Journey Healing Centers Opposes Medical Marijuana Proposition

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Journey Healing Centers ( raises concern over the long-term health risks of legalizing marijuana, and opposes the Medical Marijuana Proposition on the Arizona November 2010 ballot (approved for the ballot by the Arizona Secretary of State on June 1, 2010). "The sad part is that maybe 2% of the medical marijuana users truly benefit from the drug. It's a great excuse to smoke pot legally. If approved, I predict more doctors diagnosing for the use, like we have seen in the explosion of prescription drug abuse," explains Josh Lannon, CEO of Journey Healing Centers.

To prevent the painkiller drug war from escalating further in the US, Journey Healing Centers ( announces their opposition to the Medical Marijuana proposition that was approved June 1, 2010, to be on the Arizona November 2010 ballot. With 50 million admitting to abusing prescription drugs in the US (CBS Evening News), the center believes medical marijuana and the proposed legalization of marijuana in California will only increase substance abuse, relapses and addictions to harder drugs.

There are 14 states that have already legalized medical marijuana, and a "Green Rush" has swept through much of California in recent years (CBS News No one is exactly sure how many Cannabis clinics exist in Los Angeles, CA, and the best estimate is somewhere between 800 and 1,000 (CBS News). The city is now attempting to close dispensaries that aren't in compliance with a new ordinance by June 7th, and ensure the roughly 130 clinics meet stringent guidelines (MSNBC).. The centers are also supposed to be non-profit, yet are making an estimated $1.2 per year in profits (PBS, Need to Know). This November, Californians will vote on an initiative that would legalize the use of medical marijuana for any citizen over 21, which is even more concerning. The following health concerns are the reasons Journey Healing Centers has taken this position:

1. Lowers Ambition - One consequence that is overlooked from marijuana is how the drug lowers the users' ambition to achieve life accomplishments (SAMHSA). In one case, a client ended up being suspended from school, losing his job, and eventually returning to his drug of choice crystal meth. His last words to his counselor were, "it's only marijuana," says Aubrey Barrow, Admissions Director for Journey Healing Centers.

2. Marijuana is a Gateway Drug - Marijuana is typically the first drug that most drug addicts encounter when first experimenting with drugs. The reason people call marijuana "the gateway drug" is because it often leads to other drug usage. Years later, an addicted person may end up in treatment for a heroin, crack cocaine, meth, and/or other drug problems. Marijuana is a harmful drug, especially since the potency of the marijuana now available has increased more than 275 percent over the last decade (SAMHSA).

3. Painkiller Prescriptions Out of Control - The US is already challenged by a war on prescription drugs. Opiate pain drugs and benzodiazepines are the prescription drugs that treatment centers see most commonly abused. According to SAMHSA, prescription drug abuse is the second most common form of recreational drug use in America second only to marijuana. Addicts are getting prescription drugs from their doctor versus the streets, who often write prescriptions quickly versus taking the time to analyze a patient's issue. While there are some rare instances in the medical field where marijuana may work best to alleviate pain and nausea, legalizing it for day-to- day use will only create more of an addiction problem.

Aubrey Barrow, Admissions Director at Journey Healing Centers, adds, "Although there may be economic benefits for legalizing marijuana (business profit and taxes), there is also great expense. When abused, this addiction can lead to criminal activity causing taxpayer dollars on the court system. It will also be impossible to control the distribution and cultivation, not to mention the illegal transporting it into the US. We don't need additional drug challenges with our loved ones."

Background: Journey Healing Centers operates drug and alcohol rehabilitation centers in Arizona and Utah, and has been featured on MTV's Gone Too Far, PBS, ABC News 15 Phoenix, ABC 4 Salt Lake City, and in People Magazine. Journey Healing Centers has supported thousands dealing with addictions through Residential Programs, Intensive Outpatient Programs (IOP), Sober Living Homes, Aftercare and a Free 24-Hour Hotline with Addiction Specialists: 1-866-774-5119.


CBS Evening News: States Try to Curb Prescription Drug Abuse

14 Legal Medical Marijuana States

CBS News: L.A. Moves Toward Closing Pot Clinics

MSNBC: Los Angeles to close pot dispensaries

PBS - Need to Know (3rd story about CA medical marijuana)

SAMHSA: Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration

Media Contact:
Liz Brown
Journey Healing Centers

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