America has a legal drug problem that is causing way too many deaths. Prescription drug abuse of opioids such as Percocet and Oxycotin are the culprits, according to leading state and government authorities. Tragically, prescription drug deaths are rising at an alarming rate in the United States. The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) has stated that:
“Overdose deaths involving prescription opioids have quadrupled since 1999, and so have sales of these prescription drugs. From 1999 to 2014, more than 165,000 people have died in the U.S. from overdoses related to prescription opioids. Opioid prescribing continues to fuel the epidemic. Today, at least half of all U.S. opioid overdose deaths involve a prescription opioid. In 2014, more than 14,000 people died from overdoses involving prescription opioids.”
The CDC goes on to list that the main drugs involved in these deaths include Methadone, Oxycodone (such as OxyContin®), and Hydrocodone (such as Vicodin®). The increase in opioid deaths highlights the option for many of proven pain relief with medical marijuana. Data from states where marijuana has been legalized for medical purposes shows that many chronic pain sufferers are finding relief. In fact, media outlet Newsweek reported that opioid deaths are down 25 percent in states where medical marijuana is legal, as many patients opt for weed over prescription painkillers. In 2015, the Journal of American Medicine stated that “Researchers hypothesize that in states where medical marijuana can be prescribed, patients may use pot to treat pain, either instead of prescription opiates, or to supplement them—and may thus require a lower dosage that is less likely to lead to a fatal problem.”
We should remember those who suffer from chronic pain and the viable treatment options they may have with medical marijuana over commonly used opioids that may lead to addiction and death.