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West Wing Actress Crashes Real White House Briefing to Talk About the Opioid Epidemic


Allison Janney, most notably the fake White House Press Secretary C.J. Cregg on the television series “The West Wing”, actually crashed the real White House briefing today while in town for Obama’s “White House Champions of Change” awards.

In a star-studded effort to advance President Obama’s message that America’s opioid abuse needs to end, celebrities gathered at The White House today along with hundreds of nurses and pharmacy school representatives to stop the prescription opioid and heroin epidemic. Selected professionals were honored for their leadership in preventing prescription drug abuse and heroin use, increasing access to treatment, and supporting the millions of Americans in recovery, according to the White House statement.  

Related Article: Killer Pills: Illegally Alive Showcases How Cannabis Could Fix America’s Opiate Epidemic

The actress has personally dealt with opioid issues through her brother’s suicide that came after a long struggle with drugs. “I lost my brother to addiction and other things. It was terrible, and I think that’s why when this show came into my lap and I saw it was about people in recovery and addiction, I was like, ‘I’m doing it. I just want to do it. I just want to do it for him,” said in a previous interview.

Janney has been calling attention to the lethal opioid epidemic with her TV-daughter Anna Faris from their show Mom, a lighthearted sitcom revolving around their dark history of addiction and their road to recovery. The duo recently teamed up with Surgeon General Vivek Murthy for a PSA.

More than 100,000 people are dying from opioid abuse every year. Pharmaceutical pills are being pushed by doctors all over the country at such a staggering rate that according to the CDC, it amounts to enough prescriptions for every American to have their own bottle.  

Paul Armentano, the Deputy Director of NORML (the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws), also took to the press today to write a short and poignant note to the editor at The New York Times regarding their recent article, “Northeast Opiate Crisis Stalls Marijuana Legalization”. The original article scrutinizes legalizing medical marijuana, comparing it to legalizing another gateway drug. In his letter to the editor, Armentano added a point of discussion left out of the article; that cannabis is associated with reduced incidences of opioid abuse and mortality. Here is the rest of his submission:

According to a 2015 National Bureau of Economic Research study, “States permitting medical marijuana dispensaries experience a relative decrease in both opioid addictions and opioid overdose deaths compared to states that do not.”

Separate studies also find that cannabis is associated with better treatment outcomes in opioid-dependent subjects. Writing this year in the journal Drug and Alcohol Dependence, researchers at Columbia University reported a “beneficial effect of marijuana smoking on treatment retention.”

They added, “Participants who smoked marijuana had less difficulty with sleep and anxiety and were more likely to remain in treatment as compared to those who were not using marijuana.”

Opioids were responsible for over 2,000 deaths in New England over the last year, while cannabis is incapable of causing death by overdose. Politicians should welcome the opportunity to bring necessary and long-overdue regulatory controls to the marijuana market.

The Marijuana Times is also leading the way in the movement to replace pills with cannabis. Just last week, we were in Denver for the Illegally Alive movement. #IllegallyAlive is giving a voice to patients across the United States of America without access and without the choice to substitute cannabis for deadly opioids.

Visit illegallyalive.org for more facts on the opiate epidemic, read how other people have overcome their addictions, or submit your own story.