As interest in marijuana use has moved forward (partially thanks to state legislation), some proponents of the cannabis movement have said that medical marijuana might be a solution to the opioid epidemic.
The misuse of any drug is going to have negative consequences. The consequences might vary depending on the drug being used and other circumstances, but the results are likely going to be the same no matter what drug you are using.
For decades, drug addiction has been a problem in the United States. We continuously see the daily headlines of terror and trauma relating to addiction. We are inclined to think that this is a new problem. In actual fact, this is not a new problem at all. There is just more of the problem.
Our society functions with the idea that a drug will solve all our problems. Are you in pain? Here’s a pill. Do you have a headache? Here is another pill. Are you sad? Pill! Drug problem? Here's a pill to solve your drug problem.
The issue with opioid pain relievers has the appearance of one of those unsolvable paradoxes. If we reduce access to opioid pharmaceuticals considerably, patients who experience chronic and severe pain issues might not be able to access pain relief. But in that same token, if we continue to accept opioid pharmaceuticals as standard medical practice and utilize them to the degree that we are, millions of Americans will become addicted to them, and thousands will die from overdoses on them. That is the brutal truth of the matter.
For some time now we have known that our nation’s drug crisis will not resolve with only government action alone. It’s become apparent, now twenty years into the largest addiction epidemic that our country has likely ever seen, that curbing drug addiction within our communities will take community action, as well as federal and state support.
In my morning reading, I happened across an article in U.S. News which discussed the disparity of the opioid crisis in America. The report, written by Robert Preidt, a HealthDay reporter, focused on the opioid turmoil as it has touched down in Indiana, Kentucky, Massachusetts, Maryland, Maine, New Hampshire, and Ohio.
Since the opioid crisis fully developed within the U.S. over the last two decades, pharmaceutical companies came under heavy inspection and even ruthless accusation from the American people. And not without good reason.
In a nation stuck in its worst addiction epidemic yet, one would think that our medical professionals would be fully prepared to help addicted patients. But quite the opposite is true. In fact, according to Jan Hoffman’s paper for CNBC, only about 15 out of 180 medical programs in the U.S. teach their medical students about addiction to alcohol, drugs, or tobacco.
Doctors played a decisive role in fueling the opioid epidemic whether they knew it or not.