N.Y. Lawmakers Need To Combat Opioid Disaster With Medical Marijuana

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ALBANY — State lawmakers need to medical marijuana to assist fight the epidemic of opioid dependancy.

Laws launched this month in each the Senate and Meeting would develop the authorized makes use of of medical marijuana in New York to incorporate opioid dependancy therapy.

“Now we have an opioid disaster and persons are dying and this can be a path to maintain folks from dying and maintain them from relapsing,” mentioned Assemblyman Daniel O’Donnell (D-Manhattan), who launched the measure. O’Donnell and different supporters of the invoice say medical marijuana may be an efficient weapon towards many signs recovering addicts expertise, together with nausea and nervousness.

It additionally poses much less danger than present opioid-based remedies similar to methadone or Vivitrol, they mentioned.

“Removed from being a gateway drug, marijuana is doubtlessly an exit drug for folks utilizing opioids,” mentioned Melissa Moore, deputy state director of the Drug Coverage Alliance, which helps the invoice.

Moore mentioned there’s a rising quantity of analysis displaying entry to marijuana reduces incidents of opioid-related deaths and dependancy relapses.

At the moment, medical marijuana is authorized in New York for less than a handful of great illnesses and situations, together with most cancers, HIV and AIDS, Lou Gehrig’s, Parkinson’s and Huntington’s ailments, epilepsy, a number of sclerosis and a few spinal accidents. In November, Gov. Cuomo signed a invoice permitting the drug for use to deal with post-traumatic stress dysfunction. O’Donnell’s laws would add opioid use dysfunction to the record.

The Meeting Well being Committee authorized the invoice 23-1 on Tuesday. The laws has gained a key Senate backer — Staten Island Sen. Diane Savino, who sponsored the 2014 legislation that legalized medical marijuana in New York.

Savino, a member of the Senate’s influential Unbiased Democratic Convention, mentioned she is hopeful the invoice may be authorized earlier than the Legislature’s session ends in June.

“If we will discover a approach to assist folks have productive lives after they’ve been uncovered to the horror of dependancy, why would we stand in the best way?” Savino mentioned.

Senate Well being Committee Chairman Kemp Hannon (R-Nassau County) didn’t rule out supporting the measure however mentioned he wants extra details about how the drug can be used and the affect it might need earlier than deciding easy methods to proceed.

“I’m certain that that is one thing that can develop as we transfer alongside,” Hannon mentioned.

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