Pills Vs. Pot: Man says he has to choose

Pills Vs. Pot: Man says he has to choose »Play Video
A book on cultivating medical marijuana sits next to the letter from a medical clinic that Glen Hedberg says gives him a choice: Choose narcotic pain pills or pot.

DOUGLAS COUNTY, Ore. -- A Dixonville man says he's in pain, and he blames a new policy at several local clinics.

Glen Hedberg has osteoporosis. He's had a hip replaced, and now he says his other hip is cracked and deteriorating, and also needs to be replaced.

He's been on different medications for 15 years. Glen used to take 160 milligrams a day of methadone.

But, he's been able to cut back to just over 20 milligrams a day thanks to one thing: medical marijuana.

Now, Hedberg says his clinic isn't allowing him to continue both treatments. "They won't prescribe me no narcotics at all unless I quit using the medical marijuana card," he told KPIC News.

The Umpqua Community Health Center sent Hedberg a letter detailing the change in policy.

According to the letter, because the center is federally funded, they needed to adhere to federal guidelines.

"I'm on medical marijuana still, and they gave me the choice: either my pain pills or my narcotics," he said. "All because of federal dollars. All because of money."

Glen says the change has left him sick and in pain, and he doesn't think it's fair.

"Why should the people have to suffer because the state and the federal agencies are having a disagreement? It's not fair to us, the people."

KPIC News spoke with Linda Mullins, the CEO of the center, on the phone. Mullins said that there is no known research on the effects of opiate narcotic use combined with marijuana, and that it became a safety concern, on top of the federal funding issue.

So, for the safety of their patients and to keep much needed federal dollars, Mullins says the clinic adopted the new practice.

Hedberg says it's left him with no options.