The CDC Went Full Chill on Marijuana to Fight Painkiller Addiction
The Center for Disease Control has let their hair down and gone full chill in the name of health and we’re ready to light up in celebration. In an effort to stem the epidemic of FDA-manufactured opioid painkiller overdoses, the CDC unveiled new guidelines for prescribing opioids that include a note in 420-point font that reads, “Stop drug testing for marijuana.” It actually admits that the old philosophy of drug testing for marijuana led to “stigmatization” and “inappropriate termination of care.” Chronic pain sufferers who usually get opioids have historically been discriminated against if they blaze up on the chronic because marijuana is still considered a drug—which we can thank the racist and anti-hippie War on Drugs for. And yet the high times may be a changin’.
19 Americans die from painkiller overdoses a day, while weed has no lethal overdose level. If you tried to get prescribed drugs to help with pain in the past and tested positive for the leafy green, your options were either to quit smoking or lose your prescriptions to painkillers, which is pretty hard to handle when you’re addicted to them. Oh yeah, and the tests for marijuana were costly, unreliable, and may have actually led to more overdoses. “False positive readings for marijuana, for example, were given over 21% of the time, while false negative results for marijuana also appeared about 21% of the time,” a report revealed. The only thing more unreliable than urine testing for marijuana is cell phone service in the subway and your sketchy drug dealer that’s named after a beverage.
The reality is that lighting up a joint (or five) may actually be better for you than painkillers. Where medical marijuana is available, painkiller overdose deaths fell by 25 percent because it allows patients to take less opioids or simply stop altogether. So who’s to thank for the CDC’s high spirits about the end of marijuana drug testing? Probably our political hope and savior, Senator Elizabeth Warren. She sent a fiery letter to CDC director Dr. Tom Frieden urging him to research the “effectiveness of medical marijuana as an alternative to opioids for pain treatment in states where it is legal.” Put that in your pipe and smoke it, America.
Stay tuned to Milk for more drug news you can load a bowl to.
Images via Tumblr and The Columbian.