In September 2014, Lee Fang writing for Vice News published “Leading Anti-Marijuana Academics Are Paid by Painkiller Drug Companies.” Fang’s article focused on the topic of pain killer drug companies paying anti-marijuana academics. The topic of pain killer drug companies paying anti-marijuana academics is significant because companies are over-prescribing pain relief medications which had ultimately led Americans today to be the world’s biggest consumers of painkillers. Since April of 2015, the corporate press has under covered the story of “Leading Anti-Marijuana Academics Are Paid by Painkiller Drug Companies.”
Fang’s article focused on the topic of drug companies paying schools and specialists to convince the youth that marijuana negatively impacts their health. Pain killer companies try to promote anti-marijuana opinion pieces to the public, despite the fact that it has been scientifically proven that marijuana can be used for medical purposes. Similarly, Dr. Herbert Kleber of the University of Colombia was quoted in the press concisely notifying the supposed addiction and health issues that are caused by the use of marijuana. What was left unvoiced was that Kleber was a paid by the pain killer drug companies to promote the anti-marijuana opinion articles to CBS News, NPR, and CNBC. It is biased of media to misinform the youth about substances that they can easily get hold of and misuse.
The topic of pain killer drug companies paying anti-marijuana academics is significant because companies are over prescribing pain relief medications, which has ultimately led Americans today to be the world’s biggest consumers of painkillers. According to Fang, opioid painkillers cause up to 16,000 deaths a year; more deaths than heroin and cocaine combined. In comparison, there are no known cases of overdose deaths from marijuana, showing that it is a much safer alternative compared to painkillers. (Fang) These pain killer companies are dishonest to the public about marijuana being harmful to them but fail to mention it could be beneficial to those with medical issues. In fact, a chemical in marijuana forces cancer cells to stay still and helps to prevent them from spreading elsewhere in the body. (Welsh, Loria) Today, more than 20 states around the United States have legalized marijuana for medical use as of 2014, and according to Douglas Main writing for Newsweek, states that have legalized Marijuana for medical use showcase a 25% drop in painkiller related deaths.
The corporate news coverage on this topic has been scant. In March 2016, Steve Taylor, writing for Huffington Post published “Chemical Lobotomy: The Madness of the Over-Prescribing Anti-Depressants” covered how 40,000 people have experienced a procedure that interrupted the connection between their prefrontal cortex and the frontal lobes to the brain. (Taylor) Anti-depressant medications were being prescribed without complete evidence of what the effects are. Doctors continuously prescribe drugs to patients battling depression however they are often ineffective, and carry severe side effects.
In conclusion, painkiller drug companies and anti-marijuana academics are working together behind the scenes to get people to believe the misleading information they advocate. These establishments are harming people by giving them temporary fixes to their medical problems, only to have them face bigger issues in the long run. Painkillers are highly addictive and marijuana can be a far better, safer alternative to these medications. Drug companies are misinforming people of what marijuana is and is not capable of because of how strongly they stand against it.
Fang, Lee. “Leading Anti-Marijuana Academics Are Paid by Painkiller Drug Companies” Vice News. 7 Sept. 2014. https://news.vice.com/article/leading-anti-marijuana-academics-are-paid-by-painkiller-drug-companies
Taylor, Steve. “Chemical Lobotomy: The Madness of the Over-Prescribing Anti-Depressants” Huffing Post Lifestyle. 8 March 2016. http://www.huffingtonpost.co.uk/steve-taylor-phd/over-prescribing-anti-depressants_b_9407128.html
Welsh, Jennifer/ Loria, Kevin. “23 Health Benefits of Marijuana.” Business Insider. 20 Apr. 2014. http://www.businessinsider.com/health-benefits-of-medical-marijuana-2014-4
Main, Douglas. “In States with Medical Marijuana, Painkiller deaths drop by 25%” Newsweek. 25 Aug. 2014 http://www.newsweek.com/states-medical-marijuana-painkiller-deaths-drop-25-266577
Student Researchers: Alexandra Canas (California State University Maritime Academy) and Joshua Gorski, (Diablo Valley College)
Faculty Evaluator: Nolan Higdon (California State University Maritime Academy)