Addiction: Prevention, not just medication

The Sun’s brief item describing a frightening new threat in Maryland’s drug addiction crisis (“Person who used synthetic marijuana suffers bleeding,” April 6) reveals the necessity of a renewed focus on substance abuse prevention and public education.

On April 4, the National Drug Early Warning System at the University of Maryland issued an alert about the detection of rat poison (brodifacoum) in synthetic marijuana in Illinois that resulted in two deaths and 81 emergencies. This drug, known on the street as spice or K2, causes severe bleeding, vomiting of blood, and other painful side effects. Two days later, as The Sun reports, this potentially-fatal fake weed arrived in Baltimore. The implication from this news calls for a renewed emphasis on prevention as part of Maryland’s overall response to the opioid crisis.

Specifically, while it’s essential that policymakers, health care and treatment providers, and related organizations stay steadfast in increasing the number of treatment beds, outpatient facilities, sober living houses, medication-assisted treatment and other evidence-based strategies, it also is vital to understand the treatment medications like Vivitrol, Suboxone, and Methadone are not effective in treating synthetic marijuana analogs like spice and K2.

This is another aspect of the tragedies and family horror stories caused by substance use disorder, the clinical term for drug addiction. Medications that are effective with one drug are ineffective with a different drug. This devastating dynamic requires that everyone in their respective communities work together to spread and reinforce prevention strategies and activities.


Filed under: Synthetics :

Back to top of page

Powered by WordPress