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August 16th, 2013
06:30 PM ET

Dr. Sanjay Gupta on drug overdoses: "Every 19 minutes someone dies of a prescription drug overdose"

“Gone to Pot: America’s Marijuana Obsession,” a one hour "Piers Morgan Live" special will introduce voices from both sides of the marijuana argument offering a number of resources and statistics on the substance. Tonight, CNN’s Dr. Sanjay Gupta breaks through the talking points and discusses the real benefits and effects of marijuana.

“There was so much that [David Evans] was saying that simply wasn’t true,” said the Chief Medical Correspondent. “Every 19 minutes someone dies of a prescription drug overdose - [it] doesn’t happen with marijuana.”

According to Gupta, marijuana has the potential to be an addictive and abusive substance; about nine percent of people may become addicted or psychologically dependent. In comparison, around 15 percent of people become addicted to alcohol, with 23 percent of people using LSD or heroin becoming addicted.

To hear Gupta refute David Evans, Special Adviser to Drug Free America Foundation, tune in tonight at 9. Also, be sure to watch for Gupta’s own documentary, “WEED,” airing tonight at 10.
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soundoff (31 Responses)
  1. Bonnie G. Bailey

    I believe that both Pierce and Dr. Gupta have forgotten the balance of news reporting. You are both opinionated about the topic and this does not promote fair discussion on the issue. It is unfortunate on how you are one-sided with your opinions. Are you possbily influenced by a sponsor or decision maker that is influencing your discussion? This is very unfortunate for you both.

    August 16, 2013 at 10:07 pm | Report abuse | Reply
  2. bharatish

    Even though legalizing/decriminalizing some drugs is good starting point,
    we are not focusing on the root problem. The root problem is the legal
    system which is filled with perpetual antiquated laws most which focus on
    how to criminalize anything and everything and put anybody and everybody in jail
    for long time. Legal system is trying to solve all problems by criminalizing
    and putting people in jail rather than proactive education/prevention
    and remediation/cure. Legal system has created catch22 criminal world
    with no entry to civilized world.

    We should remove all incentives (profits and advancements) that
    encourages criminalization and long incarcerations. Punishing people by
    criminalizing and putting them in jail for long time is perpetuation of
    barbarism/torture of ancient world and lacks any sort of intelligence.
    Public money should be better spent on things that enriches the society and
    not on things that impoverishes the society.

    There should be better way to punish these people so that they will pay
    for their misdeeds and integrate back in to society.

    If there is no victim then it should never be a crime.

    All the laws should have an expiry date so that the legal system contains
    only laws that are relevant. After due review laws can be renewed based on
    the need. This way we are not bound by our own shackles and rendered helpless.

    August 16, 2013 at 11:13 pm | Report abuse | Reply
    • JR

      Why is it that the popular “push” is to legalize certain drugs that are, at present, on the Federal Schedule 1 ‘prohibited substance’ list (i.e., marijuana) goes largely unchallenged by mainstream news outlets; while concurrently, the “addiction-of-the-month” cause celeb targets medications with known beneficial uses (i.e., opiate-based pain meds) face being persecuted because some folks (perhaps far too many folks) choose to abuse them? The anti-prohibition based arguments that populate the pro-pot position are just as valid when applied to other substances with the potential for abuse. Reducing access to Rx pain meds seems to unfairly cast doubt upon chronic pain suffers, indeed oftentimes creating an all-but-deny access culture for legitimate use. Such “demonization” places an undue burden physicians who prescribe these meds. Many good physicians will simply choose to discontinue the practice of prescribing this valuable class of drugs. Who really loses when such a cultural or legislative climate takes hold? Not the abuser, who will continue to locate and abuse their substance of choice. It may become more expensive to purchase illegally obtained or manufactured opiate type meds, leading into increased crime, violence, and massive financial gain for drug cartels. Who will simply curl up into a ball and suffer with real unremitting pain, law-abiding citizens. Well done media and legislature... the response to a crisis of misuse is not to stem the tide of abuse, or to better inform the public and professionals in the industry as to the pitfalls of certain drugs, but to take a broad brush and make it very difficult for legitimate uses to continue. Alcohol is a huge contributor to individual and societal woes. It’s “socially acceptable” so it is allowed to continue its carnage in the individual’s body, their home and family, and the public health, safety and welfare. One can obtain a “medical marijuana” Rx for the most absurd reasons, from fatigue to anxiety. Of course, the delivery mechanism of choice is often by way of inhalation (smoking), which triggers a whole other set of concerns, such as the carcinogen properties of burning this weed. Net result, we as a Country have an illogical set of laws and controls that allow dangerous substances to be consumed, while other substances, oftentimes with equal or superior legitimate uses are culled from the legally acceptable list.

      May 11, 2016 at 7:22 pm | Report abuse | Reply
  3. Tom_B

    So what? This helps to keep the population down, saves US taxes on Medicare, Medicaid and Social Security. Everyone benefits! 🙂

    August 17, 2013 at 8:01 am | Report abuse | Reply
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    August 17, 2013 at 11:53 am | Report abuse | Reply
  5. creator42

    "with 23 percent of people using LSD or heroin becoming addicted."

    Dr. Gupta must have meant cocaine and heroin. LSD is not physically addictive, and not especially psychologically habit forming either.

    August 17, 2013 at 9:13 pm | Report abuse | Reply
  6. Walkindude

    "with 23 percent of people using LSD or heroin becoming addicted."

    What? Hahahaha oh wow

    August 17, 2013 at 10:48 pm | Report abuse | Reply
  7. Normanda Miles

    you said on your program with Newt that weed destroys brain cells and I agree with that BUT you failed tp bring up the medical effects of alcohol and ciggarettes. They are much worse than weed and they not only kill the users but indirectly are the cause of my innocent deaths. I think you "dropped the ball" on this one. Love your program

    August 18, 2013 at 9:37 am | Report abuse | Reply
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  12. Heather

    Big Pharma must be shaking in their boots right about now. Big props to Dr. Gupta for speaking the truth and backing it up with some facts.

    August 21, 2013 at 11:25 pm | Report abuse | Reply
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