We should ask ourselves: Why is big pharma is spending millions of dollars to keep cannabis illegal and out of the hands of those that wish to heal themselves, all while pumping out billions of opioids meticulously deigned to ensure addiction and profits, regardless of their lethal toll?
The death toll rises daily as opioids flood our communities and destroy the lives of so many innocent people simply because they became injured, went to their doctor and were prescribed pain killers. Once the pain was gone, along with their prescription, a great number of people found themselves physically and hopelessly addicted to the very opioids that were intended to help them.
Let’s be real, black market opioids are very expensive, heroine is cheap, and the path from one to the other is very short, painful and heart wrenching, but it happens every day. Look at the stats. We are losing more and more people everyday. Whether you support medical cannabis use or not, we have to consider the option of giving cannabis a shot. What do we have to lose by trying? How many more will continue to die until we give it a try?
It has been known socially for quite some time that medical cannabis can help reduce the painful effects of withdrawal and enable patients to achieve a healthy balance while battling addiction. The fact that big pharma’s products are killing people and they themselves are spending millions of dollars to prevent patients from safe, legal access to medical cannabis is offensive, infuriating and begs the question; where is the outrage, why isn’t anybody screaming? This is sickening and it needs to be addressed immediately.
Two very interesting videos by attn: that shed light on the very real dangers of big pharma and our National Opioid overdose epidemic.
Opioids are a class of drugs that include the illicit drug heroin as well as the licit prescription pain relievers oxycodone, hydrocodone, codeine, morphine, fentanyl and others.1
Opioids are chemically related and interact with opioid receptors on nerve cells in the brain and nervous system to produce pleasurable effects and relieve pain.1
Addiction is a primary, chronic and relapsing brain disease characterized by an individual pathologically pursuing reward and/or relief by substance use and other behaviors.2
Of the 21.5 million Americans 12 or older that had a substance use disorder in 2014, 1.9 million had a substance use disorder involving prescription pain relievers and 586,000 had a substance use disorder involving heroin.3
It is estimated that 23% of individuals who use heroin develop opioid addiction.4
National Opioid Overdose Epidemic
Drug overdose is the leading cause of accidental death in the US, with 47,055 lethal drug overdoses in 2014. Opioid addiction is driving this epidemic, with 18,893 overdose deaths related to prescription pain relievers, and 10,574 overdose deaths related to heroin in 2014.5
From 1999 to 2008, overdose death rates, sales and substance use disorder treatment admissions related to prescription pain relievers increased in parallel. The overdose death rate in 2008 was nearly four times the 1999 rate; sales of prescription pain relievers in 2010 were four times those in 1999; and the substance use disorder treatment admission rate in 2009 was six times the 1999 rate.6
In 2012, 259 million prescriptions were written for opioids, which is more than enough to give
every American adult their own bottle of pills.7
Four in five new heroin users started out misusing prescription painkillers.8
94% of respondents in a 2014 survey of people in treatment for opioid addiction said they chose
to use heroin because prescription opioids were “far more expensive and harder to obtain.”9
Impact on Special Populations
Adolescents (12 to 17 years old)
In 2014, 467,000 adolescents were current nonmedical users of pain reliever, with 168,000 having an addiction to prescription pain relievers.3
In 2014, an estimated 28,000 adolescents had used heroin in the past year, and an estimated 16,000 were current heroin users. Additionally, an estimated 18,000 adolescents had heroin a heroin use disorder in 2014.3
People often share their unused pain relievers, unaware of the dangers of nonmedical opioid use. Most adolescents who misuse prescription pain relievers are given them for free by a friend or relative.10
The prescribing rates for prescription opioids among adolescents and young adults nearly doubled from 1994 to 2007.11
Women are more likely to have chronic pain, be prescribed prescription pain relievers, be given higher doses, and use them for longer time periods than men. Women may become dependent on prescription pain relievers more quickly than men.12
48,000 women died of prescription pain reliever overdoses between 1999 and 2010.12
1 National Institute on Drug Abuse. (2015). Drugs of Abuse: Opioids. Bethesda, MD: National Institute on Drug Abuse. Available at http://www.drugabuse.gov/drugs-abuse/opioids.
