Opioids For Marijuana: New Drug Trade Program Launches in Illinois

Trade your drugs for a trip to a marijuana dispensary

Michael Calhoun
January 31, 2019 - 8:46 am

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SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (KMOX) — A new program begins in Illinois Thursday that allows patients to trade their painkiller prescription for a trip to the marijuana dispensary.

The goal is to save lives by preventing people from becoming addicted to opioids.

Christine Karhliker (car-licker) is community outreach coordinator at HCI Alternatives, a dispensary in the Metro East.

She says they've been hiring ahead of the launch of the Opioid Alternative Pilot Program.

"These are people in pain and if you think about it, a lot of people that are on an opioid prescription have chronic pain or have been in some type of accident, but the diagnosis didn't match one of the qualifying conditions."

Hundreds of doctors have attended webinars to learn about it. But places like HCI Alternatives will feel increased pressure to meet the demand.

"We're about double right now of the new hires, but it takes so long to get someone on," Karhliker told KMOX's Michael Calhoun.

In this new program, the authorizations from doctors are only for 90 days at a time.

HCI Alternatives has locations in Collinsville and Springfield, Illinois.

Related: Ill. Lawmakers Pass Medical Marijuana Alternative for Pain Medication