Elizabeth Warren calls on CDC to combat opioid addiction epidemic by embracing medical marijuana nationwide

Monday, February 22, 2016
By Paul Martin

by: J. D. Heyes
Monday, February 22, 2016

U.S. Sen. Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts has sent a letter to the head of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention asking the agency to look into ways to combat the growing epidemic of prescription opioid abuse, in part by examining the impact of increased use of medical marijuana as a substitute for pain control.

The letter to Dr. Thomas Friedan to the Atlanta-based CDC acknowledges the widening epidemic and notes that it continues “to grow at an alarming pace.”

“I continue to hear stories from constituents across” her state who are “affected by this crisis,” Warren wrote, adding that parents were fighting for their kids, doctors for patients and communities “fighting for each other.”

Warren cited a statistic from the Massachusetts Department of Public Health which claims that there were 1,100 confirmed cases of unintentional opioid overdoses in 2014, up 65 percent from 2012. She added that the 2014 estimate “is the highest ever in Massachusetts.”

But she also noted that prescription painkillers were the leading cause of the epidemic, and that, according to the National Institutes of Health on Drug Abuse, “the U.S. remains the largest consumer” of prescription opioids in the world.

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