Our country has an opioid problem fueled by the fact that we have a drug abuse problem that often starts with alcohol, tobacco and marijuana.  The three primary drugs of choice that often lead to hard drugs.  People don't start their life of addiction with heroin.


Colorado Opioid Deaths have increased since legalization of marijuana



STUDY:  Nonmedical prescription opioids and pathways of drug involvement in the US: Generational differences.      PDF form

Fig. 1


The graph and report reflect no matter which generation heroin addiction does not begin by using heroin but other drugs.  The three  drugs that "prime" the brain and often lead to harder drugs are cigarettes, alcohol and marijuana.  We need prevention funding to help educate our children, parents and community leaders develop the skills and strategies to avoid drug abuse.   ADDICTION IS A PREVENTABLE DISEASE. 

(click on image for larger view)





Funding for substance abuse prevention education programs is more than lacking but almost nonexistent at all levels of schools (elementary to high school) and community centers.  These programs would not only decrease the addiction epidemic but it would also significantly reduce domestic violence issues, human trafficking, pornography, crime and traffic car crashes (Florida is consistently ranked in the top 1 or 2 for fatal crashes involving drugs)... drugs often are the root of many of these life-alerting problems.  These issues individual, the entire family and every community. It is impossible to put a value on prevention programs.  How much do you value your family member's life?   

The use of any alcohol, cigarettes or marijuana is highly correlated with the use of the other two. Alcohol, nicotine and marijuana are the three gateway drugs for youth






Click on photo for report

Heroin Epidemic CDC Information

Marijuana's links to increase use of Heroin

  1.  See reports above---heroin is not the first use drug for any generation or ethnicity. 
  2. Why Marijuana Will Not Fix the Opioid Epidemic
  3. Marijuana and the Brain:  PowerPoint by Dr. Madras 
  4. Cartels are still thriving supplying illegal marijuana but have also flooded the market with heroin and decreased the price to create an even bigger demand and addiction.  Black market of marijuana   and DEA seizers of heroin.  As marijuana has been legalized across the county heroin use has increased. 
  5. Drug Free America:  Big Marijuana moves to exploit the Opioid Epidemic
  6. Additional Articles linking Marijuana and Opioid Use

LETTER:  2018 Legislative Recommendations- Reducing Opioid Abuse


As a parent, community volunteer and recent Masters of Mental Health Counseling graduate, I have devoted infinite hours to educating and protecting families from the devastating disease of addiction affecting many families throughout our state.  First and foremost, I pray this bill gets passed and support it as I believe lives will be saved and it will help prevent the spread of addiction.  I would like to emphasize the necessity for some of the bill’s proposals and make a few recommendations:


1.       To fully utilize the PDMP it must be mandatory.  Everyone who is prescribed a narcotic must be entered into the database.

a.       It would be better for a nurse or authorized individual with proper training to access the database before a patient sees the doctor. This form pre-screen for “doctor shopper” would save the doctor time and help him/her better treat the patient.

b.       Require drug abuse screening for addiction when necessary.

c.       Doctors have complained inputting and checking a patient’s history in the PDMP takes too long.  I would like to remind them that texting took a long time when we first began to use that feature on our phone too… practice makes for efficiency and timeliness.


2.       Requiring an ID is a must.  A person needs an ID to get pseudoephedrine found in cold remedies but not a narcotic?  This must be rectified.

3.       Intrastate communication should be mandatory to deter doctor shopping.

4.       Funding:  There must be funding for primary prevention programs (see attached study).  Funding for overdose and harm reduction programs is needed but money would be far better spent if a person never had an addiction to drugs.  Few if anyone begins their drug abuse with heroin or other hard drugs. We must give our children and families the knowledge, develop skills and implement strategies for them to be successful to prevent drug addiction.  Can you imagine if our children had the knowledge and not only stayed away from drugs but mentored their friends?           

a.       Fewer students abusing drugs would increase our graduation and employment rates.

b.       Fewer students abusing drugs would decrease absenteeism, disciplinary problems and expulsions.

Funding prevention is more than a win-win for everyone but will save our family and friends lives which cannot be quantified financially nor emotionally.

ADDICTION IS PREVENTABLE.  Let’s implement these safeguards and protect our families from #1 deadly disease afflicting all communities regardless of ethnicity or socioeconomic status.  Let’s be on the forefront ending this national epidemic. 


See Prevention Works