Illinois Pain Institute Believes State is Going Down Wrong Path with Passage of Medical Marijuana Legislation SB336

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On February 7, 2018, the Illinois Senate Executive Committee passed SB336 in a 16-1 decision, allowing individuals who are prescribed opioids to apply for medical marijuana under the state’s medical marijuana program, with the belief that marijuana is a safer and more preferred alternative to opioids.

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“This is reminiscent of what happened in the ‘90s with opioids,” says Dr. John Prunskis, co-founder of the Illinois Pain Institute and The Regenerative Stem Cell Institute. “This is just another way to mask pain and avoid the responsibility of diagnosing and fixing the patient’s painful condition.”

On Wednesday, February 7, 2018, the Illinois Senate Executive Committee passed SB336 in a 16-1 decision. SB336, if signed into law, would allow individuals who are prescribed opioids to apply for medical marijuana under the state’s medical marijuana program, with the belief that marijuana is a safer and more preferred alternative to opioids.

In the same week, the Illinois Department of Health sought to appeal a ruling by a Cook County judge that added “intractable” – or chronic and severe – pain to the list of acceptable conditions for medical marijuana under the state’s program. What SB336 and the addition of intractable pain to the list of more than 40 qualifying conditions for receiving medical marijuana tell us is that the state is losing track of what pain treatment is really about –fixing the source of pain, and is going down a dangerous path that we’ve seen fail before.

“This is reminiscent of what happened in the ‘90s with opioids,” says Dr. John Prunskis, co-founder of the Illinois Pain Institute and The Regenerative Stem Cell Institute. “This is just another way to mask pain and avoid the responsibility of diagnosing and fixing the patient’s painful condition.”

While the Illinois Pain Institute does not oppose medical marijuana when appropriate, SB336 opens the door to overuse and abuse of the drug while avoiding the key issue: diagnosing and treating the source of the pain. At the Illinois Pain Institute, physicians use imaging, interventions, and preferentially non-opiate medications to fix and treat the underlying problem, instead of masking symptoms.

“If you have rust on your car and the mechanic tells you to just cover it with paint you might feel better about it in the short term, but it doesn’t fix the problem and it will slowly catch up to you,” Prunskis adds.

Medical marijuana, like opioids, is frequently a quick fix for painful symptoms, and it fails to address root causes of pain or support long-term therapeutic outcomes. And while marijuana has less potential for drug-related overdoses and deaths than opioids, innovations in diagnostics and treatment mean that we have an increasing number of preferred alternatives for patients that offer sustainable relief without relying on mood-altering substances.

The physicians at the Illinois Pain Institute encourage Illinois lawmakers to think more broadly about the treatment of chronic pain and support the platform that diagnosing and fixing the problem is preferential to masking it.

Contact:
Owen
847-289-8822
owen(at)illinoispain.com
IllinoisPain.com

ABOUT ILLINOIS PAIN INSTITUTE

Started in 1992, Illinois Pain Institute is the longest established multi-site Interventional Pain Practice in the Chicago area. The Chicago pain management practice has grown to include seven locations in the Chicago suburbs: Elgin, Lake Barrington, McHenry, Itasca, Libertyville, Huntley and Elmhurst.

IPI has been an eight-time winner of the Castle Connolly “Top Doctor” award, as seen in Chicago Magazine and the New York Times. The practice is completely focused on diagnosing, identifying and fixing the problem and not masking it. IPI physicians provide precise diagnosis and treatment of back pain, neck pain, sciatica, headaches and other painful conditions.

The physicians at IPI have expertise in diagnosing and relieving these problems and many other painful conditions by addressing and fixing the source of the pain in a compassionate manner. Visit http://illinoispain.com for more information or call (847) 289-8822.

ABOUT THE REGENERATIVE STEM CELL INSTITUTE

The Regenerative Stem Cell Institute is devoted to advancing successful outcomes and quality care in the area of adult stem cell regenerative medicine. Treatment is offered for a variety of inflammatory and degenerative conditions under an IRB Approved Research Protocol with Board Certified physicians at eight locations in Chicagoland.

The Regenerative Stem Cell Institute is now accepting new patients who may benefit from regenerative medicine. For more information visit: http://www.StemCellDr.com

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David Greene
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