Cannabis advocates in New Mexico are saying “no” to opioids and “yes” to making medical marijuana available to those struggling with addiction.
“This is harm reduction, people need to be reminded,” Medical Cannabis Advisory Board Chairwoman Laura Brown told the Associated Press.
And indeed they do.
According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, in 2016, 349 people in New Mexico died overdosing on opioids. To break it down, that’s 17.5 fatalities for every 100,000 people.
Recreational marijuana use is not legal in the state (though that may change soon) but medical marijuana is legal. Qualifying disorders for medical marijuana use in New Mexico include chronic pain, cancer, and post-traumatic stress disorder.
More and more states, including New Mexico, are considering the role marijuana might play as an “exit drug” when it comes to the opioid epidemic. Studies have shown that in states where marijuana is legalized, doctors are writing fewer and fewer opioid prescriptions.
New Mexico’s Health Department is also considering expanding to allow for those with autism diagnoses and degenerative neurological disorders to be added to the list of condition qualifying for medical marijuana, according to the Associated Press.