Marijuana Not A Gateway Drug, Says Attorney General

Attorney General Meets With High School Students To Discuss Opioid Abuse

Attorney General, Loretta Lynch, was attending an event for the Prescription Opioid Heroin Epidemic Awareness Week campaign. The Attorney General told a group of Kentucky high school students that marijuana in the national drug abuse debate has been mis-categorized as “A gateway drug”. The opioid awareness campaign was started this year and includes 250 different events highlighting the importance of prevention, enforcement, and treatment in regards to opioid abuse.

While discussing  how individuals often develop an opioid addiction, Lynch Stated:

“When we talk about heroin addiction we usually . . . are talking about individuals who start out with a prescription drug problem,” she said. “And then because they need more and more they turn to heroin. It isn’t so much that marijuana is the step right before. It’s not like we’re seeing that marijuana is a specific gateway.”

From The Obama Administration


“Each year, more Americans die from drug overdoses than in traffic accidents, and more than three out of five of these deaths involve an opioid. Since 1999, the number of overdose deaths involving opioids, including prescription opioid pain relievers, heroin, and fentanyl, has nearly quadrupled. Many people who die from an overdose struggle with an opioid use disorder or other substance use disorder, and unfortunately misconceptions surrounding these disorders have contributed to harmful stigmas that prevent individuals from seeking evidence-based treatment. During Prescription Opioid and Heroin Epidemic Awareness Week, we pause to remember all those we have lost to opioid use disorder, we stand with the courageous individuals in recovery, and we recognize the importance of raising awareness of this epidemic.

Opioid use disorder, or addiction to prescription opioids or heroin, is a disease that touches too many of our communities — big and small, urban and rural — and devastates families, all while straining the capacity of law enforcement and the health care system. States and localities across our country, in collaboration with Federal and national partners, are working together to address this issue through innovative partnerships between public safety and public health professionals. The Federal Government is bolstering efforts to expand treatment and opioid abuse prevention activities, and we are working alongside law enforcement to help get more people into treatment instead of jail.

My Administration is steadfast in its commitment to reduce overdose deaths and get more Americans the help they need. That is why I continue to call on the Congress to provide $1.1 billion to expand access to treatment services for opioid use disorder. These new investments would build on the steps we have already taken to expand overdose prevention strategies, and increase access to naloxone — the overdose reversal drug that first responders and community members are using to save lives. We are also working to improve opioid prescribing practices and support targeted enforcement activities. Although Federal agencies will continue using all available tools to address opioid use disorder and overdose, the Congress must act quickly to help more individuals get the treatment they need — because the longer we go without congressional action on this funding, the more opportunities we miss to save lives.”


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