Medical Marijuana States See Painkiller Deaths Drop by 25%

Throughout the United States, prescription drug overdoses have been a major problem. But now, with the rise of medical marijuana in many states the number of painkiller deaths from pharmaceuticals have been plummeting.

In states where medical marijuana is legal, deaths have been dropping 25%.

This rate is consistent with the growing rate of medical marijuana use. This seems to indicate, to most, that the reason for the decline is due to more and more people abandoning the harsher painkillers, and opting for the plant form of relief.

Newsweek reports that “overdose deaths from these pharmaceutical opioids have approximately tripled since 1991, and every day 46 people die of such overdoses in the United States.”

In the 13 states that have recently passed laws that legalize medical marijuana, between 1999 and 2010, “25% fewer people die from opioid overdoses annually.”

The co-author of the study that has discovered this data, has commented that “the difference is quite striking.”

Colleen Barry, a health policy researcher at Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health in Baltimore, added that this shift became obvious and showed itself “quickly and become visible the year after medical marijuana was accepted in each state.”

This groundbreaking study was published, in the August issue of JAMA Internal Medicine.

In the journal, the “researchers hypothesize that in states where medical marijuana can be prescribed, patients may use pot to treat pain, either instead of prescription opiates, or to supplement them—and may thus require a lower dosage that is less likely to lead to a fatal problem,” according to Newsweek.

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