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Created Oct 2020


DEA CODE 9330: Schedule 2 Narcotic

Oripavine is an alkaloid found in poppy straw (Class A) of the opium poppy. It can easily be converted into thebaine (controlled under the Misuse of Drugs Act 1971 in Class A and under the Misuse of Drugs Regulations in Schedule 2) and used in the production of semi-synthetic opiates such as hydrocodone and oxycodone. In recent years quantities of concentrate of poppy straw containing oripavine have been manufactured for commercial use.

Oripavine belongs to the class of organic compounds known as morphinans. Oripavine is a very strong basic compound (based on its pKa). Oripavine has been detected, but not quantified in, several different foods, such as allium (onion), pili nuts, towel gourds, mixed nuts, and saskatoon berries. This could make oripavine a potential biomarker for the consumption of these foods.

World Health Organization 2006:
It is not produced by traditionally cultivated varieties of opium poppy (P. somniferum L.) and is therefore not found in opium. However, in the last decade, a variety (a strain) of P. somniferum was created by plant breeders with a high content of oripavine and is now cultivated commercially on a considerable scale. Oripavine was pre-reviewed by the 33rd ECDD in 2002. The reason for pre-review in 2002 was that oripavine is a substance that is convertible into thebaine, and because thebaine in its turn is convertible into morphine.

Proposed conclusion:
Proposed text: Oripavine is a substance that is easily converted into thebaine and other substances controlled by the 1961 Convention. Hence the Committee recommends that oripavine be scheduled, like the substances mentioned, in Schedule I of the 1961 Convention. Although the substance could also be brought under the international drug control by applying other treaties, the Committee recommends not to break the logic of international drug control mechanisms. It reminds that also the other substances that are specific for this production chain of morphine derivatives are scheduled under the 1961 Convention.

WHO PDF Oripavine

Oripavine is an opiate and the major metabolite of thebaine. It is the parent compound from which a series of semi-synthetic opioids are derived, which includes the compounds etorphine and buprenorphine. Although its analgesic potency is comparable to morphine, it is not used clinically due to its severe toxicity and low therapeutic index. Due to its use in manufacture of strong opioids, oripavine is a controlled substance in some jurisdictions.

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