drug laws do nothing but make criminals of otherwise decent people.. now there is a good chunk who are just fucking shitbags anyway, but theyd be thieving and robbing whetber or not druvs are involved..



californiagirl's picture


I know most of you want to believe legalization will reduce abuse and crime. However, it is already proving not to be the reality.  But Soros would be thrilled to have an increase in drugged sheeple, all the easier to manipulate.

not dead yet's picture

They always play up the fiction that legalization would cure the problem. It will only make it worse. Like prohibition the idea of the war on drugs was noble but the reality is Americans want their drugs and booze. It's time to call off the war with one caveat, no taxpayer treatment for overdoses or rehab. If you can't pay go cold turkey or die. Unless they were totally stupid, and that's no excuse, those junkies knew what would happen and refused to heed the warnings. We can blame this drug company for trying to stop legalization but the reality is the US is being flooded with fentynal made in illegal labs in China and Mexico. Blaming the doctors and big pharma for the drug epidemic is complete bullshit pushed by those wanting recreational drugs legalized.


Another example of how fucked up this country is we glorify drugs and alcohol and demonize food. Mention fat people and the food police go wild with their complete bullshit, and passing laws to save us from demon sugar or high fructose corn syrup, and yet we find articles in the media of how recreational drug use makes you more productive and creative. Can't hardly go a few minutes of watching most anything on TV and they are drinking with some cheering when the booze is brought out. Even the Weather Channel has a show called 3 Scientists Walk Into a Bar, not that they really do but the title is suggestive, and another show that is set in a bar setting. The cost for problems related to recreational drugs and alcohol far outweigh the cost of the obese pigs. Never heard of anyone dying of a food overdose, while almost 50,000 did in the last year for drugs, or killing over 20,000 a year on roads and injuring tens thousands more like the drunks do.


There are advantages to legalizing drugs. Tax revenue but don't believe that crap that by taxing and regulating you can control it. Thinning the herd as users overdose themselves to death. Getting back some of our freedoms, and saving huge tax dollars, as the militarized cops and DEA won't be kicking in our doors and shooting innocent people. One couple who were completely innocent ex government agents had this happen to them when they bought some fertilizer at the local garden center. Yep, cops staking out garden centers looking for perps. As least in this instance no one got shot. When they sued it got tossed out. So put those overzealous, and many on the take, glory hogs on the unemployment line and the rest of us innocent people can sleep easier at night

not dead yet's picture

Abuse of booze on college campuses is rampant. Yet getting ranked as one of the top party schools is looked upon as a badge of honor. The country is going to hell in a hurry but we're gonna have a fantastic time until the final train wreck.

Shockwave's picture

FYI, im a former addict, so this isnt an opinion based on my own selfish interests. I know the horrors of addiction first hand, and luckily, because I had good parents and a good upbringing, i stayed away from the shittier parts od that lifestyle and managed to emerge with no record. A large part of that is luck IMO.

I agree, and know for a fact legalization wouldnt cure anything as far as addiction rates goes. What it WOULD do is reduce the shitty lifestyle that goes along with the addiction, so people would not be stealing or comitting fraud as much they do now to get their fix. It would also reduce taxpayer burden of these people being jailed for nonviolent crimes, and of people becoming a cyclical part of a system they find themselves trapped in with no hope of breaking the cycle.

I also believe legalization, or nore aptly decriminalization, wouldnt increase addiction rates as many seem to think. People who are addicts are going to do drugs. People who arent, wont. Youre not suddenly going to get a ton of people deciding to do heroin because its legal.

IMO, much like smoking, you get the negative aspects out there, you let them decide if its worth the possibpe consequences, and let the social stigma handle it. i think well find the fear mongering isnt nearly the reality.People who try drugs arent deterred by the legality of it anyways, so those who know the conzequences of it will stay away IMO.

These are all just my opinion from seeing the lifestyle 1st hand. There is a lot of innocent, otherwise good people who get popped 1 time for experimenting and their life is over, then all they have, and all they grow to know, is that lifestyle.

Some of those would never have tried the stuff had it not been "illegal" and percieved "dangerous".

Again, just anecdotal observations from a recovering addict.

californiagirl's picture

And then there are those of us that never tried the stuff because it was illegal.  

Sadly I know several people who died and others that have permanent health damage and have destroyed their careers, lives.

I am glad to hear you recovered. I recently had to let an employee go. Her work was deteriorating rapidly. One evening I found a cell phone pouch on the bathroom floor. It contained a driver's licence, pot and crystal meth (a police officer friend had it tested for me).  She lied, of course and had a long story about how she got it. I sent her for drug testing, which she didn't go to until the next day. She managed to cheat the urine test but I also had also ordered the hair test. The hair test results were more than triple what is considered high use for meth. She used to be an excellent employee.  I am very sad for her and her kids and didn't call the police despite my lawyer's advice. I hope she gets some help and comes out of it.  

in4mayshun's picture

See the book "Chasing the Scream." Researcher in Europe proved that addiction is a mental condition, not some voodoo spell that a drug puts on you.

ConnectingTheDots's picture

It's too bad we are so exceptional as a nation, that we cannot learn from the experiences of others.

