Speaking at a Heritage Foundation event to commemorate Ronald Reagan’s birthday on Tuesday night, Attorney General Jeff Sessions said his plan for solving the opioid crisis is more Bufferins and less marijuana.
Alluding to the 7 percent drop in opioid prescriptions last year, Sessions said “my goal in 2018 is to see a further decline,” adding that “we think doctors are just prescribing too many.”
“Sometimes, you just need to take two Bufferins or something and go to bed,” Sessions added. Bufferin is an over-the-counter aspirin brand.
Sessions went on to say that while the Drug Enforcement Agency may think that “a huge percentage of heroin addictions start with prescriptions,” he thinks there’s another cause.
“We think a lot of this is starting with marijuana or other drugs too,” Sessions said.
WATCH: Attorney General Jeff Sessions says his goal for 2018 is to see a further decline in prescriptions of opioids, and says, "we think a lot of this is starting with marijuana and other drugs." pic.twitter.com/paWSsEuNrl
— NBC News (@NBCNews) February 7, 2018
New federally funded research, however, finds a link between the availability of medical marijuana and fewer opioid deaths. A RAND Corporation study published earlier this month showed “an approximately 20 percent decline in opioid overdose deaths associated with the passage of any state medical marijuana law.”
Sessions’ suggestion that fewer opioid prescriptions corresponds with fewer overdoses also isn’t supported by data. Provisional numbers from 2017 indicate that more than a record number of Americans died because of drug overdoses last year — more than 66,000. That happened despite the drop in opioid prescriptions Sessions mentioned during his remarks.