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My Story

#cannabis4pain

My Story

I’m calling for the NFL to remove marijuana from the banned substances list; fund medical marijuana research, especially as it relates to CTE; and stop overprescribing addictive and harmful opioids.

Born: April 18, 1987
Hometown: Plainfield, New Jersey
College: University of Virginia
2009 NFL Draft: Round 1, Pick 8
Career History: Jacksonville Jaguars (2009-2013); Baltimore Ravens (2013-present)

“On March 9, 2016, I became the first active NFL player to openly advocate for the use of cannabinoids to treat chronic pain and sports-related injuries. It’s time for the NFL to change its archaic standards to better protect its players and set an example for our young athletes. For too long, I’ve watched my teammates and good friends battle with opioid addiction and leave the game with a long road still ahead; it’s time to make a change.”

A four-year letterman and three-year starter at the University of Virginia, Eugene was a unanimous All-ACC selection, voted top blocker in the conference and was regarded as the most dominating offensive lineman in college football. Drafted 8th overall by the Jaguars in the 2009 NFL Draft, Eugene started 13 of 15 games at left tackle for Jacksonville in his first year, missing two contests due to injury. Eugene’s value and domination on the field were confirmed yet again when the defending Super Bowl champion Baltimore Ravens orchestrated a trade to acquire the star left tackle in October 2013. Eugene has enjoyed great success in his time as a Raven, consistently grading as one of the best pass blockers in the NFL.

“With everything I do, my family comes first. They are my heart, my joy, and my motivation! I met my beautiful wife Nureya at the University of Virginia behind Old Cabbell Hall on campus. I pulled up in a run down sedan; she needed a ride and was bold enough to ask this enormous guy for a lift. I joke with her that I picked her up off of the streets! Nureya and I are both nerds at heart and even watched anime on our first date; we’ve been best friends ever since. We have three beautiful children; Farah, Xavier and Sonia. They are such lively, intelligent, and respectful babes that bring us great joy and new laughs daily. We work to instill in them the best of us. As an athlete, my health is a priority and same goes for my family. That’s part of the reason I’m advocating for the use of cannabis as an alternative, healthier choice of medicine. Research shows that not only can cannabis act as an anti-inflammatory, but it can also protect the brain after traumatic injury (concussions). After I leave the brutal game of football that my kids are so proud daddy plays, I want to remember all the moments we have with them and cherish them forever, while also having the physical capacity to live an active family lifestyle!”

Eugene is also proud to sponsor the 301 Panthers Youth Organization, a 501(c)(3) nonprofit based in Brandywine, Maryland. This organization’s athletic program enables kids and young teens to participate in football, basketball and/or cheerleading while learning lessons in teamwork and dedication. The 301 Panthers focuses on developing character and life skills to help young athletes succeed both on and off the field.

The NFL & The Opioid Epidemic

#cannabis4pain

The NFL & The Opioid Epidemic

The misuse and over-prescription of opioids is one of the most significant public health problems in the United States today. Misuse can lead to physical and mental impairment and even death.

Opioids are freely and regularly given to NFL players who experience chronic pain from sports-related injuries. On game day, players line up for their weekly “T-Train” shot and/or Vicodin dose. This practice creates a black market of these dangerously addictive pills in the locker room. As a result, NFL players are more likely to use and abuse opioids than the general population.

“In a months-long investigation involving dozens of former players, as well as their attorneys, physicians, and addiction counselors, what emerges is a picture of a professional league so swamped by narcotics that it closes its eyes to medical malpractice by many of its doctors and trainers… Since the advent, in the 1980s, of modern narcotics like Vicodin and Percocet, and then later OxyContin, team doctors and trainers have dispensed pills in the millions to keep hurt players practicing and playing.” Men’s Journal

Cannabinoids

#cannabis4pain

Cannabinoids

CBD & Chronic Pain

EugeneMonroe-Research

Cannabinoids are a safer, less addictive alternative to opioids and can even reduce opioid dependence. Despite this, the NFL tests and penalizes players for marijuana use, while all but encouraging the use of damaging and addictive opioids.

Chronic pain is a part of everyday life for professional football players. A Washington Post survey of over 500 retired NFL players found that nearly 9 in 10 still suffer from aches and pains on a daily basis, and they overwhelmingly – 91 percent – connect nearly all their pains to football.

