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November 2006
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Drugs implicated in death in Florida autopsies

Over at the Drug Czar’s “blog”, they say

A new autopsy report from Florida gives us another reason to continue our focus on reducing the non-medical use of prescription drug

Say what? Your focus? This, from the office that’s been spending all its time in Nevada, Colorado, and South Dakota trying to defeat marijuana initiatives?
So I thought I’d take a closer look at the figures in Florida. Not a lot of surprises that I can see.

Drug Tracked # of Cases a cause of death present only
Cocaine 927 348 579
Methadone 428 312 116
Alprazolam 489 194 295
Oxycodone 377 185 192
Ethyl Alcohol 1,754 160 1,594
Morphine 289 106 183
Hydrocodone 346 106 240
Other Benzodiazepine 484 62 422
Diazepam 285 59 226
Fentanyl 85 51 34
Propoxyphene 155 38 117
Carisoprodol/Meprobamate 148 36 112
Heroin 36 29 7
Tramadol 59 18 41
Hydromorphone 63 13 50
Other Opioid 133 12 121
Methamphetamine 58 9 49
Meperidine 25 3 22
Amphetamine 51 3 48
MDMA 25 2 23
Nitrous Oxide 1 1 0
GHB 3 1 2
Other Methylated Amphetamine 5 1 4
MDA 18 1 17
Ketamine 1 0 1
Phencyclidine (PCP) 1 0 1
Cannabinoids 471 0 471
The vast majority of these 3,595 cases involved more than one drug listed in the report. The state’s medical examiners were asked to distinguish between the drugs being the “cause” of death or merely “present” in the body at the time of death.

Notice the item at the bottom of this list? At least the medical examiners are honest enough to know that cannabis is not going to be the cause of death. The fact that it’s even included in the list is silly.
Gee, I wonder why the Drug Czar didn’t simply say:

Once again, Cannabis was not the cause of any drug-related deaths.

In fact, it’s the safest drug on that list. By a long shot.

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