The Centers for Disease Control just announced its annual statistics on the total number of people killed by legal and illegal substances last year. It may or may not come as a shock to some but one number couldn’t go unnoticed: zero. That’s exactly how many people’s lives ended too soon because they couldn’t resist their pothead habits last year. The number hasn’t fluctuated in either direction from the previous year.
Let’s not neglect the fact that Americans are still dying from other substances. 17,465 people died from illicit drug related overdoses last year, reports Huffington Post, with cocaine and heroin at the top of the list as the worst offenders. Prescription drugs (painkillers and tranquilizers) killed 25,760, while opioid abuse leaped so severely the CDC called it “epidemic.”
Perhaps the most unsettling fact is the one substance Americans will be over consuming legally this New Year’s evening. Alcohol killed more than 30,700 people last year, and this doesn’t even include people who died from alcohol-related incidents such as drunk driving. Yeah, let that one sink in before getting behind the wheel after a few celebratory drinks.
Lobbyists and advocates who want to see stricter marijuana laws and penalties are fighting a losing battle. States where recreational marijuana is currently legal are seeing crime rates decrease. Many law enforcement agencies in those states are relieved that they have one less criminal issue to deal with. And so far, except for a few cases of driving under the influence of pot (which carries even stiffer penalties than cases involving alcohol in some places), there has been virtually no harm done.