The White House Commission on the Opioid Crisis

The White House Commission on the Opioid Crisis

There have been many suggestions that medical marijuana can actually help in the battle against the nationwide opioid crisis. Marijuana could be a non-lethal substitute for addicts, however more research is necessary to definitively prove that cannabis could help. Chris Christie, the New Jersey governor, is the chairman of the White House commission on the opioid crisis and he made it clear that in his opinion, marijuana is part of the problem. Do you still see marijuana as a gateway drug?

President Trump’s commission on the opioid crisis called Wednesday for a nationwide system of drug courts and easier access to alternatives to opioids for people in pain, part of a wide-ranging menu of improvements it said are needed to curb the opioid epidemic.

The commission, headed by New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie (R), called for expanding drug courts — an alternative system that tries to channel substance abusers accused of crimes into treatment — into all 94 federal court jurisdictions. Currently they are in fewer than half.

The more than 50 recommendations in the draft report also include requiring doctors and others who prescribe opioids to show they have received training in the safe provision of those drugs before they can renew their licenses to handle controlled substances with the Drug Enforcement Administration. The panel also wants to mandate that providers check prescription-drug-monitoring databases to ensure that users aren’t “doctor shopping” for prescription drugs. In some states, use of that technology is voluntary.

The powerful American Medical Association has expressed concern that federally mandated “one-size-fits-all” training would conflict with state requirements for education and do little to speed the end of the crisis.

The commission specifically declined to endorse the use of marijuana for pain, despite some studies suggesting that access to marijuana may decrease opioid deaths. Christie said in his cover letter to the president that research by the National Institute on Drug Abuse “found that marijuana use led to a 2½ times greater chance that the marijuana user would become an opioid user and abuser.” Christie said there is also “a lack of sophisticated outcome data on dose, potency and abuse potential for marijuana.”

Nor did the commission endorse establishing safe injection sites like those in Canada, where intravenous drug users can inject drugs under the supervision of trained personnel who prevent them from overdosing.

 

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