Fighting the Opiate Epidemic with Alternative Treatments
The opioid epidemic that we are currently facing has grown dramatically over the past two decades in South Carolina. http://www.scdhec.gov/Health/Opioids/images/Overdose%20Deaths%20Involving%20Opioids%202015%20and%202016.pdf
These overdose deaths have become the leading cause of injury death in the United States. In 2011, 55 percent of drug overdose deaths were related to prescription medications; 75 percent of those deaths involved opiate painkillers. https://drugabuse.com/legalizing-marijuana-decreases-fatal-opiate-overdoses/
In the JAMA study, researchers found that opiate-related deaths decreased by approximately 33 percent in 13 states in the following six years after medical marijuana was legalized.
Beyond offering a less dangerous treatment option, medical cannabis can also help patients suffering from cancer, HIV, and hepatitis C. In its 1999 report “Marijuana and Medicine: Assessing the Science Base,” the Institute of Medicine concluded, “Nausea, appetite loss, pain and anxiety are all afflictions of wasting, and all can be mitigated by marijuana.”
Marijuana and its active components — cannabinoids — can both stimulate appetite and reduce the nausea, vomiting, and weight loss experienced by patients in many circumstances, including the side effects of drug therapies given for. Our state’s sickest residents should have safe, legal access to a treatment option that could potentially provide them with relief.