Our nation’s addiction to opioids has been building for 10 years and Illinois’ failed medical cannabis policies compound this problem, putting our patients at a dangerous and potentially deadly disadvantage. The Tribune reported on President Donald Trump’s declaration labeling the opioid epidemic a national emergency. As a seasoned orthopedic surgeon, I can attest to the devastating effects opioid dependency has on my patients, their families and friends, and our society as a whole. It is a critical public safety issue that must be addressed immediately.
A 2014 study published in JAMA analyzed the association between states with medical cannabis laws and opioid overdose mortality rates. The study concluded that states with medical cannabis laws had a nearly 25 percent lower annual opioid overdose mortality rate in comparison to states without such laws.
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