You heard that right.
The Presidential Opioid Commission on Combating Drug Addiction and the Opioid Crisis, put in place to advise the president was led by Chris Christie, issued a preliminary report in which they called on Trump to declare a national emergency. Part of the report also asked for more measures to increase addiction treatment and to try and stop supplies of illicit fentanyl, the synthetic opioid that’s one of the deadliest driving forces in the crisis currently gripping the country.
“With approximately 142 Americans dying every day, America is enduring a death toll equal to September 11th every three weeks.”
Stop and think about that. More than a hundred people are overdosing on opioids every day, and often because of dangerous substances like fentanyl, which are cheap and surprisingly easy to procure, being cut into other drugs like cocaine and heroin.
We do know, however, that cannabis is part of a solution to ease the issue: most people with opioid addictions were prescribed opioid medication to treat pain. Prescription opioids are highly habit forming, with a high chance of users becoming physically dependent. However, patients who use cannabis instead have similar pain relief without the physical dependency, and cannabis can even help people who experience opioid addiction out of it. Quite the opposite of the “gateway drug” cannabis was labeled as in the 80s and 90s. There is research and anecdotal evidence supporting this, but the feds are hell-bent on ignoring it, so much so that they didn’t make mention of the thousands of public comments made to the Presidential Opioid Commission requesting that they look into it.
While Christie has been happy to boast about the more than 8,000 public comments received by the Presidential Opioid commission, he has been much more quiet regarding what they were about. Alex Barriger, a spokesman for the Office of National Drug Control Policy (ONDCP), which provides administrative and financial support to the commission, confirmed to Vice that there were “more than 7,800 public comments relating to marijuana.”
It’s no secret that Christie doesn’t like weed. In May, he said during a conference: “We are in the midst of the public health crisis on opiates. But people are saying pot’s OK. This is nothing more than crazy liberals who want to say everything’s OK. Baloney.”
There’s research showing a correlation where states with legal marijuana report fewer opioid overdoses, but sure. Let’s pretend that marijuana is part of the problem, not part of the solution. That likely has nothing to do with the fact that prescription costs are dropping in states that have legal MMJ.