(Opioid Policy, Part One: Utah)
There are number of bills in the 2018 Utah legislative hopper dealing with the opioid crisis. Given the legislature’s track record in the area of social policy around drugs, it’s not surprising that most of this year’s proposals are either law-enforcement heavy or otherwise legalistic and restrictive.
And of course there’s nothing about trying medicinal cannabis – which in at least seven or eight studies in states where medical cannabis is legal has shown significantly fewer cases of overdoses, a decline in deaths from the opioid epidemic, and a general decline in opioid use.
Heaven forfend the state should consider that evidence, when there are artificial, clumsy limits to enforce, databases to fill and monitor, etc.
Meanwhile, of the bills described here, HB199 is somewhat interesting in that it asks for evidence that treatment programs are effective, and from what we know of some programs, the goal often seems more to keep patients in them than to get them out and opioid-free when possible. So we’d at least like to know more about it before forming an opinion.
At first glance, and full disclosure, we mostly know only what’s in this article, the rest described here seem to mainly bode to make doctor’s lives more bureaucratic, keep law enforcement on the front lines of looking for solutions, and could probably make some legitimate patients not receive sufficient or timely medicine, but as for being a solution to the problem, they seem more to be nibbling around the edges, and even then, not in necessarily the smartest ways.
There is also not much in the way of actions begun last year, e.g., to move to divert the substance dependent away from jail confinement and into intensive treatment programs, and modest improvements in Medicaid availability to allow more users to seek substance abuse or mental health treatment.
And finally, one more time, one of the possibly most potent tools that’s been found to date, medicinal cannabis treatment of both pain and opioid use, is no where to be even found mentioned in any bill introduced in the last several years since the crisis began to truly mushroom in our pretty great state.
#MMJ #Opioids #PatientsBeforePolitics #UTpol #TRUCE
See full article – Utah opioid bills take aim at access, doctor education