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the Legal Free Opioid Epidemic Exploits America Believes Weed Drug



  • the Legal Free Opioid Epidemic Exploits America Believes Weed Drug
  • Current Issues - Marijuana
  • Why Are Opioid Analgesics Prescribed?
  • In a letter sent to legislators in states with forms of legal marijuana, drug- prevention organization Drug Free America claims pot use is. Of the active patients on the Colorado Medical Marijuana Drug Free America Believes Legal Weed Exploits the Opioid Epidemic. Recovery Magazine is free to download with embedded audio link to the interview. January 17, Using neuroscience to prevent drug addiction among teenagers Although“legalization hasn't led to a big increase in Americans trying the drug, .. June 1, Prevalence of Marijuana and Opioids Increasing Among.

    the Legal Free Opioid Epidemic Exploits America Believes Weed Drug

    In fact, President Donald Trump recently tweeted: Postal System from China. President Donald Trump is discovering how difficult it is to get Congress to pass postal legislation. As more families experience the horror of losing a loved one to a fatal overdose, international drug traffickers are making a profit. The most powerful opioids fueling the crisis, like fentanyl, are regularly entering the country thanks to a loophole in the global postal system.

    Unlike packages sent via private carriers, foreign shipments sent through the mail and delivered by the U. Postal Service are not required to include advance electronic data, or AED. Customs and Border Protection and other law enforcement agencies use this basic security information to screen for drugs, but they are under-equipped to handle the massive number of international packages that the USPS delivers without AED — over 1. International criminals exploit this.

    This loophole has existed for over a decade. Rarely have I seen such a grave and omnipresent threat. Thankfully, Congress is now recognizing the urgent need to fix this security gap. This is a promising step, and the Senate now needs to follow suit. Congressional leadership is focused on legislative solutions for the crisis and is looking to pass a package of bipartisan opioid bills to help save American lives. But if the Senate hopes to make any real progress, it must ensure that its legislation is truly comprehensive.

    That means recognizing the impact of fentanyl, which is commonly manufactured overseas and smuggled into the United States, and taking action to keep it out of American communities and homes. A commonsense first step is closing a major loophole in the international postal system used by drug traffickers to ship synthetic opioids across our borders. International packages sent through private carriers are required to include advance electronic data, or AED — basic security information that U.

    Customs and Border Protection CBP and other national security agencies use to screen shipments for dangerous material. For years, law enforcement agencies, public health officials and others have warned that large amounts of Chinese opioids are flooding into the country via international mail delivered by the U.

    Food and Drug Administration are among those making clarion calls. By requiring AED on all in-bound mail, especially from China, and combining this with advanced data analytics, law enforcement can better determine which mail to search for drugs. President Trump on Monday urged the Senate to pass a bill aimed at stopping the flow of synthetic opioids into the U. President Trump emphatically urged the Senate Monday to pass a bill that would force the U. Postal Service to collect advanced data on foreign packages, so that customs agents can intercept deadly synthetic opioids.

    Trump appears to be tired of waiting for the upper chamber to send him the measure. Trump said on Twitter. President Trump on Monday urged the Republican-led Senate to pass legislation intended to crack down on shipments of illicit fentanyl through the international postal system, writing on Twitter: Leaders from both chambers announced a bipartisan agreement in June on the Synthetics Trafficking and Overdose Prevention Act, which the House passed shortly thereafter.

    P resident Trump called on the Senate Monday to take up a bill to curb shipments of illicit fentanyl through the U. Chinese suppliers also rely on an unwitting drug runner to export their poison: Unlike private companies such as UPS or FedEx, the Postal Service is not required by law to get advance electronic data, such as the names and addresses of the sender, to help identify and intercept drug parcels. To close this loophole, the U. House of Representatives, which would require the Postal Service to maintain the same security standards as private carriers.

    As America works to curb production overseas, we must also crack down on the transportation routes for fentanyl. This means applying additional U. With advanced electronic data and analytics of packages, officials can identify suspicious patterns and better target their searches. Currently, we receive these data for 40 to 50 percent of packages entering our country — it is simply not enough. The House has passed legislation to mandate that electronic data be provided in advance on all packages — an effort championed by leaders such as Homeland Security Committee Chairman Michael McCaul — and Sens.

    But since partner countries must provide the data, congressional action must be backed up by sustained engagement from the State Department to ensure that countries cooperate. Senate has an opportunity to enact a common sense, bipartisan measure that will cut the supply of deadly opioids entering America.

    And it should do so before it embroils itself over the Supreme Court nomination of Judge Brett Kavanaugh. This is people a day and a 27 percent increase from 33, in Experts predict the figures will continue to rise. Nearly every week we see the tragic headlines of another neighbor whose life was taken too soon, or a drug dealer caught with inconceivably potent narcotics.

    Just a few weeks ago, the New York attorney general announced a drug bust of more than a dozen people trafficking fentanyl between New York City and Albany County. Despite the best efforts of law enforcement, the most potent synthetic opioids — commonly manufactured in foreign countries — are clearly still finding a way into the region.

    This is in large part thanks to a loophole in the global postal system, which drug traffickers exploit daily to ship fentanyl directly into our communities. Every day over a million packages enter our country without advance electronic data AED , security information that allows Customs and Border Protection CBP and other law enforcement agencies to screen and identify high-risk shipments, including opioids.

    While private carriers are required to include this data, AED is not mandated on packages sent via the global post and delivered by the U. There are simply too many inbound packages coming in through the international postal system for CBP to effectively screen for dangerous and illegal goods without AED, regardless of how many officers and dogs they use, or how advanced their scanning devices are. This leaves law enforcement unequipped to stop fentanyl before it reaches the doorsteps of families in New York and across the country.

    Perhaps most shocking is that federal officials are aware of a major source for foreign fentanyl to enter the country. A loophole in the global postal system has allowed drug traffickers to easily ship opioids undetected for over a decade. Under current law, international packages sent via private carriers must include advance electronic data, or AED, which is used by U. Customs and Border Protection CBP agents to screen the massive number of inbound shipments for dangerous material.

    Packages sent through foreign posts and delivered by the U. Postal Service, however, do not include this data, leaving CBP and other law enforcement agencies ill-equipped to detect fentanyl in over 1.

    Drug smugglers have seized on this loophole to make a profit — according to a report by the Senate Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations, online foreign drug dealers recommend shipping opioids through the postal service to avoid detection by law enforcement.

    It is well documented that large amounts of opioids enter the U. The solution is to have advanced electronic data AED on all inbound mail so it can be better tracked and searched.

    AED technology has been in use, especially among private shippers, for 15 years. On June 14, the U. And the White House has endorsed it. This is common sense, bipartisan legislation that will save lives and the Senate should vote on it before its August recess.

    According to a recent report, last year Customs and Border Protection seized about 1, pounds of fentanyl. One thousand pounds of fentanyl is enough to kill about a quarter-billion people. Without providing the data law enforcement need to identify suspicious packages, identifying parcels containing fentanyl is like finding a needle in a haystack. It will require the Postal Service to get this data for all packages entering the U.

    By closing the loophole in our mail screening and holding the Postal Service to the same standard as private carriers, we can give law enforcement the tools to keep these dangerous synthetic drugs out of our communities. The bill is backed by groups who know the devastating impact of the opioid epidemic far too well, including the Fraternal Order of Police, the American Medical Association and the National Conference of State Legislatures. This progress comes thanks to the tireless work of congressional leaders from both parties.

