Legal Drugs Cause Three Times as Many Deaths as Illegal Drugs

Noted without comment: a study of drug deaths in Florida shows nearly three times as many deaths from legal drugs than from illegal drugs. Ask addiction professionals from rehab services such as Ascension House Sober Living and they will more than likely state that they have more patients admitted to rehab for prescription drugs rather than black-market illicit substances.

The report’s findings track with similar studies by the federal Drug Enforcement Administration, which has found that roughly seven million Americans are abusing prescription drugs. If accurate, that would be an increase of 80 percent in six years and more than the total abusing cocaine, heroin, hallucinogens, Ecstasy and inhalants.

The Florida report analyzed 168,900 deaths statewide. Cocaine, heroin and all methamphetamines caused 989 deaths, it found, while legal opioids – strong painkillers in brand-name drugs like Vicodin and OxyContin – caused 2,328.

Drugs with benzodiazepine, mainly depressants like Valium and Xanax, led to 743 deaths. Alcohol was the most commonly occurring drug, appearing in the bodies of 4,179 of the dead and judged the cause of death of 466 – fewer than cocaine (843) but more than methamphetamine (25) and marijuana (0).

The study also found that while the number of people who died with heroin in their bodies increased 14 percent in 2007, to 110, deaths related to the opioid oxycodone increased 36 percent, to 1,253.

Florida scrutinizes drug-related deaths more closely than do other states, and so there is little basis for comparison with them.

Do you suppose that the government will start defoliating GlaxoSmithKline’s territory like they have been doing to Columbia for over a decade?


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  1. …thanks for reading.

  2. Via John Cole, here’s someone who noted the story with comment.  Good comments too.

  3. they’d find a way to make it legal.

    Oxycontin does basically the same thing though, and I’d guess it has much higher profit margins.

  4. Tobacco-Related Cancers Fact Sheet

    Annual tobacco-related deaths are expected to reach 8.3 million by the year 2030, with 80 per cent of them occurring in Asia,

    Tobacco kills 440,000 smokers every year in the United States, and secondhand smoke inhaled by bystanders claims another 50,000.

    why are the tobacco companies not bearing more of the responsibility of the societal costs of this drug… estimated at 167 billion/year.

    tobacco companies… the real terrorists

    • Edger on June 16, 2008 at 17:36

    Give me a couple hours to come up with a quick retort. I’m waiting for a call back from Reverend Moon.

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