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J Addict Med ; 16(1): e69, 2022.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1698130
J Addict Med ; 16(1): e69, 2022.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1684843
Health Econ ; 30(10): 2595-2605, 2021 09.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1305123


The opioid epidemic in the United States has accelerated during the COVID-19 pandemic. As of 2021, roughly a third of Americans now live in a state with a recreational cannabis law (RCL). Recent evidence indicates RCLs could be a harm reduction tool to address the opioid epidemic. Individuals may use cannabis to manage pain, as well as to relieve opioid withdrawal symptoms, though it does not directly treat opioid use disorder. It is thus unclear whether RCLs are an effective policy tool to reduce adverse opioid-related health outcomes. In this study, we examine the impact of RCLs on a key opioid-related adverse health outcome: opioid-related emergency department (ED) visit rates. We estimate event study models using nearly comprehensive ED data from 29 states from 2011 to 2017. We find that RCLs reduce opioid-related ED visit rates by roughly 7.6% for two quarters after implementation. These effects are driven by men and adults aged 25-44. These effects dissipate after 6 months. Our estimates indicate RCLs did not increase opioid-related ED visits. We conclude that, while cannabis liberalization may offer some help in curbing the opioid epidemic, it is likely not a panacea.

COVID-19 , Cannabis , Adult , Analgesics, Opioid/adverse effects , Emergency Service, Hospital , Humans , Male , Pandemics , SARS-CoV-2 , United States/epidemiology
J Addict Med ; 14(5): e139-e141, 2020.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-724342


: The COVID-19 pandemic has created an urgent need to expand access to substance use disorder (SUD) treatment through telehealth. A more permanent adoption of tele-SUD treatment options could positively alter the future of SUD treatment. We identify four steps that will help to ensure a broader transition to telehealth will be successful in improving the health outcomes of patients with SUDs. These steps are: (1) investing in telehealth infrastructure to enable health care providers and patients to use telehealth; (2) training and equipping providers to provide SUD treatment through telehealth; (3) providing patients with the financial and social support, hardware, and training necessary to use telehealth; (4) making temporary changes to telehealth law and regulation permanent. We believe these 4 steps will be critical to initiating SUD treatment for many persons that have yet to receive it, and for preserving SUD treatment continuity for millions of other patients both during and after the pandemic.

Coronavirus Infections , Pandemics , Pneumonia, Viral , Program Development/methods , Substance-Related Disorders/therapy , Telemedicine , Betacoronavirus , COVID-19 , Coronavirus Infections/epidemiology , Humans , Pneumonia, Viral/epidemiology , SARS-CoV-2