The findings are consistent with previous findings on drug-, car-, and gun-related fatalities in the U.S. A recent study conducted by Duke University researchers showed that having a car is 80 percent more life threatening than owning a gun. Yet, few studies showed that drugs can be more deadly than guns.
DEA investigators found that as of 2013 there were 33,636 gun fatalities including accidents and homicides. But in the same year, 35,369 fatal car crashes and 46,471 drug fatalities were also recorded.
Duke University researchers argued in their research paper that even if gun-related and car-related fatalities were nearly equal, cars are still more risky than guns because there were about 100 million fewer vehicles than guns when the study was conducted.
The DEA report also revealed that drug-related fatalities saw an upward trend between 2004 and 2013. During that period, not even once gun fatalities were more frequent than drug-related ones. In 2004, the two types of deaths were nearly equal but drug-related deaths were still leading. In 2005, even though gun fatalities increased, drug-related deaths rose even more, by 3,000 more cases.
Nevertheless, the gap between gun-related fatalities and drug-related fatalities continued to widen until a couple of years ago, the most recent period for which the DEA has data, when it became an abyss. In 2013, drug fatalities overtook gun fatalities by 30 percent.
DEA investigators found that the most deadly drugs were cocaine and methamphetamine between 2007 and 2010 and heroin and prescription drugs after that date.
The DEA chief Chuck Rosenberg, however, recently made headlines with his statements over the use and dangers of medical marijuana. On Wednesday, he said that smoking marijuana should not be regarded as a medical treatment.
“What really bothers me is the notion that marijuana is also medicinal—because it’s not,”
Mr. Rosenberg added.
He also argued that people should be honest when debating over whether we should legalize a “bad and dangerous” product. He also said that calling marijuana a medicine was a ‘joke.’
The DEA chief also recommended people to not mistake recreational marijuana for medical marijuana. He acknowledged that there are compounds in marijuana that may have health benefits, but ‘smoking the leaf of marijuana’ was never proven beneficial as a medicine or considered safe by scientific literature.
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