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WIRE: Study indicates opioid use falls after cannabis legalization

New York, NY: The implementation of medical marijuana programs is associated with a decrease in the prevalence of opioids detected among fatally injured drivers, according to data published online ahead of print in the American Journal of Public Health.

marijuana-beats-opioids

Researchers at Columbia University in New York and the University of California at Davis performed a between-state comparison of opioid positivity rates in fatal car accidents in 18 states. Authors reported that drivers between the ages of 21 and 40 who resided in states that permitted medical marijuana use were significantly less likely to test positive for opioids than were similar drivers in jurisdictions that did not have such programs in place.

They concluded, “Operational MMLs (medical marijuana laws) are associated with reductions in opioid positivity among 21 to 40-year-old fatally injured drivers and may reduce opioid use and overdose.”

Prior studies have determined that medical cannabis access is associated with lower rates of opioid use, abuse, and mortality. Most recently, a 2016 study published in the journal Health Affairs reported a significant decrease in the use of prescription medications following the implementation of medical marijuana programs.

For more information, please contact Paul Armentano, NORML Deputy Director, at: paul@norml.org. Full text of the study, “State medical marijuana laws and the prevalence of opioids detected among fatally injured drivers,” appears in the American Journal of Public Health.

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