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Does medical marijuana reduce painkiller overdose deaths?

Posted at 9:25 PM, Aug 26, 2014

Deaths from prescription drug overdoses have spiked dramatically since the 1990s. Now new research suggests legal medical marijuana might contribute to a decrease in those deaths.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates more than half of the drug overdose deaths in 2011 involved pharmaceutical drugs.

But according to a study published in the journal JAMA, as much as 25 percent fewer people die from prescription drug overdoses in states that allow medical marijuana than in the states that don't.

The findings suggest those with chronic pain in states with legal pot could be turning to marijuana instead of prescription drugs, which require a higher dosage that might be more dangerous. 

Find out more with this Newsy video.