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Is legalizing marijuana the answer to Indiana’s opioid crisis?

Like many states in the country, Indiana is currently facing a huge crisis regarding the abuse of opioids by the general population. In response, some marijuana advocates have suggested that the legalization of marijuana could help mitigate the frequency of opioid addiction. With the support for cannabis becoming more widespread, many have wondered whether Indiana could soon join the ranks of states like Colorado to decriminalize the drug. Could legalization in Indiana be a means of coping with the state’s opioid crisis?

This is unlikely, according to Curtis Hill, Indiana’s Attorney General. Attorney General Hill recently penned an article addressing the arguments of cannabis proponents and voicing his disapproval of legalized marijuana.

The Honorable Mr. Hill discussed several studies that linked marijuana use to increased opioid addiction—for example, the American Journal of Psychiatry’s recent report showing that marijuana users are twice as likely to abuse opioids as the general population. Another came from the CDC and demonstrates that cannabis users are three times more likely than the average person to become addicted to heroin. In addition, a 2013 study showed that children who use weed are more likely than their peers to use other drugs.

Attorney General Hill also mentioned the link between marijuana legalization and fatal car crashes. The state of Colorado, for instance, saw double the number of fatal car accidents in which the driver had been under the influence of the drug.

The Attorney General’s column certainly suggests that legalized marijuana will not be coming to Indiana any time soon. In the meantime, Indiana residents are encouraged to obey state drug laws. The possession, sale or use of marijuana is illegal and could result in serious penalties that may require an attorney. It is also possible to face criminal charges regarding prescription opioids. Anyone who has been charged with a crime relating to these drugs could face fines, probation, community service or even jail time.

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