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Do Medical Pot States Have Less Opioid Abuse?

來源:WebMD Medical News 作者: 2016-9-19

摘要: Medical officials have linked the abuse of these painkillers to widespread addiction and overdose deaths。...


By Randy Dotinga

HealthDay Reporter

THURSDAY, Sept. 15, 2016 (HealthDay News) -- A new study of drivers who died in auto accidents suggests people in states with medical marijuana laws may be using fewer opioid painkillers, the study authors contend.

"After the implementation of a medical marijuana law, there appears to be less opioid use, at least among young and middle-aged adults," study lead author June Kim said. He's a graduate student in epidemiology at Columbia University Mailman School of Public Health in New York City.

However, two addiction experts not involved with the research were critical of the methodology used, saying the study authors did not prove the point they were trying to make.

The study sought to understand how laws allowing the medical use of marijuana -- now legal in 25 states and Washington, D.C. -- might affect the use of opioid painkillers such as oxycodone (OxyContin) and hydrocodone (used in Vicodin and Vicoprofen).

Medical officials have linked the abuse of these painkillers to widespread addiction and overdose deaths.

"A study that came out a few years ago suggested that states with medical marijuana laws have a reduced rate of opioid overdoses," Kim said. "I thought that if these laws were actually reducing overdoses, we should expect to see a similar reduction in opioid use."

The researchers looked for signs of trends in an unusual place: traffic fatalities. The researchers looked at the records of people who died in car crashes to see if they had tested positive for opioid use. The accidents took place in 18 states from 1999 to 2013.

There were more than 68,000 traffic fatalities included in the study. Forty-two percent of accidents occurred in states with medical marijuana laws that were up and running. About one-quarter happened in states that had passed medical marijuana laws, but hadn't yet implemented them. And 33 percent of the accidents occurred in states without medical marijuana laws.

About 1 percent to 8 percent of drivers tested positive for opioid painkillers, the study reported.

The study didn't look at whether drivers had marijuana in their systems, since not all the states tested for it, Kim said.


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