Recent data and news from Connecticut suggests opioid epidemic needs renewed attention
While warnings of laced-marijuana products are usually brushed off as empty threats from the government attempting to limit cannabis use, health officials in Connecticut are rightfully concerned about a more-than-deadly strand. Since July of this year, there have been 39 reported overdoses that have required the use of naloxone. In each of these cases, the victim involved claimed to have only smoked marijuana.
Though a number of cases were located in Plymouth during October, officials said there have been similar cases spread all across the state. A lab test was performed and confirmed the presence of fentanyl. According to Public Health Commissioner Dr. Manisha Juthani, this is possibly the first reported case of fentanyl-laced marijuana confirmed in the United States.
According to recent data, an estimated 100,000 Americans lost their lives from drug overdoses over the course of the past year. Many health officials believe that the increase in overdoses is directly linked to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, but also suggest that the drug supply is more deadly than ever. Drug-related deaths have spiked by 30% in the last year.
Fentanyl is commonly found mixed with other substances. Pittsburgh rapper Mac Miller purchased fentanyl-laced cocaine that was ultimately the cause of his death in September, 2018. American rock singer Tom Petty suddenly passed away from an accidental overdose of oxycodone and fentanyl in 2017. Of all the fentanyl-related deaths, few are related to marijuana use alone.
The threats of laced marijuana are all the more reason for the federal government to move forward with legalizing at the national level. People wouldn’t be forced to purchase cannabis off the streets. They could, instead, purchase marijuana from a dispensary with confidence, knowing that their product is not laced with any deadly substances. Concern over the opioid epidemic was overridden by the COVID-19 pandemic, where lawmakers focused their resources are combatting the coronavirus.