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The Answer To America's Opioid Problem? It Could Be More Drugs

APRIL 16, 2017  —  By Matthew Derrick  
Matthew Derrick

Matthew Derrick

Writer and sassy ginger currently residing in central Pennsylvania. Matt spends most of his free time online shopping for clothing that he doesn't need, perfecting the art of eye-rolling, and indulging in all forms of pop culture.

Every day, there's another opioid-related headline in the news.

Painkillers and other prescription drugs are the source of an epidemic spreading across most of the United States. Drug overdoses and severe opioid abuse are rapidly increasing, sending countless Americans to hospitals, rehab centers, and worst of all, prisons. But as our government works to find new ways to help alleviate this horrible burden, the answer could be right under our noses.

A new study conducted by the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality now suggests that legalizing cannabis could help cut back on the number of opioid overdoses annually.

The study looked at the rate of hospital discharges involving opioid abuse in multiple states both before and after the states legalized medical marijuana.

The study was published in Drug and Alcohol Dependence and it revealed that for every 1,000 patients discharged in a state where medical marijuana is legal, the number of abuses fell by nearly 23 percent, while the number of overdoses fell 11 percent. This likely has to do with the fact that medical marijuana is proven to fight severe, chronic pain without the potential for deadly addiction.

The journal’s findings fall in line with similar studies that have proven that legalizing cannabis has decreased the number of prescriptions written for opioids and more importantly, decreased the death toll of opioid overdose.

Of course, other factors may be at play. Still, these findings are significant given the scope of the issue.

(via IFL Science)

As the Trump administration and lawmakers nationwide debate the legalization of marijuana, do you think making weed more accessible is the right path toward ending this horrible problem? Let us know what you think in the comments and be sure to share this with others to get them involved in the debate.

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