According to the DEA, the majority of heroin addicts started with prescription painkillers, but Jeff Sessions isn’t buying it. He recently spoke about the opioid epidemic at a Heritage Foundation event where he discussed what he thinks is the real cause, “a lot of this is starting with marijuana.”
However, a growing amount of research actually points to the complete opposite of Sessions’ statement. A recent study shows that states where people have legal access to marijuana with dispensaries actually saw a reduction in fatal opioid overdoses. The same statistic did not apply to states without dispensaries, even if the state had decriminalized marijuana usage.
The biggest drop in opioid related deaths went to states which legalized medical usage earlier than 2010. The researchers attributed the difference to the stringency of later-adopting states which often require patients to take multiple steps in obtaining medical marijuana. The researchers conjectured, “The key feature of medical marijuana law that facilitates a reduction in overdose rates is a relatively liberal allowance for dispensaries.”
Further proof that Sessions is just wrong comes from a study conducted in 2016 which showed that chronic pain patients with access to medical marijuana reduced their opioid use by 64%. These studies are not unknown to him, though, as he has commented on them in the past saying, “I’m astonished to hear people suggest we can solve our heroin crisis—have you heard this?—by having more marijuana. I mean, how stupid is that? Give me a break.”
Sessions is well aware of the abundance of research proving that marijuana is not the root cause of the opioid epidemic. He just doesn’t believe it.
How stupid is that?
Read more about Sessions refusal to acknowledge research at “Jeff Sessions Says Marijuana Fuels the Opioid Epidemic. Study After Study Finds the Opposite.” by Julia Lurie published by Mother Jones on February 8, 2018.