Pubdate: Fri, 09 Oct 2015
Source: Tampa Bay Times (FL)
Copyright: 2015 St. Petersburg Times
Note: Named the St. Petersburg Times from 1884-2011.
Author: Robert Sharpe
Page: A10


Florida Gov. Rick Scott is going to have to think outside the drug 
war box if he wants to reduce heroin overdose deaths. Groundbreaking 
research published in the Journal of the American Medical Association 
shows that states with open medical marijuana access have a 25 
percent lower opioid overdose death rate than marijuana prohibition 
states. This research finding has huge implications for states like 
Florida that are grappling with prescription narcotic and heroin 
overdose deaths.

The substitution effect was documented by California physicians long 
before the JAMA research. Legal marijuana access is correlated with a 
reduction in opioid and alcohol abuse. The marijuana plant is 
incapable of causing an overdose death. Not even aspirin can make the 
same claim, much less alcohol or prescription narcotics. The phrase 
'if it saves one life' has been used to justify all manner of drug 
war abuses. Legal marijuana access has the potential to save 
thousands of lives.

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