Former senior drug policy advisor to President Barack Obama, Dr. Kevin Sabet, President of Smart Approaches to Marijuana (SAM) released the following response to Purdue Pharmaceuticals’ announcement it has filed for bankruptcy protection in the wake of more than 2,000 lawsuits and billions in potential payouts in connection to the nation’s opioid crisis. Purdue is the maker of OxyContin. More than 400,000 Americans have died as a result of the opioid crisis.
“Addiction-for-profit industries have already claimed too many lives. First with Big Tobacco, then with Big Pharma, profits were made because so many turned a blind eye to science and the deliberate efforts by commercial industries to mask the dangers of drugs like OxyContin.
“This is happening all over again with marijuana today. Drug and cigarette company investors are now telling Americans that their new marijuana products are safe, non-addictive – and even medicinal – despite mounting scientific evidence to the contrary.
“It should be noted that the former CEO of Purdue Pharma left the embattled drug manufacturer to lead a major pot company. There should be little doubt that we are marching down the same dangerous road.
“They’re banking on high-potency pot and the public health crisis will be even more widespread. They’re using new delivery systems like vaping to addict a new generation of Americans, which are already being exposed for significant health risks.
“It’s time members of Congress, elected officials and leaders in public health join the U.S. Surgeon General, major medical associations and the addiction prevention community in stopping the pot vaping crisis before it reaches epidemic proportions.”