Amid opioid crisis, former sheriff preaches potential of medical marijuana | KOB 4

Amid opioid crisis, former sheriff preaches potential of medical marijuana

Brittany Costello
October 29, 2017 10:31 PM

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. – New Mexico has one of the highest rates of drug overdose deaths in the country, and last week President Donald Trump declared opioid abuse a public health emergency.


He directed federal agencies to put resources toward the crisis, and his plan includes a massive advertising campaign. New Mexico Attorney General Hector Balderas, though, has said he doesn't believe those resources will be enough to fight the problem in the state.

But a former Bernalillo County sheriff says he may have the solution.

Back in 1991, while with the Albuquerque Police Department, Darren White produced a music video urging people to “just say no,” a symbol of his explicit opposition to anything related to medical marijuana during his time as sheriff.

However, now he believes medical cannabis can be a huge player amid the opioid crisis.

“You can't take a steady cocktail of heavy prescription drugs and think that you're going to live a quality life,” said White, now the CEO of PurLife, a medical marijuana dispensary in Albuquerque.

Around 15,000 people in 2015 alone died as a result of opioid overdose, according to the Center for Disease Control. For White, that's where the green plant comes in.

“Research has shown that medical cannabis can lessen the cravings,” White said. “It can help with some of the withdrawal symptoms. Most importantly, it’s an alternative for people suffering from chronic pain.”

White himself is a legal user of medical cannabis.  For him, it provides pain relief for a leg he shattered and a back injury he received as a motorcycle cop with APD.

“I got to a point in my life, like many people, that I…taking opiates every day is not quality of life,” he said. “I just wanted to try something different.”

Much like the positive changes White said medical marijuana has brought to his life, he has now watched it transform the lives of others.

“I had a patient come in who had seven back surgeries and said to me that she hadn't eliminated the opiates; she was taking over a dozen a day, and she supplements that with medical cannabis,” White said. “She said the pain is so bad she wouldn’t have been incapable of doing that.”





Brittany Costello

Copyright 2017 KOB-TV LLC, a Hubbard Broadcasting Company. All rights reserved


Relay Media Amp



APD searching for missing 8-year-old girl

New Mexico senator plans to stay in office following arrest

New Mexico city seeks help paying monument lawsuit fees

New Mexico pushes census participation to safeguard funding

City to require permit to park in neighborhood near the NM State Fair