Portugal decriminalized all drugs, and over a decade drug use dropped by half.

El Vaquero's picture

Simple:  Job security for the DEA and many other LEOs, plus it gets rid of the competition for pharmicutical companies.  The short of it is, too many people make a living off of the war on drugs.  

juangrande's picture

The "threat" of out of control Mexicans and Negroes was the reason. Sound familiar??

El Vaquero's picture

Harry Anslinger used that as part of the argument against weed, but in the end, his job was going away due to the end of prohibition.  You can argue that it was both, and you would get little to no argument from me though.  

Zip_the_Zap's picture

You might as well ask what is the US Constitution?

Katos's picture

I have cronic pain problems and have a prescription for narcotics. My doctor in california told me that if he finds Marijuana in my system he will have to stop my much needed prescription for narcotics??? By orders of the federal government??

Mr. Universe's picture

What kind of Dr. are you going to?? Why would he ask such a question? You realize traditional Dcotors are bought and paid for by big pharma. Tell them nothing beyond what they need to know. That said , given the choice, fuck the narcotics you are much better off without them, especially if you have chronic pain.

RaceToTheBottom's picture

For cronic pain, fuck the doctors.  They have no solution and will fight those that might.

The Wizard's picture

Exactly, MJ is cutting in on their profits. Properly used, MJ is a natural medicine. They would rather sell and push their synthetic drugs.

The Jackal's picture

Exactly.  The Fentanyl angle is a red herring, as it is coming in from China.  To their credit, at least one of the Darknet bazaars have banned Fentanyl sales.

CBD can be converted into the active form of THC through an isometric process.  It's not difficult to remove all the water from ethanol, and that's about all that stands in the way of any individual doing it.  Once it is more widely known, look for them to ban CBD oil unless you live in a state where it has been legalized.

There simply isn't any other explanation for them donating half a million except that they know legalization will hit their bottom line.  I would like to see the figures pre- and post- legalization for some of the major pharma companies with patents on pain and depression meds.

hp-source's picture
hp-source (not verified) knukles Sep 11, 2016 9:31 PM

My last pay check was $9500 working 12 hours a week online. My sisters friend has been averaging 15k for months now and she works about 20 hours a week. I can't believe how easy it was once I tried it out. This is what I do...

hp-source's picture
hp-source (not verified) knukles Sep 11, 2016 9:32 PM

My last pay check was $9500 working 12 hours a week online. My sisters friend has been averaging 15k for months now and she works about 20 hours a week. I can't believe how easy it was once I tried it out. This is what I do...

s2man's picture

Come on,  Tyler.   Different name,  SOS.   please block these pin heads.

nailgunner44's picture

What the article fails to mention is that these are the same guys who have all rights to the generic form of Marinol. Also their leading product candidate, Subsys, is a form of synthetically derived THC from peptide amides. The opiate connection is something of a non-sequitur with regards to their stance against legalizing weed. It is still a high barrier to entry market. How many companies do you see that are currently undergoing FDA clinical trials for cannabis related products? I can think of only two others: Zynerba and GW Pharma. Anything else is still preclinical.

TeamDepends's picture

There is a great video entitled "Hemp For Victory" that you should watch. No, we are not providing a link. Life is rough.

Shemp 4 Victory's picture

Seems I've heard of that one before somewhere...

NoDebt's picture

Question:  Is Fentanyl one of the drugs in the old Fen-Fen weight loss "miracle" from a few years back that they pulled because people were dropping dead from heart attacks on it?  I ask because I honestly don't know the answer.


Manthong's picture

I am not a clinical scientist; I only play one on the Interweb.

But if one objectively looks at the molecular structure of phenfluromine and fentanyl one might notice some similarities.

Make your own decisions.

Anopheles's picture

Good question.  Fentynal isn't related to Fen-Phen,  they are different classes of drugs.

Fentynal is an opiate,  similar to morphine and heroin.  Where Fen-Phen is a serotonin, norepinephrine and dopamine releasing drug, working as  neurotransmitters, similar to antidepressants. 

SixIsNinE's picture

no   - opiates aren't weight-losers, unless of course you OD then lose it all ....  fentermine was one, can't recall the other


but if anyone would care to elucidate on the "fen" prefix origination of the drugs,  please do so


Manthong's picture

wow.. great chemistry issues..... thank you guys.


and well,  most folks just want to get the dopamine receptors stimulated.

Manthong's picture

..but I have this nagging suspicion that those in control are not talking about the selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor (SSRI) drugs that most of the crazy gun whack jobs were likely on.

MopWater's picture

SSRIs are the fucking devil.


The sexual side effects from SSRIs, I'm sure, have grenades plenty of marriages.


The Jackal's picture

One doesn't get the munchies using opiates.  In fact, purging after a shot is common.


Of course, you don't shit either.

HerrDoktor's picture



quadraspleen's picture

Nah, fentanyl, like propofol, is a heavy sedative. It's normally used in the ER for people on a breather, and before they put you under with gas, or when having a minor procedure when full anaesthetic isn't it's become recreational I'll never know..some people will take's about 100x stronger than heroin in its normal dose..give me a big blunt any day of the week