We are in the midst of a heroin epidemic started when we cracked down on not only illegal pain medicine use but also legal usage as well by restricting a Doctors ability to prescribe pain medicines. Every day we hear and read stories of the struggle to stop the resulting overdoses caused by the illegal nature of the street market we sent these patients to for relief from their pain.
Forcing patients into the illegal market has resulted in soaring opioid use and overdose deaths with our legislators scrambling to get a hold on this self created disaster. There are ‘Task Forces’ and ‘Outreach’ programs and “crack downs’ on dealers and patient users all to little or no avail.
Overdose deaths are still in the thousands here in Kentucky and a drop of a single death brings stories of possibly getting a drop of 2 deaths if we only try harder. Surely any program that could drop these deaths by a 10 or even 2 % would certainly be jumped on by our legislators, but no. Our legislators are ignoring legislation that can eliminate as much as 33% of these deaths.
The passage of a medical marijuana law creates a 25% drop in opioid overdose deaths (deaths from heroin and pain medicines) which grows to 33% by the 6th year after passage. There is also a 5% drop in suicides. Simply put, in Kentucky that would be 285 people who would still be with us had a medical bill been passed last year.
It is morally reprehensible that a legislative action that will save the lives of so many of our citizens is being ignored. Passage of a medical marijuana bill now more than ever should be a priority in the current Assembly. Kentucky lives are being lost as long as nothing is done!