Colorado Governor Jared Polis is reviewing Senate Bill 19-013, which, if passed, will give doctors the authority to prescribe marijuana in lieu of addictive opioid medications. In other words, any condition that requires opioid prescriptions would be added to the state’s list of qualifying debilitating conditions eligible for medical marijuana.
“This would be a pretty big deal for acute pain experienced by athletes, and also for kids who have surgeries.” said the bill’s co-sponsor Edie Hooton. Advocates for the legislation see marijuana as a one-stop solution to the opioid addiction epidemic, which claimed the lives of 578 people in the state in 2017. In fact, a recent study has found that CBD could help tackle the opioid crisis.
Although the bill authorizes medical marijuana for kids in place of opiates, they cannot consume it via smoking. They can only utilize extracts and nasal sprays with the authorization of two physicians.
Official stats from the National Institute on Drug Abuse say that over 130 lives fall victim to opioid overuse in the United States every day. However, what’s surprising is that despite the apparent life-threatening dangers, the government continues to approve more options. For instance, In November 2018, the FDA approved a drug named Dsuvia, which is ten times as strong as Fentanyl.
A similar pilot project by the name of Opioid Alternative Pilot Program was approved in Illinois in February. Under the program, patients who have been prescribed opioids get access to the state’s medical marijuana program. Notably, 2,000 people died from narcotics usage in the state in 2016.
In Rhode Island, however, a similar proposal was rejected because chronic pain was “already a qualifying condition”, according to the state’s Department of Health.
Governor Jared Polis is required to make his decision on the legislation until June 3.