Researchers from The University of New Mexico will host a presentation on the prescription opioid epidemic and New Mexico’s medical cannabis program on Friday, March 3 at 9 a.m. in room 103 at the Education Building.

UNM researchers Jacob Vigil and Sara See Stith present, “The Effect of Enrollment in the New Mexico Medical Cannabis Program on Prescription Opioid Use in Chronic Pain Patients” in room 103 of the Education Building.

Sarah See Stith - Jacob Vigil
UNM researchers Sara See Stith and Jacob Vigil.

Sadly, prescription opioids are huge problem. In fact, prescription opioids kill more Americans over the course of year than car accidents. New Mexico is among the hardest hit states in America’s opioid epidemic, which includes widely-prescribed pain medications such as hydrocodone, oxycodone, oxymorphone, morphine, codeine, fentanyl, and others.

In their presentation, Vigil, an assistant professor in the Department of Psychology, and Stith, an assistant professor in the Department of Economics, will discuss the New Mexico Medical Cannabis Program (NMMCP) created in 2007.

There are approximately 35,000 patients enrolled in the NMMCP, and a total of 28+ programs throughout the U.S. These programs are unique, not only because they allow patients to self-manage their cannabis treatment, but they operate in defiance of U.S. federal law, making it challenging for researchers to measure their effectiveness.

The program enables the medical-advised authorization and regulation of cannabis treatment for people with chronic, debilitating health conditions, an alternative to prescription opioids. As part of their talk, Vigil and Stith will describe the first study in the U.S. to measure how enrollment in a MCP effects prescription narcotic (opioid) use and quality of life in people diagnosed with chronic debilitating pain.

The event is free and open to the public.