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Foster Calls On NIH To Examine Home-Brewed Heroin

Nov 3, 2015
Press Release

Washington, DC—Today, Congressman Bill Foster (IL-11) and 12 bipartisan members of Congress wrote to National Institutes of Health (NIH) Director Dr. Francis Collins asking him to examine the potential for abuse of home-brewed heroin.

A team of researchers at Stanford recently announced that they created a strain of yeast that can take sugar and convert it into the active ingredient in Vicodin, hydrocodone. While this scientific discovery has many exciting medical implications, including the potential to create painkilling drugs that are less addictive, it could also lead to the production of narcotics for illicit uses.

“This discovery gives us both cause for celebration and cause for concern,” said Foster. “The potential ability to create painkillers that are less addictive could be groundbreaking in our fight against prescription drug abuse. At the same time, we must be careful not to add to the growing opioid and heroin problem that is devastating so many communities. NIH should take a close look at this technology and develop a strategy to prevent home-brewed heroin from becoming an alternative for addicts.”

The Representatives are urging the NIH and its partners to examine this technology and begin forming a strategy for how to prevent abuse while protecting the culture of scientific innovation that is so crucial to cultivating medical and scientific advances.

A copy of the letter is available here.

Signers of the letter include: Katherine Clark (D-MA), Donna Edwards (D-MD), Elizabeth Esty (D-CT), Janice Hahn (D-CA), Marcy Kaptur (D-OH), Derek Kilmer (D-WA), Dan Lipinski (D-IL), Stephen Lynch (D-MA), Alex Mooney (R-WV), Tim Ryan (D-OH), Chris Van Hollen (D-MD), Juan Vargas (D-CA).