    And by closing the postal loophole, we may finally be able to do just that. Opioids are ravaging southwestern Pennsylvania and other parts of the nation, and the primary source of the synthetic opioid fentanyl, and its ingredients, is China. To get the drug to Pennsylvania and other parts of the United States, Chinese suppliers rely largely on the U.

    The synthetic opioid fentanyl is now killing more Ohioans than heroin or other prescription painkillers. More than half of those deaths were attributable to fentanyl, authorities say. The drug — more than 50 times as powerful as heroin — is a scourge heaped on top of the drug addiction epidemic already gripping the country.

    Synthetic forms of heroin have flooded Midwestern communities and taken lives at unprecedented and tragic rates. We now have an opportunity to make significant progress to help combat the influx of fentanyl — the deadliest killer in this crisis. This week, the House of Representatives passed the STOP Act, a bipartisan bill we authored that will help keep more synthetic drugs like fentanyl from being shipped into the U.

    We need the STOP Act because fentanyl has invaded our communities and is increasingly robbing people of their God-given potential and taking lives. Like all drug scourges, the fentanyl epidemic that claims so many lives every day is a matter of supply and demand. The demand, alas, is made in America. The supply, by contrast, is overwhelmingly imported, with a key source being China, where a poorly regulated cottage industry makes the stuff, takes orders over the Internet and ships it via international mail to the United States, Canada and Mexico.

    Still, authorities on the U. Bipartisan legislation that is designed to plug a legal loophole that fentanyl traffickers have exploited for too long is moving toward passage. The House approved a bill Thursday to give the government a better chance to weed opioids such as deadly fentanyl out of mail coming in from overseas, taking more concrete action to try to halt the epidemic of dangerous drugs. The bill, approved on a vote, requires foreign shippers to submit electronic data about their packages in advance of sending them through the U.

    Members of both parties and both chambers on Friday announced a deal on a bill aimed at cracking down on imports of powerful synthetic opioids from overseas. The new version of the bill, known as the STOP Act, would require the Postal Service to obtain electronic data on international mail shipments, which can be used to target suspicious packages for inspection. The House Ways and Means Committee said bipartisan negotiations produced a bill that requires the postal service to submit advanced data to U.

    It requires the U. It will face civil penalties if it accepts them. Private carriers such as FedEx already submit electronic data on foreign parcels before they arrive at U. Customs agents say the data is a key tool in targeting suspicious packages that may contain fentanyl, a synthetic opioid that is far more powerful than heroin and can kill in tiny amounts.

    In Congress, lawmakers are trying to make it harder to buy fentanyl, in part by forcing the U. Postal Service to make it more difficult to send narcotics through the mail. But the measure has been languishing. Congressional investigators say hundreds of millions of dollars of fentanyl is coming into the U.

    But why is it so hard to stop? It also would give the agency up to to full implement the changes, while the Senate requires them within a year. Rob Portman, R-Ohio, and Sen. Last month, the U. Department of Justice announced a successful takedown of drug traffickers in Operation Saigon Sunset, dismantling a major criminal network responsible for trafficking drugs from Detroit to Huntington, West Virginia.

    The investigation was massive, seizing enough fentanyl to kill a quarter-million people. Every American should be grateful for the brave law enforcement agents who took these drugs off our streets, but they should be troubled that toxic synthetic opioids like fentanyl are able to enter Michigan so regularly and easily in the first place. A security gap in the global postal service enables much of this deadly trade, and is helping fuel the opioid epidemic in Michigan and across the country.

    Fentanyl, carfentanil and other potent synthetic opioids are commonly manufactured abroad before being shipped into the United States and mixed, sometimes unknowingly, into the drug supply. National security and law enforcement agencies like Customs and Border Protection use basic security information — advance electronic data, or AED — to screen for dangerous material and stop illegal drugs at ports of entry.

    While AED is required on all foreign packages delivered by private carriers, it is not mandated for packages sent via the global postal network and delivered by the U. This has left international drug traffickers with easy access to reach American markets.

    It may seem surprising that a drug used to tranquilize elephants is now found in Baltimore and around the country. But this is no accident. A gaping hole in the global postal system allows bad actors to easily ship dangerous synthetic opioids found on the dark web to Maryland doorsteps with the click of a mouse. Because of a postal loophole established in the Trade Act of , over a million packages enter the U.

    The report notes that while the United States Postal Service delivers nearly a half billion packages in one year from abroad, only 36 percent of those packages include advance electronic data AED that is essential for our law enforcement to identify and stop dangerous packages. And the data included with this 36 percent are too low quality to be useful.

    This information typically describes the contents of the package and is entered by the sender before a package is shipped. Kayyem said that there are vulnerabilities in our mail that are being taken advantage of and causing great harm in our country. Basically, Kayyem said, advanced screening data is just essentially what you would think a 21st-century postal service would have.

    Of those, however, only 36 percent include the advance electronic data AED that Customs and Border Protection and other law enforcement agencies need to stop dangerous material, such as illicit opioids. While packages shipped through private carriers are required to include this data, a loophole in the global postal network means those shipped via foreign postal services and delivered by the USPS are not.

    The PSI report found that as a result, foreign drug traffickers favor using the Postal Service to deliver deadly opioids to avoid detection by law enforcement. The deadly synthetic drugs entering the country through this loophole are the same opioids devastating Virginia communities.

    Late last year, a Vinton woman was found with four pounds of fentanyl in the largest bust in state history.

    Fentanyl, identified as commonly shipped into the U. But a bipartisan bill that would help curb the delivery of the deadly opioid fentanyl by the United States Postal Service to American doorsteps has not seen the light of day, leaving advocates scratching their heads.

    Most of the fentanyl and carfentanil found in our communities is produced overseas and shipped across our borders through the U. Producers in China and India easily bypass inadequate screening from postal authorities and ship their poison to our communities. Postal Service — which handles more than four times the packages as these commercial shippers — was not told to require similar documentation.

    Richard Neal, D-Massachusetts, by sponsoring a bill to crack down on illegal shippers sending drugs through the mail from abroad.

    The Postal Service has emerged as the shipper of choice for criminals who serve illegal markets in drugs and identity crime. It needs to take stock and introduce measures that will discourage and identify those using the mails to send contraband. At the international level, U. It has 29 co-sponsors — Republicans and Democrats, including Ohio Sen. Where heroin, an agricultural product derived from poppies, mostly entered the US across its southern border from Mexico, the new opioid drugs are most frequently manufactured in Chinese laboratories and, because of their potency, are much easier to transport through the international postal system.

    The purchasers are sometimes criminal cartels, which then distribute the drugs through a decentralised dealer network scattered across small towns and suburbs throughout the US. The majority of illegal fentanyl smuggled into the U.

    Synthetic opioids are primarily trafficked in small packages through the mail. The increased volume in packages due to e-commerce provides cover for criminals to abuse the system.

    In January, a U. Senate report detailed vulnerabilities in international mail. The report explained how the U. Postal Service should use a bar code on packages with information about the sender, the recipient and what is in the package to help crack down on illegal shipments of drugs.

    A Senate version, along with a companion version in the House of Representatives, was introduced in February. The legislation would, according to ASAP, require all packages shipped from abroad to contain the same data as packages sent by private couriers. A press release from Ohio Sen.

