States have considered many different approaches to trying to reduce opioid use and prevent potentially deadly overdoses. However, one new study shows that a good tactic for reducing deaths caused by opioids may involve the legalization of marijuana.
Opioid Deaths Down in States Where Marijuana is Legal
According to CBS Local New York, a study by the American Journal of Public Health revealed that there has been a big reduction in fatal opioid overdoses following the legalization of marijuana in Colorado.
The study was published in the American Journal of Public Health and it compared the rate of opioid deaths before and after the legalization of recreational marijuana in 2014. According to the research, the number of opioid fatalities in Colorado fell by more than six percent since the legalization of recreational pot. This amounts to a reduction of .7 opioid-related deaths every single month in the state.
This study was reportedly the first one to identify the legalization of recreational marijuana as a possible cause for a reduction in opioid-related fatalities. However, there have been a number of past studies completed on the impact of medical marijuana legalization and deaths resulting from pain killers. Many of these studies identified a link between legal marijuana use for medicinal purposes and a reduction in the number of people dying of opioid overdoses.
While researchers have identified this decline in opioid-related fatalities since marijuana was legalized, local officials in Colorado are not yet convinced that the correlation proves causation. Since the study was conducted before marijuana legalization had been in place for a long time, local officials believe that the data which was collected should be considered preliminary. The director of the Colorado Department of Public Health, for example, has suggested that more research needs to be done.
The director of the Consortium for Prescription Drug Abuse Prevention also expressed the difficulty of identifying cause and effect with so many different things going on in the marketplace for unlawful narcotics. However, because multiple studies have demonstrated that legalization of marijuana in some form may appear to have an effect on reducing the number of opioid related fatalities, researching policies around marijuana could be a beneficial approach for states to take if they are serious about finding ways to reduce the number of people who die as a result of drug use.
If you are arrested in connection with opioids, marijuana, or any other controlled substances, it is important that you understand the possible penalties that you could face and that you explore your options for responding assertively to the accusations against you so you can reduce the likelihood of being convicted and facing harsh penalties. To find out more about how you can respond to drug charges, contact an Albany drug charge attorney for help as soon as possible if you are under investigation or after your arrest.