DENVER — A car accident 17 years ago shattered Ashley Weber’s spine and left her confined to a wheelchair. After the accident, she said, she was prescribed strong opioids, developed an addiction to them and spent her days in a narcotic-induced mental fog.
Over the past decade, however, Weber said she’s dramatically cut back on pills by instead using marijuana. “It took care of the pain,” said Weber, executive director of the Colorado chapter of NORML, a national group that backs marijuana legalization.
Spurred partly by stories like Weber’s, policymakers in Colorado, Illinois and New York now allow health professionals to recommend marijuana instead of addictive, potentially deadly pain pills such as OxyContin, Percocet and Vicodin. Forty-six people in the United States die every day from overdoses involving prescription opioids, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
New Mexico, New Jersey,