    One commonsense step to cutting off the supply would be to require the use of advance electronic security data on all packages shipped to the United States from abroad so that law enforcement is able to use big data and algorithms to identify suspicious packages. President Trump and his Commission on Combating Drug Addiction and the Opioid Crisis have publicly stated that requiring this data will help provide much needed relief in fighting the opioid epidemic and will provide law enforcement agencies the information they need to identify and stop dangerous packages from entering our country.

    What has to be one of the most exasperating problems with the opioid epidemic, for law enforcement, is that small amounts of drugs up to times stronger than heroin can be sent to the United States via the mail from overseas, primarily China. Users and dealers can purchase these on the Internet and they are delivered by the United States Postal Service without much difficulty. In his recent declaration of opioid abuse as a national health emergency, President Trump promised to take this issue up with China.

    Congress and the Postal Service should support him. Opioid overdose deaths shot up to 64, in , a more than 17 percent increase from This is not the time for playing politics or participating in partisanship. President Donald Trump has declared the opioid epidemic a public health emergency — a welcome action as the crisis hits states like Colorado harder than ever.

    In the Centennial State, the introduction of unbelievably potent synthetic opioids such as fentanyl and carfentanil has led to a sharp uptick in fatalities. We see tragic stories occurring far too regularly, from the 19 year old Boulder student killed by cocaine laced with fentanyl, to the two deaths from carfentanil in Eagle County this spring. These powerful synthetic drugs are largely manufactured abroad, and can easily be mailed by traffickers and criminals into the country thanks to a major postal system security gap.

    Additionally, a federal bill, cosponsored by U. Todd Rokita and Susan Brooks among others, has been introduced in the U. Customs and Border Protection and to require the provision of advance electronic information on shipments of mail to U.

    Customs and Border Protection, and for other purposes. The measure is already cosponsored by members of the U. McCaskill or Blunt have so far cosponsored the measure. Fixing the mail loophole, though, is an important and sensible place to start. An important way to curtail opioid inflows is to require that all shipments from China through the U. Postal Service be preceded with basic electronic data — including who and where it is from, who it is going to and what is in it, before it crosses the U.

    With this information and related algorithms, law enforcement can better identify and check packages for deadly drugs. John Kelly, as head of the Department of Homeland Security, testified that this information would be helpful for interdiction efforts. Customs and Border Protection have testified similarly. The Postal Service also acknowledges this. Each day, countless envelopes and packages fly through post offices across the country.

    But some say some of that mail could be deadly. Homeland security expert Juliette Kayyem said through loopholes in the United States Postal Service, foreign drug dealers are able to send opiates, fentanyl and other dangerous drugs right through the mail.

    Some drug dealers are even buying from China directly into the United States. Working with Customs and Border Protection, the Postal Service uses a range of tools, such as dogs, X-rays and an their intrinsic ability to spot something that just seems out of the ordinary.

    Packages sent via private couriers such UPS and FedEx come with information such as who sent them, transit stops the package made and who it is bound for, but only about half of all packages that come into the US carry that information. Bills currently in Congress aim to increase oversight of international packaging to help track their origins.

    In the fentanyl trade, big things come in small packages. Small enough, as is often the case, to fit in an envelope, shipped and received through the international postal service as easy as any legal online purchase.

    Kayyem, who served as assistant secretary for intergovernmental affairs in the U. An estimated 64, Americans died of drug overdoses in For too long shippers from outside the U. Reaching American consumers should be a privilege, not a right, for these foreign senders. We need to formalize the STOP Act now to ensure they are paying their fair share for keeping our communities safe. We owe it to law enforcement and to the American people to do everything we can to keep these poisons off our streets.

    All levels of law enforcement have been working to identify the routes fentanyl takes from China, interrupt the supplies and close loopholes. Juliette Kayyem, senior adviser for Americans for Securing All Packages ASAP , said the nonprofit organization focuses on the drug epidemic, more specifically, the supply chain and how drugs are coming into the country illegally.

    One of those ways is through the U. Postal System from countries such as China and Russia. Beyond escalating doses, abuse of prescription opioids can entail any number of use habits. For many, abuse involves taking the pills in a way that will hasten and enhance the euphoric effects.

    Crushing pills into powder to be nasally insufflated snorted. Dissolving pills into solution to be used via injection routes. Using them in combination with other substances, such as alcohol. Prescription opioid abuse is a widespread issue, so distinguishing between opioid abuse, dependence and addiction is a vital part of understanding the scope of the problem.

    Opioid abuse encompasses a pattern of use behaviors that indicate the drug is not being used as prescribed. The lack of consensus on what constitutes opioid addiction is one of the reasons public health guidelines and physician education on this topic are so difficult to regulate. Although physical dependence can indicate an addiction, it can also occur without the presence of psychological problems like craving and compulsive use —it may just be that a person has been using the drug therapeutically for a long time.

    This occurs with many individuals who use opioids for pain—they develop a physical dependence on them but do not have the accompanying psychological symptoms that constitute an addiction. Both prescription opioid dependence and abuse are contributing factors to the development of an addiction, which can become intensely consuming. If a person begins using opioids for medical reasons, it is more likely that a dependency will develop first, potentially escalating into abuse behaviors.

    On the illicit market, abuse is generally the starting point for dependency. No matter how you cut it, opioid misuse is a dangerous habit with far-reaching consequences. These medications get prescribed to treat moderate to severe pain , be it the result of injury, surgery, a chronic health condition such as pain related to cancer or a dental procedure.

    When taken as prescribed, opioid medications can make a world of difference for a person in pain. Prescription opioid dosing is or should be carefully determined for each person in order to avoid the development of dependence. Non-medical users have a variety of reasons behind their opioid use. Some do not readily have access to the healthcare that they need, and so obtain these medications to self-treat pain, anxiety, loneliness , or even to temper the side effects of other drugs.

    Other users simply take them to achieve the blissful high. No matter the motivation, prescription opioid abuse has undeniably swept the nation. The epidemic of opioid abuse and dependency has even caught the attention of some government agencies. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention CDC revised their opioid prescribing guidelines in —now discouraging doctors from prescribing opioid medications for chronic, long-lasting pain. Even high government offices have taken steps to ease the prescription opioid abuse problem.

    In , President Obama established a special budget to expand access to substance abuse treatment for opioid users, promote research on effective opioid abuse treatment, and increase the availability of naloxone, a drug used to treat opioid overdose. The more these drugs are viewed as medically safe, the riskier their abuse becomes. Some people begin using prescription opioids strictly to experience their psychoactive effects. Others follow a more protracted course, beginning with a legitimate medical need that devolves into recreational fun.

    Because the dangers can run so high, it is important to recognize risk factors for prescription opioid abuse. A wide range of individuals—together representing a diverse cross-section of demographic variables—are bearing the brunt of the opioid abuse epidemic.

    A number of these differing individual characteristics may play a hand in the development of an opioid drug abuse problem. It is important to note that risk factors are correlational; they do not definitively predict that a person will develop an addiction to opioids.

    Risk factors play an important role in the development of addiction ; they are critical to understanding the different stages of addiction and relapse. Genetics, for example, can underlie personality traits like impulsivity that lead to initiation of drug use. Understanding the various, distinct vulnerabilities to opioid addiction can help us map out the problem. Women are prescribed abuse-prone medications more often than men, 7,8 yet men have been found to use opioid medications non-medically at significantly higher rates than women.

