ALBANY, NY (AP) — New Yorkers with an opioid prescription may soon qualify to join the state’s medical marijuana program.

State Health Commissioner Howard Zucker told reporters Monday that the Department of Health will develop regulations giving people the choice of enrolling in the medical marijuana program if they have been prescribed opioids.

While details are still being worked out, Zucker says the move could save “countless” lives by preventing opioid addiction.

Zucker’s agency cited research showing marijuana can reduce opioid use while eliminating the risk of overdose and reducing the risk of addiction.

The state’s medical marijuana program is now open to patients with 12 physician-certified conditions, including cancer, HIV-AIDS and chronic pain. The program allows patients to use non-smokeable forms of marijuana.

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