Pubdate: Tue, 31 May 2016
Source: Pueblo Chieftain (CO)
Copyright: 2016 The Pueblo Chieftain
Author: Robert N. Alsever


When it comes to the war on marijuana in Pueblo, pot proponents claim 
we should worry about "real" drugs like heroin and prescription 
drugs- not marijuana. My answer: We do worry. I believe making 
marijuana legal has only fueled heroin use.

Fifteen years ago physicians and hospitals were told they weren't 
managing pain adequately. Health care responded. What followed was a 
national prescription opiate epidemic.

The Center for Disease Control reports prescription opioid abuse 
leads to a 40-fold increase in heroin use. Yet Colorado opiate 
prescriptions per 100 residents have decreased (CDC 2014). Our state 
weighs in at 70, compared with 120 to 140 for the Rust Belt and 
southern states.

Still, Colorado ranks above average for heroin use and overdose 
deaths. Researchers in JAMA Internal Medicine hypothesized that in 
states where medical marijuana can be prescribed, patients can use 
pot for pain. If the claim that marijuana is effective in controlling 
chronic pain, shouldn't heroin use as a substitute for prescription 
opioids decrease? Instead, heroin use is increasing.

Maybe, since the legalization of marijuana, the cartels have found 
marijuana is no longer profitable? In fact, they are shipping less, 
as marijuana drug seizures on the Southwest border have dropped and 
methamphetamines and heroin have surged, according to The Washington Post.

Why take the risk of bulk transporting marijuana from Mexico with a 
decreasing U.S. market?

As for a black market, Floridians and Illinois residents can move to 
Colorado and illegally grow it right in your Pueblo West neighborhood 
with Pueblo County's drug-friendly marijuana regulations, which have 
boosted marijuana use in adults and teens compounded by the 
consequent increased heroin use.

Yes, we worry about real drugs like heroin and prescription drugs. We 
worry they indeed are fueled by another real drug - legal retail marijuana.

It's time to put the marijuana experiment to a public vote!

Robert N. Alsever, MD

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MAP posted-by: Jay Bergstrom