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Question of the day

Thursday, Nov 9, 2017

* Press release…

Senator Don Harmon (D-Oak Park) introduced a measure today aimed at tackling the opioid crisis by providing access to medical alternatives to prescription painkillers.

The Alternatives to Opioids Act would allow people who have been prescribed opioids for a medical condition to apply for a temporary medical cannabis card instead. The application process for these individuals would be expedited to 14 days, and if accepted they would receive a 12-month registry card.

“With the opioid crisis rapidly getting worse, it’s clear that what we’re doing now isn’t working,” Harmon said. “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.”

Concern over the opioid epidemic is growing, as more than 60,000 people in the United States died from a drug overdose in 2016, more than the total number of U.S. soldiers killed in the Vietnam War. In Illinois, the opioid-related death rate increased 120 percent from 2014 to 2015, according to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention.

“We know that opioids are dangerously addictive – people can become dependent after only 2 to 3 days of regular use as directed by a doctor,” Harmon said. “We should be actively helping people who are addicted to opioids instead of treating them like criminals.”

Illinois created the Compassionate Use of Medical Cannabis Pilot Program in 2013 and is one of 29 states to have legalized medical cannabis.

* The Question: Do you support this idea? Take the poll and then explain your answer in comments, please.


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- Posted by Rich Miller        

33 Comments
  1. - Fax Machine - Thursday, Nov 9, 17 @ 2:05 pm:

    It’s good, but we’re kind of beyond this. The Dem frontrunner is calling for Colorado style legalization & Cook County will have a referendum to that effect.


  2. - Ducky LaMoore - Thursday, Nov 9, 17 @ 2:11 pm:

    Yes. Yes. Yes. We need to get people off of the stuff that kills them and on to the stuff that won’t.


  3. - SAP - Thursday, Nov 9, 17 @ 2:11 pm:

    I’m surprised that this wasn’t already a permitted reason to qualify for medical cannabis. Pot is way less dangerous than opioids.


  4. - Ron - Thursday, Nov 9, 17 @ 2:16 pm:

    Of course, but a better solution is to legalize, regulate and tax pot.


  5. - cdog - Thursday, Nov 9, 17 @ 2:17 pm:

    I voted yes because any argument that opposes is immoral.


  6. - Anonymous - Thursday, Nov 9, 17 @ 2:17 pm:

    When medical cannabis introduced, 25% reduction in opioid deaths the first year after the program, 33% reduction after 5 years. https://jamanetwork.com/journals/jamainternalmedicine/fullarticle/1898878


  7. - Anonymous - Thursday, Nov 9, 17 @ 2:18 pm:

    Great plan, but the current program is already running behind by months…the 30 days to be approved and additional 15 to process the card that is stated in statute is backed over an additional 30 days just to get through the approval process. So unless there is language to hire more staff for the program I don’t see how the 14 day expedited timeline is going to work out.

    Can’t Illinois just legalize and tax already…


  8. - illini - Thursday, Nov 9, 17 @ 2:20 pm:

    A college room mate from many years ago is now a retired emeritus research professor at a top tier Medical School. His expertise and area of research was opioids and addiction. We have never talked on this topic.

    I will defer on stating my opinion until we have a chance to speak.


  9. - VanillaMan - Thursday, Nov 9, 17 @ 2:21 pm:

    I am no longer anti-medical cannabis, due to this bigger problem of opioids. Cannabis suppositories should be given out instead of oxycondone or oxycontin. Enough with the opioids.

    You read that right, my stoner friends.


  10. - IMissBentohs - Thursday, Nov 9, 17 @ 2:24 pm:

    My story:
    I hurt myself.
    I have surgery and have to stay in hospital but I tell them no opioids for pain. They give them to me. I ask why and they said the only way we will not is if you say you are allergic … and you not wanting was not sufficient.
    They send me home 3 days later and they prescribe pills. I said I will take if only 5 opioid pills prescribed. They agree. My wife gets from drug store and has 90 of them. I call the doctor and she says 90 is the standard for this case so that is what is done.

    UGH!


  11. - unclesam - Thursday, Nov 9, 17 @ 2:32 pm:

    I support the measure, but is cannabis the only alternative option in the legislation?

    Are there any other alternative methods listed as options? I am certain there is more than one alternative that can help people overcome opioid addiction (such as acupuncture).


  12. - 47th Ward - Thursday, Nov 9, 17 @ 2:36 pm:

    ===Pot is way less dangerous than opioids===

    True, but they are very different drugs. I think opioids are over-prescribed. Most pain can be treated with ibuprofen instead, but too many doctors have been conditioned to write prescriptions instead of giving good, practical and free advice.

    If you just had surgery, medical cannabis isn’t the best way to treat your pain. While some users have reported that, in certain settings, cannabis can help alleviate some pain and discomfort. opioids are still the fastest way to reduce/control severe pain.

    For someone who thinks cannabis might be a better alternative than opioids for pain: try Advil instead.


  13. - teddy salad - Thursday, Nov 9, 17 @ 2:38 pm:

    I voted yes, but unlike cdog @ 2:17 I am not going to go all Ayatollah about it.


