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Cato Institute on Drugs

 

 


Evidence that opioids are not that dangerous, despite hype

One particular kind of restriction does reduce opioid misuse among Medicare beneficiaries: States have implemented Prescription Drug Monitoring Programs (PDMPs), which record a patient's opioid prescribing history. States have recently begun to require providers to access the PDMP: we find that "must access" PDMPs significantly reduce measures of misuse in Medicare Part D.

But there is no statistically significant effect [of must access PDMP's] on a key medical outcome: opioid poisoning incidents. How is this possible?

The simplest explanation is that, despite all the hype, prescription opioids are not that dangerous, even in heavy doses, when used under medical supervision. Instead, most poisonings reflect use of diverted prescription opioids, or black market opioids like heroin, that users obtain when doctors cut them off from prescription opioids. These alternate sources may be adulterated. Under this interpretation, restrictions on opioid prescribing might even increase opioid poisonings.

Source: Cato Institute 2016 voting recommendation on opioid crisis , Feb 17, 2017

Legalize marijuana banking until we legalize marijuana

Marijuana is now legal under the laws of [several] states, but not under federal law. And this creates huge headaches for marijuana businesses: