Pubdate: Tue, 03 Mar 2009
Source: Appalachian, The (NC Edu)
Copyright: 2009 Appalachian State University
Author: Matthew Robinson


This letter is to correct a misstatement by Edward Sztukowski in his 
article "Panel discussion challenges war on drugs."

In the article, Sztukowski wrote that I said "... between 1979 and 
2005, there were 1.5 deaths per year attributed to marijuana in the 
District of Columbia ..."

In fact, the 1.5 deaths per year are for the entire country, which I 
said "includes all 50 states and the District of Columbia." This is a 
small but very important difference.

Of course, the point remains true that when one compares use of drugs 
like marijuana with other drugs (in all of the United States), it 
becomes obvious just how safe marijuana really is.

Further, the 37 deaths attributed to marijuana in all of the United 
States between 1979 and 2003 is less than those that died from 
falling in wells (51), in sports collisions (51), from snake bites 
(97), from spider bites (99) and because of injuries sustained while 
mowing the lawn (151). I guess we now know what type of grass is 
really dangerous! As for more serious threats, about 25,000 died from 
falling down the stairs, more than 30,000 people died from choking on 
food, nearly 40,000 died from choking on things other than food and 
285,000 people drowned, including almost 7,000 that drowned in their 
own bathtubs!

In terms of other drugs, alcohol killed about 400,000 people during 
this time. And, according to the same CDC, tobacco kills 430,000 
every single year, including 38,000 nonsmokers!

So now we see how silly a "war on marijuana" really is.

Matthew Robinson

government & justice studies professor
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