A new study adds to the body of research indicating that access to legal and regulated drug markets was a “protective” factor for drug addicts during the 2019 outbreak of lung injuries related to contaminated products.
Researchers at Johns Hopkins, New York University and the American Heart Association reached that conclusion in a study published in the journal PLoS ONE this month. They analyzed the prevalence of marijuana smoking, cases of e-cigarettes or diabetes-related lung cancer (EVALI) and drug laws in 13 states.
Although more people reported drug use in countries where it was legalized for medicinal or recreational purposes, the prevalence of EVALI cases was not as high as in non-legalized countries, which according to data from the 2019 Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System (BRFSS) and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
The research paper—which examined data from four prohibition states, seven medical marijuana states and two states that have legalized marijuana for adult use—found that “the spread of of cannabis use to EVALI, even after accounting for government cannabis policies.”
In fact, there is “an inverse relationship between the state’s drug addiction rate and EVALI case severity.” In other words, states with greater marijuana production and legalization have lower rates of lung injury.
“These findings, therefore, suggest that there may not be a direct and simple relationship between the country’s drug addiction and EVALI cases, but that the relationship may be stronger, supporting the The CDC suspects that the outbreak of EVALI appears to be an opportunity to access informal sources of THC-containing e-liquid,” the study authors said.
“Although drug trafficking is less common in countries with restrictive drug laws, people from these countries are more likely to obtain drugs from illegal sources and are more likely to use them. in contaminated products, thus increasing the intensity of EVALI cases in these countries,” it said.
In countries where medical or recreational drugs are legalized, currently, “people obtain the drug from legal sources, reducing the risk of contamination.” The research paper supports findings from previous studies that show “the presence of legal markets for cannabis is protective against EVALI,” according to the authors of the new paper.
The EVALI problem has decreased significantly over the past three years as public education has increased and regulators have stepped up to prevent automakers from installing such additives. of vitamin-E-acetate in their THC capsules is believed to have damaged the lungs.
However, the researchers said that “it is necessary to maintain the surveillance of drug addiction,” and “efforts to prevent the black market sale of contaminated products should be aimed at preventing future outbreaks.”
Advocates have long argued that drug legalization is an important policy to reduce the harms of drug addiction, and new research appears to reinforce the public health benefits of anti-drug laws. .
“Finally, the spread of the virus was not positively associated with EVALI,” the article says. “This suggests that the outbreak of EVALI is not a simple reflection of the government’s over-indulgence but rather the use of adulterated or contaminated products, which is more important in countries with anti-drug laws.”
Relatedly, a study published in the journal Environmental Health Perspective last month concluded that the lack of federal regulations, and the addition of federal policies, “could be detrimental to manufacturers drug and prevention of violations when drug users are exposed to a high level of vulnerability to disease in some. control.”
Another recent study that analyzed National Poison Data System (NPDS) reports found that the legalization of marijuana reduced the risk of purchasing and using synthetic cannabinoid products that could lead to hospitalization, or to death.
The Arkansas Marijuana Legalization Campaign is releasing a new ad showing support for moms and police as the election approaches.
Photo by Lindsay Fox from Pixabay.