Doctors are blamed and so is Big Pharma; but no matter who is actually at fault, America is in the throes of a full-on addiction to pharmaceutical painkillers. The epidemic isn’t being driven by any illicit drugs, but by a surge in the use of prescription opioid painkillers.
A record 47,000 Americans fatally overdosed in 2014, a 7% increase over the previous year. That’s about 1.5 times as many as died in car crashes or because of gun violence. Big Pharma’s “medicine” has certainly caused more deaths than medical marijuana ever could. Senator Elizabeth Warren is urging the CDC to do something about it.
Our misguided federal policy has caused pharmaceutical drug use to spiral out of control in America, but it could also be what drags cannabis out of the grip of total prohibition.
Sen. Warren Writes CDC, Recommends Ways to Curb Epidemic
Warren recently sent an impassioned letter to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) demanding the agency begin researching marijuana to determine whether it could be used to combat the opioid problem currently overwhelming the United States.
In her letter to CDC director Dr. Tom Frieden, Warren begs the agency to put more stringent controls on physicians to prevent them from feeding painkillers to patients with such unchecked enthusiasm.
Warren also urged the CDC to finalize its guidelines for prescribing painkillers to patients who suffer from chronic pain, and to also seriously explore marijuana and other alternative treatments that could curb the current appetite for opioid drugs.
“I hope that the CDC continues to explore every opportunity and tool available to work with states and other federal agencies on ways to tackle the opioid epidemic and collect information about alternative pain relief options. . . Your agency has produced an enormous amount of scientific and epidemiological data that has helped inform stakeholders on the breadth of this crisis — however there is still much we do not know.”
She also enjoined the CDC to join with other federal health agencies to study the:
“effectiveness of medical marijuana as an alternative to opioids for pain treatment in states where it is legal,” and also to explore “the impact of the legalization of medical and recreational marijuana on opioid overdose deaths.”
Marijuana is Wrongly Classified as Schedule I Drug
The U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) classifies marijuana as a Schedule I drug, ‘as dangerous as heroin.’ (Schedule II methamphetamine is considered ‘less dangerous’ than marijuana.) The DEA and U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) constantly reject attempts to reclassify marijuana, claiming that it would be harmful to public health and safety. The FDA and DEA also minimize the countless studies showing that medical marijuana is highly effective in removing chronic pain.
Former NFL Quarterback Used Marijuana to Kick Percocet Addiction
Many people, including former Chicago Bears quarterback Jim McMahon, have praised their state’s medical marijuana programs. The NFL legend recently revealed that replacing painkiller pills – 100 Percocets a month – with medical marijuana stopped his addiction to the pharmaceutical narcotics.
McMahon told The Daily Mail:
“They [painkillers] were doing more harm than good. This medical marijuana has been a godsend. It relieves me of the pain – or thinking about it, anyway.“
Senator Warren’s letter further states that to make a dent in the opioid epidemic:
“[it will] take hard work on the part of federal, state, and local governments, working together with local law enforcement, medical professionals and members of the community.”
She wants the CDC to “aggressively tackle this issue.”
HighTimes (Featured image sourced from HighTimes)
Christina Sarich is a humanitarian and freelance writer helping you to Wake up Your Sleepy Little Head, and See the Big Picture. Her blog is Yoga for the New World. Her latest book is Pharma Sutra: Healing the Body And Mind Through the Art of Yoga.