Disability Benefit Recipients Denied Medical Cannabis Coverage

Article by Susan Burgess, CBC

Disability benefit recipients denied medical marijuana coverage 'I look at all the medications I've taken over the years, and they don't help like medical marijuana' Susan Burgess · CBC Bobbi Assoun, who relies on payments from the Ontario Disability Support Program, can't afford medical marijuana to treat her MS symptoms and wants the province to cover the cost. (Susan Burgess/CBC) Bobbi Assoun smokes marijuana to control pain from multiple sclerosis. She has a prescription, but isn't covered for the cost as a client of the Ontario Disability Support Program. She says that's driving her back to opioids, which do qualify for coverage. (Susan Burgess/CBC)

An Ottawa woman living with multiple sclerosis says the province’s refusal to cover the cost of medical marijuana is driving her to risk addiction to opiate painkillers.

Bobbi Assoun, 47, has a doctor’s prescription and is federally licensed to use marijuana for MS-related pain. As a recipient of benefits through the Ontario Disability Support Program, her drug costs would normally be covered by the Ontario Drug Benefit program, but that program doesn’t include medical cannabis.

“There’s only one thing that it will mean, which is that I’ll be going back and using my Dilaudid,” said Assoun, referring to the opioid also known as hydromorphone.

Unlike medical marijuana, that drug is covered by the province for people living on ODSP.

Assoun has been paying out of pocket, but said a financial setback has recently made that impossible. Her monthly ODSP benefit of approximately $1,800 a month was cut by about $400 because her 17-year-old daughter moved out.

As a result, Assoun said she’s about to be made homeless because she can’t cover the rent, never mind pay $100 a month for medical marijuana.

Read the full article here.

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