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Do medical marijuana laws reduce addictions and deaths related to pain killers?

David Powell, Rosalie Pacula () and Mireille Jacobson

Journal of Health Economics, 2018, vol. 58, issue C, 29-42

Abstract: Recent work finds that medical marijuana laws reduce the daily doses filled for opioid analgesics among Medicare Part-D and Medicaid enrollees, as well as population-wide opioid overdose deaths. We replicate the result for opioid overdose deaths and explore the potential mechanism. The key feature of a medical marijuana law that facilitates a reduction in overdose death rates is a relatively liberal allowance for dispensaries. As states have become more stringent in their regulation of dispensaries, the protective value generally has fallen. These findings suggest that broader access to medical marijuana facilitates substitution of marijuana for powerful and addictive opioids.

Keywords: Medical marijuana; Opioids; Pain killers; Dispensaries; Mortality; Substance abuse (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Date: 2018
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Working Paper: Do Medical Marijuana Laws Reduce Addictions and Deaths Related to Pain Killers? (2015) Downloads
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Journal of Health Economics is currently edited by J. P. Newhouse, A. J. Culyer, R. Frank, K. Claxton and T. McGuire

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