South Boston Unwilling to Face Opioid Epidemic With Pot Legalization Looming

There are myriad of reasons why the end of marijuana prohibition will be a windfall for South Boston, but some residents aren’t quite ready for the necessary change.

In South Boston, as it is in many locales around the nation, an opioid epidemic is claiming life after life.  A great many of these casualties began their opiate-dependence in ordinary fashion:  Being prescribed painkillers such as Oxycontin for routine management of their own discomfort.  The Big Pharmaceutical lobby has long leaned on doctors to utilize a plethora of opium-based medicines in their treatment of patients purely for profit.  The enormously addictive properties of these drugs only helped to further the proclivity of these dangerous drugs.

Now, as marijuana legalization is running rampant in America, Big Pharma is growing desperate to maintain their stranglehold on America’s preferred high, especially given the multitude of studies that demonstrate a concise link between legal weed and the abandoning of opioids.  In South Boston, however, this reality is being faced with disdain by residents who believe a pot-positive billboard was targeting their community’s severe prescription pill epidemic.

“While waiting at a stoplight on East Broadway in South Boston last week, Sheila Greene looked up at a billboard and was stunned. In white letters against a black background, a message read: ‘States that legalized marijuana had 25% fewer opioid-related deaths.’

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“Greene was bothered by the fact that the advertisement — from Weedmaps, a California-based company that runs an online marijuana dispensary rating service and sells inventory software to pot shops — was placed in a neighborhood hard hit by opioid abuse. ‘I couldn’t believe it was being advertised,’ she said.

 “So she contacted a representative of Clear Channel Outdoor — which owns the billboard structure — to point out that the message violated the company’s own policy regarding “exclusionary zones.” Clear Channel’s website states that “advertisements of all products illegal for sale to minors that are intended to be read from places of worship, primary and secondary schools or playgrounds” are prohibited in such zones. Greene estimated there are about 24 places of worship, schools, playgrounds, and after-school and summer programs less than a mile from the site of the billboard at 613-617 East Broadway.

“Soon after she lodged her complaint, the message was removed.”

While the billboard was ignorantly misplaced, the message was not.

Americans are increasingly falling victim to the pharmaceutical industry’s ridiculous and unethical ploys.  The legalization of marijuana has created optimism for many, as the plant has been shown to provide similar advantages to drugs like Oxycontin, without a great many of the unfortunate and unacceptable side effects.  This has, of course, incensed the Big Pharmaceutical lobby who have committed to pouncing on prescription pot in order to maintain their own margins.

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