Thumbs down: Death by pills
All the lawmakers and candidates claiming to care about Indiana's economy, its agriculture and its life sciences should consider several points from an Oct. 6 Wall Street Journal report: 1) "The U.S. spends around $15 billion a year fighting illegal drugs, often on foreign soil." 2) "More than 15,000 Americans now die annually after overdosing on prescription painkillers ... according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention - more than from heroin, cocaine and all other illegal drugs combined." 3) The rise in painkiller abuse led drug overdoses to top the CDC's list of causes of accidental death in America. "They surpassed traffic accidents in 2009, the most recent CDC data available." Question: How many cases of deadly marijuana overdoses did officials log in this period? Answer: zero. Marijuana is not a demon drug; it is a versatile, opportunity-laden, medicinal plant that grows well in Indiana. Bold action would facilitate a competitive edge for what could be among Indiana's most versatile industries. And who knows? Maybe a readily available herbal alternative could reduce the number of body bags filed under accidental drug overdose.