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December 15, 2017

FRANKFORT, Ky. (Dec. 14, 2017) – Members of Secretary of State Alison Lundergan Grimes and Rep. John Sims' medical cannabis task force on Thursday discussed the concepts of a legislative proposal for the 2018 legislative session. The legislation is anticipated to be bipartisan.

 

Members of Secretary of State Alison Lundergan Grimes and Rep. John Sims' medical cannabis task force Members of Secretary of State Alison Lundergan Grimes and Rep. John Sims' medical cannabis task force

"In the weeks since we announced this effort on medical cannabis, I've heard the stories of Kentuckians in every part of the state – countless veterans, single parents, grandmothers, Parkinson's patients, and many more," said Grimes. "The stories are real and heart-wrenching. This moment is a gut check for Kentucky. Every elected official has a duty to stand up now and work toward giving people access to medicine that can help them, and I'm hoping every one of us will."

The Journal of the American Medical Association Internal Medicine reports that opioid overdose deaths have fallen by 25% in states that have legalized medical marijuana. The Journal of the American Medical Association Internal Medicine reports that opioid overdose deaths have fallen by 25% in states that have legalized medical marijuana. Medical marijuana is legal in 29 states and the District of Columbia.

The Journal of the American Medical Association Internal Medicine reports that opioid overdose deaths have fallen by 25% in states that have legalized medical marijuana.

In Kentucky, where the 2014 veteran suicide was 10% higher than the national average, many veterans and their physicians say that medical cannabis is the most effective treatment for chronic pain and PTSD. Numerous veterans attended the meeting, the task force's second.

The members also heard from Laura from Scott Co., the mother of a young woman who committed suicide earlier this year. She said her daughter suffered from a disorder that medical cannabis could have helped.

"I'm here for my daughter. I know that if she had had access to medical cannabis, she may be alive today," she said. "I am a personal testament to the benefits of medical cannabis. While dealing with my daughter's death, I have been prescribed high dosages of anxiety medicines, the side effects of which are life altering. CBD oil has helped me cope. It's a natural treatment and I am now completely off those other medicines. In my daughter's memory, I won't stop working until other Kentuckians can have real access to medical cannabis."

Besides benefits for PTSD, significant evidence exists showing marijuana counters side effects of many other illnesses and diseases, including cancer, multiple sclerosis, Alzheimer's disease, Crohn's disease, and hepatitis C.

Grimes reiterated her call to Kentucky's cities and counties to back medical cannabis legislation.

"Medical cannabis can help their citizens. Many are veterans who fighting physical and mental illnesses, get care and relief they need. The people it can help are friends and neighbors. We see them in the grocery store. We go to church with them. This issue has a face and a name for our local officials."

Officials from Maysville and Mason County, which have recently taken official action in support of legalization legislation, attended the meeting. The localities passed a resolution in support of Maysville resident Eric Crawford, a constituent of Rep. Sims and member of the medical cannabis panel.

Crawford was in a car accident as a young man that left him with debilitating pain and paralysis. He displayed the dozens of prescription pain relievers, including narcotics, he had been prescribed and have many adverse side effects. Crawford said he experiences the most relief with cannabis.

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The medical cannabis task force includes members of Kentucky's medical community, including doctors, nurses and medical administrators, as well as representatives from law enforcement and state agencies with regulatory oversight, medical marijuana advocates, and military veterans.

 

Date: 12-06-2017

New national immunization laws set

In addition to immunizations already required for school children to attend public schools, state law will require Hepatitis A shots for all students and a meningitis booster for those 16 and older, beginning with the 2018-19 academic year.

While that sounds like plenty of time, that's not necessarily the case for the Hepatitis A vaccine, which comes in a two-part series. The shots must be given six months apart.

Lawrence County Health Dept. director Debbie Miller said today that she and her staff are encouraging parents to start the series of shots asap.

Lawrence Co. Health Dept. director Debbie Miller said today that parents should sign up for the new immunizations as soon as possible.Lawrence Co. Health Dept. director Debbie Miller said today that parents should sign up for the new immunizations as soon as possible."The new immunization requirements go into effect July 1, 2018. All children from 19 months through 12th grade who attend daycare, primary or secondary schools will be required to have completed the two-part Hepatitis A series prior to the start of the 2018-2019 school year," Miller said.

"The Hepatitis A vaccine is given in two doses with a minimum of six months between doses. Our nurses are encouraging clients to start the series now," Miller added.

Kentucky's new immunization guidelines were adopted before the recent Hepatitis A outbreak.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has recommended the Hepatitis A and meningitis vaccines for schoolchildren for some time, she said.

"Regarding the Hepatitis A outbreak in Kentucky, there have been no cases reported in Lawrence County or any of our surrounding counties,Miller told The Lazer.  "The majority of the cases are in the Louisville area. We are participating in weekly conference calls with Kentucky Department for Public Health as they monitor and respond to the outbreak."

Other states have already adopted (these immunization guidelines), Lile said. Kentucky officials updated the state's standards in June to become compliant with national recommendations.

To complete the Hepatitis A two-shot series by the time school starts, students should have their first shot by Feb. 1, Lile said.

School districts want all students to complete the Hepatitis A series before starting school, but will accept students who have had their first shot only -- on a conditional basis, said Wendi Kozel, DCPS district nurse. After the first shot's six-month waiting period ends, students will have a two-week window to get the second Hepatitis A shot before their immunization certificate becomes invalid.

Kentucky allows medical and religious exemptions for vaccines, Kozel said. Every student must provide one of three certificates -- a current vaccination record, medical exemption or religious exemption -- to start the school year.

"As a reminder, good hand washing with soap and water is one of the most important steps we can take to keep from getting sick and from spreading germs to others," Lawrence County's Miller said.

For more information on when to wash your hands and how to wash them properly, visit https://www.cdc.gov/handwashing/when-how-handwashing.html.

By Renee Beasley Jones
The Messenger-Inquirer

Lazer Editor Mark Grayson contributed to this story

 

December 1, 2017

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