Heroin overdose deaths in the U.S. nearly tripled from 2010 to 2013, according to a recent study by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The trend is worrisome — but there might be help in plain sight.
Medical marijuana could help heroin users uncouple themselves from addiction and the state of Massachusetts could be a proving ground.
This Week reports that Massachusetts has seen heroin overdoses rise dramatically in recent years. Four in five of those users started with prescription pain pills and moved over to the street drug, the magazine reported.
The rise in heroin use doesn’t set Massachusetts apart — other parts of the country have seen that, too — but the state is just launching its medical marijuana program, which provides a good opportunity to see whether the application of medical weed can quell harmful addiction.
The Week makes a good point: medical cannabis can be expensive, which might limit the impact of the program. In some cases, the city should consider providing cheaper pot to those in need.
“While opioid use is a nationwide epidemic, Massachusetts — long at the forefront of developing scientifically based public policy — has the opportunity to be at the forefront of cutting-edge, socially-informed drug policy,” the magazine wrote.
Obama talks marijuana with VICE’s Shane Smith
The president’s approach to weed has always been measured: he believesit’s no more dangerous than alcohol, but he’s not advocating for outright legalization.
In an interview with VICE’s Shane Smith on Monday, Obama walked that line again, saying that if enough states do away with the criminal penalties around marijuana, then the federal government may be able to remove the drug from its current designation as one of the most dangerous illicit drugs.
“We may be able to make some progress on the decriminalization side,” Obama said. “At a certain point, if enough states end up decriminalizing, then Congress may then reschedule marijuana.”