Health news in brief

Wednesday October 10, 2012

ACLU sues over R.I. medical marijuana policy change

PROVIDENCE, R.I. (AP) -- The Rhode Island chapter of the American Civil Liberties Union has sued the state health department over its decision to no longer accept medical marijuana applications signed by nurse practitioners and physician’s assistants.

The ACLU announced the lawsuit Tuesday.

The state in August began requiring patients seeking marijuana to obtain a physician’s signature. Previously the state accepted signatures from nurse practitioners and physician’s assistants.

ACLU attorney John Dineen says the change was made without legislative approval or public notice.

Peter Nunes says his application was denied even though it was filed two months before the change and was signed by a nurse practitioner. The Bristol man is a plaintiff in the suit. He says he needs medical marijuana for chronic back pain and calls the state’s actions frustrating.

Maine starts medical car sticker program

GORHAM, Maine (AP) -- A nationwide program that places yellow stickers on the back windows of vehicles to indicate that an occupant has a medical condition is coming to Maine.

The Yellow Dot program is being launched in Gorham and Westbrook and organizers say they would eventually like to see it used throughout Cumberland County, and eventually the entire state.

The purpose is to help emergency responders treat accident victims who can’t provide information about their medical conditions or the medications they’re taking. The yellow dots indicate that the medical information is in the car’s glove box.

Gorham police Officer Ted Hatch became aware of the program last year after USA Today published an article about its growing popularity.

He tells The Portland Press Herald ( ) the program could save lives.


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