Based on data from the Overdose Detection Mapping application program, “Opioid overdoses increased in March 2020 by 18% compared to the same month in 2019, 29% in April 2020, and 42% in May 2020.” According to the American Medical Association, “Over 40 states have reported increases in opioid related deaths during the pandemic,” even as the US experienced nearly 71,000 opioid related deaths in 2019. A 42% increase across one year would see over 100,000 overdose deaths!
While SUD/OUD is an international problem, the biggest crisis by far is in America. America has to do better. There's lots of blame to go around for the opioid epidemic but 100 Million Ways does not have time for the blame game. Our chosen path is to work with the community of people dealing with the disease that is substance use disorder, or with those tired of the side effects dependency for chronic pain brings. This community becomes huge when you total all people affected by this epidemic – more than 100,000,000 people. At 100MillionWays.org our goal is for our web-based community to be an aid to this community and ultimately to be managed by a co-production effort with community participants driving technology and content requirements. The driving force for the 100Million Ways Community is to measure the value cannabis-based medicine has in reducing the amount of opioids a person needs to manage chronic pain and substance use disorder. But our responsibility is to support any person seeking assistance related to the opioid crisis especially as the opioid epidemic clashes with the C-19 pandemic. The National Academies of Sciences 2017 Report concluded that, "There is evidence that cannabis or cannabinoids are effective for the treatment of chronic pain in adults."
Less opioid use means better quality of life and fewer deaths. In this time when access to support programs is still strained by COVID-19, cannabis-based medicine is available without the challenges of methadone and buprenorphine, with a large volume of real-world data that indicates cannabis helps with pain relief, and cannabis is not lethal. People ask how does marijuana become a medicine? This is not smoking joints and eating pizzas, this is pills or patches on a dosing scheduled – like a medicine. Dose-finding studies and placebo controlled clinical trials must be done, but with marijuana still a controlled substance at the federal level, answering scientific questions must wait, and a community of people without many alternatives to opioids also wait.