Summersgill seeks meeting with Allen on Marinol reclassification
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Summersgill seeks meeting with Allen on Marinol reclassification

January 28, 2000

Councilmember Sandy Allen
441 4th Street, NW
Washington, DC 20001

Dear Councilmember Allen:

On behalf of the Gay and Lesbian Activists Alliance, I would like to meet with you regarding the reclassification of the drug Marinol from schedule II to schedule III, non-narcotic controlled substances.

Marinol is an artificial form of THC, the active chemical in marijuana. The FDA has approved Marinol for treatment of nausea in cancer chemotherapy patients and anorexia associated with weight loss in patients with AIDS (also known as wasting syndrome).

In July 1999, the federal Drug Enforcement Administration reclassified Marinol from Schedule II to Schedule III of the Controlled Substances Act. Schedule III is the typical schedule for prescription drugs.

The DEA action does not affect DC law. In order to assist doctors and patients in treating debilitating nausea, the DC Code needs to be updated to move Marinol from 33-516 (1)(G) to 33-518.

Rescheduling of a drug from Schedule II to Schedule III relieves patients, physicians and pharmacists from several imposed restrictions. Once DC reschedules Marinol to be consistent with Federal guidelines, it should be easier for patients to receive this medication. It can mean less paperwork for physicians to prescribe Marinol, more convenience for patients to have their prescription phoned-in, and one prescription can be refilled for up to five months without any problems.

The DEA found, consistent with the tests for schedule III in DC Code 33-517, that (1) Marinol has a potential for abuse less than the substances listed in Schedules I and II; (2) Marinol is an FDA-approved drug and has currently accepted medical use in treatment in the United States and the District of Columbia; and (3) The abuse of Marinol may lead to moderate or low physical dependence or high psychological dependence.

Please call me to schedule a meeting at your convenience at 202-667-5139.

I look forward to meeting with you about this important health issue which will greatly relieve the suffering of critically ill patients in the District.

Thank you,

Bob Summersgill
Gay and Lesbian Activists Alliance of Washington, DC

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