NEW DRUG IN TOWN

Medical Pot May Cut Painkiller Overdoses

Now that 23 states have legalized medical marijuana, deaths from prescription pain pills overdoses have significantly dropped. According to a new study in JANA Internal Medicine examining deaths between 1999 and 2010, when 13 states had laws legalizing weed in some form, there were 25 percent fewer overdoses. In 2010, states with medical marijuana laws had approximately 1,700 deaths less than would have been previously expected. Not all are convinced of the correlation: drug policy expert Kevin Sabet says that the study failed to take into account methadone programs, law enforcement interventions (shutting down "pill mills"), and message campaigns.