One of President Donald Trump's biggest supporters during the 2016 election is turning his back on The Donald because he feels betrayed by Trump's health care plan. Last year, amateur country singer Kraig Moss gave up his construction business in upstate New York so that he could dedicate his time to serenading Trump supporters on the campaign trail. Moss became such a prominent fixture at campaign events that he was dubbed the 'Trump Troubadour.'
Now Moss says that he's hanging up the guitar emblazoned with Trump paraphernalia because The Donald has broken his campaign promise to help people avoid becoming statistics in America's opioid epidemic. "The bill is an absolute betrayal of what Trump represented on the campaign trail," Moss told CNN earlier this week. "I feel betrayed."
The betrayal hurts Moss deeply because his own son - Rob Moss - died of a heroin overdose a few years ago at the age of 24. And it was grieving for that loss that brought Moss and Trump together. "The biggest thing we can do in honor of your son...we have to be able to stop it [the opioid epidemic]," Trump told Moss at an Iowa campaign rally in January 2016.
But the Trump-endorsed healthcare bill that the House of Representatives will vote on today doesn't do that. In fact, the Republican plan will likely exacerbate the crisis by making dramatic cuts to addiction treatment programs.
"This bill would devastate efforts to address the opioid crisis," according to Dr. Joshua Sharfstein - Director of the Bloomberg American Health Initiative at Johns Hopkins University's Bloomberg School of Public Health. "There's no question this legislation in the House of Representatives would cost American lives," Sharfstein told CNN.
Medical marijuana could combat opioid addiction
If President Trump wants to win back the support of Moss and other families impacted by the opioid epidemic, his administration should look into medical marijuana as a potential solution to the crisis. Allowing patients to use cannabis as a painkiller as opposed to opioids like Oxycodone and Fentanyl could save lives. According to a 2014 study published by JAMA (Journal of the American Medical Association), states that permit medical marijuana have a 24.8 percent lower annual opioid-overdose mortality rate than states that prohibit medicinal cannabis use.
More recently, a 2016 study published in Clinical Psychology Review suggested that people addicted to opioids are using cannabis to wean themselves off of their drug dependence. Meanwhile, numerous retired NFL players have come forward to say that cannabis is a much safer and more effective than prescription painkillers.
But medical marijuana isn't available to everyone in America. And although 29 states and Washington, D.C. permit medicinal cannabis use, it is still prohibited by the federal government, which means doctors may prefer to recommend legal (albeit more dangerous) painkillers rather than cannabis.
Trump could change that by backing a Republican bill that would end federal cannabis prohibition. If passed, the bill would open the door to legalizing medical marijuana across the country, giving Americans an alternative to the pills that are fuelling the opioid epidemic.
Banner image: Facebook.com/KraigRMoss