Government's own data suggests marijuana is safer than alcohol

Booze more likely to send you to ER than pot

WASHINGTON, D.C. - Government data shows what pot enthusiasts have preached all along: Marijuana is safer than alcohol.

At least that the conclusion Washington Post writer Christopher Ingraham came to after measuring the ratio between people who smoke marijuana and end up in the hospital and those who use other drugs and end up in the same place.

What he found contradicts what the government has been telling the public for years—marijuana poses a lower health risk than other category I and II drugs and alcohol, Ingraham says.

The Office of National Drug Control Policy reports that "mentions of marijuana use in emergency room visits have risen 176 percent since 1994, surpassing those of heroin." The Drug Enforcement Administration also released a 41-page-report that said marijuana played a factor in nearly half a million E.R. visits in 2011. Cocaine was the only drug to top it.

But the problem with those numbers has always been that they mean little when they aren’t compared to the total number of people who use each drug, according to Ingraham,

“When you consider that there are approximately 70 times more marijuana users than heroin users in the United States, it makes sense that more of the former are going to the hospital than the latter,” he writes.

So Ingraham analyzed the data himself, using government compiled information from the National Survey on Drug Use and Health, Drug Abuse Warning Network, and a National Institutes of Health Report. 

This is what he found:

Courtesy: Washington Post
Print this article Back to Top

DecodeDC's Mission

DecodeDC's foremost aim is to be useful. That means being a reliable, honest and highly entertaining source of insight and explanation. It also means providing multimedia coverage of Washington's people, culture, policies and politics that is enlightening and enjoyable. Whether it's a podcast, a video, an interactive graphic, a short story or a long analysis, it will be based on this guiding principle: We are in DC but not OF DC.