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States' pot laws linked to drug overdose death rates

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Medical marijuana laws have been linked with lower death rates from overdoses on prescription painkillers and illicit drugs such as heroin.

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Death rates from overdoses on prescription painkillers or heroin and other illicit drugs appear to be an average of 24.8 percent lower in states with medical marijuana laws than in states without the laws.

The finding, published August 25 in JAMA Internal Medicine, does not provide direct evidence that medical marijuana laws reduce drug overdose rates. But if future research affirms the link, those results could lead to legislation supporting medical marijuana use to reduce the risk of overdoses from other drugs.

For more, read SN's feature "Legalization trend forces review of marijuana’s dangers."

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