Support for adding opioid addiction/dependency as a qualifying condition for medical marijuana is growing in New Mexico. Governor Susana Martinez vetoed the last measure that passed both chambers of the Legislature. The House and Senate again, this year, passed measures to formally request that the Secretary of Health, Lynn Gallaher, approve their petition.
The Medical Cannabis Advisory Board has submitted a unanimous recommendation to add opioid-use disorder to the list as well, Santa Fe New Mexican reports. The board says that allowing those with opioid-use disorders access to medical marijuana reduces harm. Statistics were provided to the secretary of health showing that the rate of heroin dependency is 23-percent as opposed to just 9-percent in regards to marijuana.
Roughly 500 New Mexico residents die annually from opioid-related causes. It is estimated that tens of thousands more struggle with dependency and addiction to opioid. There is also limited access to medications like methadone or buprenorphine to help reduce opioid dependency. Statewide, 29 locations offer the medication-assisted treatment program to help get people off of opioids or treat their addictions.
Many physicians, lawmakers and influencers in New Mexico believe that now is the time to allow access to medical marijuana to help treat opioid dependency and addiction. The push to have this condition added to the qualifying conditions list continues to gain support and make waves.
Lawmakers across the state, along with advocacy groups, physicians and activists are urging Secretary of Health Lynn Gallagher to listen to the experts, and add opioid addiction/dependence as a medical marijuana qualifying condition to help curb the state’s continuing opioid epidemic. Sufficient study-related data is available to support the argument that access to medical marijuana reduces opioid addiction, prescription filling and frequency of use.