Loretta Lynch who is the U.S. Attorney General will be speaking to a group of high school students in the great state of Kentucky sometime this week, to educate students that marijuana is most certainly not a gateway drug, a prominent challenge to the most popular debate used by opponents of legalization.
On a speaking tour as part of President Obama’s Prescription Opioid Epidemic Awareness Week, the attorney general stated that prescription drug abuse, not to be confused with cannabis use, is the most important factor leading to hard drugs like heroin.
“In so many cases, it isn’t trafficking rings that introduce a person to opioids,” she said. “It’s the household medicine cabinet. Something you can have prescribed to you in good faith by a doctor. That’s the source.”
Lynch disputed that marijuana’s position in America’s talk about drug abuse and addiction has been overstated.
“It isn’t so much that marijuana is the step right before using prescription drugs or opioids—it is true that if you tend to experiment with a lot of things in life, you may be inclined to experiment with drugs, as well. But it’s not like we’re seeing that marijuana as a specific gateway,” stated Lynch, who visited numerous places in Kentucky as part of some 250 activities planned for this awareness-raising week.
Kentucky is one of the states most severely impacted by the heroin and opioid epidemic in recent years, with drug overdose deaths rising to 1000 a year, according to a statement from the Office of Drug Control Policy. Heroin and opioid overdoses in the America account for 62 percent of all drug fatalities. In states with the highest rates of fatal overdoses, opioids reflect a disproportionately large piece.
This disturbing increase in overdose deaths, which shot up 137 percent between 2000 and 2014, makes this week’s awareness campaign all the more significant. The Obama administration is seeking $1.1 billion in new funding to fight opioid abuse and for treatment and care of addicts.
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