Drug addiction is a brain disease: Dr. Drew Pinsky

Dr. Drew Pinsky, a practicing physician and addiction expert, said on Thursday that the White House opioid summit gave him hope that the government is willing to put a stop to the opioid epidemic.

“First optimism I ever had was at that opioid meeting and there was movement from the attorney general, there’s movement by the HHS, there’s movement by the VA to really be proactive and spend some money and really go after this…I was optimistic leaving that conference,” he told FOX Business’ Kennedy.

A bipartisan group of governors testified before the Senate Health Committee to address the opioid problems in their states. Last week, the White House held an opioid summit, which was designed to help the Trump administration share their proposals on how to get a better handle on the crisis.

Many experts argue that cannabis could be a great substitute for opioids. According to the American Journal of Public Health, medical cannabis laws are associated with significantly lower state-level opioid overdose mortality rates.

“I would much rather treat somebody on cannabis than opioids, that’s for sure, they’re not going to die of that,” Pinsky said.

Dr. Pinsky explained that his patients usually die from a combination of a Benzodiazepine, which is a class of psychoactive drugs (Klonopin, valium) and an oral opioid.

“It’s very difficult to overdose on an oral opioid, but when you combine it with a Benzodiazepine, it’s very easy to overdose…so my patients, if they are going to die of their addiction, they die with two bottles by their bedside, prescribed by one doctor, all of the time. Every week that happens to me and I’m sick of it,” he said.