In the United States, opioid overdose is currently killing 115 people every day, according to the National Institute on Drug Abuse. These overdoses include all types of opioids, such as heroin, Vicodin®, OxyContin® and fentanyl. Here are more statistics from the NIDA:
- About 21-29 percent of people who are prescribed opioids for chronic pain misuse those drugs
- About 8-12 percent will develop an opioid use disorder
- 4-6 percent of people who misuse prescription opioids begin using heroin
- Roughly 80 percent of people using heroin were previously misusing prescription opioids
This July 1, a Florida law aimed at curbing opioid deaths went into effect. It was signed by Governor Rick Scott this past March. You can read the full details here. HB 21 limits the number of days an opioid prescription lasts and it requires prescribing physicians and pharmacists to engage with an online database.
The database: With HB 21 in effect, doctors prescribing opioids must enter patient information into an online database. Both doctors and pharmacists must check this database for information about the patient before prescribing or dispensing opioids. The point is to curb "doctor shopping" by a person who may be misusing opioids and seeking the drugs from multiple doctors.
What role can medical marijuana play? At Access Marijuana RX, our physicians have seen the effects of highly addictive prescription painkillers. We have current medical marijuana patients who have been able to cease use of prescription opioids when they start using medical marijuana under our guidance.
Opioid abuse is affecting people in Florida just like it is in the rest of the country. HB 21 is an effort to meet this crisis head-on, but we know that multiple solutions will be needed to reduce overdose deaths. With the expanded medical marijuana law in Florida, more people are eligible for this pain-reducing solution. Talk to our physicians about your eligibility and whether cannabis can help you reduce or eliminate your use of prescription painkillers.
To arrange an evaluation and consultation at our St. Petersburg-Tampa area office, please call Access Marijuana RX at 727-209-5470.