A new study from Columbia University's Mailman School of Public Health found that drivers were less likely to test positive for opioids after fatal accidents in states where medical marijuana was legal.

With the General Assembly about to reconvene (“General Assembly 2019: What needs to happen this year and what can wait,” Jan. 9), it sickens me to think that they are actually considering and have campaigned on whether or not marijuana should be legalized for recreational use. In the same breath the outcry to stop the opioid crisis is a "top priority."

Please, get real and face the facts. Marijuana is a gateway drug, always was and always will be. How do you justify legalizing a drug that will open the door to the crisis you are attempting to get a handle on and hopefully end? Politicians don't want to listen to the actual people with the knowledge. People that are successfully recovering from drug addiction or former addicts that have chosen careers in the chemical dependency field, such as Michael Gimbel.

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No, they talk to doctors — might I say that they are one of the biggest contributors to the opioid crisis — about over prescribing or unnecessarily prescribing opioid pain killers when other non-addictive drugs would actually work. Or the manufacturers who are selling drug replacement therapies that are just as or more addicting then the opioid habit they are trying to kick? Or, my favorite, politicians that have no business weighing in on any of it without firsthand knowledge about what is the best drug-free alternative to free our state of this opioid crisis.

I spent some time when I voted this November and talked with a few of the candidates about this subject, and their answers just left me feeling deflated. They have no clue. I am speaking from experience. I know what works and what doesn't work. I have walked in those shoes and have been successfully clean from all substances, including alcohol, for a long time. I wish there was something I could do to get anyone to listen but there isn't.

I appreciate the opportunity to have a sounding board at the Baltimore Sun.

Janice Vettel

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