Solving Ohio’s Opioid Crisis
In an attempt to reduce the rapidly rising opioid overdose issue in the State, on Thursday March 30, 2017 Ohio Governor John Kasich announced new rules to restrict prescriptions of opioids for a duration of more than 7 days (5 for children and teens). While well intended, this rule adds only bureaucracy and inconvenience for the vast majority of affected people. Better solutions to the underlying crisis are available.
While more frequent doctor visits and lower volume prescription prices may benefit the medical establishment this will burden many individuals living with chronic pain and reduce the overall coverage available for Veterans standing in waiting lines at the already overburdened VA. Since opioid addicts are exempted from this law, it’s hard to understand its benefits and true motivations. Regulations that attempt to diminish demand by reducing supply inevitably fail as the gray markets darken and alternatives become available. Restrictions on legal prescription drugs will shift demand to other illegal drugs via the violence ridden underground drug market.
Studies are proving that legalization of marijuana helps reduce opioid use and deaths as a replacement treatment. In fact, early studies in Colorado suggest that even marijuana use has declined since they legalized recreational marijuana. In fact, Ohio Democrats and Republicans both cited reduced opioid use as a prime reason for the bipartisan support (71-26) of Ohio’s recent medical marijuana law (House Bill 523).
It’s disappointing that the Governor doesn’t work to reduce restrictions and support the laws as medical marijuana is proving helpful in treating many including addiction and cancer patients who are ironically exempted from this new law. In addition, studies prove that marijuana may be helpful in treating glaucoma, Alzheimer’s, multiple sclerosis, Dravet’s Syndrome, hepatitis C, epilepsy, Lupus, Crohn’s disease, Parkinson’s tremors, PTSD, stroke, anxiety, bowel disease, arthritis and even lung disease. While only 6% of the marijuana studies are conducted on medical benefits, this list is much more impressive than the list of negative consequences that have been the focus of most studies and public fear-mongering.
We urge the Governor to allow the people freedom of choice in all matters related to health care and choice of treatment, including treatment for drug abuse and addictions.
Libertarian Party Platform
1.7 Crime and Justice
The prescribed role of government is to protect the rights of every individual including the right to life, liberty and property. Criminal laws should be limited in their application to violations of the rights of others through force or fraud, or to deliberate actions that place others involuntarily at significant risk of harm. Therefore, we favor the repeal of all laws creating “crimes” without victims, such as the use of drugs for medicinal or recreational purposes.