Pubdate: Mon, 26 Oct 2015
Source: USA Today (US)
Copyright: 2015 USA TODAY, a division of Gannett Co. Inc
Author: Robert Sharpe


The Obama administration is launching a campaign to educate people on 
the dangers of prescription drugs and heroin. Letter to the editor:

Prescription monitoring databases have the potential to backfire. A 
federal crackdown on prescription drug abuses is fueling the use of 
illicit heroin. More drug war is not the answer ("How presidential 
candidates can address drug abuse: Our view").

The overdose risk increases when users switch from standardized 
pharmaceuticals to street heroin of unknown purity. Switzerland 
provides pharmaceutical-grade heroin to chronic addicts in a clinical 
setting. The end result is a reduction in disease, overdose death and 
crime among chronic users.

U.S. presidential candidates won't make legalizing heroin part of 
their platforms anytime soon. Growing public support for drug policy 
reform nonetheless enables candidates to finally show real leadership 
and make the case for alternatives to incarceration, increased access 
to the opioid overdose antidote naloxone, and respect for states' rights.

This last point is critical. A groundbreaking study published in the 
Journal of American Medical Association found that states with 
medical marijuana access had a 25% lower average annual opioid 
overdose death rate compared with states without legal access.

Robert Sharpe, policy analyst, Common Sense for Drug Policy; Washington, D.C.
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