This means alcohol impairment is a direct causal influence in 8,000 murders and between 10,000 and 12,000 traffic deaths each year, plus the 95,000 people who die every year of alcohol-related diseases–a total of around 115,000 people annually.
That puts alcohol as the 7th leading cause of death in the U.S. If we include smoking as a key cause of respiratory diseases (160,000 deaths annually, the 4th leading cause) and lung cancer (142,000 deaths annually), tobacco and alcohol are key factors in 300,000+ deaths annually, right behind heart disease and all cancers. Deaths from Excessive Alcohol Use in the U.S. (CDC)
In stark contrast, cannabis use has no statistical effect on mortality. Though various authorities continue to claim cannabis is a “gateway drug,” alcohol isn’t a gateway; it’s a major cause of death all by itself. The legal substance kills 115,000 users a year, and the illegal substance (Schedule 1, as dangerous as heroin according to our federal government) has no discernable impact on mortality.