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Legal Marijuana States See Decreased Opioid Deaths

Access to medical marijuana has decreased the percentage of opioid-related deaths in the United States by 23 percent, and overdose-related hospitalizations have decreased by an average of 13 percent (Burch, 2017). 


These results come from a study published this month in Drug and Alcohol Dependence conducted by Yuyan Shi of the University of California, San Diego. “This study and a few others provided some evidence regarding the potential positive benefits of legalizing marijuana to reduce opioid use and abuse, but they are still preliminary,” Shi stated (Burch, 2017). 


Researchers studied data from 1997 to 2014 in twenty-seven states, of which only nine had legalized medical marijuana. They “expected to see an increase in marijuana-related hospitalizations, but that was not the case” (Burch, 2017). According to Reuters, this study “was the fifth to show declines in opioid use or deaths in states that allow medical cannabis” (2017).  


The study can be viewed here


Burch, K. (2017). Legalized marijuana leads to decrease in opioid deaths. Retrieved from https://www.thefix.com/legalized-marijuana-leads-decrease-opioid-deaths
Reuters. (2017). Legalized marijuana could help curb the opioid epidemic, study finds. Retrieved from http://www.nbcnews.com/health/health-news/legalized-marijuana-could-help-curb-opioid-epidemic-study-finds-n739301