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Addiction Featured Global / Local Health Policy

NY Looking to Use Cannabis in Fight Against Opioid Addiction Crises

Written by Sarah Friedman

What if you were prescribed a medication by your doctor that ended up causing a massive physical addiction? What if your life became rooted around finding that drug to stave off the effects of withdrawal? And what if something as simple as cannabis, and its constituent component CBD, could help get you off the drug while still giving relief to the initial problem…

It is no secret that the US is in the middle of a massive opioid addiction problem. What started with pharmaceutical pushing in the 90s, led to a massive over-prescribing by doctors, and has resulted in more than 600,000 opioid related deaths between 1999 and 2016, an average of 115 people dying of an opioid overdose every day, and upwards of 2 million people physically addicted to an opioid drug. As of 2017 the US Department of Health and Human Services has declared the opioid addiction issue a public emergency.

The problem with finding a quick and easy solution is that a person addicted to opioid medication, whether prescribed by a doctor or illegally obtained, will often suffer extreme symptoms of withdrawal when stopping that can even result in death. Opioid addictions are known to be some of the hardest to overcome, resulting in a high percentage of relapse cases for those that do manage to make it off.

When dealing with addictions of this nature, the questions become whether there is something that can allow a person to stop taking an addictive drug while minimizing the effects of the withdrawal, and whether there is something comparable that can help those in need of pain management still get the relief they require.

CBD is the newcomer on the scene when it comes to dealing with addictive behavior, and pain management. It has gained so much notoriety of late, that New York is looking to develop regulations that will allow patients with opioid prescriptions to enter the medical marijuana program in an effort to drive down opiate addiction. Howard Zucker, the State’s Health Commissioner indicated that this move would hopefully save “countless” lives in prevention, citing recent research into marijuana and its effects on opioid users. The exact specifications of this new program, when it would go into effect, and the regulations that will govern it remain to be seen.

Imagine that…what was once touted as the gateway drug that led to harder drug use, might now be the best cure to get people off the hard stuff. Don’t let the irony pass you by folks.


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About the author

Sarah Friedman

I look stuff up and and write stuff down, in order to make sense of the world around. And I travel a lot too.