According to the Center for Disease Control prescription painkillers accounted for about 60% of all overdose deaths in the U.S. in 2013.
Recently, a research study found that states that have legalized marijuana have reductions in fatal overdoses and addiction treatment center admissions relating to opioid abuse. The study found that marijuana states show significant reductions in opioid misuse in states that have operating marijuana dispensaries.
The research study mentions “that states permitting medical marijuana dispensaries experience a relative decrease in both opioid addictions and opioid overdose deaths compared to states that do not.”
In the states where marijuana dispensaries are allowed, researchers found a 16% reduction in “opioid-related mortality” and 28% reduction in opioid-abuse treatment admissions. Whereas in the states where doctors can prescribe marijuana, but where dispensaries are prohibited (which makes it harder to legally obtain marijuana), the researchers found “no evidence” of “reductions in substance abuse or mortality.”
Researchers found that there was not a decline in painkiller prescriptions in the states with dispensaries, which suggests that marijuana legalization likely helped save the lives of recreational painkiller users that switched to marijuana and cut back on their pill consumption.
These research studies are quickly revealing that marijuana is a safer and effective medical treatment option.