Two large papers published in JAMA Internal Medicine point to an unlikely solution to the opioid crisis – marijuana legalization.
The papers, analyzed more than five years of Medicare Part D and Medicaid prescription data. In states that legalized marijuana, opioid prescriptions and the daily dose of opioids drastically decreased — by a rate of 40 fewer opioid prescriptions per 1,000 people each year in one study, or 4 percent, and 14 percent fewer prescriptions in the other study. These drops were even more drastic in states which legalized both medical and recreational marijuana.
“In this time when we are so concerned — and rightly so — about opiate misuse and abuse and the mortality that’s occurring, we need to be clear-eyed and use evidence to drive our policies,” W. David Bradford, an economist at the University of Georgia and an author of one of the studies, told Stat News. “If you’re interested in giving people options for pain management that don’t bring the particular risks that opiates do, states should contemplate turning on dispensary-based cannabis policies.”
These papers are the first to connect marijuana legalization to prescription painkillers with data sets of such a large scale.
YMCAs all across New Jersey are hosting #HealthyKidsDay events this year! FREE and open to the public. Help the kids in your life awaken their summer imagination. Find a participating Y near you.