“I’ve sustained many injuries in my career, most of which were paired with a prescription opioid. As a football player, I know that I signed up to play one of the most physically demanding sports on the planet; and yes, I love this game. However, we aren’t warned that the inherent physicality of the game could coincide with life-threatening treatment options.” – Eugene Monroe

Cannabis is an extremely safe and effective medication for many chronic pain patients, according to Therapeutic Benefits of Cannabis: A Patient Survey. Patients using cannabis for chronic pain management reported a 64% relative decrease in average pain and 45% reported relief from insomnia. No serious adverse effects were reported.

CBD & Brain Injury

NFL Brain Injury

Football players have a high risk of developing brain disease due to repeated head trauma suffered on the field. Football players are likely to develop chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE), a form of brain degeneration associated with memory loss, confusion, impaired judgment, impulse control problems, aggression, depression, and, eventually, progressive dementia.

Studies have shown that cannabidiol (CBD) found in cannabis, functions as a short-term neuroprotective. The NFL should be sponsoring studies to learn more about this.

According to a Washington Post survey, nine in 10 former NFL players reported suffering concussions while playing football; six in 10 reported three or more concussions. Two-thirds of those who had concussions said they experience continuing symptoms. Medical marijuana could reduce brain inflammation and diminish the long-term effects of brain injuries – why wouldn’t the NFL be looking into the potential benefits of CBD on the brain?

“This is a cause I am incredibly passionate about. Replacing opioids with cannabinoids could greatly improve and even save the lives of football players. I have donated $80,000 to CW Botanical and Realm of Caring’s campaign, ‘When The Bright Lights Fade,’ to fund research that will examine the potential benefits of CBD in alleviating symptoms of concussions and chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE). What has the NFL, a billion-dollar organization, done?” – Eugene Monroe

Resources

#cannabis4pain

Resources

Cannabinoids

Cannabinoids are a class of diverse chemical compounds that act on cannabinoid receptors in cells that repress neurotransmitter release in the brain. (Wikipedia).

Opioid Crisis

Opioids are a highly addictive type of narcotic pain medication used to treat moderate to severe pain that may not respond well to other pain medications. They can have serious side effects if you don’t use them correctly. (WebMD)

CTE

Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy (CTE) is a progressive degenerative disease of the brain found in athletes (and others) with a history of repetitive brain trauma, including symptomatic concussions as well as asymptomatic subconcussive hits to the head. This trauma triggers progressive degeneration of the brain tissue which is associated with memory loss, confusion, impaired judgment, impulse control problems, aggression, depression, and, eventually, progressive dementia. (BU CTE Center).

Get Involved

#cannabis4pain

Get Involved

Speak Out

Help raise awareness about this cause by sharing information with your networks and reaching out to key decision-makers.

The research is there. #cannabis4pain is real. @NFL @NFLCommish remove cannabis from the banned substances list.

What are you doing to stop the #NFLOpioidEpidemic, @NFL @NFLCommish#cannabis4pain

Too many have already fallen victim to the #NFLOpioidEpidemic. Learn how #cannabis4pain can help: www.eugenemonroe.com

Support Leading Research Organizations

Here are some leading organizations campaigning for medical marijuana research. Use the links below to learn more about their causes, find volunteer opportunities or even donate.

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Realm of Caring
Learn more about the Realm of Caring’s research in partnership with Johns Hopkins University and the University of Pennsylvania.

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Institute for Research on Cannabinoids
To advance the scientific understanding of cannabinoids and their impact on psychological and physical health. With this knowledge, we will harness advances in dissemination and implementation science to inform policy and health care, including patient and practitioner education.

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Cannabis Genomic Research Initiative
CGRI encompasses a range of projects, some aimed at developing resources, others focused on answering specific biological questions.

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Gridiron Cannabis Coalition
The Gridiron Cannabis Coalition is dedicated to the advancement of medical marijuana in the modern age. Driven by research and development, the GCC mission is committed to the evolution of the natural healing elements of the cannabis plant.

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Drug Policy Alliance
The Drug Policy Alliance (DPA) is the nation’s leading organization promoting drug policies that are grounded in science, compassion, health and human rights.

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Marijuana Policy Project
MPP, which was founded in January 1995, is the largest organization in the U.S. that’s focused solely on ending marijuana prohibition. MPP’s mission is to change federal law to allow states to determine their own marijuana policies without federal interference, as well as to regulate marijuana like alcohol in all 50 states, D.C., and the five territories.

Contact

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