O’Donnell Introduces Bill to Combat Opioid Crisis. Adding Opioid Substance Abuse to Medical Marijuana Law

New York, NY – 1/29/18 – Assembly Member O’Donnell introduced legislation recently to combat the opioid crisis in New York State. The bill A9016, would allow the use of medical marijuana to treat opioid substance abuse, prescribed by medical practitioners registered with the Department of Health.

New York State Assembly Member Daniel O’Donnell stated, “New York State has waited too long to act on the opioid crisis. As a legislator I often defer to my colleagues that have expertise, experience with, or represent the communities most affected by an issue. I know I’m not the ideal sponsor of this bill, as I don’t have the most experience or expertise on this issue, but I cannot continue to be a bystander of inaction and reluctance to lead while people are dying. The time for pilot programs and ad campaigns is long past. Immediate action is necessary, and anything but action is cowardice in the face of one of the biggest threats to the lives of New Yorkers. I’m glad that Senator Diane Savino, whose home district in Staten Island is battling one of the highest rates of opioid overdoses in the state, will be joining me as the Senate sponsor of this bill. Her expertise as sponsor of the original medical marijuana bill makes the Senator invaluable to the process.”

New York State Senator Diane Savino said, “We have seen over the past few years that Medical Cannabis has improved the quality of life for those suffering from debilitating illness. If we can also improve the lives of those who have fought addiction to opioids, we should not stand in the way of them having a productive life with less pain.”

O’Donnell also wanted to credit Chair of the Health Committee Dick Gottfried, and said “It’s not often a bill is introduced and put on a committee agenda immediately. I sincerely thank Chair of Health Dick Gottfried for acting so quickly and look forward to working with him on future bills I introduce to combat the opioid crisis.”

Assembly Member O’Donnell has also introduced two other pieces of legislation related to the opioid crisis. One requires Naloxone to be on-premises in schools where a nurse is present, and the other requires training with Naloxone for Resident Assistants in college dormitories. Naloxone is an opioid receptor blocker credited with reversing overdoses and giving first responders time to treat patients. The training to administer Naloxone takes minutes and the drug has no effect unless opioids are present in the patient’s system.



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