According to U.S. Attorney General Loretta Lynch, marijuana’s part in the country’s conversation about drug abuse has been sorely overstated. When speaking at a Kentucky high school, she stated that marijuana isn’t the gateway drug it’s been plagued to be. Her speech was part of a program during Prescription Opioid Heroin Epidemic Awareness Week.
Lynch stressed that prescription drug abuse is linked more to the use of harder drugs and not marijuana, according to IBTimes.com.
Lynch said, “In so many cases, it isn’t trafficking rings that introduce a person to opioids. It’s the household medicine cabinet. That’s the source.”
She also said, “When we talk about heroin addiction, we usually, as we have mentioned, are talking about individuals that started out with a prescription drug problem, and then because they need more and more, they turn to heroin” and “it’s not like we’re seeing that marijuana as a specific gateway.”
One of the reasons that a Kentucky high school was chosen to receive this presentation is the rising heroin and opioid epidemic there. More than 1,000 deaths have been reported annually in Kentucky due to drug overdoses. The epidemic brought Senate Bill 192 to light, which is also known as The Heroin Bill. It imposes stricter penalties for heroin traffickers and dealers. It also allows for more options for treatment of addicts.
The Obama administration hopes to achieve a goal of raising $1.1 billion to fight opioid abuse.