As the US debates drug policy and marijuana legalization, there’s one aspect of the war on drugs that remains perplexingly contradictory: some of the most dangerous drugs in the US are perfectly legal.
Don’t believe it? Just look at this chart, compiled with available data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC):
This chart does come with a big qualification: it’s not a perfect comparison across the board. One driver of absolute tobacco and alcohol deaths is that both substances are legal and easily available. Other substances would most likely be far deadlier if they were as available as tobacco and alcohol.