Pubdate: Fri, 15 Sep 2000
Source: MoJo Wire (US Web)
Copyright: 2000 Foundation for National Progress
Contact:  731 Market Street, Suite 600, San Francisco, CA 94103
Fax: (415) 665-6696
Note: Item from the corrections page for the Mojo Wire and Mother Jones 


Al Gore On Drugs (MoJo Wire, Aug. 15, 2000)

Several readers brought to our attention a discrepancy in the numbers 
relating to illicit drug use.

The article originally read: "Alcohol is a factor in 100,000 American 
deaths each year, compared to 52,000 for all illicit drugs combined. 
Marijuana causes a tiny fraction of those deaths."

Some clarifications are in order.

a.. In fact, alcohol is a factor in at least 100,000 American deaths per year.

b.. Illicit and illegal drugs, however, directly and indirectly cause 
between 10,000 and 16,000 deaths per year, according to figures from the 
Drug Abuse Warning Network and the Lindesmith Center.

c.. According to Drug Sense, the 52,000 drug-death figure drug czar Barry 
McCaffrey has circulated, and which our article used, comes from 
unpublished research prepared for Office of Drug Control Policy, which has 
still not been released for public scrutiny. The number also can be 
deceptive, in that it includes all drug-related deaths, including suicide, 
homicide, motor vehicle injury, HIV, pneumonia, hepatitis, endocarditis, 
and infant deaths, as well as overdoses.

d.. Marijuana has been, in fact, never proven to have directly caused any 
death, according to Drug Enforcement Administration's Administrative Law 
Judge Francis L. Young. Young's report said one would have to smoke 1,500 
pounds of marijuana (20,000 to 40,000 joints) within about 15 minutes to 
overdose on the drug. However, marijuana has been involved in some deaths. 
While precise numbers of marijuana-related fatalities are difficult to 
find, medical examiners in a recent study reported that the presence of 
marijuana/hashish in the bodies of drug-overdose and drug-related deaths 
rose 12 percent from 1997 and 1998.

We regret the errors.
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