    Despite these seemingly oppositional facts, men and women have been admitted to the emergency department at approximately equal rates for complications relating to opioid abuse.

    Death from prescription drug overdose occurs at higher rates in men than women. However, this gap is closing as overdose rates in women is increasing.

    It may seem like women would have a higher risk of abusing opioid medications, but the data indicate that men report more problems associated with opioid use. Significantly fewer women have received substance abuse treatment than men, 10 emphasizing the need for more substance abuse care outreach and education. Understanding gender specific trajectories of opioid addiction can help in the assessment of:. Rates of long-standing opioid medication use without a prescription are highest among younger users between the ages of 18 and 25 , 1,9 yet overdose rates are highest among users between 45 and 54 years old.

    Younger people have a higher risk of abusing prescription opioids, but rates among older users are on the rise. Middle-aged users have the highest risk of overdose , which may reflect more frequent, higher dosing. Studies into the age-related effects on prescription opioid addiction might aid in the prevention of over-prescribing by spotlighting the problems that cause it. Many providers have concerns about the effects of opioids in older adults or the potential for addiction or the diversion of medications.

    Clarification in this area can help develop proper sanctions and training interventions to improve the use of opioid analgesic therapy. There is a marked association between race and prescription opioid problems. Rates of opioid prescriptions have been found to be highest among white patients , followed by black patients, Hispanic patients, and Asian or other race patients, regardless of socio-economic status. Race has been shown to have a major impact on doctor-patient care , 16,17 and the majority of physicians in the U.

    A white physician may be more likely to prescribe opioid pain medications to their white patients than patients of a racial background different than their own. Racial disparities outline the need for a better understanding and education regarding the effect of race on health care and prescribing practices. People from high SES areas suffering from moderate-to-severe pain are prescribed more opioid medications than those in the low SES neighborhoods. Education has also been associated with rates of opioid prescriptions.

    Patients with higher education levels are three times less likely to receive an opioid medication prescription than those with lower education levels. This means that the less schooling a person has, the more likely they are to be prescribed opioid medications to treat pain.

    Shaping drug use habits. Influencing the availability of health resources. Affecting adherence to medication. While the association is not yet fully vetted, it is clear that socioeconomic status and opioid medication prescribing and abuse are intertwined. Interestingly enough, abuse of prescription opioids has been found to have a regional component. In the United States, abuse rates are highest in the Southeastern states, Appalachian area, and Northwest.

    These areas have the highest rates of opioid prescription problems, but interestingly, the higher rates do not reflect a higher incidence of injury, surgery, or chronic pain. Long-term medical use of prescription opioids to treat chronic pain is one of the leading risk factors for overdose. People struggling with chronic pain at the same time as they are coping with a substance use or mental health disorder have the highest risk for misusing prescription opioids , especially with higher prescribed doses.

    In addition, long-term medical use of prescription opioids to treat chronic pain is one of the leading risk factors for overdose. Common psychological disorders, such as mood disorders, have shown a clear link with the development of opioid abuse. Any prescription opioid user who is dealing with these issues faces an increased risk of falling into a pattern of abuse.

    Unfortunately, the underestimation of their dangers can lead people towards risky patterns of abuse and, ultimately, very harmful outcomes. Compulsory habits due to dependence or addiction, or even for dealer profit. No matter the root cause, there are numerous factors underlying the rise of prescription opioid problems, and a lot of them have to do with how these drugs are viewed in the social sphere.

    Once these perceptions are recognized, we can begin to understand how to address this escalating problem. Social context may contribute to the structuring of prescription opioid use norms and acceptability. In fact, non-medical prescription drug users are more likely to have positive expectations about the effects of use, 28,29,30 and many younger users do not recognize the extent of risks associated with abuse of opioid medications.

    Viewing prescription opioid abuse as a socially acceptable practice has a particularly potent impact on adolescents. Young people may gain their understanding of prescription opioid use by observing older people in their lives taking pills on a frequent basis. The use and abuse of prescription drugs may be viewed as more socially acceptable than use and abuse of illicit substances like cocaine. A surprising majority of college students underestimate the prevalence of non-medical use of prescription drugs.

    If we can gain a better understanding of how prescription opioids are rationalized as a socially acceptable drug of abuse , we may begin to find ways to counteract this misunderstanding and reduce the high rates of abuse. Prescription drugs have become an accepted, sometimes medically necessary part of society.

    Because these medications often come recommended by a trusted authority source a doctor , the risks associated with abuse can be easily overlooked. Some users may not realize that they have a problem until something drastic happens , such as overdose. On top of this, prescription opioids can be obtained through safer outlets—getting a prescription from a doctor or pills for a friend is probably safer than going to a dealer.

    The staggering number of opioid prescriptions being written sends the wrong message to consumers regarding the dangers of opioid abuse.

    Not only has the number of opioid prescriptions nearly quadrupled since , the average dose prescribed has risen dramatically. In fact, the most damage is seen in users who are taking these medications exactly as their doctor recommends: A major contributing factor to the perceived halo of safety is the aggressive marketing by major pharmaceutical companies.

    The amount of money these companies have spent promoting their drugs has increased dramatically in recent years, 40 and this type of direct-to-consumer marketing may communicate the message that opioid medications, like all prescription pharmaceuticals, are not only good for you, but safe to use and without negative consequence.

    Fortunately, the new CDC guidelines for opioid prescribing practices are a step in the right direction. Encouraging as the changes may be, fewer prescriptions cannot guarantee lower rates of abuse. Further steps will need to be taken in order to improve the safety of users.

    Ensuring that all opioid prescriptions are accompanied by education regarding the risks and dangers of misuse may help to curb the high rate of health problems associated with these medications.

    Both physicians and consumers should be well-informed in order to ensure the medications are rightfully prescribed, properly dosed, and taken according to specific guidelines in order to avoid adverse consequences.

    The mere fact that these potent drugs are so readily available poses a danger to opioid users. Some drug abusers take advantage of their legal status as substances with legitimate medical value. They may fake symptoms or otherwise find a way to obtain opioid prescriptions from their doctors will the sole intent of recreational use.

    While not common, this practice has been found to skew prescribing rates , with average patients that are presumed to be doctor shoppers encompassing 0. On average, extreme doctor shoppers were able to get 32 opioid prescriptions acquired through 10 different prescribers in alone. Practitioners need a better system for tracking and accessing patient medication monitoring to watch for suspicious prescription acquisition patterns.

    Surprisingly, while these types of misrepresentation and doctor shopping techniques do take place, most who abuse opioid medications do not obtain their drugs this way.

    Most non-medical users get the drugs from a friend or relative , often for free but occasionally buying or stealing them. Friends and relatives are unlikely to have a full understanding of the dangers associated with opioid medications.

    When users get the drugs from their peers and family, they may unknowingly be taking an unsafe dose for their body and health status. The availability of opioid medications has contributed greatly to the abuse problem. The widespread overprescribing of opioids has led to the diversion and exploitation of these medications, and unfortunate abusers suffer the consequences.

    While it may be true that prescription opioids are viewed as more safe and more socially acceptable than other substances, it is important to understand why people are abusing these drugs in the first place.

    Some users may be taking these opioids, with or without a prescription, to treat a variety of problems. Managing acute pain, chronic pain, stress, and emotional problems are common motivations behind this self-treatment. Coping with psychological distress may also play a large role in the abuse of opioid medications. Women are more likely to take these medications to deal with stress , conflict, and anxiety relating to their social circle, 47 while men are more likely to be using them to cope with depression.

