Medical marijuana delays push patients to opioid use

(WFLA) – Janice Michalski lives in pain. 

“Being on the opioids, right now the only way is to go up to keep the pain away,” claims Michalski.

Michalski knows and worries about the risk of increasing her dosage.

So does Governor Rick Scott.

“Opioid abuse has taken the lives of too many Floridians,” the governor told a crowd in September.

Governor Scott barnstormed Florida in recent weeks, warning of an opioid crisis and epidemic.

“We’re fully committed to finding additional ways to fight this crisis,” added the governor.

Pain limits former addiction therapist Taffy Lynch everyday.

“I’m wearing ice on my neck and my back right now,” she pointed out during our October interview.

Lynch is among the thousands of patients who waited more than three months for the Office of Medical Marijuana Use to issue a state-required ID card.

According to director Christian Bax, the office is not equipped to mass produce tens of thousands of cards.

“His office is contributing to opioid deaths,” charges attorney John Morgan.

John Morgan led the fight to expand the use of medical marijuana.

“The greatest weapon we have to fight opioids is medical marijuana,” Morgan added.

Dr. Lora Brown contends there is compelling evidence that medical marijuana can wean addicts off opioids.

“I’ve had patients that have been dependent on opioids for years that we’ve been able to take off of opioids and use medical cannabis instead,” explained Dr. Brown.

“Every state that has medical marijuana, opioid deaths go down,” said Morgan.

John Morgan blames the governor and the pharmaceutical industry for delays at the Office of Medical Marijuana Use.

According to the Florida Department of Health, which runs the Office of Medical Marijuana Use, it takes an average of 30 days to process applications and issue medical marijuana ID cards.

Taffy Lynch and patients whose patience are wearing thin just hope for relief.

If you have a problem that you think should be investigated, call our Target 8 Helpline at 1 800 338-0808. Contact Steve Andrews at sandrews@wfla.com.

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