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Marijuana Legalization Shocker: Legalized States Have Fewer Painkiller Deaths

    August 27, 2014
    Mike Tuttle
    Comments are off for this post.

In a bit of news that will surely give anti-legalization forces cause for worry, CNN reports that states that have legalized marijuana for medical purposes are reporting much lower death tolls due to painkiller overdose.

The Journal of the American Medical Association released the supporting data behind this discovery. The study reviewed medical marijuana laws and death certificate data between 1999 and 2010. During this period only 13 states had legalized marijuana for medical purposes.

“We found there was about a 25% lower rate of prescription painkiller overdose deaths on average after implementation of a medical marijuana law,” lead study author Dr. Marcus Bachhuber said in the article.

Just in the year 2010, the number of overdose deaths was down by 1,700.

While Bachbauer recognizes the facts of the data, he is quick to point out that this is not the only factor to consider, and that medical marijuana is one choice.

“It can be challenging for people to control chronic pain, so I think the more options we have the better,” he said. “But I think it’s important, of course, to weigh the risks and benefits of medical marijuana.”

Another senior author on the JAMA study, Colleen Barry, associate professor at Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, calls deaths due to prescription painkiller overdose a “national public health crisis”.

“As our awareness of the addiction and overdose risks … grows, individuals with chronic pain and their medical providers may be opting to treat pain entirely or in part with medical marijuana.”

This newly-discovered benefit of legalizing medical marijuana can be added to the already-existing factors of lower traffic fatalities and reduced teen marijuana use in states that have legalized pot.


  • wm97

    This is consistent with the findings of Dr. Tom O’Connell. He surveyed medical marijuana users in California and found that, of the people who had a problem with hard drug abuse, 90 percent of them greatly reduced their use of hard drugs, and ten percent quit completely when they took up the regular use of marijuana.

    So this is just what the well-educated people have predicted.

  • Storm Crow

    More shockers! Deaths from traffic accidents go down, “If MEDlCAL MARlJUANA Laws Cause A ‘Surge in Drugged Driving Deaths,’ Why Are Fatalities Falling? (FORBES – 2014) “Traffic fatalities fell by more than 20% nationwide during the study period, even as “MEDlCAL MARlJUANA sales expanded.” Between enactment of its MEDlCAL MARlJUANA law in 1996 and 2010, California saw a 31% drop in traffic fatalities. The number of traffic fatalities also fell in Hawaii and Rhode Island after they legalized MEDlCAL MARlJUANA —by 14% and 21%, respectively.”

    Suicide rates go down! “Medical Marijuana Cuts Suicide Rates By 10% In Years Following Legalization’ (Medical Daily).

    And even spousal abuse goes down! “Marijuana Use Results in Less Domestic
    Violence” (SFGate)!

  • Marshall

    Not surprised, considering I’ve been a religious believer and user of pot for 2 decades. More shocking, when the act of controlled substances came into play from DEA, FDA, alcohol and tobacco were somehow exempt from being classified. .hmm… why? I guarantee if it were classified, realistically, both would be considered level one, for high risk of abuse, and no medicinal purposes, with the exception of moderate wine consumption, and that holds little water on the beneficial factor. People tend to break one addiction with the substitution of another (hopefully a healthier alternative). And for pot to replace another, to me is ideal. I’ve successfully quit smoking cigarettes, by merely one poof of pot here and there. .. To me, the affect one poof of pot provides, isn’t even comparable to anything tobacco offers.
    My point, legal or not, educate yourself on marijuana, compare the facts with pharmaceuticals, alcohol, tobacco. . And attempt to come up with a logical conclusion as to why it is the way it is. Fuck what the polidicks of this country think or say, you’re doing it to stay in this world longer, happier, healthier. It’s been used for thousands of years. So what political explanation for purposes of justification and support does Washington claim to have that will argue with what we’ve done for centuries is in fact wrong?
    It’s not. But let’s spend billions fighting a war on pot, rather than stimulating an economy. Let’s regulate and legalize what causes cancer, increases crime and motorized fatalities, domestic violence. And spend more money prosecuting and funding prisons, Medicaid to alcohol/tobacco related illnesses, the list goes on and on… The government sits on their ass, when global wars are damn near beyond the doorstep of our country with no plan to spend anymore than the bare minimum, meanwhile ISIS crosses over from Mexico, and nukes are most likely near our coastline.
    I went off subject, anyways, thanks for reading.