Opioid Prescriptions Decline in Canada Following Enactment of Adult-Use Marijuana Legalization

Article by Paul Armentano, NORML

Home>Opioids>Opioid Prescriptions Decline in Canada Following Enactment of Adult-Use Marijuana Legalization Opioid Prescriptions Decline in Canada Following Enactment of Adult-Use Marijuana Legalization BY PAUL ARMENTANO, NORML DEPUTY DIRECTOR

The enactment of marijuana legalization in Canada preceded a “marked decline” in the volume of opioids prescribed to patients enrolled in both public and private health care plans, according to data published in the journal Applied Health Economics and Health Policy.

A team on investigators affiliated with the University of Toronto assessed the volume of opioids prescribed, and the amount of money spent on opioids, in the months immediately preceding and immediately following the legalization of adult-use marijuana sales. Researchers obtained claims data for more than 80 percent of all of the opioids prescribed in Canada during the study period (January 2016 to June 2019).

Consistent with the findings of other ecological studies, researchers determined, “The legalization of cannabis coincided with a marked drop in opioid volumes prescribed in Canada.”

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