Listen up! Illinois will be introducing provisions for the new opioid alternative program TOMORROW, Thursday, January 31, 2019! This program does not replace the current medical cannabis program, but rather expands it.
You down with OAPP?
But wait, let’s define an opioid, and identify why preventive programs are even needed. An opioid is a compound resembling opium in addictive properties or physiological effects. This includes heroin, the synthetic drug fentanyl, and legal prescription pain relievers such as OxyContin and Vicodin.
The widespread problem of addiction to prescription pills and/or heroin expanded beyond the inner cities of America into middle and upper class communities, gaining national attention. Typical addictions begin with a prescription for pain or depression, for instance, and often the patient turns to heroin or fentanyl because they’re cheaper options. Overdoses are now the leading killer of Americans under the age of 50. In Illinois there has been about 11,000 overdoses since 2008, and another expected 2,700 in 2020.
So this how the program works: Physicians will be able to grant permissions to their patients who are prescribed opioids or who qualify for an opioid prescription to use and purchase medical cannabis. Physicians licensed to practice in IL with a Controlled Substance License certifies their patient via an online portal. The patient also applies online, submitting their photograph, dispensary of choice, address verification, and $10 payment. Once approved, the program certifies the patient via email and they are able to visit their chosen dispensary and purchase cannabis products.
Cannabis has been proven to not only fight addiction but relieve the symptoms of withdrawal from opioids. The combination of THC and CBD treats addiction and symptoms with psychoactive and non-psychoactive effects. During a decade long study beginning in 1999, researchers found a significant lower rate of opioid overdoses in states that legalized cannabis.
“We found there was about a 25 percent lower rate of prescription painkiller overdose deaths on average after implementation of a medical marijuana law,” lead study author Dr. Marcus Bachhuber said.
I made a small chart with some of the major differences between the current medical cannabis program, Medical Cannabis Pilot Program, and the Opioid Alternative Pilot Program.
For more information about the OAPP, click here.