2 American Society of Addiction Medicine. (2011). Public Policy Statement: Definition of Addiction. Chevy Chase, MD: American Society of Addiction Medicine. Available at http://www.asam.org/docs/publicy- policy-statements/1definition_of_addiction_long_4-11.pdf?sfvrsn=2.
3 Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, Center for Behavioral Health Statistics and Quality. (2015). Behavioral health trends in the United States: Results from the 2014 National Survey on Drug Use and Health. Rockville, MD: Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration. Available at http://www.samhsa.gov/data/sites/default/files/NSDUH-FRR1-2014/NSDUH-FRR1-2014.pdf.
4 National Institute on Drug Abuse. (2014). Drug Facts: Heroin. Bethesda, MD: National Institute on Drug Abuse. Available at http://www.drugabuse.gov/publications/drugfacts/heroin.
5 Center for Disease Control and Prevention, National Center for Health Statistics, National Vital Statistics System, Mortality File. (2015). Number and Age-Adjusted Rates of Drug-poisoning Deaths Involving Opioid Analgesics and Heroin: United States, 2000–2014. Atlanta, GA: Center for Disease Control and Prevention. Available at http://www.cdc.gov/nchs/data/health_policy/AADR_drug_poisoning_involving_OA_Heroin_US_2000- 2014.pdf.
6 Paulozzi MD, Jones PharmD, Mack PhD, Rudd MSPH. Vital Signs: Overdoses of Prescription Opioid Pain Relievers – United State, 1999-2008. Division of Unintentional Injury Prevention, National Center for Injury Prevention and Control, Center for Disease Control and Prevention. 2011:60:5.
7 Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. (2014). Opioid Painkiller Prescribing, Where You Live Makes a Difference. Atlanta, GA: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Available at http://www.cdc.gov/vitalsigns/opioid-prescribing/.
8 Jones CM. Heroin use and heroin use risk behaviors among nonmedical users of prescription opioid pain relievers - United States, 2002-2004 and 2008-2010. Drug Alcohol Depend. 2013 Sep 1;132(1-2):95- 100. doi: 10.1016/j.drugalcdep.2013.01.007. Epub 2013 Feb 12.
9 Cicero TJ, Ellis MS, Surratt HL, Kurtz SP. The changing face of heroin use in the United States: a retrospective analysis of the past 50 years. JAMA Psychiatry. 2014;71(7):821-826.
10 National Institute of Drug Abuse. (2015). Drug Facts: Prescription and Over-the-Counter Medications. Bethesda, MD: National Institute of Drug Abuse. Available at http://www.drugabuse.gov/publications/drugfacts/prescription-over-counter-medications.
11 Fortuna RJ, Robbins BW, Caiola E, Joynt M, Halterman JS. Prescribing of controlled medications to adolescents and young adults in the United States. Pediatrics. 2010;126(6):1108-1116.
12 Center for Disease Control and Prevention. (2013). Prescription Painkiller Overdoses: A Growing Epidemic, Especially Among Women. Atlanta, GA: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Available at http://www.cdc.gov/vitalsigns/prescriptionpainkilleroverdoses/index.html.
The United States is in the midst of a drug overdose epidemic. More people died from drug overdoses in 2014 than in any other year on record. Deaths from drug overdose are up among both men and women, all races, and adults of nearly all ages.
More than three out of five drug overdose deaths involve an opioid. Overdose deaths from opioids, including prescription opioids and heroin, have nearly quadrupled since 1999. Overdoses involving opioids killed more than 28,000 people in 2014. Over half of those deaths were from prescription opioids.
During 2014, a total of 47,055 drug overdose deaths occurred in the United States, representing a 1-year increase of 6.5 per cent, from 13.8 per 100,000 persons in 2013 to 14.7 per 100,000 persons in 2014.
Other articles of interest, that aren't so depressing or infuriating: