Opioid use or withdrawal could soon be one of the conditions that gets a patient into the state's medical marijuana program.
It's one of four new conditions the state's Board of Physicians discussed during a public hearing on Monday morning.
The other conditions included albinism, osteogenesis imperfecta and progressive degenerative disc disease of the spine.
Members of the public, including those who submitted petitions, were able to speak on the possibilities.
There are 22 conditions that may qualify adults and six that may qualify children for the Connecticut Medical Marijuana Program.
The hearing came on the same day that Gov. Dannel Malloy planned to announce the launch of a statewide opioid awareness campaign.
At noon on Monday, Malloy said he was joined by Department of Mental Health and Addiction Services Commissioner Miriam Delphin-Rittmon and Department of Public Health Commissioner Raul Pino.
He said the multi-agency marketing and education campaign is called "Change the Script."
“Opioid addiction and prescription drug misuse is a disease that is impacting nearly every community and people of every background,” Malloy said. “It is a complex crisis that does not have one root cause, nor does it have simple solution, but we need to do everything in our power to treat and prevent it. Our work on this front will not be finished until our communities and our families are no longer struggling with the grave costs of this illness."
Malloy posted a video to YouTube about the campaign's launch. See it here.
Change the Script campaign materials are being distributed by the state to local health departments, local prevention councils, healthcare providers, pharmacists, and other community partners and stakeholders with information on three main topics: prevention, treatment, and recovery. They're meant to raise awareness of the risk of addiction to prescription opioids; highlight the proven methods of treating opioid use disorder and highlight resources in the community to help people establish and sustain lifelong recovery.
Malloy said the campaign seeks to address the stigma and shame associated with the disorder, which often prevents a person or their loved ones from seeking help. Change the Script also focuses on the overprescribing of opioids occurring not just in Connecticut, but nationwide, and the need for proper storage and disposal of these drugs by consumers.
Representatives from St. Francis Hospital were also on hand, which is where the announcement took place.
"More than 800 people a week die from the OPIOID crisis in this country and many more are afflicted in some way or another," said John Rodis, president of St. Francis Hospital.
More information on the campaign can be found here.
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