A local resident is campaigning for greater use of medicinal marijuana.
The resident, who asked not to be named, claimed there had been a 40 per cent increase in the past year in deaths caused by accidental opioid painkiller overdoses.
"It is a national disgrace to our health care system so why does the federal government allow this to continue when a safe and viable alternative to opioids exists?" the resident said.
"We were among the first people in our district to be prescribed medicinal cannabis for relief from chronic pain.
"My partner and I can attest to its efficicacy and the incredible improvement in our health and well-being as a result. We noted that transitioning off opioids has given us more energy and interest in life. Sadly, medicinal cannabis is difficult to access and is not on the pharmaceutical benefits scheme.
"It is somewhat costly, really too expensive, for people who survive only on the pension. The government spends huge amounts of money on opioids which are also very costly. Would the government please consider also subsidising medicinal cannabis?"
The resident said reasons for subsidisation included:
- Chronic pain sufferers would no longer be in continuous pain and become productive again with better health, quality of life and become less dependent on others.
- Much lower likelihood of presenting at hospital, causing ramping at emergency wards, and costly admissions.
- Absolutely no chance of being an accidental opioid overdose victim.
"I call upon our local, state and federal politicians to lobby for subsidised medicinal cannabis as a safer and much more effective alternative to opioids for chronic pain sufferers," the resident said.
"This would allow people to again enjoy life, pain-free, to be able to contribute to their communities instead of being opioid-addicted, brain-fogged and sedated at home and at high risk of accidental death."