A few weeks ago Press Secretary Sean Spicer implied that smoking marijuana is a gateway into harder drugs, and is causing the opioid crisis. Now, science points to further evidence that the exact opposite is true.
Research in the journal of Drug and Alcohol Dependence found that the 28 states that have legalized medical marijuana have seen a drop in opioid overdoses. The number of people sent to the hospital due to opioid abuse dropped 23% on average, and hospitalization for opioid overdoses dropped 13%.
Still, it might be a while before lawmakers take this research in consideration when choosing whether or not to legalize weed. The study authors say these findings are still preliminary, according to Reuters.
But it does look like research is pointing to marijuana legalization as an effective strategy to lower the number of people addicted to and abusing painkillers. This isn't the first study to make this point, and some experts claim that weed could be part of an effort to lower opioid overdose.
"It is becoming increasingly clear that battling the opioid epidemic will require a multi-pronged approach and a good deal of creativity," Esther Choo, a professor of emergency medicine who was not involved in the study, told Reuters. "Could increased liberalization of marijuana be part of the solution? It seems plausible."
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