Blog Voices from the Frontlines
In the September 2017 Issue:
- Congress Extends Patient Protections to December
- DOJ Challenged by Congress on Cannabis Research Delays
- Maryland Approves Three More PFC-certified Companies
- PFC Trainings in Philly, New Webinar, California Conference
- ASA Educating State Officials at National Conference
- ASA Activist Profile: Valencia Elliott, Westchester, New York
- Action Alert: Sign the Petition on Ending the Opioid Crisis
There is a bottom line people lose sight of when discussing the opioid crisis sweeping the country: Millions of Americans experience chronic pain every day. They need help, and painkillers created using opioids are highly effective.
Study finds legal cannabis may reduce use of dangerous prescription drugs - Americans for Safe Access
“The potential for addiction and health risks associated with using multiple scheduled drugs places additional direct monetary and health costs on patients and healthcare systems due to an increased number of side effects, risky drug interactions, dependency, and overdose” stated University of New Mexico researchers Jacob Miguel Vigil and Sarah See Stith, of a new study titled, Effects of Legal Access to Cannabis on Scheduled II-V Drug Prescriptions, which will be soon released in an upcoming issue of the Journal of American Medical Directors Association.
The Princeton economist Alan Krueger started with a question: What’s keeping young people out of work? Over the last two decades, the share of employed Americans in their prime has steadily tumbled — even as the economy recovered and businesses nationwide struggled to fill openings. In a new paper, Krueger argues that opioids pose more than just a health threat: They’re benching workers across the country.
U.S. House Committee on Rules Blocks Rohrabacher-Blumenauer Amendment
Washington D.C. -- Last night, the House Committee on Rules voted to not allow a floor vote on an amendment which would continue to prevent the Department of Justice from using funds to interfere with state medical marijuana programs. The amendment, introduced by Representatives Dana Rohrabacher (R-CA) and Earl Blumenauer (D-OR) has been part of the appropriations package since 2015.
The success that medical cannabis has seen in the past five years has prompted researchers and scientists to dive deep into the plant’s medicinal properties and uses, one of the most important being the aid that cannabis can provide for victims of opioid addiction and chronic pain.
One in 12 doctors accepts payment from pharmaceutical companies related to opioids - Americans for Safe Access
One in twelve physicians - and nearly one in five family medicine physicians - accepted payments from pharmaceutical companies related to opioids, according to a new study out of Boston Medical Center's Grayken Center for Addiction Medicine. This is the first large-scale, national study of industry payments involving opioids and suggests that pharmaceutical companies may have a stronger hold than previously known on how doctors prescribe the powerful drugs.
Update 9/8/2017- Congress has approved a continuing resolution to keep the government open through December 8th, 2017. In addition to funding government agencies this continuing resolution also maintains that the Department of Justice can not use funds to prevent the implementation of a medical cannabis program or to prosecute patients. The continuing resolution extends the time for negotiations of the 2018 fiscal year budget. If the continuing resolution is signed by President Trump, this means that protections for medical cannabis patients will continue through December 8th. Under the previous continuing resolution, patient protections were set to expire on September 30th without Congressional action.
Unfortunately, the House Rules Committee blocked amendments related to medical cannabis from being voted on as part of the 2018 Appropriations process. Despite this setback in the House, protections for patients have been approved in the Senate version of the Appropriations bill. In the coming weeks, there will be a meeting of a conference committee which will resolve the differences between the Senate and House appropriations bills. We hope that the conference committee listens to millions of Americans who support the use of cannabis as medicine and include patient protections in the final bill they send to President Trump.
In addition to the pushing the conference committee to include patient protections, as always we will continue to work diligently to pass permanent legislation like the CARERS act to ensure patients are not made into criminals.
Letter: Medical cannabis can be a lifeline for those suffering from severe pain - Americans for Safe Access
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.
On Thursday, August 10th, President Donald Trump told reporters that “the opioid crisis is an emergency…a national emergency.” President Trump is correct: the United States is in the middle of an opioid epidemic. From 1999-2015, over 183,000 Americans died from prescription-opioid overdoses. More worrisome than the total number of overdoses is that opioid overdoses have quadrupled since 1999, resulting in 33,091 deaths in 2015, with 16,000 alone from prescription opioid pain relievers.