SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (AP) — Doctors in Illinois can now prescribe marijuana as a painkiller thanks to a new law intended to counter a growing opioid abuse epidemic.
Republican Gov. Bruce Rauner signed the bill into law Tuesday allowing physicians to temporarily prescribe cannabis for pain relief, effective immediately.
News 10 caught up with one local person who supports the drug's legalization. He wants to remain anonymous so we are not showing his face or sharing his name.
We can tell you that he deals with chronic pain from a work-related injury. He says he took opioids that his doctor prescribed for the pain but he felt himself getting hooked.
This scared him so he turned to marijuana to manage his pain.
“It’s the worst pain you could imagine. [Marijuana] makes it livable. If lawmakers would legalize medical cannabis I feel like it would cut down on the opioid and heroin epidemic.”
The Illinois Department of Public Health reports that 11,000 people have died from opioid overdoses since 2008. In 2016, opioid abuse killed nearly twice as many people as traffic accidents.
Rep. Kelly Cassidy was the House sponsor. The Chicago Democrat says the plan reforms pain treatment and provides more options to patients.
The law creates a pilot program which includes safeguards against the abuse of medical marijuana.
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