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Authority Magazine

Heroes Of The Opioid Crisis: “One of the ways we can address the issue as a society is by looking to our veterans and hearing their stories” With MMA fighter Liz Carmouche and Marco Derhy.

Listen to their stories: One of the ways we can address the issue as a society is by looking to our veterans and hearing their stories. We can learn so much from what went wrong in the treatment of their health issues and the resulting addiction which can only lead to further health issues. By sharing their stories, we can put a face to the problem which will stir the conscience of our society and enact real change.

As part of my series about “ Top 5 things to achieve success” I had the pleasure of interviewing Liz Carmouche. Liz is an American MMA fighter who competed in the first-ever women’s UFC fight, a U.S. Marine Corp Veteran, the UFC’s most decorated ex-military athlete, and the first openly gay UFC fighter. Now a spokesperson for HempMeds, Carmouche uses their CBD hemp oil RSHO to train harder and recover faster, saying it helps her with pain and inflammation issues. Like most athletes, Carmouche was excited to see the news that the World Anti-Doping Agency removed CBD from its 2018 banned substances list, opening up access to thousands of athletes around the globe who are subject to drug tests. According to the Unified Women’s MMA Rankings, Carmouche is Nicknamed the “Girl-Rilla,” she is currently the №6 ranked 125-pound female MMA fighter in the world. She has been featured on TMZ and in Forbes.

Thank you so much for doing this with us! Can you tell our readers a bit of your backstory?

I spent my childhood in Okinawa, Japan, where my father was in the Marine Corps. When I was growing up, my father and mother had to work on separate bases, so I lived with my mother in Okinawa, Japan, until I joined the Marine Corps at age 20. I was in the Marine Corps for five years and then transitioned to joining the MMA world, where I have been training for almost nine years.

Is there a particular story or incident that inspired you to get involved in your work with opioid addiction?

Really, there’s no distinct story, but more a conglomeration of many stories I have heard over the years in my encounters with veterans. I’ve talked with many different vets who went through trauma in Afghanistan and Iraq, who fell into opioid addiction and were desperate to get clean for their friends and their family. Cannabidiol (CBD) hemp oil is what many of them turned to for real pain relief and cleanliness.

I was fortunate enough to connect with Red Warrior Foundation to meet veterans looking for a lifestyle change. A few of the vets I met were in wheelchairs or missing limbs and were in pain 24/7. Many of them were so impaired by all of the medications that they lost track of the years. I found CBD because of these vets, seeing they overcame addiction and trauma through the hemp extract.

Can you explain what brought us to this place? Where did this epidemic come from?

I can only explain from what I have learned through my experiences. It is common practice in the military to put a band-aid on the problem to be combat-ready instead of considering the long-term effects.

CBD makes more sense because it can help people without introducing them to intense narcotics that they’re at risk of becoming addicted to.

Can you describe how your work is making an impact on battling this epidemic?

As a representative of HempMeds, one of the leading CBD brands in the U.S., I have reached many people to tell them there are many alternatives to opioids. In addition to my work as a spokesperson, I can talk with people through social media, individually and in front of groups.

Additionally, as an MMA fighter, I’ve been able to have great talks with teammates who are going through the pains of training. With combat sports, you know you will be damaging your body daily. I’ve been able to talk with different athletes who come through my gym, including veterans. The comradery that comes with the gym and its outlet has a therapeutic effect and can help people come off opioids.

Wow! Can you tell us a story about a particular individual impacted by your initiative without sharing real names?

I post pretty frequently about the benefits I’ve experienced through HempMeds Real Scientific Hemp Oil (RSHO), and in the responses I receive, I’ve been able to help a lot of people. Numerous individuals have contacted me personally, saying they have been able to escape harmful medications that hurt their bank accounts and their bodies. They have come back and told me how my educational initiatives through social media had made a drastic change in their lives.

Can you share something about your work that makes you most proud? Is there a particular story or incident that you found most uplifting?

The most uplifting thing I’ve experienced is being a strong female that people can look up to, showing women that their dreams are achievable and that the power they have inside is stronger than any external forces. By being an outspoken, confident, and honest person, I’ve been able to lead by example and see a change in the lives of others.

I’ve gotten to speak at schools and on panels to talk about the hardships I’ve overcome, and the feedback I’ve received is amazing. It’s wonderful to connect with youth to help them avoid the mistakes I made and tell them what I wish I’d known when I was younger.

Can you share Top three things that the community and society can do to help you address the root of this problem? Can you give some examples?