  14. - illini - Thursday, Nov 9, 17 @ 2:38 pm:

    I should have mentioned that I personally am in support of the measure, but would still like to hear from an expert that I have known for 50 years.


  15. - @MisterJayEm - Thursday, Nov 9, 17 @ 2:38 pm:

    Once again, VanillaMan displays a degree of moral integrity and intellectual honesty to which we should each aspire.

    – MrJM


  16. - Ducky LaMoore - Thursday, Nov 9, 17 @ 2:40 pm:

    ===Cannabis suppositories===

    The best part of waking up used to be Folgers in your cup. Now I guess it’s Cronic up your-


  17. - Excessively Rabid - Thursday, Nov 9, 17 @ 2:42 pm:

    Support. BTW, read this:
    https://www.newyorker.com/magazine/2017/10/30/the-family-that-built-an-empire-of-pain


  18. - 47th Ward - Thursday, Nov 9, 17 @ 2:44 pm:

    ===Cannabis suppositories===

    Yeah, you can go ahead and bogart that.


  19. - Cubs in '16 - Thursday, Nov 9, 17 @ 2:53 pm:

    ===Cannabis suppositories===

    Possibilities for a Cheech and Chong sequel to ‘Up In Smoke’?


  20. - Swift - Thursday, Nov 9, 17 @ 2:54 pm:

    Voted no, but conditionally. I’ve only had a opioid based painkiller for wisdom teeth, when I was 18, in college, in a fraternity, had a fake ID, and dumb, so a year of access to cannabis and a opioid prescription in my pocket probably wouldn’t have turned out well. I’d like to see the language in the bill, but if wisdom teeth removal would qualify for a year of access to extremely potent cannabis, I’d have to say no, but other than wanting clarification on what qualifies as a medical condition, I’m okay with this.


  21. - TheGoodLieutenant - Thursday, Nov 9, 17 @ 2:57 pm:

    Voted yes, but just legalize it already.


  22. - Anonymous - Thursday, Nov 9, 17 @ 3:01 pm:

    Voted no. What is needed is amending the Medical Cannabis Act to make it easier to get a prescription. Currently there is a fingerprint processing and registration fees.


  23. - Ma - Thursday, Nov 9, 17 @ 3:03 pm:

    Since the medical doctors know that medical cannabis can cure the ‘opioid prescriptions’ addiction problem, no one should say no to medical cannabis. It won’t help the people whom are getting opioid illegally.


  24. - Ahoy! - Thursday, Nov 9, 17 @ 3:15 pm:

    Devil is always in the details but this just seems to give more flexibility in helping patients deal with pain and I am all for that. There is absolutely no good reason to oppose medical marijuana, that is inhumane.


  25. - Arthur Andersen - Thursday, Nov 9, 17 @ 3:39 pm:

    I didn’t vote because I don’t know enough about the substitutability of cannabis for opioids for things like post-surgical pain relief, migraines, and other non-chronic (so to speak) pain. I’m interested in learning more. Illini, very interested in your perspective and your fellow expert’s opinion.


  26. - MadManMad - Thursday, Nov 9, 17 @ 3:42 pm:

    I voted no. Just legalize marijuana and stop forcing people to live in pain for 14 days and even longer before getting something that can easily provide relief.


  27. - Ducky LaMoore - Thursday, Nov 9, 17 @ 3:48 pm:

    === It won’t help the people whom are getting opioid illegally. ===

    Opening a whole new can of worms, but… what would help those people?


  28. - AgentOrange - Thursday, Nov 9, 17 @ 3:57 pm:

    Sen. Harmon’s bill is a win-win. Creating an opioid alternative for physician (with their patients) to consider will only operate to stem the tide of opioid abuse that nobody can deny. Creating another qualifying condition is a shot-in-the-arm to a cost-neutral, successfully functioning, but stagnate medical cannabis program. The science says that MMJ is an effective opioid avoidance tool. The science also suggests only a very limited public health risk; certainly one that’s outweighed by the benefit of moving people away from more harmful, more addictive opioids. Though opioids kill thousands each year, there has never been a single reported death attributable to cannabis overdose. No brainer.


  29. - Oswego Willy - Thursday, Nov 9, 17 @ 3:58 pm:

    I voted “Yes”

    Why?

    Just the medical aspect to have a choice to keep the possibility of not starting opioids, yes, I’m for that.

    I’m for it.


  30. - NoGifts - Thursday, Nov 9, 17 @ 4:03 pm:

    We already decided the state would allow medical marijuana. Pain is a medical condition.


  31. - Robert the 1st - Thursday, Nov 9, 17 @ 4:12 pm:

    Yes. These people are already poisoning themselves with pain killers and heroin. If there’s a chance we can ween them off with pot, give it a shot.


  32. - Robert the 1st - Thursday, Nov 9, 17 @ 4:16 pm:

    I should have read more carefully, I misunderstood the bill at first. Answer is still yes. If it helps some people with pain it’s probably safer than pills.


  33. - Anonymous - Thursday, Nov 9, 17 @ 4:17 pm:

    I vote yes. But I do feel like it should be legal.


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