Study: Alcohol more lethal than heroin, cocaine

From Yahoo Canada:

Sun Oct 31, 3:06 PM

By Maria Cheng, The Associated Press

LONDON – Alcohol is more dangerous than illegal drugs like heroin and crack cocaine, according to a new study.

British experts evaluated substances including alcohol, cocaine, heroin, ecstasy and marijuana, ranking them based on how destructive they are to the individual who takes them and to society as a whole.

Researchers analyzed how addictive a drug is and how it harms the human body, in addition to other criteria like environmental damage caused by the drug, its role in breaking up families and its economic costs, such as health care, social services, and prison.

Heroin, crack cocaine and metamfetamines, or crystal meth, were the most lethal to individuals. When considering their wider social effects, alcohol, heroin and crack cocaine were the deadliest. But overall, alcohol outranked all other substances, followed by heroin and crack cocaine. Marijuana, ecstasy and LSD scored far lower.

The study was paid for by Britain’s Centre for Crime and Justice Studies and was published online Monday in the medical journal, Lancet.

Experts said alcohol scored so high because it is so widely used and has devastating consequences not only for drinkers but for those around them.

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One Response to “Study: Alcohol more lethal than heroin, cocaine”

  1. Anna Says:

    Your headline is wrong. The paper does not say lethal, it says harmful, meaning a wide range of harms.

    Having read it [1] in full, it sets out a very useful process for helping to decide drug policy, except that the actual harms included in consideration are not transparently listed, only the scores from categories of harms, and they have not made clear how much existing restrictions or regulations have been taken into account, thus diminishing cross-jurisdiction applicability. Would tobacco be scored higher in a country where smoking was more common, where it was taxed less, where there were no laws against smoking in buildings?

    But I strongly suspect they have under-scored tobacco by simply failing to consider all the ways its use does harm. Did they include that it isolates people? That it kills many of our most talented long before they should die, and in nasty ways that require a lot of terminal care? Did they include its strong harm to mental health, indeed damage to the brain, its causation of ectopic pregnancies, its harm to the healing process? That it can have all those effects on non-smokers who suffer exposure to the smoke passively?

    Not diminishing the harm of alcohol, but I would place tobacco as even more dangerous, but its harm is more undercover.


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