Published: Wed, April 04, 2018
Medical | By Vernon Walton

California Prescription Database Could Help Prevent Opioid Abuse, But System Still Lags

California Prescription Database Could Help Prevent Opioid Abuse, But System Still Lags

What's more, studying prescription data from states can only reveal a correlation between medical-marijuana laws and a reduction in opioid use; it can't show a cause-and-effect relationship, Hill said.

Studies have found medical pot is effective in treating chronic pain, Bradford said.

Opioid prescriptions may decline when states legalise marijuana, two U.S. studies suggest.

A new study has come out showing the possible link between addicts coming off of opioids and marijuana use.


The National Safety Council reported that employers are taking the biggest toll in the crisis- losing eligible workers to addiction, reporting that "certain industries like construction and manufacturing, report increasing difficulties in filling open positions".

"Marijuana is one of the potential, non-opioid alternatives that can relieve pain at a relatively lower risk of addiction and virtually no risk of overdose", said Hefei Wen, co-author of the Medicaid study and a researcher at the University of Kentucky College of Public Health in Lexington.

"We do think there's good reason to be hopeful that cannabis might be one tool out of many we could use to address the opioid epidemic", Bradford said. Beside the toll in lives and health, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) estimates prescription opioid abuse is an $78.5 billion drain on the USA economy each year.

Governor Gina Raimondo describes the opioid crisis an epidemic, "In the past five years, we've lost more than 1,200 Rhode Islanders to overdose". "Papers like these two suggest that cannabis may play a role".


"Our study provides some of the first empirical evidence that the implementation of medical and adult-use marijuana laws was associated with lower opioid prescribing rates and spending among Medicaid enrollees". Fourteen states plus the District of Columbia had such a law from the beginning of that time; nine other states joined them during the years the study covered. The second conclusion shows that the primary driver of the opioid crisis is not prescription drug use, but rather use from substances purchased on the black market. Initial prescriptions for more than seven days of immediate-release opioids will be automatically rejected at the pharmacy.

Both studies were released Monday by the journal JAMA Internal Medicine.

Researchers found that Medicare patients in states with marijuana dispensaries filled prescriptions for about 14 percent fewer daily doses of opioids than those in other states. Hill wrote an editorial that accompanied the two articles. As people take more, their bodies become used to it, requiring more.

We also need stronger background checks before patients can be prescribed unsafe drugs like Vicodin and Oxycontin, which are usually responsible for starting the downward spiral of addiction.


Limiting initial opioid prescription lowers the risk of addiction and chances of unused drugs hitting the street.

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