The public view of marijuana is changing rapidly. It seems like every day there are news stories about states moving toward legalization, newfound uses for medical marijuana, how health risks of marijuana may be less than for other drugs and debates regarding whether marijuana is actually addictive. With all this saturation of media coverage and the shifting perspectives on marijuana, there’s an important group we have a tendency to forget: people who use marijuana and are trying to quit.
Stories surrounding opioid addiction tend to be overwhelmingly negative and dire, often leaving people with little hope. This week – which President Obama proclaimed as Opioid and Heroin Epidemic Awareness Week – I’d like to shift the conversation and talk about how one state has taken extraordinary measures in responding to the opioid epidemic.
40 million Americans 12 or older meet the clinical criteria for addiction of nicotine, alcohol, or other drugs. That is more than the number of people with heart disease (27 million), diabetes (26 million) or cancer (19 million). Despite its prevalence in society, addiction is still widely misunderstood by many. Not enough is being done to prevent and reduce addiction, and the consequences are devastating. But, there is reason for hope; many people recover and go on to lead healthy and inspiring lives.
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