Ohio is facing a particularly severe opiate/opioid epidemic. This is a problem obviously exacerbated by cannabis being illegal, by the prescription of opioids, and the seemingly abundant heroin in the United States that mysteriously seems to have appeared since the US invasion of Afghanistan over a decade ago.
So to kill two birds with one stone, anti-cannabis Ohio Senator Rob Portman may be trying to conflate the opioid epidemic that citizens have suffered from, with cannabis in an effort to demonize the plant, after all this history with the failed drug war and recent heavily publicized cases of cannabis oil treating illness.
In a press conference with the Senator, an Ohio coroner claimed they have seen cannabis laced with fentanyl. However this seems extremely improbable and novel, more like propaganda than a useful warning.
Headlines were made about the exaggeration, such as this one from Merry Jane titled “Ohio Senator Rob Portman Is Lying About Drug Dealers Lacing Marijuana with Fentanyl”.
According to WLKY:
“Fentanyl, a drug 50 to 100 times more powerful than morphine, has been linked to a surge of fatal overdoses across the county. It has been showing up in other drugs across the area.
“We have seen fentanyl mixed with cocaine, we have also seen fentanyl mixed with marijuana,” Hamilton County Coroner Dr. Lakshmi Sammarco said during a joint press conference with Sen. Rob Portman.
Sammarco said that there have already been 297 deaths in Hamilton County this year caused by suspected opioid overdose, compared to 403 confirmed deaths in all of 2016.
She did not specify how many cases involved marijuana mixed with a synthetic opiate.“
The consequences of banning the most beloved and safe drug, cannabis, are found in another aspect of the modern opioid epidemic: lesser known dangerous drugs such as Carfentanil becoming more prevalent. According to an article titled “As “Grey Death” Opioid Plague Spreads, Addiction Treating Herb ‘Kratom’ Arrests are Made”:
“Dark green fake Oxycontin pills have killed hundreds of people in Canada, according to a VICE article from last year. They contained W-18 and similiar opioids. The drug is said to be coming from China where labs produce research chemicals.
So if W-18 is an overblown danger, Carfentanil remains about as dangerous, and about as potent as W-18 is claimed to be.
While all this takes more lives than one could imagine, one of the most practical and harmless cures to opioid addiction is banned in some US states, and in countries like Australia: the herb Kratom.
The DEA tried to ban Kratom in 2016, but a massive backlash from citizens who use it as a natural painkiller that cannot be overdosed on actually managed to prevent it from being banned federally.
This is completely unprecedented: articles about how Kratom alkaloids were patented by pharmaceutical companies decades ago circulated (proof that it’s medicinal value was known for decades and therefore the DEA cannot make it Schedule 1). Articles about the DEA’s history with cartel supplied prostitutes and unforgivable corruption made the rounds.
A massive backlash actually prevented it from being banned, but US states such as Tennessee and Alabama had already quietly illegalized it. Some states such as Maine are quietly trying to ban it still.
In these states where opioid nightmares are taking lives, people are being arrested for possessing this harmless herb that gets people clean.”
It’s important to counter the narratives being pushed by power players even when it becomes arduous, without honing in on political theater so much that we become distracted.
(Image credit: Fentanyl Safety)