OPIATES vs. CANNABIS

Prescription Pain Killers

 

  • It used to be in America that people became addicted to opioids through illegal drugs. In the 1960s, for example, 80 percent of Americans hooked on opioids started with heroin. That has completely changed. Today, 75 percent of people with opioid addictions began with prescription painkillers. The slide starts not on a street corner, but in a doctor’s office.That’s because pharmaceutical companies in the 1990s sought to promote opioid painkillers as new blockbuster drugs. Company executives accused doctors of often undertreating pain (there was something to this, but pharma executives contrived to turn it into a crisis that they could monetize). 


  • The companies backed front organizations like the American Pain Foundation, which purported to speak on behalf of suffering patients.These front organizations, as well as professionals sometimes funded by the pharmaceutical industry, heralded pain as the “fifth vital sign,” along with pulse, temperature, respiratory rate and blood pressure. The opioid promoters hailed opioids as “safe and effective,” and they particularly encouraged opioids for returning veterans — one reason so many veterans have suffered addictions

My Experience

  • On June 29, 2004, an automobile accident almost took my left arm and my life. At the time I was in the 40th year of a lustrous and a lucrative musical career, when in my third consecutive year "headlining" as piano/entertainer in the 'high roller' Baccarat Lounge of the MGM Mirage Resort in Las Vegas, NV. After eight surgeries and lots of therapy, I found myself addicted to the pain pills that I thought I needed to cope with the pain and the depression, known as "Drug Sick."   


  • At one point I was being prescribed Oxycontin 20 mg (4 times a day), together with Morphine 5 mg. My desire to not be around other people became noticeable as I was slowly becoming a couch potatoe, communicating only with the game shows and Judge Mathis.


  • One common misconception about opiate withdrawals, is they are something that only happens to “junkies”, once they run out of money to score more dope. This stems directly from another misconception that only heroin is strong enough to cause painful opiate withdrawals. 


  • Opiate addiction can affect everyone differently. Some people can use the drugs for a prolonged period of time without ever feeling the strong symptoms of addiction while others may use opiates only a handful of times before physical dependence begins to heavily set in.   

 

  • In 2012, my 'pain management' doctor traveled to Budapest, Hungary for an International Symposium on Pain Management. I followed the event online to learn that neither one of the words Marijuana or Cannabis were ever mentioned. I began to resent the doctor and the control that he and the Percocets had over me. The day I accepted responsibility for my own life and cancelled my appointment with the doctor was the beginning of my healing. 


                                                                                                                     

I Chose Cannabis

  • The term “opiate agonist” is one that not a lot of people are familiar with. However, for those who have experienced opiate addiction in the past, or who have watched friends and loved ones struggle with that condition, opiate agonists can be the cure for what ails many addicts. There is overwhelming evidence that PTSD and cannabis go hand-in-hand. But while most studies point out the prevalence of marijuana abuse among PTSD patients, a minority of emerging research is looking at the question in reverse: could cannabis be effectively used in treating PTSD? 


  • Eight states and the District of Columbia have legalized cannabis for recreational use. These landmark changes in policy have markedly changed cannabis use patterns and perceived levels of risk. At this time, the US Drug Enforcement Administration lists marijuana and its cannabinoids as Schedule I controlled substances, which means that they cannot legally be prescribed under federal law. 


  • Based on a recent nationwide survey, 22.2 million Americans (12 years of age and older) reported using marijuana recreationally with no reported deaths from overdosing. 


  • Reduce the inflammation and reduce the pain, its as simple as that. Marijuana, the dried leaves of the Cannabis sativa plant, has long been used both recreationally and as a medicine. All natural products with properties that reduce inflammation to the nerves that signal "Pain". Its use in the United States was curtailed in the early 20th century, first by various state laws and then in 1937 by the Marihuana Tax Act, a federal law. Since that time, although the specific applicable law has changed, the manufacture, importation, possession, use, and distribution of marijuana has remained illegal under federal law benefiting the big pharmaceutical companies.


  • WASHINGTON ―Today, October 26, 2017 President Donald Trump announced that he’s declaring the opioid epidemic a national public health emergency and vowed to fight drug addiction. "I am directing all executive agencies to use every appropriate emergency authority to fight the opioid crisis,” he said during a White House event.


  • But there’s a gaping hole in his plan: He’s not directing any new money to it. In fact, he wants to cut federal spending on the opioid crisis. His "War Against Opioids" is based upon the premise, "If we can teach  young people and people generally not to start it’s really, really easy not to take them. And I think that is going to be our most important thing,” Trump said. The fact is, most abusers of pain pills begin by getting their pills from relatives or from their doctors. No one should receive a prescription for opioids for a tooth extraction or a sprained ankle. 


  • The Washington Post and CBS’s 60 Minutes exposed some politicians on 10/15/2017 as pawns of the pharmaceutical industry. It took $100 million spent strategically by an army of lobbyists to manipulate Congress into weakening the power of the Drug Enforcement Agency and worsening the opioid crisis they profess to be so concerned about. So maybe it shouldn’t come as much of a surprise that greedy pharmaceutical companies threw millions of dollars at Congress, and managed to get a law passed that dramatically limited the DEA’s ability to stem the flow of opiates into the market at a time when their deadliness was already headline news. An excellent piece of reporting from Washington Post, 


  • For years some drug distributors were fined repeatedly for ignoring warnings from the DEA to shut down suspicious sales of hundreds of millions of pills, while they racked up billions of dollars in sales. America’s opiate epidemic and overdose scourge is the perfect storm of the worst aspects of America’s most glaring flaws.