Reefer Madness Propaganda always deemed marijuana a "gateway drug," leading people to use and abuse harder substances. Now, with the Center for Disease Control calling opioid abuse and overdose a serious epidemic, people are wondering if legalizing marijuana and increasing access to the plant will exacerbate the situation. According to a recent study, cannabis used alongside opioid painkillers did not increase substance abuse, and did not affect addictive behaviors. More importantly, those who used both pain medicines and marijuana found that marijuana was more effective in treating their pain, and even expressed an interest in reducing or eliminating opioid use. Contrary to the belief that marijuana would worsen the opioid abuse epidemic, it seems that marijuana could actually help the situation. States that have implemented medical marijuana programs have found a decrease in deaths related to opioid overdoses. It may not have an effect on addictive behaviors, but for those who use the medication to treat pain, marijuana is a more effective and healthier alternative.