* Rolling Meadows resident Ann Mednick writing in the Sun-Times…
Pain defines my life.
It starts in my hip and flows from there like from a leaking faucet. The pain dominates my thoughts and my time, as I think about how to lessen it. It forces me to sit on and sleep with ice packs. It keeps me from doing things I love.
But if pain is the thief that stole my quality of life, the state of Illinois is its accomplice. A remedy exists that would significantly lessen my pain — and do so without damaging side effects. It works but the state won’t let me have it.
She has sacroiliac joint dysfunction and osteoarthritis.
* Mrs. Mednick would like access to medical marijuana for her intractable pain. She doesn’t want the opioids her doctors are prescribing…
Since my pain became acute, I have seen numerous doctors and received countless prescriptions and shots. Doctors have given me fentanyl patches without hesitation. Fentanyl, of course, is an opioid — a class of drugs that is killing people in record numbers. In 2016, some 64,000 Americans died from drug overdoses, the overwhelming majority from opioids.
Opioids have wreaked havoc on my life and I want nothing to do with them. On fentanyl, I became a prisoner — even more of one than I am now. I could not leave my house for fear of being more than a few steps from a bathroom. I lost 80 pounds. The drug made me horribly sick and worse, it clouded my mind. There were days where I didn’t know if I could get out of bed.
The Illinois Medical Cannabis Advisory Board voted 10-0 to add intractable pain to the approved list of conditions for medical marijuana. But Illinois Department of Public Health Director Nirav Shah struck it down. A Cook County judge then overruled Shah.
* Mednick concludes…
Dr. Shah seems to think that if I want to reduce my pain, I should use opioids. I don’t know what else to conclude. I feel the state of Illinois is forcing me toward opioid use when a better alternative exists. For my sake, and for the sake of chronic pain sufferers across Illinois, I hope Dr. Shah will reconsider.
Too late. IDPH and Director Shah filed a notice to appeal the judge’s decision a few hours before Mrs. Mednick’s op-ed was published.