Thursday, March 12, 2015

Senate Bill Would End Federal Prohibition on Medical Marijuana MARCH 11TH, 2015 A bill introduced Tuesday by three U.S. senators would end the federal prohibition on medical marijuana, The Washington Post reports.The bill was introduced by Cory Booker of New Jersey and Kirsten Gillibrand of New York, both Democrats, and Rand Paul of Kentucky, a Republican. The Compassionate Access, Research Expansion and Respect States (CARERS) Act, would reclassify marijuana from Schedule I to Schedule II under the Controlled Substances Act. Schedule I drugs, which include heroin, have no accepted medical use in the United States. Schedule II drugs have a legitimate medical use but also have a high potential for abuse. The bill would permit Veterans Affairs doctors to prescribe medical marijuana to veterans, and would make it easier for scientists to obtain marijuana for medical research. It would allow banks and credit unions to provide the same services to the marijuana industry as they do to other businesses, without the fear of federal prosecution or investigation, the article notes. Because marijuana is still illegal under federal law, banks have been reluctant to conduct business with marijuana-related companies. Banks have feared being accused of helping these businesses launder their money. The measure would not legalize medical marijuana in all 50 states, but would prevent federal law enforcement from prosecuting patients, doctors and caregivers in states that have their own medical marijuana programs. Currently 23 states plus the District of Columbia have legalized medical marijuana. An additional 12 states have approved use of marijuana strains with high levels of cannabidiol (CBD), which does not produce the high associated with the drug, and is used to treat epileptic seizures. The measure would remove specific strains of CBD oil from the federal definition of marijuana, to allow its use in treatment of intractable seizures. The bill’s fate in the Senate is unclear. /By JOIN TOGETHER STAFF

Friday, March 6, 2015

Heroin-Related Drug Deaths Highest Among Young, White Males in the Midwest MARCH 4TH, 2015 Heroin-related deaths are now most common among young, white male adults in the Midwest, according to a new report by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Fifteen years ago, the death rate was highest among older black males in the West and Northeast. In 2013, there were 8,257 heroin-related deaths in the United States, up from 5,925 the previous year, CBS News reports. There were about 3,000 heroin-related deaths in 2010. The deaths have increased among both men and women, in all ages groups, and in whites, blacks and Hispanics, the article notes. In 2000, the highest heroin death rate was among blacks ages 45 to 64. By 2013, the highest rate was among whites ages 18 to 44. Drug overdoses are the number one cause of injury-related death in the United States, with 43,982 deaths occurring in 2013, according to the CDC. According to the Office of National Drug Control Policy, opioid use disorders often begin with a prescription or taking pills from a home medicine cabinet. Almost 68 percent of people who begin using prescription drugs non-medically for the first time get the drugs from a family member or friend. Many people who initially abused prescription painkillers shifted to heroin, which is cheaper and easier to obtain By: Join Together Staff