The Most Commonly Used Illegal Drug in the World
Posted by Marijuana Doctors on 08/30/2013 in Medical Marijuana News
Recent studies have shown that the most commonly used illegal drug, worldwide, is marijuana. However, addictions to painkillers like Oxycontin, Vicodin and Codeine are causing more deaths annually than any other drug, according to the first-ever global survey.
Though I’ve touched on the terribly misleading scheduling of marijuana in previous articles, these recently documented statistics may help to paint a picture of just how falsely categorized marijuana truly is under the DEA’s scheduling. Going by the DEA’s website verbatim, “Schedule I drugs, substances, or chemicals are defined as drugs with no currently accepted medical use and a high potential for abuse. Schedule I drugs are the most dangerous drugs of all of the drug schedules with potentially severe psychological or physical dependence.” All other drugs mentioned on the website are considered to have far less abuse potential than the following: heroin, LSD, cannabis, ecstasy, methaqualone, and peyote. And while I won’t advocate or claim to be well-versed in the history behind the highly addictive nature of heroin, I will say that methaqualone, otherwise known as Quaaludes, were banned for pharmaceutical production and distribution back in 1984. Now, in 20 states and the District of Columbia, marijuana is recommended by health care professionals for regular use. And while the study attempted to find substantiate evidence against the death toll for Ecstasy and hallucinogens, they came up short with an absence of data. So to say that the scheduling could use an update would be an understatement.
In fact, in the past decade alone, deaths from prescription painkillers have reached epidemic levels. The overdose toll has far surpassed that of deaths from heroin and cocaine combined. As of 2010, 1 in 20 (12 million) U.S. citizens reported using prescription painkillers for nonmedical related reasons. In that same year, enough prescription painkillers were prescribed to medicate every single American adult around the clock for a month. On the opposite side of the spectrum, fatal marijuana overdoses do not exist. In fact, the most widely used drug in the world has had quite conversely, zero reported deaths. And while marijuana isn’t proven to have any addiction-based compounds, frequent users (about 10%) have compared their daily dependency as similar to a caffeine craving no different than drinking a cup of coffee in the morning or consuming a can of coke during the day. According to the gallop poll, while younger Americans use has declined; consumption by older Americans has increased. This can likely be attributed to recent medical marijuana legislation having passed in 20 states and the District of Columbia.
Theo Vos, the study’s senior author at the institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation at the University of Washington, had found that countries with harsher drug laws and penalties had substantially higher death rates for addicts compared to countries with other policies implemented to wean people off drug, for instance methadone clinics and needle exchange programs. Prescription painkillers wrongfully fall under a Schedule II and Schedule III categorization. Both schedules explicitly state that any drugs under those classifications hold a potential for abuse far less than that of all Schedule I substances. Unfortunately, rescheduling has barely been a topic of discussion during the Obama administration. While attorney general Eric Holder has announced shifting its law enforcement efforts to drug traffickers, cartels and high-profile gangs, spokesmen for the Obama administration have said that during his presidency, Obama has no intention of rescheduling marijuana. For as long as this scheduling remains the same, widespread beliefs that marijuana is a highly addictive and harmful substance will continue to perpetuate. And as these studies and statistics speak volumes to the terrors of global drug use, it highlights the morally unethical foundation by which marijuana has been chained to. Lest we forget the most commonly used drug in the world is nothing more than a plant.