    Perhaps the most obvious motivation for prescription opioid abuse is recreational pleasure. Opioids can produce a euphoric high where the user feels relaxed and at peace. Snorting, for example, produces a rapid and intense high followed by a faster comedown.

    Many opioid abusers take the medications in a way other than the intended method of ingestion in order to achieve the desired recreational gratification. Understanding why people are abusing prescription opioid medications can help professionals take better preventative measures to reduce the harm that these drugs can cause.

    For users that are taking opioids to cope with emotional or psychological distress, increased availability of behavioral interventions may help to preclude their use. Stricter guidelines for prescribing opioids such as those offered by the new CDC recommendations as well as lowering the available doses of these prescriptions may help decrease rates of recreational abuse, as these practices may ultimately reduce the supply of and average dose of opioid medications available on the illicit market.

    There have been strong correlations found between prescription opioid abuse and mental health issues. People who struggle with the issues of severe anxiety or depression are more likely to underestimate the dangers of prescription opioid abuse , 52 and it has been suggested that adolescents with acute anxiety may be at particular risk for prescription drug abuse. In other instances, it may be that pre-existing psychological disorders predispose a person to later develop substance abuse problems.

    As part of their patient assessment, physicians must consider all the risk factors associated with prescription opioid abuse so that they may make more carefully considered decisions to administer these potent medications. Poly-substance abuse in association with the prescription opioids is not uncommon. Problem drug use in general, including that of alcohol abuse, has been associated with higher rates of prescription opioid use.

    In , more emergency department visits involved people using prescription opioids in combination with other substances than using them on their own. Teens are also showing patterns of problematic multi-substance abuse. With most high-THC marijuana of today, the risk is higher. Oz, to expose the truth about THC. This is why it essential that the public stop confusing CBD with marijuana. It is also important that people know that not every type of epilepsy is helped by CBD.

    They also explain the difference between cannabidiol and whole marijuana. We caution that any THC in a minor could be brain damaging. The public has a right to know that some children have died after the parents believed it was a miracle drug. Gupta should also review the National Academy of Sciences Report on the health effects of cannabis and cannabinoids released in January. The only studies that have been published on the use or efficacy of medicinal marijuana in children and adolescents have been limited to its use in the treatment of refractory seizures.

    The adverse effects of marijuana have been well documented. Numerous published studies have shown the potential negative consequences of short- and long-term use of recreational marijuana in adolescents.

    Alterations in motor control, coordination, judgment, reaction time, and tracking ability have also been documented. These effects may contribute to unintentional deaths and injuries among adolescents, especially those who drive after using marijuana. Negative health effects on lung function associated with smoking marijuana also have been documented9; in addition, longitudinal studies linking marijuana use with higher rates of mental health disorders, such as depression and psychosis, recently have been published, raising concerns about longer-term psychiatric effects.

    The adolescent brain, particularly the prefrontal cortex areas that control judgment and decision-making, is not fully developed until the early 20s, raising questions about how any substance use may affect the developing brain. Police ask a driver to stand on one leg, walk a straight line and recite the alphabet. If the driver fails, the officer will testify in court to help make a case for driving under the influence. But defense lawyers argue, science has yet to prove that flunking the standard field sobriety test actually means that a person is high, the way it's been proven to measure drunkenness.

    So, as attorney Rebecca Jacobstein argued to the Massachusetts high court, the tests shouldn't be allowed in evidence. Prosecutors like attorney Michelle King don't agree. They argue that rapidly advancing science does prove field tests' reliability. What makes the stakes so high here, is that police have few alternatives; they do not yet have reliable roadside toxicology tests that can say for sure if someone's too high to drive in the way a breathalyzer or blood test can show if someone's too drunk.

    Margaret Haney, a professor of neurobiology at the Columbia University Medical Center says testing a person for alcohol intoxication is a breeze in comparison to testing a person to determine if they are high. As she explains, marijuana is fat soluble, so traces of its main ingredient tetrahydrocannabinol, or THC, can show up in blood long after a person has sobered up.

    It used to be that police could always fall back on arresting a driver for possession, but now that marijuana is legal in many states, including Massachusetts, officers worry they'll be faced with more stoned drivers and fewer ways to stop them.

    Volkow told Reuters Health by email. Volkow and associates from NIDA in Bethesda, Maryland cite studies that show a greater risk of anemia and lower birth weights, and a higher risk of neonatal intensive care unit admission for infants, when women use marijuana during pregnancy. These children are also more likely to have developmental problems later on.

    Despite these risks, marijuana use by pregnant women appears to be rising. According to a related report, the proportion of pregnant women who reported using marijuana during the past month rose from 2.

    As personal and painful as it is to relate, I write this account hoping that efforts to legalize the use of recreational marijuana will be defeated. My second son, Chris, had an outstanding secondary school career. As the youngest student in a class of students, he was the valedictorian. At spring honors day, he received the American. But he was no nerd. He was President of the Student Council and Co-captain of the wrestling team. He had a ton of friends and he loved to backpack, kayak and rock climb.

    My only worry about him was his lack of fear in tackling any physical challenge. On a holiday break in his first year at Stanford, he came home and went out with some of his friends. About a half hour later, he came running back home in a state of absolute panic. This fearless kid was terrified and in a state I hardly recognized. He thought the woods were surrounded by FBI agents and that a high school football star was trying to rape him.

    It turned out that the kids who picked him up were smoking marijuana. With all his accomplishments, he always tried to be one of the boys and smoking weed was what they did. That night was a marker for his steady mental decline which continued even after he ceased using marijuana. Within two years, he was exhibiting full-blown schizophrenia. In his first of six hospitalizations, the doctor told us that he had a severe case and we should expect his mental acuity and his social affect to decline.

    The positive news according to the doctor was that Chris was high functioning enough that the decline could be tolerated. The next ten years were not pretty. This thoughtful, intelligent, winsome child became extremely paranoid and sometimes violent. He heard voices continually and his thoughts became completely disordered. Hospitalizations and attempts to medicate him had no effect.

    At the age of 28, perhaps in a moment of lucidity recognizing what had become of him, he took his life. Although there will never be any proof that marijuana was the cause of his schizophrenia, I believe that the first panic episode I witnessed was a precursor and initiator of his illness.

    This is certainly consistent with the scientific studies which suggest the correlation between early marijuana use and schizophrenia. Proposition would imprint on young people that recreational marijuana use is without risk. No wonder that so many social agencies, medical professionals, state officials and business groups oppose its passage. I am sure that many people smoke marijuana on a limited basis with no apparent ill effects. However, there is ample scientific evidence that marijuana use by teenagers whose brains are in the developmental stage are at risk for psychotic events which may be long term.

    There is also evidence that long-term use by adults can also lead to mental impairment issues. For anyone who is interested, I can share a bibliography of over 60 scientific articles addressing the risks that early marijuana use poses. Researchers in France tested 28 cannabis smokers and 24 people who did not use the drug to see how well their retinal cells responded to electrical signals. A small but significant delay was found in the time taken for the signals to be processed by the retina of the marijuana users by comparison with the control group.

    This will be the next marijuana capital of the world CNBC http: This year marked a turning point for marijuana, both as a cultural movement and as an industry. Polls show a record percentage of Americans now favor legalization, and most of us already live in a state with some form of legal cannabis.

