A medical marijuana dispensary has been proposed on Harvard Avenue in Allston and is moving through the state approval process. The company has secured signatures on a petition indicating non-opposition from nearby businesses and a letter of support from the Allston Civic Association. In November 2012, 65% of voters approved a ballot question to legalize medical marijuana.
The legislature’s emerging approach to the issue of how to handle patients admitted with overdoses is sound — it requires hospitals to offer more to people with addictions, without turning doctors into police.
Another big theme in the discussion about the opioid epidemic is treatment — making treatment for the disease of addiction more available in a host of ways. This piece offers background on the issue of coerced treatment and seeks feedback on the Governor’s proposal to allow physicians to hold people with addictions against their will for days or, in some cases, months for treatment.
Early next year, the legislature will likely continue efforts to address the rising dysfunction, disability and death from opioid drug abuse. Physicians face powerful conflicting goals and incentives in treating pain; pain is a real problem and addiction is a real problem. Based on what you are seeing and hearing yourself, are doctors getting the balance wrong and making pain medication too readily available?
A committee of Senators has been working to develop legislation in response to the current wave of opioid drug use. Perhaps the most innovative and possibly controversial concept in the legislation is to verbally screen middle-school and high school students for substance abuse. Your thoughts on this proposed program or any aspect of the legislation would be very welcome.
This week the Senate took an important step towards making it easier for people who have gotten in trouble to get out of trouble and get back to work. We voted unanimously to repeal provisions of state law that automatically suspend the driver’s licenses of people convicted of drug offenses and require them to pay reinstatement fees of $500 or more.