Drug rehabilitation centers aren’t a new concept, but one being built by Israel’s Health Ministry is different: the new facility will help recipients of medical marijuana who had grown addicted to kick the habit.

An undetermined but large percentage of those who are prescribed cannabis as a painkiller have a hard time weaning themselves off it after doctors cease to prescribe it to them, and many of them turn to the illegal drug market to continue smoking pot, Maariv reported on Sunday.

A patient purchases medicinal cannabis in Tel Aviv (photo credit: Abir Sultan/Flash90)

A patient purchases medicinal cannabis in Tel Aviv (photo credit: Abir Sultan/Flash90)

Officials decided, based on data gathered by the Health Ministry, to establish a rehabilitation center for patients who have become addicted to painkillers, including medicinal cannabis.

Such a facility would allow proper treatment for those who require it, without patients having to mingle with heavy drug addicts.

Thousands of patients try to obtain medicinal marijuana after their prescription period terminated, the ministry’s study showed. A similar number were addicted to other forms of painkillers, an unidentified source told the Hebrew daily.

One problem is doctors’ inability to measure pain, which allows patients room to manipulate their caregivers, the official explained. But the system has a responsibility to help those who became addicted after they were prescribed the drug, the official said.

According to the report, the Sheba Medical Center has received a request to host such a facility, and the ministry was waiting for an answer.