    California, home to more than a tenth of the U. In , expect the momentum to grow with further mainstreaming of cannabis and the cementing of the industry. Los Angeles will emerge as the marijuana capital of the world. The financial industry has Wall Street, the tech industry has Silicon Valley, and the cannabis industry will soon have Los Angeles.

    No disrespect to Denver, but Los Angeles is about to come out of the shadows and steal the spotlight. Unfortunately, most of that business operates in the shadows today. But that is about to change. In early , the city is expected to pass an ordinance that will clear the path for a proper licensing program and pave the way for a robust recreational market. Surrounding cities are joining in with programs of their own that will support cultivation, production and lab facilities.

    Investors have taken notice too, and capital is flowing to fund local ventures. Meanwhile, California's state treasurer recently launched a working group to address the cannabis industry's banking challenges.

    Expect to hear big news out of Los Angeles in This means CBD and all other extracts derived from the cannabis plant psychoactive or not will come under Schedule 1 drugs, like heroin, LSD, marijuana, and ecstasy, and cannot cross state lines. Any person currently licensed to produce and handle marijuana extracts is required to apply for a modification of their registration by Jan.

    Massachusetts on Thursday became the first state in the densely populated U. Northeast to legalize marijuana for recreational use, a step that advocates say could help spread the drug's acceptance across the United States. The state is one of three where ballot measures legalizing recreational use of the drug passed on Nov. The Massachusetts measure legalizing use of the drug by adults 21 and older in private places passed by 54 percent to 46 percent, easily overcoming the opposition of prominent state officials in both parties.

    University of California, San Francisco, news release. Of the teen smokers in San Francisco who took part in the study, 96 percent said they'd used at least two other substances besides cigarettes. In most cases, those other substances were alcohol, marijuana and other tobacco products. However, 16 percent reported the use of harder drugs, such as cocaine, hallucinogens and Ecstasy, or the misuse of prescription medications.

    Newswise — New York — December 7, —— Children exposed to secondhand marijuana smoke show measurable amounts of the drug in their bodies, a researcher at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai has found. The study was published in the journal Pediatric Research. Because earlier analytical methods were developed to measure biomarkers of marijuana in primary users of the drug, a new, more sensitive analytic method was developed and used by the U. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention CDC to quantify the trace biomarkers resulting from secondhand marijuana smoke exposure.

    For the study, urine samples were collected from 43 babies between the ages of one month and two years who were hospitalized in Colorado with bronchiolitis, and their parents were asked to complete a survey about marijuana smoking habits. This percentage was consistent with the number of parents who self-reported marijuana usage in the survey. The Mount Sinai Health System is an integrated health system committed to providing distinguished care, conducting transformative research, and advancing biomedical education.

    Structured around seven hospital campuses and a single medical school, the Health System has an extensive ambulatory network and a range of inpatient and outpatient services—from community-based facilities to tertiary and quaternary care. The System includes approximately 7, primary and specialty care physicians; 12 joint-venture ambulatory surgery centers; more than ambulatory practices throughout the five boroughs of New York City, Westchester, Long Island, and Florida; and 31 affiliated community health centers.

    Physicians are affiliated with the renowned Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai, which is ranked among the highest in the nation in National Institutes of Health funding per investigator. Luke's, and Mount Sinai West are ranked regionally. For more information, visit http: Marijuana is the most widely used illegal drug in the US and world. Use of marijuana by American youth has surpassed the use of tobacco, and is on track to overcome the use of alcohol in the next few years.

    The main concern with cannabis legalization should be with how it will negatively affect children, adolescents and young adults. One troubling piece of evidence comes from the national Monitoring the Future study, which shows that perceived harm from using marijuana is decreasing among US youth.

    Less perceived risk is negatively associated with use. That means the more youth believe that marijuana is harmless, the more likely they are willing to use it. In addition, legalization of recreational marijuana use for adults increases access to cannabis products by underage youth and children by illegal or accidental means.

    All Americans should be concerned about the increasing potential for marijuana harm among youth resulting from the effects of legalizing marijuana use on its availability, acceptability, and myths about its harmfulness. Click here for the 10 key youth marijuana use risks everyone needs know. The ugly truth is that Colorado was suckered.

    It was promised regulation and has been met by an industry that fights tooth and nail any restrictions that limit its profitability. This election year, voters in five states will decide whether to legalize recreational marijuana use. Among them are California with Proposition 64 and Maine with Question 1. Any states that do will join the four others where the drug is already legal for recreational use. The AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety analyzed cannabis use by drivers in one of those states, Washington, and found that the proportion of drivers involved in fatal crashes who had recently used marijuana more than doubled after Washington legalized the drug for recreational use.

    When Attorney General Loretta Lynch went to Kentucky last week to address the heroin epidemic, a high school student asked if marijuana is a gateway to heroin addiction. Traditionally marijuana, alcohol and tobacco are considered gateways to other drugs. Scientific studies on the drug have shown its ability to damage brain circuitry. It numbs the reward system, sending users on a search for a stronger high. Peer influence or personality traits can spiral into the use of drugs beyond marijuana.

    Here are some reasons why marijuana tempts someone to open the gate and try other drugs. It is not part of their agenda to accept or acknowledge these differences.

    Advertising is a huge challenge for companies in the cannabis industry, with television opportunities extremely rare.

    Click here to read the rest of the interview. This is not the case. Marijuana is still illegal everywhere under federal law, which prevents the agencies that would traditionally provide oversight from getting involved. Consumers have no way to know for sure what they are actually buying. Click here to read the article.

    The DEA has released a new report showing how Hash labs are becoming the new meth labs. In this new report they outline how Colorado's legalization is not only responsible for these labs existing, but also how the state has no way to enforce them. The Denver office is reporting that Amendment 20 and Amendment 64 are helping to create these hash labs because of the language in regards to personal grow limits.

    This has led to a proliferation of large-scale marijuana grow operations in hundreds of homes throughout the state. They also say that Loopholes in Amendment 20 and 64 have led to unfettered production in private residences throughout the state.

    Amendment 20 alone allows patients to possess up to six plants unless more are recommended by a Physician. In it wasn't uncommon for a Physician to recommend 75 plants or more, which lead to the license suspension of 4 Doctors this month. Amendment 20 was pretty much set up with no regulatory system put into place to track who was growing the marijuana or where it was going, which partnered with the excessive grow amounts, lead to a good portion of this marijuana to be transported out of state for illegal sales.

    Marijuana Use Increases Violent Behavior year study finds causal link between cannabis and subsequent violent behavior Posted Mar 20, Researchers have long debated a possible link between use of marijuana and violent crime. In contrast to alcohol, meth, and many other illegal drugs, the mellowing effects of cannabis seem unsuited to promoting violent behavior. However, ample previous research has linked marijuana use to increased violent behavior. The sticky problem in such studies are the many confounding factors involved in interpreting this correlation.

    It is very difficult to determine whether any statistical correlation between marijuana use and violent behavior are causally linked, or instead the two are associated through some other factor, such as socioeconomic status, personality traits, or many other variables that are related to the propensity to use marijuana.

    Moreover, the causal relation between smoking pot and violent behavior could be in exactly the opposite direction. That is, individuals who are involved in violence or who commit criminal offenses may also be people who are more open to using marijuana. After all, marijuana is an illegal substance in most places, so people with antisocial personality traits and those with tendencies toward lawlessness may be the type of individuals inclined to be more open to obtaining and using the illegal substance.

