Erowid is a one-of-a-kind resource
We are an educational non-profit dedicated to providing a balanced
examination of psychoactive drugs and drug use--to reduce harms,
improve benefits, and support appropriate policies. The site is made
possible by \$5, \$10, and \$50 donations from visitors. Please pitch in!
```More stats:

Alcohol:
o 140 million Americans use alcohol

o 18 million of these abuse alcohol or are alcoholics.

o 100,000 deaths are due to alcohol, and an additional
100,000 deaths are alcohol related.
Cocaine:

o 12.2 million Americans used cocaine at least once in 1985.

o 250,000 used it weekly.

o In 1986, there were almost 1000 cocaine-induced deaths.

Now let's recalculate.

Deaths per user:
Alcohol = 100,000/140,000,000 = .07 %    or 70 per 100,000
Cocaine =   1,000/ 12,200,000 = .008 %   or  8 per 100,000

Deaths per abuser:
Alcohol = 100,000/18,000,000  = .56 % 	 or 56 per 10,000
Cocaine =   1,000/   250,000  = .40 %    or 40 per 10,000

So even considering abusers, with advantage to alcohol (probably
should be over 1%), cocaine is still healthier.

By the way, you reported earlier the number 6000 for
illegal drug deaths. But:

o National Council on Alcoholism estimated that in 1985
all illegal drugs combined killed 3562 Americans

[Most of these numbers are gleaned from an essay by Ethan Nadelmann
called The Case for Legalization. It is found in:
The Drug Legalization Debate. (ed. Inciardi, James A.),
Sage publications, 1991.  ISBN  0-8039-3677-{X or 8pbk}.
It is a good book and should be referenced  in our FAQ file.]

=============================================================================

From:  glo@globox.Eng.Sun.COM

The exact numbers vary, depending on the source and their
methodology.  I have presented several sets of numbers here.
In general you will see that the vast amount of money/energy/etc.
applied to "illicit" drugs is quite misplaced if one is counting
deaths or death rate per user.
You may have access in your library to things like the Center for
Disease Control Mortality and Morbidity reports and yearly summaries.
The last one I looked at listed 800 something deaths a year
for aspirin (and more for acetominephin (sp?) and ibuprofen) -
verses 0 for cannabis (hemp/pot/marijuana/...).

============
(on the back cover of The Emperor Wears No Clothes)
"How Dangerous is Marijuana in Comparison to Other Substances?"
Number of American Deaths per year that result directly or
primarily from the following (selected) causes nationwide,
according to World Almanacs, Life Insurance Actuarial (death)
Rates, and the last 18 years of the U.S. Surgeon General's Reports.

Tobacco....................................340,000 to 395,000
Alcohol (not includeing 50% of all highway
deaths and 65% of all murders).....125,000+
Aspirin (including deliberate overdose)....  180 to 1,000+
Caffeine (from stress, ulcers and triggering
irregular heartbeats, etc.)........ 1,000 to 10,000
'Legal' drug overdose (deliberate or accidental)
from legal, prescribed or patent medicines
and/or mixing with alcohol e.g. Valium/alcohol... 14,000 to 27,000
Illicit drug overdose (deliberate or accidental) from
all illegal drugs................................ 3,800 to 5,200
marijuana (including overdose)........................... 0 (zero)

------------
The Emperor Wears No Clothes
by Jack Herer
available from:
H.E.M.P. Publishing
5632 Van Nuys Blvd suite 210
Van Nuys CA 91401		(213) 392-1806

============
by James Ostrowski
Cato Institute Paper # 121, May 25, 1989  \$2.00
to order or for information, write
Policy Analysis
Cato Institute
224 Second St. SE
Washington DC 20003

pg 47 reprinted without permission (I didn't find "Copyright..." or circled-C,
but they did say to contact them... I guess if you want to reprint
the whole thing - what the hey - at \$2.00 for 64 pages why reprint,
just buy the whole thing from them!
[ my (glo's) the posters notes in [] - glo]
[ glo note: *xxx* used in place of underlines - glo]

===============
pg 47
Table 4 presents the estimated per capita death rates
for each drug.  (While a number of people have died as a result
of marijuana *enforcement*, there are apparently no confirmed
deaths traceable to marijuana *use*.)  The figures for cocaine
and heroin have been adjusted downward, in accordance with
the previous analysis, to include only those deaths due to drug
use per se.  The unadjusted death rate for these drugs is in
parentheses.

