Congratulations Attorney General Sessions

Emma Lazerson, Views Editor

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On Jan. 4, Attorney General Jeff Sessions rescinded the Obama-era policy of leaving well-enough alone and allowing Coloradoans to enjoy the munchies.

 

Yes, Sessions dictated that federal prosecutors are allowed to pursue cases against states that allow for recreational marijuana, including Colorado, California, Massachusetts and others, according to CNN.

 

Despite the fact that the United States is experiencing the worst opioid epidemic to date, one that has actually lowered life expectancy two years in a row, the Washington Post said, Sessions is choosing to focus on petty “gateway” drugs.

 

Am I a huge fan of marijuana?  No, admittedly I detest smoking in all forms, but I believe that the federal government should not infringe upon state-issued laws that are generating billions of dollars in revenue to punish people whose worst offense is typically consuming flaming-hot Cheetos.

 

In the middle of this opioid epidemic, which annually accounts for 27 percent of the world’s drug-overdose deaths, I don’t think that marijuana should be our greatest focus.

 

According to the Washington Post, 42,000 people died from opioids in 2016, a sum greater than those who died from AIDS “in any year at the height of the crisis.”

 

Life expectancy is not decreasing in other nations around the world—it’s on the rise.  So why is the U.S. failing its citizens?

 

“Americans are prescribed opioids significantly more often than their counterparts in other countries,” The Washington Post said.  “In the United States, 50,000 opioid doses are taken daily per every million residents…It is four times higher than in Britain, and six times higher than in France and Portugal.”

 

The discrepancy rests in our healthcare systems.  While much of the world offers universal healthcare, the United States’ system is largely privatized.  Many insurance companies do not pay for commodities like physical therapy, so doctors are far more inclined to prescribe pain pills for every slight ache.

 

Drug companies, such as OxyContin maker Purdue Pharma, actively market to doctors and send them free gifts.  In 2016, Purdue Pharma spent $7 million on gifts to doctors and teaching hospitals, the Washington Post said.

 

And what do patients do when their aches go away and they can no longer access OxyContin?  They turn to heroin.

 

“In Illinois, the state crime commission in March (of 2013) called heroin an epidemic after authorities noted that the Chicago metro area ranks first in the nation for people admitted to the emergency room for heroin use,” USA Today said.

 

But why spend time and money trying to remedy this lethal problem when we can punish marijuana users?  Nice call, Attorney General Sessions.

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Congratulations Attorney General Sessions