Annual causes of death in U.S.

When we think of causes of death, we usually think of heart disease or cancer. But there’s another way to look at causes: in terms of the external factors that contribute to death. That heart attack, for example, might have resulted from obesity. That liver cancer might have been caused by alcoholism. The drug use education site has gathered the following statistics for the year 2000 in order to illustrate the relative role of illicit drugs as contributors to death. As can be seen, compared to other causes, illicit drugs result in relatively few deaths—hardly enough, the site argues, to warrant the cost of the so-called drug war.

Cause of death No. of deaths

Tobacco 435,000

Poor diet and physical inactivity 365,000

Alcohol 85,000

Microbial agents 75,000

Toxic agents 55,000

Motor-vehicle crashes 26,347

Adverse reactions to prescription drugs 32,000

Suicide 30,622

Incidents involving firearms 29,000

Homicide 20,308

All illicit drug use, direct and indirect 17,000

Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs such as aspirin 7,600

Marijuana 0

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