    Not so, conclude neuroscientist Tabea Schoeler at Kings College London, and her colleagues, "Together, the results of the present study provide support for a causal relationship between exposure to cannabis and subsequent violent outcomes across a major part of the lifespan. It was a critical time when state lawmakers were drafting legislation and negotiating the details of what would eventually become Act 16 of , the Medical Marijuana Act.

    Its CEO has said the company is interested in getting into the business in Pennsylvania and has looked at sites in the Lehigh Valley. It didn't show up when the Department of State, which oversees the state's lobbying disclosure system, ran a search of a reporting database for medical marijuana-related activity over the last four quarters at The Morning Call's request.

    That search turned up one lobbying company and three principals that reported lobbying lawmakers on the issue of medical marijuana over the last 12 months. The Morning Call's own look at lobbying by companies connected to the marijuana industry turned up eight additional entities in the first quarter of alone. How much has been spent trying to tilt the playing field for a potentially lucrative but also controversial medical marijuana industry that is in its infancy in Pennsylvania?

    It's impossible to know. In , California became the first state to legalize the use of medical marijuana. There are now 25 states that permit the use of marijuana, including four as well as the District of Columbia that permit it for purely recreational use. The effects of these new laws have been immediate.

    One study, which collected data from and , showed a 22 percent increase in monthly use in Colorado. The percentage of people there who used daily or almost daily also went up. So have marijuana-related driving fatalities. And so have incidents of children being hospitalized for accidentally ingesting edible marijuana products.

    But legalization and our growing cultural acceptance of marijuana have disproportionately affected one group in particular: Low cost, flavors, convenience turn teens on to vaping: Young people try electronic cigarettes out of curiosity about the devices and alluring flavors that range from cotton candy to pizza, but keep vaping because of their low cost, according to a study released on Monday. The report published in the medical journal Pediatrics found that some of the reasons prompting teenagers to try the battery-operated devices, which heat liquids typically laced with nicotine to deliver vapor, help to predict ongoing use.

    The most likely draws are the cost, which is much lower than for combustible cigarettes, and ability to vape in places where smoking may be banned, according to the study led by Yale School of Medicine professors. Costs can vary widely, depending on the brand and state cigarette taxes, but savings can add up to thousands of dollars a year for the average smoker, according to various vaping industry estimates. The ongoing Connecticut-based study was based on surveys in two middle schools and three high schools in the fall of and spring of About of the 2, students surveyed had used e-cigarettes.

    Cock-Correa is looking to replace vast acres of flowers with marijuana plants, with plans to export the harvest. Crucially, the new law also allowed the commercial cultivation, processing and export of medical marijuana products — like oils and creams — although not the flower, the part of the plant normally rolled into a joint. The authorities believe the new law will also help attract investment and give the economy a lift, though it will take several years before the returns on the investments become clear.

    Medical marijuana grows under strict conditions as industry expands Robert McCoppin. In a warehouse in Joliet, hundreds of marijuana plants sway under high-intensity lights, taking in carbon dioxide-rich air, sucking up a constant feed of nutrients and bristling with buds. Like Olympic athletes, the plants are rigorously trained and intensively pampered.

    Tiny predator bugs patrol the surface of the vegetation, hunting down any pests. Workers prune stems and leaves to put all the plants' energy into buds that produce the drug's euphoric and medicinal effects. The process churns out pounds of high-grade pot every month. The grow house at Cresco Labs is one of 19 cultivation centers in Illinois authorized by the state to produce medical cannabis.

    The facilities generally had been closed to the media until Wednesday, when reporters were allowed an unprecedented tour of the growing operation. The look inside the state's secretive program comes as the struggling medical marijuana industry in Illinois is poised to grow. Last month, for the first time, the state added two new medical conditions — post-traumatic stress disorder and terminal illness — to the list of about 40 that qualify patients to buy the drug. To address doctors' concerns that federal law still prohibits the distribution of marijuana, lawmakers also changed the statute to allow physicians to certify patients as having a qualifying medical condition without having to risk their licenses by vouching for the drug's medical benefits.

    And in court, recent rulings are forcing state officials to reconsider adding other new conditions such as migraine headaches and chronic post-operative pain.

    Industry leaders are hopeful that expanded access will translate into more patients and a more sustainable program. Charles Bachtell, founder and CEO of Cresco Labs, said a consultant estimates there will be more than , patients in Illinois, comparable to Colorado's medical cannabis population, by year three of the pilot program that began when the first licensed dispensaries opened in November.

    Nearly a half-century after tobacco ads were kicked off television in the United States, an initiative in California would take a first step toward allowing TV commercials promoting pot to air alongside advertisements for cereal and cleaning products.

    Proposition 64, which is on the November ballot, would allow people age 21 and older to possess and use up to an ounce of marijuana and would allow pot shops to sell cannabis for recreational use.

    Television ads are not likely to appear soon, even if voters approve the initiative. There are other impediments to pot ads hitting the airwaves in California, including the fact that cannabis is still seen by the federal government as an illegal drug. Still, the possibility that television commercials will some day pop up featuring people smoking marijuana has been seized on by opponents of the ballot measure, including Democratic Sen.

    Dianne Feinstein of California. Health officials are also concerned. The American Heart Assn. Marijuana lobby finds welcome vibe at the Democratic National Convention. Democratic officials, including Oregon Rep. A day earlier, the Marijuana Policy Project staged a fundraiser to support its work to push new laws around the country legalizing the use of marijuana. The use of marijuana for medical purposes now is legal in 25 states, and it can be sold for recreational purposes in four more: Colorado, Washington, Alaska and Oregon.

    That was the unexpected message for thousands of budding entrepreneurs who paid to come to Chicago's McCormick Place on Tuesday morning hoping to hear business tips from laid-back British billionaire Sir Richard Branson.

    The year-old Virgin Group founder mixed in some unorthodox parenting advice along with his more conventional business bromides.

    Branson has made no secret of his occasional marijuana use and has been an advocate for decriminalizing marijuana. In a ruling that could significantly expand the use of medical marijuana in Illinois, a judge has ordered state officials to reconsider adding migraine headaches to the list of conditions that qualify a patient to buy the drug.

    Nirav Shah's denial of a petition to add migraines to that list. The judge ordered Shah to reconsider evidence presented to the Medical Cannabis Advisory Board before its members voted to recommend approval of marijuana to treat migraines. The court ruling came in response to a suit filed by a man whose name was kept secret because he already has been using marijuana to treat his headaches, his attorneys said. Since adolescence, the middle-age man has suffered migraines up to three times a week, lasting from several hours up to three days, attorney Robert Bauerschmidt said.

    Some companies are also having issues with tax code e, which was created for drug traffickers and does not allow for normal business deductions.

    Whether the audits are civil or criminal is unclear, according to tax attorney James Thorburn of Thorburn Walker LLC, who is representing some of the business owners. One audit letter obtained by Inc. In a paper published in Human Brain Mapping , researchers demonstrated for the first time with functional magnetic resonance imaging that long-term marijuana users had more brain activity in the mesocorticolimbic-reward system when presented with cannabis cues than with natural reward cues.

    Researchers studied 59 adult marijuana users and 70 nonusers, accounting for potential biases such as traumatic brain injury and other drug use. Study participants rated their urge to use marijuana after looking at various visual cannabis cues, such as a pipe, bong, joint or blunt, and self-selected images of preferred fruit, such as a banana, an apple, grapes or an orange. Researchers also collected self-reports from study participants to measure problems associated with marijuana use. On average, marijuana participants had used the drug for 12 years.

