Did you know the top 3 deadliest drugs in America are legal? And the top two are not even considered a drug to most Americans. According to research and studies performed the top 3 are tobacco, alcohol, and prescription opioid painkillers. Let’s take a look at some info derived from researching these studies.
#1 Deadliest Drugs is Tobacco
The U.S. Food & Drug Administration (FDA) provides many facts about tobacco abuse. In an article on their site, they talk about nicotine being a highly addictive chemical compound that is available in the tobacco plant. However, they continue in the article by reporting the following:
“Most people know that cigarettes and other tobacco products are addictive, but many people do not understand the role of nicotine in tobacco addiction, disease, and death. Nicotine is what addicts and keeps people using tobacco products, but it is not what makes tobacco use so deadly. Tobacco and tobacco smoke contain thousands of chemicals. It is this mix of chemicals—not nicotine—that causes serious disease and death in tobacco users, including fatal lung diseases, like chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) and cancer.”
The Center for Disease Control reports an average of 480,000+ deaths each year caused by tobacco addiction. These deaths can be caused by cancer, emphysema, COPD, and heart disease but are tied back into the fact that the occurrence of the disease was caused because the patients were smokers or exposed to second-hand smoke.
#2 Deadliest Drugs is Alcohol
According to the Alcohol and Drug Foundation statistics, the second leading cause of death from a controlled substance drug is alcohol. Alcohol is a considered a depressant drug because it slows down the messages traveling between the brain and the body. Some may argue that alcohol is not a drug. But according to the Addiction Center it is in fact considered a drug. Why? Because it is classified as a Central Nervous System depressant, which means it slows down brain functions and neural activity.
How many people die yearly from alcohol related deaths? Studies show that approximately over 95,000 die from alcohol abuse. Some cases are related to cancer, liver disease and heart disease that were all caused due to excess drinking on the part of the patient. This does not even begin to encompass how many ancillary deaths are contributed to alcohol abuse. Car accidents, accidental gun deaths while under the influence, domestic abuse, etc. The numbers are staggering. Alcohol may be regulated with a “must be over 21” law to be purchased or consumed. But that doesn’t mean home drinking or underage drinking doesn’t happen. Yet despite all these staggering facts, alcohol remains legal.
#3 Deadliest Drugs is Prescription Opioids
Reports from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention states that prescription opioids can be prescribed by doctors to treat moderate to severe pain but can also have serious risks and side effects. Some of the most common types of legal opioids are oxycodone (OxyContin), hydrocodone (Vicodin), morphine, and methadone.
These drugs are highly addictive, and they are not necessarily just being used or abused by drug addicts. It’s the Dad who was hurt on a job and lives with constant pain but has to work to support his family. It’s the elderly lady who lives with excruciating pains due to back problems and arthritis.
It starts out so innocently. The pills help. The prescription runs out and the pain returns. The doctor prescribes more. All it takes is another doctor visit and you can get another dosage for 30 days or in some cases 90. Next thing you know, they can’t get through the day without the drugs and an addiction is formed. The more they take the more they need. They will lie and steal and turn to illegal sources just to get their fix. It becomes more about getting “a fix” and less about controlling the pain.
There are over 17,000 reported deaths that are contributed to overdosing on opioid pain killers in otherwise healthy individuals.
What were the top illegal Deadliest Drugs on the list?
Obviously, cocaine and heroin were on the list of the deadliest drugs. History has shown us multiple times the effect of cocaine and heroin on our system. There are untold stories of people being found dead from an OD or rushed to an emergency only to die after arrival. No one will disagree that the “hard” drugs is dangerous and has every right to be illegal.
Then they listed marijuana. At the very bottom of the list. The least likely drug they considered to be one of the deadliest drugs. This is where it gets interesting. The marijuana death figures were 0. That’s right. Zip. Zero. Zilch. Of course, since we are all told how bad marijuana is, I had to do my own research. After intensive digging through Google, medical group sites, government research sites, the CDC, etc., I found some interesting information.
A few years back there was a big report released from Germany as they identified the first two deaths on record that were marijuana related. However, it was determined that one had been a long-term alcoholic with pre-existing health issues. The second had a heart disease and died of heart failure. There were no conclusive results as to how the marijuana effected the heart or vice versa as the cause of death.
Yet that was the only report I could find in my findings that gave specifics to marijuana related deaths. Two. Just two. So let’s see if I understand this. Marijuana, a medicinal herb that goes back to ancient times and has been proven to help in many dibilitating diseases, was legal, then considered a poison and made illegal and is now legal in many states, cannot show claims that it is deadly?
When asked if it was possible to overdose or have a bad reaction to marijuana, the response from the CDC was “A fatal overdose is unlikely, but that doesn’t mean marijuana is harmless. The signs of using too much marijuana are similar to the typical effects of using marijuana but more severe. These signs may include extreme confusion, anxiety, paranoia, panic, fast heart rate, delusions or hallucinations, increased blood pressure, and severe nausea or vomiting. In some cases, these reactions can lead to unintentional injury such as a motor vehicle crash, fall, or poisoning.”
It sure gives us reason to ponder why the government continues to consider marijuana such an evil plant. The taxes the government receives on tobacco and alcohol sales is staggering. One source reported it in the trillions of dollars. I am thinking I need to take a look at the money side of things in a future blog. Stay tuned.