Opioid Epidemic in the US

More than 165,000 people have died in the U.S. from overdoses related to prescription opioids. The opioid epidemic reached an all time high with 18,893 people dying from overdoses in 2014 alone.

Americas opioid epidemic is fueled by irresponsible, long lasting prescriptions and the wide availability of the drug. Opiates are addictive because of the natural drive to feel good. Most people who become addicted to opiates, do not start out using the drug recreationally. It can start with a injury that requires pain medication, such as: pain after surgery, chronic pain from osteoarthritis, pain due to cancer, chronic pain due to rheumatoid arthritis, pain after an injury or painful diseases such as fibromyalgia

The opiates then start to change the way that a person experiences pain and pleasure. It is part of why they work. They fill the opioid receptors and cause the body to release dopamine. Dopamine is one of the chemicals that makes you feel pleasure and can trigger addictive responses in the brain.

HelloMD Joins UC Berkeley to Conduct Study

From the HelloMD press release:

HelloMD has embarked on a journey to conduct the largest patient survey concerning s ever performed. We will be using a patient database of approximately 100,000 to ask questions regarding cannabis and how it has affected the patient’s use of opioids. Performed under the auspices of the University of California, Berkeley, HelloMD is following up the landmark “Medical Marijuana Patient Survey Results” study of 17,000 patients, conducted in January 2016.

The study will be led by Amanda Reiman, PhD, MSW, Lecturer in the School of Social Welfare at UC Berkeley and Manager of Marijuana Law and Policy for the Drug Policy Alliance, Perry Solomon, MD, Chief Medical Officer for HelloMD, Mark A. Welty, Ph.D., NCC, LPCC-S, LSW, Kent State University, Adjunct Faculty, Welty Counseling and Consulting, CEO, The Village Network, Director of Research and Innovation, The Ohio Patient Network, Board of Directors, and Chris Janson, PhD, Chair, Associate Professor, Department of Leadership, School Counseling, & Sport Management, University of North Florida.

How Does Cannabis Affect Opioid Use?

HelloMD: Together, we hope to better understand how and why these dependencies are coming to be and how cannabis may affect the patient’s use of opioids, among many other findings. HelloMD is taking a step to loosen the grip that opioid addiction holds on our country, while hoping to shatter the stigma and shame that often accompanies this dependence. The results of these findings will be available for public consumption during the first quarter of 2017.

Americans for Safe Access (ASA) released the Medical Cannabis Access for Pain Treatment: A Viable Strategy to Address the Opioid Crisis report to educate legislators and health practitioners on the benefits of medical cannabis as a treatment option for the millions of patients suffering from chronic pain. To learn more read: Medical Cannabis, A Viable Strategy to Address the Opioid Crisis

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