Recreational Marijuana Laws and the Use of Opioids: Evidence from Nsduh Microdata

57 Pages Posted: 2 Aug 2021 Last revised: 7 Aug 2021

See all articles by Mir M. Ali

Mir M. Ali

Government of the United States of America - Office of the Assistant Secretary for Planning & Evaluation

Chandler B McCellan

Government of the United States of America - Substance Abuse & Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA); AHRQ - Center for Financing, Access & Cost Trends

Ryan Mutter

Government of the United States of America - Agency for Healthcare Research & Quality (AHRQ)

Daniel I. Rees

University of Colorado Denver; National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)

Date Written: July 2021

Abstract

Recent studies have concluded that state laws legalizing medical marijuana can reduce deaths from opioid overdoses. Using data from the National Survey on Drug Use and Health, a survey uniquely suited to assessing drug misuse, we examine the relationship between recreational marijuana laws (RMLs) and the use of opioids. Standard difference-in-differences (DD) regression estimates indicate that RMLs do not affect the likelihood of misusing prescription pain relievers such as OxyContin, Percocet, and Vicodin. Although DD regression estimates provide evidence that state laws legalizing recreational marijuana can reduce the frequency of misusing prescription pain relievers, event-study estimates are noisy and suggest that any effect on the frequency of misuse is likely transitory.

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Suggested Citation

Ali, Mir M. and McClellan, Chandler B and McClellan, Chandler B and Mutter, Ryan and Rees, Daniel I., Recreational Marijuana Laws and the Use of Opioids: Evidence from Nsduh Microdata (July 2021). NBER Working Paper No. w29087, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3897522

Mir M. Ali (Contact Author)

Government of the United States of America - Office of the Assistant Secretary for Planning & Evaluation ( email )

200 Independence Avenue SW
Washington, DC 20201
United States

Chandler B McClellan

AHRQ - Center for Financing, Access & Cost Trends ( email )

540 Gaither Road
Rockville, MD 20850
United States

Government of the United States of America - Substance Abuse & Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) ( email )

1 Choke Cherry Rd
Rockville, MD 20857
United States

Ryan Mutter

Government of the United States of America - Agency for Healthcare Research & Quality (AHRQ) ( email )

540 Gaither Road, Suite 2000
Rockville, MD 20850
United States

Daniel I. Rees

University of Colorado Denver ( email )

Campus Box 181
P.O. Box 173364
Denver, CO 80218
United States

National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)

1050 Massachusetts Avenue
Cambridge, MA 02138
United States

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