Painkiller Prescriptions Fall in States With Medical Marijuana

Could medical marijuana help solve the problem of prescription painkiller abuse? A new study suggests so.

The study, published in the journal Health Affairs, is the first to provide “clear evidence of a missing link in the causal chain running from medical marijuanato falling overdoses,” reports The Washington Post in a story titled “One Striking Chart Shows Why Pharma Companies Are Fighting Legal Marijuana.”

The piece, by Christopher Ingraham, describes the study and its implications in fascinating detail. But, as the headline suggests, the chart that boils down the findings (below) pretty much says it all.

Ingraham explains that University of Georgia researchers Ashley and W. David Bradford analyzed data for all prescription drugs paid for under Medicare Part D from 2010 to 2013.

They found, he writes, that “in the 17 states with a medical-marijuana law in place by 2013, prescriptions for painkillers and other classes of drugs fell sharply compared with states that did not have a medical-marijuana law.”

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