Linking variation in local substance use policies to health outcomes


  1. Joanne Spetz, PhD
Research Fields: 
Addiction and Cessation
Policy and Politics

At the same time that regulations on tobacco and on opioid prescriptions have become more stringent, regulations on cannabis have become less stringent: as of 2019, 11 states had legalized recreational cannabis and an additional 22 states had legalized medical cannabis use. The effects of these diverging trends are not clear, in part due to dramatic differences in local policies. Our work assesses whether localities make consistent choices with respect to substance use policies, and which policies are associated with reduced substance use at the population level. In light of claims that legalizing recreational cannabis can mitigate opiate misuse, we are also investigating the effects of new state laws that allow exchanges of opiate prescriptions for medical cannabis prescriptions on population health outcomes.