On Black Balloon Day, Maitri remembers those lost to opioid overdose


Black Balloon Day is a national day of remembrance of not only those lost to the disease of addiction, but the friends and family of the loved ones left behind. The event was originally organized by Diane and Lauren Hurley in remembrance of Greg Tremblay, a father of four and brother-in-law of Lauren, who died of a drug overdose at 38 years of age on March 6, 2015

Maitri is joining communities across the nation to publicly display black balloons outside of our dispensaries. The balloons are a sign that an individual or community have been affected by drug addiction or an overdose death. The balloons also symbolize that “we are all in this together,” while generating greater awareness of the opioid and heroin epidemic. The Maitri team is no stranger to this issue, having lost many of our own friends and loved ones to the crisis.

At Maitri, we hear stories every day from patients who are weaning off opioids with the help of medical marijuana. Contrary to the popular misperception that cannabis is a gateway drug, we see it acting as an exit drug for many patients of all ages and backgrounds. Below is a list of links with more information about the epidemic, and some studies that point to cannabis as an effective treatment option for those struggling with addiction.

Further reading and links to studies

Click here to read the Pennsylvania Department of Health’s Response to The Heroin and Prescription Opioid Crisis. Medical marijuana is discussed starting on page 44.

Click here to read Pennsylvania House Resolution 90 declaring March, 6, 2019 Black Balloon Day.

Click here to watch a video produced by the Pennsylvania Department of Health demonstrating how to administer naloxone, a medication that can reverse an opioid overdose. Naloxone is available at all Pennsylvania pharmacies, and per the standing order issued by Dr. Rachel Levine, no prescription is needed to purchase it.

Click here to read the 2010 study by Marcus A. Bachhuber, MD; Brendan Saloner, PhD; Chinazo O. Cunningham, MD, MS; Colleen L. Barry, PhD, MPP that showed states with medical marijuana laws had a 24.8 percent lower average annual opioid overdose death rate compared to states without such laws.

Click here to read about the trio of recent studies that bolster the argument that legal marijuana can help combat the opioid epidemic.

Click here to watch The Exit Drug, a documentary created by Weedmaps that investigates how cannabis could play a major role in ending the opioid crisis, a public health emergency that kills an average of 115 U.S. citizens a day.

Click here to learn about how to join the battle in removing the stigma associated with the chronic disease of addiction.