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Marijuana policy could be answer to overdose epidemic

Regarding Jeff Jacoby’s thoughtful April 26 column “What price is too high for a miracle drug?”: The need for the anti-overdose drug naloxone would be less pressing if Massachusetts had done a better job implementing the medical marijuana law passed by voters in 2012. Research published in the Journal of the American Medical Association shows that states with open medical marijuana access have a 25 percent lower opioid overdose death rate than marijuana prohibition states. States with established access showed a 33 percent reduction in overdose deaths.

This research finding has huge implications for states such as Massachusetts that are grappling with prescription opioid and heroin overdose deaths. The phrase “if it saves one life” has been used to justify all manner of drug war abuses. Legal marijuana access has the potential to save thousands of lives.

Robert Sharpe
Policy analyst
Common Sense for Drug Policy