Christopher M. Hearsey

Democratic Candidate
Maryland's 6th Congressional District

The Opioid Epidemic is Solvable

Opioid addiction is one of the most destructive forces currently plaguing the United States, with few Marylanders (or Americans) unaffected by the crisis - including myself. As a young man, I watched my father overdose on opioids right in front of me. I lost my own father to this crisis, but I do not want another child to lose their parent, which is happening all too often, day after day, as this crisis continues.

While I respect and believe in the appropriate use of our criminal justice system, opioid crimes (particularly those committed by addicts instead of dealers) are a symptom, not the disease. Addiction is the disease, and we must treat it as such.

Research is showing that states that have legalized marijuana dispensaries see reductions in opioid abuse. In addition, those who suffer from chronic pain report being able to resume daily activities while using medical marijuana to control their symptoms. We must carefully consider the costs of continuing to treat a drug with legitimate medical uses and a relatively low risk of addiction as illegal and having no medical value, while extremely potent opioids, which are legitimately dangerous and lead to deaths every day, are prescribed daily by doctors.

Legalizing marijuana dispensaries will not heal the hurts that have been dealt to our citizens during this crisis. However, finding patients alternatives to control their chronic pain and other symptoms of disease is vital to loosening the stranglehold that opioids currently have on our country.