It could soon be possible for some patients to swap out their opioid prescriptions for medicinal marijuana.
The Alternatives to Opioids Act would allow patients prescribed an opioid for a medical condition to apply for a temporary medical cannabis card instead. The expedited 14-day application process would allow the patient to receive a 12-month registry card if accepted into the program.
“With the opioid crisis rapidly getting worse, it’s clear that what we’re doing now isn’t working,” said State Sen. Don Harmon (D-Oak Park), the sponsor of the bill. “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.”
More than 60,000 people died from a drug overdose in the United States last year. In Illinois, the death rate from opioids skyrocketed more than 120 percent between 2014 and 2015, according to statistics from the Center for Disease Control and Prevention.