Opioid Reduction and Lobbyist Update

Please send the email below to your Senator in the NC General Assembly (then read the report from our lobbyist) https://ncleg.gov/FindYourLegislators


Please send the following email to your Senator:

Dear Senator (name your senator),

Many medical research studies have found that cannabis use reduces the use of prescription drugs as well as drug addiction. Several economic analyses verify the conclusions of scientific medical studies.

The Journal of Health Economics analyzed more than 1.5 billion individual opioid prescriptions and found that adult use and medical marijuana laws “reduce the number of morphine milligram equivalents prescribed each year by 11.8 and 4.2 percent, respectively.” https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/abs/pii/S0167629618309020

Orthopedic surgeons are among the highest prescribers of opioids. The Journal of the American Academy of Orthopedic Surgeons found that overall opioid prescribing by orthopedic surgeons in this cohort was reduced in states permitting patient access to medical cannabis, compared with those who do not. This study is the first to examine the association between implementation of state cannabis laws and prescribing patterns for opioids by orthopaedic surgeons in Medicare Part D patients. “In this study, we observed an association between state-level legalization of medical cannabis and opioid prescribing by orthopedic surgeons in the Medicare Part D cohort. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/32404683/

Additionally Health Affairs published a financial analysis estimating a $475.8 million savings in Medicaid prescriptions during 2014 in states with legalized medical marijuana. They concluded that if all states had medical marijuana laws in 2014, total savings would have been approximately $1.01 billion.  www.healthaffairs.org/doi/10.1377/hlthaff.2016.1135

Applied Health Economics and Health Policy

“National monthly claims data for public and private payers were obtained from January 2016 to June 2019. The drugs evaluated consisted of morphine, codeine, fentanyl, hydrocodone, hydromorphone, meperidine, oxycodone, tramadol, and the non-opioids gabapentin and pregabalin. All opioid volumes were converted to a mean morphine equivalent dose (MED)/claim, which is analogous to a prescription from a physician. ... Over the 42-month period, the mean MED/claim declined within public plans. However, the decline in MED/claim was 5.4 times greater in the period following legalization\... Our findings support the hypothesis that easier access to cannabis for pain may reduce opioid use for both public and private drug plans.” https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/33491149/

Please support S711 and add Opioid Reduction Therapy to replace the use of prescription opioids as well as for opioid addiction. 


(Your name and county)

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If you have personal relationships with any of the lawmakers, please email [email protected] to work on a meeting.

Lobbyist Updates:

8/24/2021 -The Senate Judiciary Committee voted S711 out of committee Aug 24, 2021 with no opposing votes.  The Senate Health Committee is the next stop. The typical Christian opponents didn’t bother to speak this time. Pat Oglesby, NC NORML supporter, questioned who would be the growers. Last meeting, I spoke in favor of opioid reduction for chronic pain and asked Senator Natasha Marcus to bring it up. Today, Senator Marcus suggested that the sponsors find a way to include chronic pain. Please email ([email protected] to thank the Charlotte Senator). Today, on behalf of NC NORML, I requested labeling that would inform patients about the content of the cannabis, % THC and other cannabinoids, plus potential exposure to pesticides or other toxins. I warned the committee that if the information isn’t adequate for patients that they might revert to the street market. After the meeting I spoke to sponsor Senator Lee who told me they are working on labeling with many other suggestions from DHHS. Let’s hope it is adequate. S711 is scheduled to be heard in the Senate Health Committee tomorrow morning. Here’s the coverage and NCNORML quote in the news: www.ncnorml.org/newsroom 

8/25/21 - The Senate Health Committee discussed S711, extending the meeting 20 minutes to hear from the public (one minute each) and take a vote. Senator Hise said he opposed medical legalization because it’s a first step for total legalization.  Several patients testified that cannabis is effective for their medical conditions.  The Christian opponents DID show up today, and along with some senators claimed no science exists to say cannabis is effective. I spoke last and said yes national NORML supports full legalization but most of the NCNORML volunteers that I work with have medical conditions.  Thanks to NCNORML’s wonderful Communication Committee I was able to counter the false statements by saying, “I emailed 35 scientific articles with links to you (committee members) last night regarding opioids.” Please include Opioid Reduction Therapy for patients like me facing potential organ failure due to long-term opioid use as well as people suffering due the Opioid Crisis. Cannabis works.” Check it out at www.ncnorml.org/research The Chair ruled that the bill passed on a voice vote. Next: Senate Rules Committee.  It appears that the session will end soon, hopefully after S711 passes Rules Committee and two full Senate votes.

As Always:

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