Jeff Sessions is at it again. The Attorney General has never been shy about his stark opposition to anything having to do with cannabis. He regularly spews all sorts of anti-weed vitriol—even when it flies in the face of scientific evidence. This time, when Jeff Sessions blames marijuana for opioid crisis, he has to contradict even the DEA.
Jeff Sessions’ Lastest Anti-Mariuana Speech
Sessions’ latest anti-cannabis rant came while speaking at a Heritage Foundation event on Tuesday night. At some point during the event, somebody asked him about the country’s ongoing opioid crisis.
Not surprisingly, Sessions’ response was anything but clear. In fact, his answer was basically a muddled attempt to refute evidence from the DEA in order to double down on the imaginary link between prescription drug abuse and cannabis. Essentially, Jeff Sessions blames marijuana for opioid crisis.
“Sometimes, you just need to take two Bufferins or something and go to bed. These pills become so addictive,” he said. “The DEA said a huge percentage of the heroin addictions start with prescriptions. That may be an exaggerated number—they had it as high as 80 percent—we think a lot of this is starting with marijuana or other drugs, too.”
For starters, it’s strange to see Sessions blatantly refuting the official position of the DEA, the agency devoted to carrying out the War on Drugs so beloved by Sessions.
But once again, Sessions has made clear that he is committed above all to fueling a racist and classist War on Drugs. In so doing, he regularly ignores all sorts of evidence coming from scientists, health professionals and now, even law enforcement.
What Scientists Say About Weed and Opioids
As far as researchers can tell, there may indeed be some interesting links between cannabis and opioids. But unfortunately for Sessions, those connections are the exact opposite of the ones he tries to draw.
In fact, multiple studies have found that cannabis can actually help decrease opioid abuse and addiction. Last September, researchers at the University of New Mexico examined 125 chronic pain patients over the course of five years. Out of those patients, 83 chose to use medical marijuana. The remaining 42 did not consume cannabis.
At the end of the study period, 34 percent of those who used medical marijuana were able to stop taking pain medication altogether. On the other hand, only two percent of those who did not use medical marijuana were able to get off pain medication.
Researchers at the University of British Columbia found similar results in a 2016 study. This research found that cannabis actually helps people break addictions to opioids.
“Research suggests that people may be using cannabis as an exit drug to reduce use of substances that are potentially more harmful, such as opioid pain medication,” said lead research Zach Walsh.
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