One important point to consider is how medical cannabis could impact and improve the problem. Many people who find themselves using, abusing or overdosing on opioids didn't start out with that intention. They were prescribed narcotics by a physician for a legitimate pain issue, and ended up becoming dependent on and then addicted to those drugs. When denied a prescription for narcotics, many will move onto the cheaper and more potent street drug heroin.
Medical cannabis, which has been shown in clinical studies to lessen the perception of pain, should be available as a safer alternative for pain management. Cannabis is essentially non-toxic and no one has ever died from an overdose. In an October 2014 study, researchers from the University of Pennsylvania reported that in states that enacted medical cannabis laws between 1999 and 2010, there was a 24.8 percent lower annual opioid overdose death rate, compared to states without medical marijuana laws.
The research and anecdotal evidence showing the medical utility of cannabis can no longer be denied. How many more people have to suffer and die while a minority of our Legislators worry about what might happen rather than what is happening?