As America’s problem with prescription pain medication (read: OxyContin and Vicodin) kills approximately 46 people every day from overdose across the US, two recent studies have shown that states with legalized medical marijuana dispensaries have witnessed a dramatic reduction in their opiate related death rates.
For the most recent study conducted by the RAND Corporation, researchers at UC Irvine evaluated the effect of states with medical marijuana laws and their overall influence on opioid related issues – addiction and death. The study was conducted by calculating the states treatment admissions for opioid-based addiction, then assessing their overall opioid related deaths on a statewide basis.
The study’s author concluded,
“Our findings suggest that providing broader access to medical marijuana may have the potential benefit of reducing abuse of highly addictive painkillers.”
The promising UC Irvine study mirrored a report published in October of 2014 in JAMA (Journal of the American Medical Association Internal Medicine). The JAMA findings noted that between 1999 and 2010, states with medical marijuana laws enjoyed a dramatic decline in their overall opioid related death rate; reducing it by a “lower mean” average of 24.8%.
According to data provided by the CDC in 2010, approximately 22,134 drug overdoses involved prescription pills; of which, opioid analgesics, like methadone, hydrocodone and oxycodone were linked to over 16,650 overdoses. Leaving little doubt to the principal role opioids play in America’s REAL drug problem … prescription pills.