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Va Health Chief Clarifies Agency's Medical Marijuana Policy


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VA HEALTH CHIEF CLARIFIES AGENCY'S MEDICAL MARIJUANA POLICY Dr. Robert Petzel says veterans who legally use medical pot could continue to receive opioids for pain management at the VA.

by Larry Scott, VA Watchdog dot Org

-------------------------

In the past, certain VA facilities have put out information on their medical marijuana policy.

Now, we have it right from the top ... Dr. Robert Petzel, VA's Under Secretary for Health.

Petzel issued the following letter on July 6, 2010:

This
is a follow-up response to your letter requesting clarification
of the Veterans
Health Administration's (VHA) policy regarding the practice
of prescribing opioid therapy
for
pain management for Veterans who provide documentation
of the use of medical
marijuana in accordance with state
law.

lf a
Veteran obtains and uses medical marijuana in a
manner consistent with state law,
testing positive for marijuana would
not preclude the Veteran from receiving opioids
for pain management in a Department of Veterans Affairs
(VA) facility.

The Veteran would need to inform his provider of the
use of medical marijuana, and of any
other non-VA prescribed medications he or she
is taking to ensure that
all medications, including opioids, are prescribed in a safe
manner.

Standard pain
management agreements should draw a clear distinction
between the use of illegal
drugs, and legal medical marijuana. However, the
discretion to prescribe, or not prescribe,
opioids in conjunction with
medical marijuana, should be determined on clinical
grounds, and thus will remain the decision of the
individual health care
provider.

The provider will take the use of medical marijuana
into account in
all prescribing decisions, just as the provider would for
any other medication.
This is a case-by-case decision, based upon the
provider's judgment, and
the needs of the
patient.

Should
you have further questions, please contact Robert
Kerns, PhD, National Program
Director, New England Healthcare System
at (203) 932-5711 begin_of_the_skype_highlighting (203) 932-5711 end_of_the_skype_highlighting, extension
3841.

Signed, Robert A. Petzel, M.D.

I would like to thank Michael Krawitz of Veterans for Medical Marijuana Access ( www.veteransformedicalmarijuana.org ) for this information.

Krawitz writes:

"The work we did on this issue was for all Vets of all time periods. My personal injuries led me to find medical cannabis to help control my chronic pain. My fellow Vets, thousands of them have found the same medicine to relieve their suffering and will appreciate this strong support and Dr. Petzel's attention."

I would suggest that any veteran who is using medical marijuana and in a pain management program at the VA make a copy of the Petzel letter to show when discussing this matter with their provider.

Use our search engine for more about veterans and medical marijuana ... here ...

http://www.yourvabenefits.org/sessearch.

php?q=medical+marijuana&op=ph

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