New York State Department of Health Announces Opioid Use to be Added as a Qualifying Condition for Medical Marijuana
Marijuana can be an effective treatment for pain, greatly reduces the chances of dependence and eliminates the risk of fatal overdose compared to opioid-based medications. Studies of some states with medical marijuana programs have found notable associations of reductions in opioid deaths and opioid prescribing with the availability of cannabis products. States with medical cannabis programs have been found to have lower rates of opioid overdose deaths than other states, perhaps by as much as 25 percent. Studies on opioid prescribing in some states with medical marijuana laws have noted a 5.88 percent lower rate of opioid prescribing. Adding prescribed opioid use as a qualifying condition for medical marijuana will allow individuals who use opioids to instead use medical marijuana for pain relief.
According to the United States Health and Human Services (HHS), Opioid overdoses accounted for more than 42,000 deaths in 2016, more than any previous year on record. An estimated 40% of opioid overdose deaths involved a prescription opioid, and as reflected in the latest mortality data from CDC, deaths from drug overdose are up among both men and women, all races, and adults of nearly all ages. The opioid epidemic continues to ravish our communities.
In February 2018, SAMHSA published new treatment improvement protocols focusing on the utilization of medicated assisted treatment (MAT). The US Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar III publicly touted MAT as a crucial component of stemming the crisis. Azar went on to say, “Medication-assisted treatment works,” “The evidence on this is voluminous and ever growing.” By referencing that only about one-third of speciality substance abuse treatment programs offer MAT, Secretary Azar said that failing to do so, “is like trying to treat an infection without antibiotics.”
According to SAMHSA, MAT is defined as the use of FDA- approved medications, in combination with counseling and behavioral therapies, to provide a “whole-patient” approach to the treatment of substance use disorders. Research demonstrates a dramatic increase in efficacy of treatment and long term sustainable success when MAT is properly integrated into treatment.
Unfortunately, the traditional treatment industrial complex has been alarmingly slow to reflect this science, whether from adherence to ideology of a pure abstinence based approach, stigmatizations of medications, or a prevailing public opinion within the organized recovery community that one is not “really sober,” or just “trading one addiction for the next” when utilizing medications. Sadly, many prospective patients are shamed away from exploring options when told they are just seeking a crutch and thinking like addicts just looking for another drug.
Institutional level change needs to happen, and The Recovery Spot intends to remain at the tip of the spear of that charge. The program was founded, and is operated by two pioneering physicians, an addiction psychiatrist and anesthesiologist/ pain management specialist. Both physicians continue to remain on the forefront of the treatment landscape by developing new modalities and innovating applications of existing medications.
The Recovery Spot is proud to announce that we have been certified by the New York State Dept of Health as a designated Opioid Overdose Prevention Program! We have expanded our mission to not only provide the highest level of treatment available, but to provide a much needed public service and to serve as life-saving resource for the community. We provide trainings on the proper administration of Narcan and other life saving measures in the event of overdose. Upon completion of training, each individual will be provided Narcan and basic first aid/CPR certification.
If you or someone you know are struggling with addiction, mental health issues or chronic pain, call us now for a consultation – Our toll free number is available 24 hours per day, seven days a week: 1-866-677-6869.