ADEA State Update

Illinois: Medical Marijuana as a Substitute for Opioids

(State Policy, Opioid Abuse, Prescription Drug Abuse) Permanent link   All Posts

On Aug. 28, Illinois Governor Bruce Rauner signed legislation that allows medical marijuana to be used as a substitute for patients prescribed an opioid. SB 336 establishes a pilot program allowing an individual with a medical condition for which an opioid has been or could be prescribed to instead use medical marijuana for a period of no more than 90 days. Participation in the program requires the written certification from a physician, and dentists are not currently permitted to write the certification. Program supporters claim that marijuana is less addictive than opioids and point to a reduction in opioid overdose deaths in states with medical marijuana programs. Opponents have voiced concerns about increased cases of driving while impaired and have pointed to a recent study that found marijuana did not reduce patient pain or opioid use.

Thirty-one states currently administer medical marijuana programs. The New York Department of Health established similar requirements in July by adding opioid replacement as a qualifying condition under its medical marijuana program. 

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