New Peer-Reviewed Study: Marijuana Use After Legalization in Washington State Increased Significantly Among Pregnant and Parenting Women

By December 13, 2017SAM’s News

Contact: SAM Press Office/Luke Niforatos            FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE  

press@learnaboutsam.org; 303-335-7584              December 13, 2017

Marijuana use at exit from the Parent-Child Assistance Program (PCAP) increased significantly after marijuana legalization in WA

(December 13, 2017 – Alexandria, VA) – A new peer-reviewed study about to be published in the January 2018 issue of the Journal of Studies on Alcohol and Drugsfound that marijuana use at exit from a 3-year case management intervention program for pregnant and parenting women increased significantly after marijuana legalization in Washington state.

“This study adds to the data we have about legalization driving up use and negatively impacting society,” said SAM President Kevin A. Sabet, Ph.D. “States should slow down and realize that their actions have real consequences, especially among populations highlighted in this study — parents and children.”

The researchers divided the study sample into two cohorts based on whether participants had completed the program before or after legalization.

Researchers reported the following results:

“Most study participants reported complete abstinence from alcohol and nonprescription drugs at program exit. Among those who were still using substances, women who completed the intervention after marijuana legalization were significantly more likely to report marijuana use at program exit compared with women who completed the intervention before marijuana legalization. Across both cohorts (pre- and post-legalization), we found a positive association of exit marijuana use with alcohol, illegal methadone, other opioids, amphetamines, and cocaine use; even when we controlled for historical period, the association with some of these substances with marijuana use remained evident. Independent of marijuana use, we saw increased use during the post-legalization period of alcohol, illicit methadone, and other opioids.”

The study concluded that “Women who were not abstinent from marijuana at program exit were likely to report use of other substances as well. Our study design demonstrates an association but does not allow us to conclude that marijuana use leads to other substance use among this sample of women with a history of polysubstance use.”

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About SAM

Smart Approaches to Marijuana (SAM) is a nonpartisan, non-profit alliance of physicians, policy makers, prevention workers, treatment and recovery professionals, scientists, and other concerned citizens opposed to marijuana legalization who want health and scientific evidence to guide marijuana policies. SAM has affiliates in more than 30 states.

Luke Niforatos

Author Luke Niforatos

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