Illinois Opioid Alternative Pilot Program
Data from the Illinois Department of Public Health (IDPH) indicates opioid deaths in Illinois increased 13 percent from 2016 to 2017. On August 28, 2018, Illinois enacted changes to the Compassionate Use of Medical Cannabis Pilot Program Act (“Act”). Public Act 100-1114 created the Opioid Alternative Pilot Program (OAPP).
Licensed physicians must certify an individual has been prescribed or could have been prescribed an opioid based on generally accepted standards of care. The program is limited to persons 21 years old or older. Registered patients are eligible to purchase 2.5 ounces of medical cannabis every 14 days. Physician certifications are valid for 90 days but can be renewed to allow patients to continue accessing medical cannabis. A $10 fee is required for each 90-day registration period.
How do I apply for the Opioid Alternative Pilot Program?
Before you register for the OAPP, a doctor licensed in Illinois must complete a physician certification indicating that you have a prescription for an opioid or could be prescribed an opioid.
- You must be at least 21 years old.
- Schedule an appointment with your primary care doctor or the doctor who provides your health care to discuss whether medical cannabis is a treatment alternative to opioids.
- Ask your doctor to complete an on-line physician certification confirming your diagnosis.
- Once the physician certification has been entered on-line, you may register for the program.
- Register on-line; a $10 registration fee is required.
- Physician certifications are valid for 90-days but can be renewed.
Do I qualify for the Opioid Alternative Pilot Program?
If you are an Illinois resident age 21 or older and have been prescribed an opioid or have a health condition or disease for which you could be prescribed an opioid and obtain a certification from your physician, you may be eligible.
People with a CDL-driver’s license or a school bus driver permit cannot apply.
OAPP participants must be re-certified by their physician every 90 days.
Note: OAPP patients cannot have a designated caregiver to assist them with medical cannabis use. Current Medical Cannabis Pilot Program participants are not eligible to register for OAPP.
What do I need to apply for the OAPP?
Once you have visited your health care provider, your doctor will submit a physician certification to IDPH through a confidential website. Then, you will be ready to register for the Opioid Alternative Pilot Program.
You may visit a licensed medical cannabis dispensary or a participating local health department for help with the on-line registration process.
You will need the following documents:
- Government-issued ID: current Illinois driver’s license or state ID
- Proof of address which matches your driver’s license or state ID (i.e., utility bill, voter’s registration card, bank statement)
- 2” x 2” color passport photo
- Application fee – $10 for each 90-day period. Only credit, pre-paid credit, or debit cards are accepted
- Select a dispensary
How much does medical cannabis cost?
Health insurance, Medicaid, and Medicare do not cover medical cannabis costs. All registered OAPP patients are responsible for the registration fee(s) and the cost of purchasing medial cannabis.
Where Can I Learn More?
The IDPH Office of Health Promotion, Medical Cannabis Registry Program implements and oversees the Medical Cannabis Pilot Program and the Opioid Alternative Pilot Program which both provide access to cannabis for medical use.
Program-related materials including applications and physician education resources is available at