There is no doubt in anyone’s mind that there is a current opioid crisis taking place in the US. The use of prescription painkillers is rampant, and it is taking its toll. US Attorney General Jeff Session has laid out his plans on how exactly this should be combated. Unfortunately, despite research and evidence to the contrary, he has stated cannabis is the problem.
Giving a speech at the Heritage Foundation this week, Sessions outlined how in order to combat the prescription opioid crisis, they must first start with getting illegal opiates like heroin off the street. As, in his view, cannabis is a gateway drug, the fight must start with the herb.
It could be suggested that this is a way for the administration to look like it is taking action against the opioid crisis, while still ensuring pharmaceutical painkillers are sold in large amounts and the administration’s anti-cannabis sentiment is maintained.
In actual fact, recent research has shown that a large number of those who use illicit opioids start out on opioid prescription medicine. In 2015, the amount being admitted to treatment who fell into this category was 51.9%, down from 87.5% in 2005.
Although cannabis is often the first illicit drug people try, researchers have said there is no evidence to suggest that using a softer drug leads to the use of a harder one.
If anything, cannabis could have the potential to lessen the opioid crisis. Opioids are highly addictive and often cause an array of unwanted side effects. Cannabis, on the other hand, is not considered addictive and many have found it to be a viable alternative to opioid-based pain relief medication. There are even suggestions that cannabis could have the potential to treat opioid addiction itself.