States that let leisure use of hashish see a discount in demand for prescription codeine, an opioid with a excessive potential for misuse, based on a brand new multi-institutional examine led by University of Pittsburgh and Cornell University scientists.
Revealed this week in Health Economics, the examine finds a big discount in pharmacy-based codeine distribution in states which have legalized leisure hashish use. The discovering is promising from a public well being coverage perspective as a result of misuse of prescription opioids yearly contributes to greater than 10,000 overdose deaths.
Twenty-one U.S. states have handed leisure hashish legal guidelines and legislatures in different states are contemplating related measures.
“A discount within the misuse of opioids can save lives,” stated lead creator Shyam Raman, a doctoral candidate in Cornell’s Jeb E. Brooks School of Public Policy. “Our analysis signifies that leisure hashish legal guidelines considerably cut back distribution of codeine to pharmacies, an ignored potential profit to legalizing leisure hashish use.”
The examine is among the many first to individually look at the affect of leisure hashish legal guidelines on shipments of opioids to hospitals, pharmacies and different endpoint distributors. Earlier research have centered on medical hashish legal guidelines or use of opioids by subsets of customers, similar to Medicaid beneficiaries.
The researchers analyzed knowledge from the Drug Enforcement Administration’s Automation of Reports and Consolidation Orders System (ARCOS) which tracks the move of managed substances within the U.S. These are their key findings from states that handed leisure hashish legal guidelines:
- A discount of 26% in pharmacy-based distribution of codeine and as a lot as a 37% discount after leisure hashish legal guidelines have been in impact for 4 years.
- Minimal affect on distribution of different opioids similar to oxycodone, hydrocodone and morphine in any setting.
- Minimal affect on codeine distribution by hospitals which are sometimes have much less permissive insurance policies than pharmacies.
“This discovering is especially significant,” stated senior creator Coleman Drake, Ph.D., assistant professor of health policy and management at Pitt’s School of Public Health. “Amongst prescription opioids, codeine misuse is particularly excessive. Our findings recommend leisure hashish use could also be an alternative to codeine misuse.”
Whereas hashish and opioids can be utilized to reduce power ache signs, they aren’t equal of their affect on well being.
“Growing authorized entry to hashish could shift some customers away from opioids and in the direction of hashish,” stated Johanna Catherine Maclean, Ph.D., of George Mason University. “Whereas all substances have some dangers, hashish use is arguably much less dangerous to well being than the non-medical use of prescription opioids.”
W. David Bradford, Ph.D., of the University of Georgia, is an extra co-author of this analysis, which was supported by the National Institute on Drug Abuse of the National Institutes of Health beneath award K01D1051761. The content material is solely the accountability of the authors and doesn’t essentially symbolize the official views of the Nationwide Institutes of Well being.