[glo note: the "previous analysis" details how overdose due to]
[ variable strength and toxic reactions and infections due to]
[ the uncontrolled black market in drugs causes most of the]
[ deaths due to "heroin and cocaine" use - glo]

Estimated Per Capita Death Rates by Drugs
----------------------------------------------------------
Drug	Users		Deaths per Year		Deaths per 100,000
----------------------------------------------------------
Tobacco 60 million	390,000 (a)		650
alcohol	100 million	150,000 (b)		150
Heroin	500,000		400 (c)			80 (400)
Cocaine	5 million	200 (c)			4 (20)
----------------------------------------------------------

[ glo note: the astute reader will notice that even contaminated]
[ street heroin is safer than cigarettes, and cocaine is much safer]
[ than even alcohol.  (the crack form is apparently more addicting]
[ than alcohol - but not nicotine, powder is less addicting than alcohol -]
[ see "Hooked   Not Hooked")  Pot is, well..., "absolutely safe" in]
[ terms of causing death itself.  And how many traffic deaths per]
[ year: 20,000+ ? - glo]

(a) "Reducing the Health Consequences of Smoking:
25 Years of Progress" Surgeon General's Report (1989).

(b) Estimates vary greatly, depending upon whether all health
consequences, or only those traditionally associated with
alcoholism, are considered.  The Fifth Special Report to the
U.S. Congress on Alcoholism and Health from the Secretary of
Health and Human Services contains two references indicating
a death toll of 200,000:  The report states, first, that alcohol
"plays a role in 10% of all deaths in the United States,"
which comes to about 200,000 deaths each year.  P. vi.  It further
states that present estimates of the death toll from alcohol
abuse are as high as 93.2 per 100,000.  Ibid., p. x.  This
ratio translates into a total of about 210,000.

(c) These figures were determined as follows:  Drug Abuse Warning
Network (DAWN) heroin and cocaine fatalities for 1984, 1985,
and 1986 were averaged.  The number of suicides was subtracted.
The figures were discounted to account for deaths in which
both heroin and cocaine played a role.  Since DAWN covers
about one-third of the nation's population but almost all
major urban areas where drug use florishes, totals were doubled
to arrive at yearly estimates of 2,000 for heroin deaths and
1,000 for cocaine deaths.  Finally, these figures were dis-
counted by 80 percent in accordance with the analysis presented
in the text

========== end of table 4, pg 47======================

and if you want to get some info on addiction, find this magazine article:
(and its references)
Hooked    Not Hooked
by Deborah Franklin
In Health  (ISSN 1047-0549)
November/December 1990 Volume 4 Number 6
In Health
c/o Hippocrates Partners
475 Gate 5 Road suite 225
Sausalito CA 94965

=============================================================================

From: hagerp@iuvax.cs.indiana.edu
Date: 7 Sep 91 19:25:39 GMT
Newsgroups: alt.drugs
Subject: For your perusal -- U.S. Surgeon General's Actuarial info

The following is a list of deaths by substance for 1990.

Tobacco . . . . . . . . . . . . 360,000		[legal]
Alcohol . . . . . . . . . . . . 130,000		[legal]
Prescribed drugs  . . . . . . .  18,675		[legal]
Caffeine  . . . . . . . . . . .   5,800		[legal]
Cocaine . . . . . . . . . . . .   2,390		[illegal]
Heroin  . . . . . . . . . . . .   2,147		[illegal]
Aspirin . . . . . . . . . . . .     986		[legal]
Marijuana . . . . . . . . . . .       0		[illegal]

=============================================================================

Date: Wed, 23 Jun 1993 14:35:10 -0700 (PDT)
From: Leora Lawton
Subject: drug survey results
To: Multiple recipients of list DRUGABUS
Message-id: <01GZPZ3KAOYQ8WW43H@YMIR.CLAREMONT.EDU>

WASHINGTON (AP) _ Illegal drug use is off sharply among American
teen-agers and adults with one glaring exception: those 35 and
older.
Those were the key findings from an annual survey on drug abuse
released Wednesday by federal health officials.
Some 11.4 million Americans age 12 or older were classified as
current users of illegal drugs in 1992, down 11 percent from almost
13 million drug users a year earlier. That means they had used
drugs in the month before the survey.
The number has been declining steadily since 1979, when the same
survey indicated that 24 million Americans had used illicit drugs.
Adults 35 and older _ including the baby boomers who grew up in
the permissive 1960s _ are bucking the trend. Use of drugs in that
age group is the same now as it was back in 1979.
