Study: Alcohol, Tobacco Worse Than (some) Drugs

[quote]New “landmark” research finds that alcohol and tobacco are more dangerous than some illegal drugs like marijuana or Ecstasy and should be classified as such in legal systems, according to a new British study.

In research published Friday in The Lancet magazine, Professor David Nutt of Britain’s Bristol University and colleagues proposed a new framework for the classification of harmful substances, based on the actual risks posed to society. Their ranking listed alcohol and tobacco among the top 10 most dangerous substances.

Nutt and colleagues used three factors to determine the harm associated with any drug: the physical harm to the user, the drug’s potential for addiction, and the impact on society of drug use. The researchers asked two groups of experts — psychiatrists specializing in addiction and legal or police officials with scientific or medical expertise — to assign scores to 20 different drugs, including heroin, cocaine, Ecstasy, amphetamines, and LSD.

Nutt and his colleagues then calculated the drugs’ overall rankings. In the end, the experts agreed with each other — but not with the existing British classification of dangerous substances.

Heroin and cocaine were ranked most dangerous, followed by barbiturates and street methadone. Alcohol was the fifth-most harmful drug and tobacco the ninth most harmful. Cannabis came in 11th, and near the bottom of the list was Ecstasy.

According to existing British and U.S. drug policy, alcohol and tobacco are legal, while cannabis and Ecstasy are both illegal. Previous reports, including a study from a parliamentary committee last year, have questioned the scientific rationale for Britain’s drug classification system.

The current drug system is ill thought-out and arbitrary," said Nutt, referring to the United Kingdom’s practice of assigning drugs to three distinct divisions, ostensibly based on the drugs’ potential for harm. "The exclusion of alcohol and tobacco from the Misuse of Drugs Act is, from a scientific perspective, arbitrary,” write Nutt and his colleagues in The Lancet.[/quote] … than-drugs

I don’t much about ecstasy as it was after my time, but the rest of the list doesn’t surprise me.

You wish … :slight_smile:

Research funded by NORML?

…I kid…I kid…legalize it, tax it and thin out the darn gene pool already…

If you factor in the number of deaths from smoking-related cancer and alcohol-related liver failure, accidents and violence, it’s not surprising that they are ranked in this list. On the other hand, if the list is taken as an indicator of the potential harmfulness, the inclusion of actual harm is naturally overstated for drugs that are widely available due to their legality. In other words, if smoking and alcohol were strictly illegal or if the other drugs on the list were all legal, one would expect the actual harm to society to shift down and up respectively. The rankings would then presumably shift as well. No?

That’s just idiotic. The Japanese drink like fish and they outlive everyone else on the planet. According to surveys in the Mainichi news, more than half of adult Japanese men report getting “drunk” (over 5 drinks) on a weekly basis, and one in six reports getting drunk on a daily basis. Furthermore, more than half of the “salarymen” averaged over two drinks a day. The Japanese also smoke far more than the shorter lived English who commissioned the study.

After the Japanese, the next longest-lived are the French- also heavy drinkers and smokers. While I don’t think that weed is dangerous in the least (actually toxicology studies in the early 20th century were unable to find a lethal dose), the real health threats are soda, (the ubiquitous) high fructose corn syrup, and hydrogenated fats.

I do agree with the paragraph the OP highlighted, though. Our policies are definitely ill-thought out.

Right, but they’re looking at physical harm, not necessarily death. Western people die early because of eating habits more than anything else.

Wait just a minute! Are you saying that ciggies and alcohol are gateways to EATING!?!?!?

That’s just too much!

They should also ban coffee while they’re at it.

Filthy coffee drinkers… like dirty beggars. total PK.

Folks have been drinking and smoking for years. Millennia, in fact.
Booze and tabac are not the problems in and of themselves.
Rather it’s a combination of mass-produced swill & shag, bad eating habits and even worse forms of physical exercise. If one drinks and smokes, one must eat and exercise 1.6 times more than the average bloated prick. It’s a matter of overcompensating. Wanking alone will not cut the mustard.
Not that i’d know much about these things… :doh:

Our forefolks sure drank and smoked much better quality products than we have ever done, generally speaking of course. Mass production of a product has inherent disadvantages in products that are best consumed in their freshest & purest state possible.

I think it all went downhill with ready rolled tabac & beer in cans.
Abomination of Ambominations! :grandpa:

Just you wait until the figures for Japan start to take account of the fact that they didn’t start smoking on the scale they do now until after the war. Then you will all see that the way to everlasting life is petroleum byproducts, McDonald’s breakfasts, and the good old … er, wrong website. (At least I didn’t say “Japanese schoolgirls”!)