Illinois medical patients will soon be able to have the choice to choose there pain medication, with cannabis being on the list of alternative treatment. Late August 2018, Gov. Bruce Rauner signed into law Senate Bill 336, which establishes the Opioid Alternative Pilot Program.
Under the States Compassionate Use of Medical Cannabis Pilot Program Act, only applies to “debilitating medical conditions,” such as cancer and HIV. This program now allows doctors to prescribe medical marijuana in serious situations in which opioids would normally be used to treat pain. The Pilot program removes strict requirements that patients must undergo background checks and fingerprint scans — two rules which immediately went into effect and removed.
The requirements of the provider must be a doctor of medicine or osteopathy licensed under the Medical Practice Act of 1987 ,be in good standing to practice medicine in Illinois, have a controlled substances license under Article III of Illinois Controlled Substances Act, , and have a physician-patient relationship with the patient whose debilitating condition they are certifying
According to the Illinois Department of Public Health, About 2.3 million patients in Illinois received about 5 million opioid painkiller prescriptions in 2017. It is also reported that 11,000 people have died from opioid-related overdoses since 2008.
Illinois Adams County State’s Attorney Gary Farha shared that he sees the use of medical Marijuana over opioids as a way to shift the crisis. Seeing such high averages in Adams County during the year 2016, with 133 opioid prescriptions per 100 residents. Seven residents died from opioid overdoses that year.
A new report by the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine stated there was clear evidence that cannabis or cannabinoids, which are found in the plant, can, in fact, be an effective treatment for chronic pain.
There are four popular dispensaries in Illinois, including Mundelein, Effingham, Joliet, and Naperville. Patients Participating must register at a state-licensed dispensary. The Pilot Program allows individuals 21 and older. The allowed limit is 2.5 ounces every 14 days and cannot exceed 90 days per physician certification.
According to Josh Ratliff, manager of The Clinic Effingham the main reason people try medical marijuana is to control pain. The three top medical reasons patients use medical marijuana are fibromyalgia, Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, and cancer-related ailments. It isn’t uncommon to see patients come into the dispensary who are being prescribed oxycontin, Vicodin, morphine and Fentanyl Ratliff said.
Next year a web-based system known as the Illinois Cannabis Tracking System under the law by Illinois Department of Health must now be established, which are written certifications for Pilot Program patients will be uploaded, patients will be verified, and medical cannabis sales through the program will be tracked.
The law 2017 State of Illinois Opioid Action Plan, which described the opioid crisis as “the most significant public health and public safety crisis facing Illinois” and said “at the current rate, the opioid epidemic will claim the lives of more than 2,700 Illinoisans in 2020.” with having the Pilot Program in placed Illinois aims to dramatically impact and save the lives of its people.
By: Mckenzie Santa Maria
Source: The Recover News Room.