Re: evolved viruses

Lee Daniel Crocker (
Tue, 16 Sep 1997 23:59:56 -0700 (PDT)

> wrote:
> > The number of drug deaths in the US in a typical year is as follows:
> >
> > Tobacco kills about 390,000.
> > Alcohol kills about 80,000.
> > Sidestream smoke from tobacco kills about 50,000.
> > Cocaine kills about 2,200.
> > Heroin kills about 2,000.
> > Aspirin kills about 2,000.
> > Marijuana kills 0.

As much as I agree with its goals, I wish the libertarian
propaganda machine would show a little more scientific integrity
here rather than trotting out these old figures constantly.

Some of these are estimates, some are actual counts, the counts
are from different years, nothing is adjusted correctly. In
particular, it is completely disingenuous to say "there is no
single proven death by marijuana" and then use the 50,000 figure
for second-hand smoke: there is no single proven death by second-
hand smoke either. That 50,000 number is a government estimate
based on one study with dubious methods.

If you're going to include estimates like that, you have to
include estimates that marijuana smokers /do/ die from lung
diseases now and then. Most of them smoke tobacco as well,
and lung cancer happens in non-smokers now and then, so while
we can't /name/ anyone who sepcifically died from smoking
Marijuana, it's likely to be a few hundred a year (given the
relative proportion of marijuana to tobacco smokers).