    When presented with marijuana cues compared to fruit, marijuana users showed enhanced response in the brain regions associated with reward, such as the orbitofrontal cortex, striatum, anterior cingulate gyrus, precuneus and the ventral tegmental area. Click here to access this post online. But, as Fortune reported, an increase in marijuana-related emergency room visits and the persistent black market has dampened some public support for legal pot in Colorado.

    Still, there seems to be no stopping the rising tide of legal pot in the U. As the map below shows, legal cannabis is spreading across the US, whether it be in the medical or recreational form, or both. Already, 25 states have legalized medical marijuana, while four states—Alaska, Colorado, Oregon, and Washington—have legalized recreational pot, as has Washington, D. Click here to read the rest of the article and access the map. The Richard Tom Foundation honors a bicyclist who was killed by a stoned driver on April 26, , in a double fatal crash.

    The crash was in Vermont, where legislators finally decided against legalizing pot this year. Of course it happens most frequently where marijuana is legalized or where there is medical marijuana. Congressman Earl Blumenauer is a big advocate for bicycling, a healthy activity at odds with the marijuana businesses he supports. Francis Health Services retired. This study aims to assess potential health care costs and adverse health effects related to cannabis use in an acute care community hospital in Colorado, comparing study findings to those medical diagnoses noted in the literature.

    Review diagnoses of cannabis users visiting a local ED and outline the potential financial and health effects of these patients on the health care system. An Institutional Review Board IRB approved retrospective observational study of patients seen in the ED from to with cannabis diagnoses and positive urine drug analyses UDA matched with hospital billing records. Randomized patient records were reviewed to determine completeness of documentation and coding related to cannabis use.

    An acute care hospital in one city in Colorado. The city has nearly medical marijuana dispensaries, but has not legalized recreational cannabis use. The city decided to not allow recreational stores in city limits as they were allowed to make that determination as a result of Amendment 64, which allowed municipalities to determine if they wanted recreational marijuana in their town.

    Subjects seen through the ED who had both a diagnosis code listing cannabis and a positive UDA for cannabis. Exclusions were subjects with UDA for cannabis but also tested positive for other substances, subjects who had cannabis diagnosis but no UDA result or those who had no UDA but did have a cannabis diagnosis.

    Subjects seen in the ED had similar diagnoses as those reviewed in the literature, confirming the serious side effects of marijuana use. During the study period, the study hospital incurred a true loss of twenty million dollars in uncollected charges after allowing for contractual obligations. While adverse health effects have been described in the literature, there is little data on the financial impact of marijuana use on the health care system.

    This study demonstrated an increasing number of patients who are seen in the ED also have used cannabis. These patients are not always able to pay their bills, resulting in a financial loss to the hospital. Marijuana continues to rank first among the most used illicit drugs in the United States. Among youth, heavy cannabis use is associated with cognitive problems and increased risk of mental illness.

    SAMHSA addresses marijuana use among youth with its seven-session cognitive behavioral therapy approach, which offers strategies for teaching coping skills to teen marijuana users. Click here to access the seven-session approach. Secondhand pot smoke can give you more than just a contact high The Sacramento Bee. Springer, a professor of medicine at UC San Francisco, had studied the effects of secondhand tobacco smoke on heart and vascular function.

    But this smoke was marijuana, a fact that McCartney noted from the stage as the performer commented on the familiar herbal-scented San Francisco air, Springer recalled. Springer, who spoke April 21 at the UC Center in Sacramento, said the concert haze and aroma inspired a research curiosity: What is the impact of secondhand marijuana smoke on blood vessel function?

    This week four Senators introduced the the MEDS Act to streamline the process of approving any medicine derived from the cannabis plant. Senator Brian Schatz of Hawaii explains: Senator Thom Tillis of North Carolina said: Currently, researchers who want to conduct research on marijuana must interface with several federal agencies and engage in a complex application process that can take a year or longer must start from scratch if they make any changes to their research proposal;.

    And more broadly speaking, the MEDS Act upholds the important, basic principle that all medications-including marijuana-based drugs-should go through the scientific process and accessed through legitimate doctors. We salute the bipartisan nature of this bill. In the House of Representatives, Rep. Earl Blumenauer of Oregon, Rep. Sam Farr of California, Rep. It was a dramatic gesture.

    Other states, such as New Jersey and Illinois, have highly controlled program. Psychiatric problems that have ballooned in states that give out medical marijuana without reasonable medical purpose, but that can be addressed at a later date. For this reason a doctor in Florida, is urging residents in his states not to pass Amendment 2. It is difficult to fully quantify the worsening of psychosis, anxiety, depression and other mental health diseases, but easy access to marijuana and other narcotics makes a bad condition worse.

    Click here to read the article on the Parents Opposed to Pot website. According to Emery, beginning a decade or more ago, when he previously served on the tribal council, and extending out over years, the St. The venture failed, closing down after a dispute with the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources and EPA over discharge of hatchery water into the federally protected St.

    The facility has since sat vacant for a number of years. Cannabis oil, formally known as Cannabidiol, is a derivative of the marijuana plant. On April 16, , Gov. Scott Walker signed into law a bill allowing CBD oil for treatment of children suffering from intractable epilepsy.

    The scope of the state law is narrow. Food and Drug Administration. The state has not legalized growing marijuana for medical purposes and current federal law prohibits transportation of marijuana or marijuana-derived products across state lines, even where the cannabis contains but trace amounts of THC. The narrow scope of state law makes it most difficult, if not legally impossible, for those suffering from epileptic seizure disorders in Wisconsin to obtain CBD oil.

    According to Emery, and other tribal representatives attending the HHS meeting, irrespective of existing federal or state law, the St.

    Croix Chippewa have a sovereign right to produce and distribute CBD oil. Besides Emery, other tribal nation members attending the meeting included tribal Chairman Lewis Taylor, St. My company works in Washington and Oregon state for the past three years. As a sovereign nation we have a right to provide for our membership.

    We are a sovereign nation. But if we are going to do it, I want to do it the right way, in cooperation with the county and health and human services. If my plan happens, gaming will be secondary to CBD oil. John Vaudreuil is the U. Prior to his appointment to that position in by President Obama, Vaudreuil served as assistant U. He knows the area, and its politics, very well. I tried to clear up some misconceptions the tribe had with the state CBD law.

    Growing marijuana, distributing marijuana and manufacturing marijuana is against the law.

    Current Issues - Marijuana

    Carmen Brace to speak at Marijuana for Medical Professionals with the Holistic Drug Free America Believes Legal Weed Exploits the Opioid Epidemic. Critics say the drug could fuel the opioid epidemic. While an FDA advisory committee recommended approval of Dsuvia last month, the. The Marijuana Policy Project promotes their drug as a substitute for opiate pain pills. It's easy for those who believe legalized marijuana would be wrong for our state to . legalization in the midst of the most deadly drug abuse epidemic in American history. .. Cannabis Capitalists Exploit Loopholes by 'Gifting' the Drug.

    Why Are Opioid Analgesics Prescribed?



    Carmen Brace to speak at Marijuana for Medical Professionals with the Holistic Drug Free America Believes Legal Weed Exploits the Opioid Epidemic.

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