MURPHYSBORO, IL (KFVS) - With the nation’s battle against the opioid crisis, Illinois Governor Bruce Rauner is taking action.
On Tuesday, Rauner signed a law that allows doctors to temporarily prescribe medical marijuana as a painkiller.
Jeff Ripperda, a Murphysboro family practice physician, specializes in opiate addictions.
He says, "One of the ways that doctors treat pain is to prescribe opiates, but as we've learned over the past 20 years, opiates have a ton of problems associated with them."
Problems that have sent the nation into one the deadliest drug crisis in history according to the Illinois Department of Public Health.
However, with mixed feelings, Ripperda says he sees the benefit in the new law.
"I don't prescribe medical marijuana.
And I don’t for fairly simple reasons,” he says .”There's not one single treatment that the American Medical Association says they marijuana works for this.”
Critically, Ripperda understands the pros and cons of Senate Bill 336.
He says, "But on the flip side showing that if you open up access to marijuana, that it does decrease the number of opiates that people use."
Ann Shragal, an opioid addiction counselor, is critical but optimistically hopeful about this new law.
"I am really excited about it...I am interested to see what kind of research is going to come out because of this.
Medical cannabis is not the end all be all...we have to look at all facets and try to work as a team so our patients can really get the best care."
According to Governor Rauner, “This law will give thousands of Illinoisans who struggle with the negative side effects of opioids, including harmful addiction, another choice to manage their pain”.
the governor said, “This is not about personal opinions about cannabis.
It’s about giving people more control over their own health care and pain-relief options.”
Some businesses throughout the state of Illinois will benefit from this law.
Eric Sweatt, the CEO of Medical Cannabis Outreach is says, “I’m really excited about it.” He says his phones have been ringing off the hook.
In addition, there are organizations that are not legally able to provide the marijuana.
According to the Spokesperson at SIH Medical Group, “As it remains illegal under federal law, SIH Medical Group providers do not provide certification for medical marijuana.”
The law creates a program which tries to prevent the abuse of medical marijuana.