Currently, many still suffer from addictions to harmful drugs. Due to stigma and lack of understanding, many people who have addictions have a difficult time receiving the help they need. They’re forced to live in dangerous conditions with contaminated substances that could potentially lead to their death. Researchers are looking for a solution, in turn studying how CBD can help opioid addictions. The properties of CBD could be an effective way to help those with drug addictions.
Moreover, cities are implementing additional solutions to this crisis. The city of New York is doing what it can in order to address this issue. Thus they established New York City’s safe consumption illegal drug sites. These sites are an effort to tackle several issues revolving around substance abuse, such as death rates, criminalization, and stigma. These safe consumption sites for illegal drugs will hopefully help reduce death rates related to overdoses.
How CBD Can Help Opioid Addictions
Opioids are usually prescribed to patients suffering from severe pain. Unfortunately, it can become an addictive substance to abuse. Patients, ranging from health issues and medical conditions, can become dependent on these substances.
For example, many veterans suffer from chronic pain due to medical issues caused when they were active in service. Veterans can highly benefit from incorporating cannabis into their medical treatment. This is especially true for CBD. CBD is a popular addition to skin, joint, and pain treatments. Not only is it an effective treatment additive, but it can also help some slowly come off of their opioid medication.
There are actually scientific studies that support this conclusion. Performed at the Allegheny Health Network Institute for Pain Medicine in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, this study explored the relationship between marijuana and opioid usage. The results were favorable. They found that medical cannabis used as an alternative treatment for chronic pain resulted in a reduction in opioid use.
In fact, reports show a 67.1% average decrease in daily opioid usage by their first follow-up. Then, during their second follow-up, there was a 73.3% decrease.
Opioid Crisis in the U.S.
There is a serious crisis happening in the U.S. when it comes to substance abuse and overdoses. A large group of those who suffer from drug addictions are those who consume opioids. Opioids are prescription drugs that doctors issue to treat moderate to severe pain. Examples of these are oxycodone (often known as oxycontin), hydrocodone (also known as Vicodin), and morphine.
At a low dosage, opioids are effective at treating pain. Its effects of ease from pain and boost in pleasure increase the risk of addiction. In higher doses, opioids are extremely dangerous. It can slow your breathing and heart rate, which can result in death.
According to the National Vital Statistics System and the Control Disease Center (CDC), opioid-involved overdose deaths rose significantly from 46,802 deaths in 2018 to 49,860 in 2019.
Adding CBD and cannabis into treatment plans could potentially help address this problem. Activists are working on developing more solutions to this crisis, such as safe consumption of illegal drug sites.
New York City’s Safe Illegal Drug Sites
New York City is the first jurisdiction to officially open a safe consumption site back in November 2021. At these locations, people can use drugs that are currently illegal. There, they will be supervised by a medical team and receive treatment resources. This is part of the city’s plan to reduce harm to the public due to substance abuse. They emphasize the importance of this amidst an overdose crisis.
Mayor Bill de Blasio has been vocal about the establishment of these sites. He shares the objectives of these safe illegal drug sites. “New York City has led the nation’s battle against COVID-19, and the fight to keep our community safe doesn’t stop there.” Blasio points to scientific studies as evidence that these sites will protect the most vulnerable people in New York City.
As a way to help with the criminalization aspect of this crisis, steps were taken to keep users safe. Dr. Dave Chokshi is New York City’s health commissioner. He stated that arrangements were made with the NYPD and other law enforcement. These arrangements would allow for people to use these sites without having to worry about getting arrested.
On the other hand, there is still some worry about whether federal authorities will step in and shut down these sites. Although New York City’s safe illegal drug sites are the first to have been established, it’s not the first time a city has attempted to open one. In fact, other cities like San Fransico and Philadelphia have attempted to do so. Unfortunately, they were presented with legal and political challenges.
Regardless, many still continue to work towards establishing safe and helpful spaces for those who struggle with addictions.