Ohio Sues Big Pharma for Causing Opioid Epidemic
Ninety one people will die today from an opioid related overdose. So the state of Ohio has decided to sue those responsible—five of the largest pharmaceutical companies in the world.
We all know that weed hasn’t caused a single death in the history of human existence. You know what does kill? Opioids. In fact opiods are killing so many people—more than 33k in 2015 alone—that the state of Ohio has decided to sue the people responsible for the national crisis; five of the largest drug pushers in the nation.
The CDC tells us Opioids—prescription and illicit—are the main driver of drug overdose deaths. The startling statistics should send a shiver down your spine and not in a good way.
Opioid deaths by numbers
Opioids were involved in 33,091 deaths in 2015, and opioid overdoses have quadrupled since 1999. In 2015, the five states with the highest rates of death due to drug overdose were West Virginia (41.5 per 100,000), New Hampshire (34.3 per 100,000), Kentucky (29.9 per 100,000), Ohio (29.9 per 100,000), and Rhode Island (28.2 per 100,000). Several states are experiencing the decimation of communities due to opioid overdoses and they need help, now.
Ohio is number 4 on the list of states with the highest rates of death due to opioid overdose and their Attorney General, Mike DeWine, is looking to blame the pharmaceutical companies. DeWine filed a lawsuit on May 31, 2017 against 5 of the largest pharmaceutical companies: Purdue Pharma, Endo Health Solutions, Johnson & Johnson, Allergan, and Israel-based Teva Pharmaceutical Industries.
The lawsuit claims the pharmaceutical companies, knowingly and willing pressured doctors to subscribe opioids to their patients through “a well-funded marketing scheme” designed to “spread false and deceptive statements about the risks and benefits of long-term opioid use.” Dewine also states, we are facing a “human tragedy of epic proportion.”
The lawsuit cites these jaw-dropping facts regarding Ohio’s opioid epidemic:
- Between 2011 and 2015, 3.8 billion opioid pills were prescribed across Ohio.
- In 2016 alone, 2.3 million Ohio patients — roughly 20 percent of the state’s population — were prescribed an opioid.
- In 2015, more than 1.6 million opioid pills — 182 per patient — were prescribed in Ross County, an area hit especially hard by the epidemic.
- 4,149 people died from overdoses last year in Ohio, a 36 percent increase from 2015 when the state led the nation in fatal overdoses.
- From 2000 to 2015, the number of fatal drug overdoses in Ohio increased by 642 percent.
- 70 percent of infants placed in Ohio’s foster care system are children of parents with opioid addictions.
Arizona declares state of emergency
It’s not just the state of Ohio that’s fighting back. Arizona’s governor, Doug Ducey, declared a statewide health emergency on Monday June 5, 2017 trying to address the deadly opioid crisis in his state. According to data from the Arizona Department of Health Services, there were 790 deaths resulting from opioid use in 2016, which averages out to two per day. That represents a 74 percent increase since 2012.
The Phoenix New Times reported on 6/7/17, “Ducey’s declaration of emergency calls for “enhanced surveillance” to track the epidemic, tightening the rules that govern doctors’ ability to prescribe opioids, and training law enforcement officers to administer Naloxone to people who have overdosed.”
Marijuana can end the opioid epidemic
Unfortunately Ducey and Dewine failed to mention what most of us in the weed world intuitively know. Not only is marijuana non-lethal unlike opioids—marijuana could be the game changer in actually addressing the opioid crisis.
John Hopkins University released a study recently that found the rate of opioid overdose deaths decreased substantially in states that passed laws legalizing medical marijuana, and was 25 percent lower, on average, than in states where all forms of marijuana use are illegal. In addition, many studies are showing marijuana could be an “exit” drug. And some rehab facilities are using cannabis in treatment.
Blue Door Therapeutics in North Scottsdale Arizona opened their doors May 4, 2017. They are the first opioid outpatient treatment center to combine the use of medical cannabis with traditional medicine, alternative and naturopathic therapeutics as an exit strategy for dependence on opioids.
The medical director and co-founder, Dr. Ravi Chandiramani states, “At Blue Door, we don’t view cannabis as an illicit substance; we view it as a medical treatment that makes a lot of sense when you understand the underlying neuropharmacology between opioids and cannabinoids. Medical cannabis is the real game-changer for opiate dependence treatment and our team is committed to utilizing medical cannabis as another tool to improve outcomes for our opioid dependent patients.”
According to the statistics we are under assault by an opioid crisis. In fact 91 people will die today from an opioid related overdose. And the crisis is only going to worsen until leaders like Jeff Sessions and the like change their thinking about cannabis and drug addition.
Post by: Stoned and Stuff
Stoned and Stuff is a writer, project manager and mother of 2 boys living in California. She his a frequent contributor to SSL.