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Opioids vs Medical Marijuana

According to an article in the Orange County Register on May 22, 2014, the Orange County and the Santa Clara County District Attorneys have joined forces in a lawsuit against the nation’s largest manufacturers of opium-like pain killers, accusing the firms of deceptive marketing that spawned a 10 year epidemic of addiction and overdoses.
The lawsuit alleges that five pharmaceutical companies spent millions of dollars to convince the public that drugs intended for short-term use by cancer patients should be taken for other illnesses to help with chronic pain.

The law suit accuses several large pharmaceutical companies of being drug pushers and advertising that the dangers associated with the use of drugs like Vicodin, Opana and Oxycontin were untrue and that the compassionate treatment of pain actually required opioids for other non-fatal illnesses.

Its odd that both the State and Federal Governments, with the cooperation of the court systems, are so concerned that the providers of Medical Marijuana might be making a profit, when marijuana, even when taken recreationally, has not been reported to cause even one death. Meanwhile the opioid/drug/ pharmaceutical industry has "Pole vaulted" into an $8 billion a year industry and contributed to more than 16,000 yearly overdoses and deaths. Slick campaigns which are born in marketing offices of monster sized profit making drug companies are being allowed to overstate the benefits of using opioids on a long-term basis to treat chronic pain and promising improvement in function and quality of life, while dismissing or minimizing the serious risks and adverse outcomes of chronic opioid use, including the risk of addiction, overdose, and death. We allow legitimate drug pushers to thrive yet we have spent millions to eliminate or minimize Medical Marijuana. With over $8 billion in revenue generated through the sale of opioids, we can only imagine the profit generated by these sales. So the term "Drug pushers" is really not harsh.

Here are some statistics reported in the article:

  • According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, prescription opioids contributed to 16,651 overdose deaths nationally in 2010.

  • The number of deaths caused by prescription opioids was more than twice as many deaths as heroin and cocaine combined.

  • The number of deaths caused by prescription opioids was greater than the number of deaths caused by motor vehicle accidents.

  • In Orange County alone there is an opioid-related death, on average, every other day.

  • For every death, CDC reports, more than 30 people are treated in emergency rooms.

  • Currently, twenty percent of all doctor visits result in the prescription of an opioid.

Compare that with the people who cultivate and distribute medical marijuana:

  • MMJ collectives must be NON-PROFIT

  • Whereas the therapeutic value of Oxycontin is 1: 8, the therapeutic value of marijuana is probably close to 1: 1500. One administrative law judge for the DEA stated that it was probably easier for a person to die from eating too many potatoes than for a person to die from ingesting too much marijuana.

  • Consider that there has not been one confirmed death resulting from the use of Marijuana compared to over 16,000 opioid related deaths reported in the year 2010 alone.

In 2007, one drug company settled out of court criminal and civil charges for misbranding Oxycontin, agreeing to pay the United States Government $635 million – one of the largest settlements with a drug company for marketing misconduct. This same drug company had national annual sales of Oxycontin between $2.47 billion and $2.99 billion for the last five years. is proud of its position on medical marijuana. We argee that it should not be used for recreational purposes by anyone under 30 years of age…. BUT it has proven benefits for pain management and we don't lie to users about its potential to kill you. As a matter of fact, local, state and federal government and law enforcement should stop pandering to the pharmaceutical companies who are more than willing to expose all of us to the possibility of death in the interest of profit and allow people to choose a much safer and more reasonable alternative.