A Viable Solution to the Nationwide Opioid Epidemic
America is in the grip of an opioid drug crisis. We lose someone every twenty minutes to opioid pain pills, and their use has led many to street heroin. This is taking place in regular towns amongst good people, and there has to be a means to an end. Fortunately, there is a non-toxic option that’s legal and proven effective. It’s medical marijuana. About 150,000 Arizonans qualified for medical marijuana, and of those the majority qualified under chronic pain. These patients reduced or stopped their opioid drug use by using marijuana as an alternative. This takes opioid drugs out of medicine cabinets, off streets, and out of the hands of our kids. You may think, “That’s medical marijuana. It’s already legal”. True, but many cannot afford the card and others don’t want to use something illegal. “Medical marijuana” and “recreational marijuana” are the same product. Yes, some are bred for better quality, but they’re the same product. Colorado has seen a 6.5% drop in opioid-related deaths since legalization, according to the American Journal of Public Health*.
Governor Doug Ducey says he won’t trade one drug for another, but he’s going to propel Naloxone. Naloxone is a drug used to bring someone back from an overdose. We do appreciate Naloxone, but prefer to prevent an overdose before it happens. Cannabis (marijuana) cannot cause overdose, according the Centers for Disease Control. We lose about ten young people every month in Arizona to opioid overdose. Cannabis is proven effective for pain relief, and as an exit drug for opioid withdrawal. Many are using this as a natural alternative to Suboxone and Methadone. Meant to bring people down slowly, these common opiate-based prescriptions are keeping many people hooked. Cannabis is less addictive, and doesn’t damage the body the way opioid drugs do.
Governor Ducey’s opioid crisis solutions have not made a difference. On the contrary, the death toll is higher than ever. I speak with the families, and it’s heartbreaking. Lives are being saved in states with reformed cannabis laws. The substance should be legal for adults, like aspirin. Other states have saved lives by regulating cannabis within their state legislature, and Arizona can be next.
Governor Ducey says people who suggest this option are doing so out of monetary interest, which offends me. I’ve been an unpaid volunteer, using my American rights to speak out against what I find wrong and share the truth with my neighbors for the last decade. I do not work for the marijuana industry. I am a witness, who tripped over a solution to this crisis while standing to save lives from alcohol and pills. I am a woman raised with respect for life, a mother who wants to keep kids safe, and an Arizonan for liberty and less government intrusion, on a mission to save lives. I pray Governor Ducey will include this viable solution in his next special session on the opioid crisis.