Fighting the Heroin Epidemic with Cannabis
The Heroin Epidemic is all the rage these days. Where Cannabis used to be the “devil”, heroin is making a comeback and it seems that the US is struggling to keep up. However, cannabis could very well be a viable solution in reducing the effects of the heroin epidemic in the US.
Before we get into all the nitty-gritty of the article, we must understand why there has been a rise in heroin usage over the past few years.
The Rise of Heroin
There is a direct correlation between illegal heroin usage and prescription drugs. As more painkillers are being prescribed each and every year, we can see heroin use rise as well. Drugs like OxyContin is essentially refined heroin. It’s better than the shit you find on the street.
One study found that 86% of Heroin users started with prescription drugs and moved onto heroin once they were cut off legally from their supply. Now talk about a “Gateway Theory!”
The rise of prescription opioids has resulted in a spike in opioid related overdoses and fatalities, but you won’t hear about that on your local news channel. Nay, these stories are kept under wrap so that Big Pharma can continue to peddle their drugs without any real competition from other drugs.
Why is it that 86% of heroin users started with prescription drugs? Well, the story goes as follows:
Joe Schmoe got into a car accident and hurt his back. He goes to his physician who in turn prescribes him a powerful painkiller to help “cope with the pain”. All is good for poor old Joe from that moment on. That is until he is done with his legal prescription of painkillers.
Seeing that between 23%-30% of heroin users become addicted, Joe had a 1 in five chance to become addicted from his physician prescribed drugs. Sadly, Joe became addicted but now has a new problem…where to find more Oxy!
Joe starts looking around until he finds a cheaper alternative that you don’t need a prescription for….heroin! Joe was nervous in buying his heroin the first time, but since his body had a flaming monkey riding on his back, he trucked on through and bought it.
Bliss! Joe felt the sweet release of heroin and no longer had those horrible cravings (for the time being). Once the high runs out and sub-sequentially his stash, Joe needs to pick up some more heroin. Before you know it, Joe is a full blown heroin addict and there is not a lot he can do about it.
How Cannabis can help with the Heroin Problem
In states that have legalized marijuana, there has been a 25% reduction of opioid related overdoses. Not to mention, A University of Michigan study found that patients treating chronic pain with marijuana reduced their reliance on prescription pain medication by 64%.
Not only are we seeing that many patients prefer using cannabis, which has an LD-50 of about 1:20,000 and 1:40,000 (meaning you need to smoke like 1500 lbs of weed to induce a lethal dose [In about 15 minutes]), we can see physical evidence that suggest that people are doing just that.
25% reduction in opioid related overdoses is a significant finding. That means out of a 100 potential deaths, 25 are now alive due to the fact that cannabis was there to help them through their pain management issues.
Once legalized, Cannabis will be easier to obtain and seeing that only 9% of the cannabis population develop some sort of “dependency” on weed, compared to the 23%-30% of heroin, it’s a smart choice in combating the heroin epidemic.
It’s easier to quit weed (if you’re not a smoker) than it is to quit heroin. Quitting cannabis is like stopping to drink coffee. Sure, you’ll have a day or two where you will be groggy and quite frankly, a bit of an asshole, but that’s about it.
Similarly, with cannabis, you might go through a day or two of not feeling “swell”, but you’ll quickly get through this with no physical side-effects to deal with.
However, try quitting heroin cold-turkey and you might wind up dead. Heroin withdrawal is severe and painful in its own rite. Cannabis may very well be the stepping stone to full sobriety (if that’s what you’re into).
Don’t be a Dope, Legalize Hope!
You see, for people who have the unfortunate task of kicking a pharma-induced heroin addiction, giving them the option to smoke weed or eat some powerful edibles might very well be the way for them to get off drugs entirely. I’ll talk about the harm reduction strategies in another article.
Non-addicts see addicts as “you got yourself into this situation”, however as we saw that 86% of them started with prescription drugs we can understand that it’s not entirely their fault. In fact, the more regulations you place on prescription painkillers, the higher the surge in heroin usage.
You see, when a doctor prescribes Oxy or something similar, they don’t have a “wean off strategy” meaning that they legally create addicts who ‘when the government cuts off their supply’ is forced to find it elsewhere. And what better place than the streets?
Cannabis is not a solve-all, however when looking at the statistics in relation to the heroin epidemic…it could be a viable solution to a serious problem.
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Published at Sat, 03 Jun 2017 05:00:00 +0000