Prescription painkiller addicts can now seek medical cannabis as a form of treatment in New Jersey.
Gov. Phil Murphy (D) on Wednesday announced that opioid addiction will be added to the list of qualifying conditions that allows residents to obtain medical marijuana, reports NJ.com.
The state will also eliminate a prior authorization requirement for Medicaid recipients to receive medication-assisted treatment (MAT).
According to state data, over 3000 New Jersey residents likely died of drug overdoses in 2018, and at least 141 have already died from suspected drug overdoses in 2019 through Jan. 20, averaging nearly 7 deaths per day.
“We are pleased to announce that, as of today, opioid use disorder is a condition for which physicians can recommend medical marijuana to patients,” said state health commissioner Dr. Shereef Elnahal in a press release. “We are also taking steps to ensure that these patients will be on MAT for their addiction, in addition to marijuana.”
As for outright legalization of cannabis use in New Jersey, sources told NJ.com that advocates hope to work on the issue after initial talks stalled.
“I still believe we can make progress on this,” Murphy said earlier this week. “To be determined.”
Today I announced new initiatives to fight the opioid epidemic, including removing the requirement for prior authorization for Medication Assisted Treatment (MAT) and adding opioid addiction as an eligible condition to our medical marijuana program.https://t.co/Uswebrrqi8 pic.twitter.com/BTnNi5zfHd
— Governor Phil Murphy (@GovMurphy) January 23, 2019
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