The opiate crisis in the United States has reached epidemic levels. Drugs like Oxycontin, Percocet, morphine, and codeine are intended to treat severe pain – such as what one would experience post-surgery. Unfortunately, the pills are highly addictive and eventually those who try to stop taking the pills experience terrible withdrawal symptoms. Addicted individuals sometimes turn to street drugs like heroin in order to find relief from the suffering of withdrawal. Heroin is often mixed with fentanyl – a deadly substance 100 times more powerful than morphine. Opiate addiction and abuse have destroyed many people’s lives.
Bill Would Expand Illinois Medical Marijuana Program
A new bill is being brought before the Illinois General Assembly that would expand the state medical marijuana program to allow cannabis to be used by any patient who qualifies for the prescription use of opioids. The program, which currently has 27,000 participants, would be greatly expanded by this bill. In order to qualify for medical marijuana in Illinois currently, you must suffer from one or more of 40 specific medical conditions including cancer and lupus. The bill would allow patients who would normally be given only opioid treatment to also have access to medical marijuana. This could be beneficial for individuals who have post-surgery pain or are healing from an injury.
Controversial Treatment for Opioid Addiction
Oak Park resident Senator Don Harmon is sponsoring the bill which aims to give opioid users temporary access to medical marijuana. He says, “We should be actively helping people who are addicted to opioids instead of treating them like criminals.” Advocates of the bill cite a 2014 study which found that states with legalized medical marijuana saw a one-third decrease in opioid overdose deaths. The National Institute on Drug Abuse reports that there are 115 prescription opioid deaths a day while there are no reported overdose deaths associated with marijuana.
Critics of the proposal say that marijuana is dangerous and that patients will build up a tolerance for it, making the use of medical marijuana to treat opioid addicts unsustainable. Marijuana has been shown to help alleviate pain and nausea but it has not been researched as extensively as other treatment options.
Aggressive Drug Crimes Defense Lawyer
Those arrested on drug-related charges know that such charges can have a devastating impact on a person’s life. If you are facing charges related to the sale, purchase, use, or possession of illegal drugs you need an experienced Joliet criminal defense attorney who will fight to keep you out of jail. For a free, confidential consultation of your case, contact us today at (815) 740-4025.