The older adults now comprise 23 percent of illegal drug users,
compared to just 10 percent in 1979.
The number of current cocaine users plummeted 31 percent from
1.9 million in 1991 to 1.3 million in 1992. The federal Substance
Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, which conducted
the survey, said that was down from a peak of 5.8 million in 1985.
Occasional cocaine use _ less than once a month _ was down by
900,000, to 3.4 million. But the number of frequent users _ at
least weekly _ stood unchanged at 640,000.
Marijuana remains the illegal drug of choice, used by 78 percent
of those who tried illegal drugs in 1992.
An estimated 98 million Americans drank alcohol in the month
before the survey; 10 million were defined as heavy drinkers _ five
or more drinks on five or more days in the past 30 days.
The survey also indicated that 54 million Americans, or 26
percent of the population, were cigarette smokers. Some 7.5 million
used smokeless tobacco.
Other statistics:
_Six percent of 12-to-17-year-olds were current users of illegal
drugs; 13 percent of 18-to-25-year-olds and 10 percent of
26-to-34-year-olds used drugs.
_Most illegal drug users were white (8.7 million or 76 percent);
14 percent were black (1.6 million); 8 percent were Hispanic
(900,000).
_More men than women used illicit drugs: 7.1 percent versus 4.1
percent.
_Almost 21 percent of unemployed 18-to-34-year-olds were illegal
drug users, nearly double the rate for those with jobs.
The survey was based on in-person interviews of 28,832 people
who were promised confidentiality.

=============================================================================

From: Charlie Ksir
Date: Thu, 21 Apr 1994 10:31:10 -0600
Subject: Re: choices

>Richard Hammersley writes:
>
>>Surely traffic accidents are the most common fatal result of drug abuse
>>and I hope this list doesn't separate off alcohol from drugs.
>
Dan Drumm replies:
>
>I thought it was lung cancer, then traffic accidents.
>I don't know what comes next, but I sure would be interested if
>anyone can reference any research on this.
>

In this context, I expect it's really heart disease first.  I assume Danny
was talking about tobacco.  A table published in 1991 by the US  Centers
for Disease Control, based on 1988 data, estimates something called
"Smoking-Attributable Mortality" as follows:

All heart diseases :  150, 320
Cancer of lung, trachea, & bronchus:  111,985

Other non-cancerous respiratory diseases, including bronchitis, emphysema,
chronic airways obstruction, pneumonia, & influenza add up to 81,339.

And let's not forget the circulatory problems other than coronary heart
disease:  add up smoking-attributable deaths from hypertension, strokes,
atheroschlerosis, aortic aneurysm, and "other arterial disease", and you
get   50,682.

I just grabbed the 1987 Alcohol & Health report to the U.S. Congress off my
shelf ('m sure there's a newer one around here somewhere, but can't lay my
hands on it).  Estimated mortality data in it were based on 1980 numbers,
and had motor vehicle traffic accidents attributable to alcohol at 25, 965.
That estimate would be smaller today, because total traffic accidents are
down from over 50,000 in 1980 to under 40,000, and the proportion of
fatally-injured drivers with a BAL > 0.10 declined from over 50% in 1980 to
about 40% (last stuff taken from Ray & Ksir, 1993).  Let's say about
20,000.

If the question was, what's the "most common fatal result of drug (ab)use",
including alcohol and tobacco, then heart disease is the winner, especially
when you consider that heavy alcohol use also contributes to heart disease.
Various cancers would be next, since smoking is associated with other
kinds of cancer besides lungs  (mouth, esophagus, pancreas, etc), and
alcohol is too (mouth, stomach).   The total would approach the heart
disease total.  Next would be other respiratory diseases, to which alcohol
contributes a few thousand extra pneumonia and influenza deaths, and then
circulatory problems (alcohol adds a few here, too).  All of these are way
above the number of alcohol-attributed traffic accidents.

There are other differences, of course.  The average age of an
alcohol-related traffic fatality is much younger than the avergae age of
those dying from these "diseases of chronic exposure", and may be seen
therefore as more tragic in that same way that a drug overdose death or
suicide of a young person is seen.  On the other hand, these younger
victims have a greater chance of dying quickly, whereas most of the deaths
attributable to chronic smoking or drinking result in long, painful, and
expensive illnesses before death.

Hope this morbid thread doesn't have too long a life, but I thought I could
contribute some official US Government data.

.... Charlie Ksir                             The opinions herein are my own,
.... University of Wyoming             so leave my employer alone.
```