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Yellowbrick Blog

Lethal Doses of The Most Abused Drugs

Substance abuse touches almost everyone in one way or another: on a personal level, or via a family member, or in the behavior of a friend. The fact is, almost everyone knows someone who has struggled with addiction—or who has battled their share of demons. As such, it’s important to know all you can about abused substances.


For example, you are likely familiar with alcohol poisoning. In fact, you may even know someone who has died from alcohol poisoning. But dig a little deeper. What more do you know about it? Do you know, say, the lethal dose of alcohol, down to the milligram? And do you know how many drinks those lethal milligrams translate to?

We did the research, and here’s what we found out. The lethal dose of alcohol is 300,000 milligrams—which translates to, approximately, 30 standard alcoholic drinks. With that benchmark as a guide, in the future, you may be better able to decide between simply a bad choice and a fatal one.

How about the lethal dose of marijuana? It is often said that you outright cannot die from marijuana use. According to our research, that statement is actually false. Mathematically speaking, you can die from marijuana. It’s just not particularly plausible. The lethal dose of marijuana is 56,000 milligrams—that’s roughly the equivalent of smoking 1,750 joints.

There are many drugs, however, that people are at serious risk of dying from if they abuse them. Acetaminophen, for instance, is lethal at 13,000 milligrams, or approximately 40 pills. Keep that in mind, then, if you’re ever purchasing Tylenol for someone whom you’ve known to exhibit alarming or self-harming behaviors.

Prescription drugs like alprazolam (Xanax), hydrocodone (Vicodin) and oxycodone (Oxycontin) carry similar lethal risks. Alprazolam is lethal at 7,500 milligrams, or about 40 pills; hydrocodone, 90 milligrams, or 18 pills; and oxycodone, 80 milligrams, or only about 2.75 pills. Incidentally, according to the Mayo Clinic, America—as of 2013—consumes 99 percent of the world’s hydrocodone and 71 percent of the oxycodone.

*The data related to the substances included in the infographic above are in relation to their purest form. The lethal street dose of these substances is based on a few variables such as the user’s bodyweight, route of administration and other drug interactions. Yellowbrick does not condone substance abuse in any form. If you are seeking help for substance abuse, please contact 866-364-2300 or click here for more information.

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