Tag Archives: Governor Susana Martinez

Marijuana Can’t Treat the Opiate, Heroin Epidemic

Any marijuana use leads to less intelligence potential, less empathy for life, less motivation and poorer decision making.  A war on drugs is a protection and defense of our brains.   Governor Susana Martinez probably recognizes how Colorado’s marijuana problem leads to the drug epidemic and filters into New Mexico’s substance abuse issues.   Read about her veto in Part 1.

One young man who gave us a testimony explained how his marijuana use led directly to heroin addiction.

In Colorado, Dr. Libby Stuyt, addictions psychiatrist, traces a direct line from marijuana legalization to the heroin epidemic.    Colorado’s recent report on heroin has shown that the number of deaths from heroin overdose have doubled between 2011 and 2015.

In fact, Pueblo County, has suffered from heroin use and addiction more than any other Colorado county.  Pueblo, Denver and Boulder have the highest rates of youth marijuana use.   Southern Colorado is suffering the most from the heroin epidemic. Counties that have banned marijuana dispensaries have been affected the least by the heroin.

Misunderstanding of the Opioid and Heroin Epidemic

Since the government has clamped down on opiate prescriptions, more users have replaced the pain drugs with heroin.  Since the legalization of marijuana, Mexican cartels have replaced much of their marijuana with heroin.  Heroin is now cheaper and addicts find it easier to get heroin than prescription pills.

Politically there is a great deal of misunderstanding about the opioid epidemic. If it was initially caused by over prescribing of medications, that’s no longer primarily the case.   Seth Leibsohn wrote an insightful article on the subject last week. The abuse of opioid prescriptions acquired legitimately constitutes a small portion of the overdose problem, he said. *

A simple crackdown on prescriptions will not solve the problem, according to Maia Szalavitz.  Although Szalavitz misunderstands the  inherent danger in using marijuana,* she explains the underlying causes of substance abuse quite well.  Impulsive children are at high risk of becoming drug users, but so are some highly cautious and anxious young people.   Two thirds of people with opioid addictions have had severely traumatic childhoods, and the more exposure to trauma, the higher the risk.  We need to help abused, neglected, fragile and otherwise traumatized children before they turn to self-medication as teens.  On the other hand, we should also provide tools and teach coping skills to children who are impulsive, ADHD or anxious.   (Overmedicating children doesn’t allow them to develop the skills needed to transition into adulthood.)

Let’s Help People Get off ALL Drugs

Effective treatment for addictions is getting off all drugs, not going to other harmful, brain-altering substances.   “The goal in helping a loved one with a substance use problem is not to reduce their use. It is to stop drug use,” according to Sven-Olov Carlsson of Drug Policy Futures.  He gave the opening address at the World Federation of Drugs Conference in Vienna last year.  As Carlsson said, the current heroin epidemic proves that “harm reduction” is not saving lives.

No one sets out to become an addict.   Fortunately, more people and states are realizing the foolishness of allowing “medical” marijuana for intractable pain.  It opens up a Pandora’s Box of problems, as in California and elsewhere.

Addiction specialists estimate that one in five American adults is addicted to drugs or alcohol.  With such large numbers, there should be no “stigma” attached to addiction or treatment.  A new or revised health care act should maintain the provision to treat addiction.

Those who are addicted have a strong need to protect a secret.  Their brains have been hijacked and there isn’t a straight path back to previous functioning.

Optimum treatment requires a period of time when the person is not using any substance of addiction in order for the brain to heal.  During that time, the person needs to be able to learn new things. The lack of treatment resources which allows this to happen is a big barrier to recovery.   Marijuana cannot be used to treat this current drug epidemic.

___________________________________________________________________________*  Another recent article explains how doctors began to take pain seriously, treating it as a fifth vital sign.  Szalavitz based her 10% addiction rate for marijuana on the weaker pot of the ’70s and ’80s, not the pot of today.  She also disregarded teen users of pot.

 

Governor Martinez Denies Marijuana to Treat Opioid Addiction

On April 7, New Mexico Governor Susana Martinez vetoed a bill which would have made opioid addiction a qualifying condition for medical marijuana.  Governor Martinez has consistency shown leadership in working to prevent drug addiction.  Earlier this year, legislators in New Mexico wisely rejected a bill to legalize pot,.

Maryland legislators recently proposed using marijuana to treat heroin addiction.   They removed the provision from the  bill after researchers explained there’s no evidence that cannabis is effective in treating addiction.

The mass insanity surrounding cures from “medical” marijuana sometimes comes from the Press.  As the number of newsprint subscribers dwindles, newspapers are looking to marijuana for new sources of advertising money.  (The New York Times, Seattle Times, Los Angeles Times and Denver Post are pro-marijuana newspapers.)  Another problem is that the marijuana industry’s paid lobbyists are pumping unscientific information to state legislators.   Many of these lobbyists have advanced degrees in Social Policy, Law or Political Science, but not the biological sciences.

Marijuana , Opioid Addiction and Heroin

Tyler Martels, finally free of opioid addiction, was getting his life back on track when the state of Washington legalized marijuana.  On December 5, 2012, marijuana became 100% legal for those ages 21 and over.  A few days later, Martel refused to drink with his parents, but smoked marijuana before driving.  His car crossed the center lane, and both he and his fiancé, also 27, died.  Another man was badly injured in that crash.  Martels died a victim of the “safer than alcohol” phrase that the marijuana lobby used to gain acceptance for legalization.

His death also demonstrates the public’s ignorance of marijuana as a dangerous drug.  Brain science reveals a connection between marijuana and the opiate/heroin epidemic.

Dr. Mark Willenbring, an addictions psychiatrist,  believes that alternative treatments are needed for pain, but not another drug of abuse.  He doesn’t believe you can solve the problem of addiction with another drug of abuse.  “The concept on its face is absurd,” he said.  “It doesn’t work,” he said. “Like trying to cure alcoholism with Valium.”

Pam Garozzo and Carlos, who lost his life Dec. 23, after 10 months of being off drugs. She told Gov. Christie’s panel at the White House that marijuana had been a gateway for her son.

Stop Denying the Potential Gateway Effect

Generally speaking, marijuana is already in the mix of drugs used by those who abuse opiates.   Those who use heroin invariably are using other drugs, including marijuana.   In fact, a group of parents in Massachusetts recently made a video tribute to 79 of their children who died from drugs.   In all cases, the deceased sons and daughters had started their drug use with cannabis.

When Governor Chris Christie convened a panel on the drug epidemic at the White House last week, a mother, spoke.  Pam Garozzo, whose son Carlos died from drugs in December, said her son had started smoking marijuana at age 15-1/2.  For him it was a gateway drug, and he’d be the first to tell you.   He died of heroin that had been laced with fentanyl–after being clean for 10 months.

Read Part 2 to learn how marijuana leads to opiates and heroin.