The Effect of Marijuana Legalization on Opioid Prescriptions
The misuse of prescription opioids over the last two decades has snowballed into a national crisis. Simultaneously, there has been a wave of marijuana legalization at the state level. Given that, at the individual level opioids and marijuana can be used as substitutes, there has been growing interest in testing this empirically. In particular, we want to determine whether the legalization of marijuana has an impact on the (over)consumption of opioids. The change in the external environment that allows us to identify this impact is the temporal distribution of marijuana legalization across states. Using a difference-in-differences approach with data at disaggregate (county) level, we investigate the legalization of marijuana on three aspects of opioid consumption - the number of prescriptions, the potency of prescriptions and the amount of supply per prescription.