Illinois looking into medical marijuana instead of opioids - WGEM.com: Quincy News, Weather, Sports, and Radio

Illinois looking into medical marijuana instead of opioids

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Officials with Herbal Remedies supported the legislation. Officials with Herbal Remedies supported the legislation.
Patients prescribed opioids could apply to use medical marijuana instead. Patients prescribed opioids could apply to use medical marijuana instead.
The bill passed a senate committee this week. The bill passed a senate committee this week.
Preferred Family Healthcare doesn't currently have a stance on medical marijuana. Preferred Family Healthcare doesn't currently have a stance on medical marijuana.
Herbal Remedies said the legislation could help fight the opioid crisis. Herbal Remedies said the legislation could help fight the opioid crisis.
QUINCY, Ill. (WGEM) -

There's a push in the Illinois General Assembly to allow people prescribed opioids to use medical marijuana instead.

Chris Wildrick is the Chief Operating Officer of Herbal Remedies in Quincy and on Friday she said it's definitely needed.

"I think passing this legislation is, like I said a great thing for those people who are suffering from some form of pain, and are just looking for a safer alternative." Wildrick said.

Wayne Gilliland is a drug counselor at Preferred Family Healthcare. He said the opioid crisis continues to grow locally.

"Over the last couple of years, the opioid crisis has increased drastically." Gilliland said. "We're seeing a large increase in both the use of pill form opiates, and heroin form."

That being said, Gilliland said Preferred Family Healthcare doesn't currently have a stance on medical marijuana. 

"Preferred family healthcare is usually very good at following the scientifically based evidence approaches to treatment." Gilliland said. "In the times, things come and go." 

The bill passed through a senate committee with a 16-1 vote, with the lone opposition vote coming from Republican Senator Bill Brady of Bloomington, Illinois. 

His office said Friday that the reasoning behind that opposition vote was concerns from the Illinois Department of Health over being able to staff the additional people needed to streamline the process.

If it becomes a law, it would allow people applying for the medical marijuana program in the first year, to do so without a physicians certification, or the fingerprint background check. That's a move that Wildrick said will help fight the crisis. 

"Allowing individuals legal access to the medicine, for one year, I think that's  definitely going to have a positive impact on the opioid uses here in Illinois." Wildrick said.

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