Most recent updates April 21, 2024 by Doug McVay, Editor.

Recently updated sections include:

Here's our Table of Contents/Chapter Index. There's also a Directory by Subject Area and a list of International (non-US) Sections

chart comparing relative dangers and addictive properties of several commonly used substances

Source: "Is Nicotine Addictive? It Depends on Whose Criteria You Use." New York Times, Aug. 2, 1994.

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According to the US Centers for Disease Control, using provisional data available for analysis on April 7, 2024, in the 12-month period that ended Dec. 31, 2022, at least 109,413 people in the US were reported to have died from drug overdose and toxins in the unregulated drug supply. These provisional data are incomplete and the CDC predicts that the final number of deaths in the US due to overdose and toxins in the supply of banned drugs in calendar year 2022 will be 111,029.

The CDC's newest figures include the 12-month period ending November 30, 2023. They report based on currently available data that at least 105,384 people in the US died from drug overdose and toxins in the unregulated drug supply during that period, and predict that the final number of deaths for that period will be 109,527.

The CDC further reports that in the 12-month period that ended Dec. 31, 2021, at least 107,573 people in the US were reported to have died from drug overdose and toxins in the unregulated drug supply. The CDC predicts that the final number of overdose deaths in calendar year 2021 will be 109,179.

Source: Ahmad FB, Cisewski JA, Rossen LM, Sutton P. Provisional drug overdose death counts. Centers for Disease Control, National Center for Health Statistics. 2024. Last accessed April 17, 2024.

Since it first went online in 1998 as Drug War Facts, Drug Policy Facts provides reliable information from authoritative sources, with full citations, on important issues related to drug control policies and the failed drug war. It is updated continuously by its current Editor, Doug McVay.

Most charts, facts and figures are from government sources, government-sponsored sources, peer reviewed journals and occasionally newspapers. In all cases the source is cited so that journalists, scholars and students can verify, check context and obtain additional information.

Our mission is to offer useful facts, cited from authoritative sources, to a debate that is often characterized by myths, error, emotion and dissembling. We believe that in time an informed society will correct its errors and generate wiser policies.

Drug Policy Facts is sponsored by the Real Reporting Foundation. Its directors are Ernest Drucker, Ph.D., Chair, Robert E. Field, Co-Chair and President, Melvin R. Allen, JD, David Borden, Balázs Denés, JD, Kris Krane, and Doug McVay.

Drug Policy Facts has a sister site, World Health Systems Facts. World Health Systems Facts follows the same approach as Drug Policy Facts, providing excerpts of current information and statistics with complete citations and links to the source materials. Fact items are meticulously sourced from impeccable sources. These include government research, peer reviewed journals, international organizations, research foundations, and more. This project is also done without bias or editorial comment.

To the extent of its copyrights, Real Reporting Foundation authorizes and encourages the use and republication of some or all portions of this book. Questions, comments or suggestions for additions and modifications are most welcome and may be addressed to Doug McVay at

List of chapters.

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