Opioid Abuse Rates Lower In States With Legal Weed
According to a recent report that was published by Castlight Health, the crisis involving prescription opioid addiction is not getting any better, but is in fact getting worse. This report examined medical and pharmaceutical industry data covering the years 2011 to 2015. it combined an analysis of a combination of numbers and statistics in an attempt at figuring out the extent of the recent abuse rates of opioids.
Opioid Abuse by the Numbers
Codeine, morphine, and oxycodone are examples of opioids, which are powerful painkillers known to be highly addictive. The report also showed that opioid abuse takes an alarming toll on not just the addicted individuals, but also their families and friends. In addition, these drugs could lead to an addiction to more dangerous drugs, such as heroin, as well as possibly leading to overdoses. In spite of all of this, these drugs are among the medicines that are most frequently prescribed by physicians nationwide. Specific examples of just how addictive and commonly used opioid painkillers can be are clearly illustrated in these opioid abuse study findings:
~ Doctors in the U.S. wrote 259 million opioid prescriptions in 2012
~ From 1999-2010, U.S. opioid painkiller sales quadrupled
~ Every year 16,000 people die of from prescription opioid overdoses
~ Currently, about two million Americans abuse prescription opioids
~ There are almost 2 million Americans currently abusing prescription opioids
How Legal Medical Marijuana Factors into the Report
According to the Castlight Health report, these particular numbers are extremely troubling. However the study also shows that the rates of opioid abuse tend to be much lower where the use of medical cannabis has been made legal by the state, which is actually the bright spot in their report. The report findings show that, in states that do not allow medical marijuana use, 5.4 percent of individuals who have opioid prescriptions abuse the drugs. On the other hand, in states where medical marijuana use is legal, the number drops significantly to less than 2.8 percent. The conclusions from a 2015 study published by The National Bureau of Economic Research are right in line with the more recent report findings.
According to researchers, the states that permit medical marijuana dispensaries are experiencing a relative opioid addiction and opioid overdose death decrease in comparison to states that aren’t permitting it. They also stated that their findings are suggesting that more widespread access to medical marijuana could potentially benefit people by the reduction of abuse of these painkillers, which are highly addictive. People are now starting to look for methods of addressing the opioid addiction problems nationwide and many are looking to cannabis for a possible solution. Many are arguing that it could possibly be responsible for providing a safer, more natural method for to treating pain, as well as a wide range of health conditions.
However, in spite of what all of the studies show, to date the cannabis is still classified as a Schedule I illegal substance.