Two Senators from Connecticut have sent a list of recommendations to President Trump's opioid task force after attending a recent summit on the opioid epidemic currently ravaging their home state, urging the federal government to allow the use of medical cannabis as an alternative to addictive painkillers.
In a letter addressed to all five members of the Commission on Combating Drug Addiction and the Opioid Crisis, Senators Chris Murphy and Richard Blumenthal wrote that “the opioid epidemic is devastating communities across the nation and more must be done to combat this crisis.”
“In 2016, more people in Connecticut died from drug overdoses than from homicides, suicides, and car accidents combined,” the letter continued. “We urge you to use these comments as you develop the interim and final reports for President Trump.”
The letter also emphasizes the importance of Medicaid and federal mental health laws as a deterrent to the spread of opioid addictions. “Medicaid is the largest payer for addiction and mental health treatment, and any legislation that cuts billions from it will hurt our efforts to combat this epidemic.”
Among the list of recommendations, the senators also include a recommendation to explore “alternatives to opioids for pain management (i.e. medical marijuana).” In the past several years, there has been increasing evidence that medical cannabis can serve as a safe, non-addictive alternative to traditional opioid medications. Unfortunately, given that the Chair of the opioid task force is New Jersey Governor Chris Christie, a vociferous opponent of cannabis reform, this plea may fall on deaf ears.