Painkiller Overdoses Decrease as Medical Marijuana is Legalized

It’s becoming more and more common: state after state is legalizing medical marijuana. Some states are even legalizing the “drug” for recreational use, such as Colorado and Washington. Proponents of the legalization of marijuana point to the opportunity for tax revenue and the belief that a stoned driver is no more dangerous, perhaps even less so, than a driver who has had a couple of drinks but is still under the 0.08 BAC requirement. Data has been and will continue to be a critical factor in pushing for the legalization of marijuana, whether it be medical or recreational.

Speaking of data, a study was recently published in the JAMA Internal Medicine journal that shows states that have legalized the use of medical marijuana for the purpose of managing chronic pain have experienced a significant drop in deaths from prescription painkiller overdoses – about a 25% drop to be exact. To illustrate more data: in 2011, 55% of drug overdose deaths were related to prescription medications and 75% of those involved opioid analgesics such as morphine, oxycodone, and methadone.

From a criminal law perspective, it would seem that the legalization of marijuana would have multiple effects, including:

If you have been arrested for a drug related charge, contact a Raleigh drug lawyer at The Chetson Firm for a free consultation.

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Damon Chetson

Damon Chetson is a Board Certified Specialist in State and Federal Criminal Law. He represents people charged with serious and minor offenses in Raleigh, Wake County, and the Eastern District of North Carolina. Call (919) 352-9411.