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Over the last decade, drug overdose death rates have soared in the United States, more so than in any other developed country on the Earth.

A new study published in Population and Development Review looked at overdose deaths between 1994 and 2015 in 18 different countries. Dr. Jessica Ho, study author and assistant professor at University of Southern California found that drug overdose rates are 3.5 times higher on average in the United States compared to other high-income countries.

drug overdose
Rates of drug overdose in the U.S. are over 27 times higher than in Japan and Italy

Rates in the U.S. are over 27 times higher than in Japan and Italy, both of which boast the lowest number of drug overdoses in the world. Overall, per 100,000 people, the U.S. loses 4.15 women and 5.53 men to drugs. Worldwide, the average is 0.26 women and 0.73 men per 100,000.

Although this trend has been on the upward swing for a while in the United States, the potential still remains for other countries to follow suit. For now, it appears the countries most likely fall prey to drug use are other English-speaking nations like Canada, Australia, and the United Kingdom.

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“Over time, we’ve seen huge shifts in drug overdose, and we need to pay attention to the factors that contribute to the development and continued persistence of this epidemic in the United States and, potentially, whether it spreads to other countries,” said Dr. Ho.

Although scientific evidence remains limited, preliminary studies have determined that CBD may be able to help people suffering from opiate addiction, as well as preventing future relapse. Another study conducted at the University of Michigan, published in the Journal of Pain, discovered that cannabis can reduce overall opioid use by about 64%. Furthermore, nearly 45% of participants reported a higher quality of life and less side effects after switching from opioids to cannabis.

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