Alcohol is more dangerous than drugs like crack cocaine and heroin, both to the individual and to society as a whole.
The study, funded by Britain’s Center for Crime and Justice Studies, is published online in The Lancet, and says that, “Drugs including alcohol and tobacco products are a major cause of harms to individuals and society.”
Researchers evaluated the dangers of 20 illegal drugs that included cocaine, heroin, marijuana, and ecstasy, as well as alcohol.
While heroin, crack cocaine, and methamphetamine were found to be most dangerous to individuals, alcohol, heroin, and crack cocaine cause the most damage to society as a whole. The most dangerous overall was alcohol.
Experts said alcohol scored so high because of its widespread use and the overwhelming consequences to the drinkers as well as others around them.
The overall impact has to do with health, dependency, mental impairment, lost of jobs or relationships, injury, crime, family stress. An article in Time says that cannabis ranked 8th most harmful, below two legal substances — alcohol and tobacco.
Some benefits to legalized substances — work and taxes — offset the harms, according to the report, and that many of the harms of these drugs are affected by their legal status. This study adds food for thought as California heads to the polls to vote on the legalization of recreational marijuana.
Alcohol is more dangerous than drugs like crack cocaine and heroin… so what do we do about that? We already knew about the tragically destructive consequences of alcohol abuse, but prohibition didn’t work either.
Certainly, which substances government decides are legal which it decides are not should be based on scientific evidence rather than some vague moralistic ideal. Throw in a dose of personal responsibility and now we’re getting somewhere.