Consider a situation where someone asks you to name the leading cause of accidental deaths in the United States. What would your answer be? Don’t lie! we know that you thought motor vehicle accidents was the answer.
Well, that’s not the case. The ‘real’ cause of not only accidental deaths but all deaths in Americans under the age of 50 is drug overdose, involving opioids in most cases.
As per a report by CBS News, the number of overdose deaths rose a whopping 19 percent in just one year between 2015 and 2016, and that figure has continued to grow at an alarming rate ever since.
The opioid crisis, which affects all the people alike irrespective of their colour and age, has been reported so many times that it doesn’t even seem like a ‘new news’ now. This cliché has in fact resulted in an indifferent attitude towards a problem that is still at large. President Donald Trump declared the opioid crisis a public health emergency back in 2017, but to no avail.
A recent study, led by Dr. Rhet Smith, assistant professor of economics at the University of Arkansas has found that the number of opioid (and overdose) deaths has decreased significantly in counties with legal medical marijuana.
For the research, conducted in collaboration with experts from Claremont McKenna College and the University of Georgia, researchers analyzed mortality records obtained from the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) spanning from 2009 to 2015.
When the results were compiled, it was noted that mortality rates among non-Hispanic white because of opioids and prescription opioids declined by 6 to 8 percent in counties that have dispensaries, when compared to ones where marijuana (medical) is prohibited. Meanwhile, mortality due to heroin overdose in non-Hispanic white men declined by more than 10 percent.
This is indeed a positive piece of news considering the humongous rate at which people are falling prey to opioids. As medical marijuana gains footing in other states, the future looks ‘a little’ safe.