The Alternative Opioids Act
OAK PARK, IL — An Illinois senator has proposed a bill that would address the opioid epidemic by trading pills for pot. Senator Don Harmon (D-Oak Park) has proposed the Alternatives to Opioids Act, a bill that would permit people addicted to opioids, or those who take prescription opiates, to instead get a doctor’s prescription for medical marijuana. Harmon’s bill proposes that approved medical marijuana applications be expedited and be made available within 14 days. The prescription for medical marijuana would be valid for one year.
The senator also said that he was hopeful the law will decrease the opioid deaths afflicting the country, saying “Research has shown that medical cannabis can treat the same conditions for which opioids are prescribed. With thousands of people from every part of our state dying from opioid addiction, it would be irresponsible for us to not consider any safe alternative treatment.” The Center for Disease Control and Prevention reported that the deaths from opioids in Illinois increased 120 percent in one year. This common-sense solution may save lives.
The Trump administration ignores the opioid epidemic and along with the recent data that proves legalizing medical marijuana can treat addiction and save lives. A recent study by Aclara Research reported that 87 percent of pharmacists said that medical cannabis should be legalized and that traditional pharmacies should carry it. The study consisted of 500 pharmacists and 400 patients. Two of three patients said that they were able to completely switch from pharmaceutical drugs to marijuana, more proof that marijuana can safely be substituted for lethal drugs.
Another study published in the journal Drug and Alcohol Dependence reported a decrease in overdoses in states with legalized medical marijuana. The National Bureau of Economic Research also published a study that confirmed the results of similar studies. They reported that “states permitting medical marijuana dispensaries experience a relative decrease in both opioid addictions and opioid overdose deaths compared to states that do not.” The proof is in the pudding.
Niko Mann is a freelance writer living in Los Angeles, California.