1) Listen to their stories: One of the ways we can address the issue as a society is by looking to our veterans and hearing their stories. We can learn so much from what went wrong in treating their health issues and the resulting addiction, leading to further health issues. By sharing their stories, we can put a face to the problem, which will stir the conscience of our society and enact real change.

2) Education: Informing the populous in general on the use and abuse of opioids and, inversely, the benefits and pain-relieving properties of CBD is hugely important. Most people have a misconstrued view of what opioids can do in terms of damaging the body, and many also still think CBD is something from marijuana that gets you high when that couldn’t be further from the case.

3) Policy change: Policies currently allow convenient access to opioids and simultaneous restrictions on CBD. CBD is a much safer option, but it's a lot easier sometimes to get opioids. It would be great to see pharmacies, hospitals, and the VA offer clinical-grade CBD instead.

If you had the power to influence legislation, which three laws would you like to see introduced that might help you in your work?

1) One change I would like to see is allowing CBD to be federally legal and state-to-state-mandated legal. We need to change that legislation to make it available to everyone.

2) The second thing I’d like to see happen is the U.S. government offers free CBD for all veterans who have given so much and deserve plant-based pain relief without side effects.

3) The third thing we need is non-narcotic options given post-surgery. My experience with injuries is that the first (and only) thing they prescribe is hard narcotics. When I’ve asked for other options, they’ve said no.

I know that this is not easy work. What keeps you going?

The big thing that keeps me going is the benefits I’ve experienced myself, avoiding opioids and using a daily regimen of Real Scientific Hemp Oil. If I didn’t see all the benefits directly affecting me, and because I can see it's such a viable option for me, it is easy to continue down this road because I can see what it's done for me and what it can do for others.

Do you have hope that one day this leading cause of death can be defeated?

I absolutely hope so. The less trauma and pain that’s in the world, the more happiness we can all experience.

How do you define “Leadership”? Can you explain what you mean or give an example?

I define leadership as being at the forefront of expectation. When someone leads by fulfilling expectations and being an example, ultimately, people will follow suit. I lead in the MMA as a head athlete setting an expectation for other athletes by setting an example. When I was in the military, if I wanted to send out my marines to do a job, I would go out with them because I’m not going to ask them to do a job that I wouldn’t do myself.

What are your “ 5 things I wish someone told me when I first started” and why? Please share a story or example for each.

1) The misnomer that CBD gets you high. I wish I had known from the beginning because it took so long for me to unlearn the stigma surrounding CBD that had been ingrained in me through the years.

2) All the benefits that CBD can have in treating various conditions, including chronic and acute pain. Before, I would pop an ibuprofen or two and accept the limited relief it brought.

3) Learning about CBD specifically as an alternative to opioids earlier in life because, in my career, I’ve been prescribed harmful narcotics that I could’ve avoided if I’d only known.

4) No one told me where I could find CBD, and it was something I had to be proactive in researching myself. Thankfully, now people can get it easily by ordering it online from trusted providers.

5) Finally, I wish someone had told me about HempMeds sooner because I went through so much trial and error with other mediocre brands. I’m not saying this because I’m a spokesperson; I became a spokesperson because I was wowed by the incredible relief Real Scientific Hemp Oil brought me when other brands didn’t live up to their claims.

You are a person of enormous influence. If you could inspire a movement that would bring the most amount of good to the most amount of people, what would that be? You never know what your idea can trigger. :-)

If I were to create a movement, it would be for youth to pursue their dreams. So many kids think that financial hardships hold them back, or think they’re not smart enough, so the movement I would start would be the ‘dream movement.’ Know your dream is tangible, and if you work hard, you can achieve it, and it’s worth it.

Can you please give us your favorite “Life Lesson Quote”? Can you share how that was relevant to you in your life?

“The only person who can tell me no is myself.” I never want to allow outside influences to tell me I’m incapable of anything.

Is there a person in the world, or in the US, whom you would love to have a private breakfast or lunch, and why? He or she might see this, especially if we tag them. :-)

Ellen Degeneres, because since I got into MMA, I became a huge fan of Ellen. I’ve seen firsthand how being an out woman can lead to so much animosity. I would love to pick her brain, listen to her jokes, and hear firsthand what inspired her to be the person that she is today.

How can our readers follow you on social media?

Twitter: @iamgirlrilla

Instagram: @iamgirlrilla

Facebook: Liz Carmouche Official

This was very meaningful. Thank you so much!

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Entrepreneur | Author | 20 years in publication | Interviews Content Creator with Media Impact | Writer|Film producer|Founder@ Derhy Enterprises. “God is First”