Startup fighting opioid epidemic extends services to New York

By Ben Allen October 23, 2017
opioid addiction

According to the New York Times, Opioid addiction is America’s 50-state epidemic. In 2015 alone, overdoses from opioids killed more than 30,000 people. However, many see medical cannabis as a potential opioid replacement with evidence suggesting that marijuana is effective for chronic pain.

As the opioid family of drugs (which includes heroin, oxycodone, hydrocodone, and fentanyl) are all highly effective painkillers, that are often initially introduced to future addicted users, for legitimate use in chronic pain control.

Currently, in many areas of the US prescription drugs are much easier for chronic pain sufferers to obtain than a medical marijuana license and consistent supply of medication, but the startup PrestoDoctor has been working towards changing that.

The online service allows interested patients to speak directly with licensed physicians, and receive a digital recommendation to legally obtain medicinal marijuana. Patients only need to up for complete an online profile, choose an appointment time, and video chat with one of PrestoDoctor’s licensed physicians.

“We want to allow patients to access medicinal marijuana with the same ease and efficiency as other forms of prescription drugs”, said Robert Tankson, Co-Founder and COO of PrestoDoctor. “All PrestoDoctor physicians are licensed with the state medical boards of the state in which the consultations are provided.”

The platform has been up and running (with both online and kiosk dispensary services) in California and Nevada, and will now extend their online services to New York.

In 2014, New York legalized medical marijuana, becoming the 23rd state to allow medical marijuana in some form. A year later in support of telemedicine services, New York became the 22nd state to enact a telemedicine commercial reimbursement statute. This law requires commercial insurers to cover services provided via telemedicine and telehealth.

“New York is a heavily populated area and has a high opiate addiction,” said Robert Tankson, Co-Founder and COO of PrestoDoctor. “Through PrestoDoctor, we want to bring a safer option to the New York area for pain treatment, as well as treatment of other medical conditions.”