A November 2017 study conducted by researchers at the University of New Mexico, comparing medical cannabis and prescription opioid use among chronic pain patients, found a distinct connection between having the legal ability to use cannabis and significant reductions in opioid use. This is what my preliminary research suggested.
I pioneered this critical program at the Workers Compensation Administration in 2010. We assisted injured workers. Most were receiving opioid prescription drugs to manage their pain. In October 2017, President Trump “declared a nationwide public health emergency” to combat the opioid crisis. I took the professional initiative to focus on this epidemic seven years earlier.
I am one of the first healthcare professionals in the US to recommend considering Medical Cannabis as an alternative to opioid prescription drugs. As we know still today, nobody has died from overdose of Medical Cannabis. In 2015 alone, the CDC estimates over 15,000 Americans died from overdose involving prescription opioids.
New Mexico is, Dr. Jacob Miguel Vigil, associate professor, Department of Psychology notes, among the U.S. states hardest hit by the current opioid epidemic, although the number of opioid-related overdose deaths appears to have fallen in recent years, perhaps the result of increased enrollment in the NM MCP, which currently includes more than 48,000 patients.
My supervisor at the time applauded my efforts. “Scott made a very good presentation on opioids and pain management (dependency, abuse, and implications for the New Mexico Workers Compensation System) at the New Mexico Workers Compensation Association monthly breakfast meeting this morning.”
He added, “The presentation was well-prepared, the delivery was excellent, and the subject matter was very well received. The meeting also provided an opportunity for me to directly observe Scott interact with stakeholders outside the agency building. I was very happy with the results. The presentation had 40 slides providing a range of information for all stakeholders.”
Unfortunately, my bureau chief, Richard Adu-Asamoah, and agency deputy director, Thomas Dow, denied my requests for additional training. People die in America due to the petty games of privileged and powerful managers.