Alcohol More Dangerous Than Crack or Heroin, Experts Say

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.

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Calum Health
health truth5 years ago
check this great source of information on how to avoid nasty hangovers

Adam T.
Adam L6 years ago

I don't need the govt. to tell me what I can or can't put into my own body. Thats the problem with those of you that THINK its ok for the govt. to tell you start to believe it, soon you start to wait for it and can't make your own decisions because your masters haven't authorized it yet. Govt. has already told you that they think its prudent to molest you at the airport because of vague "terrorist threats", so you agree and capitulate. It just keeps going from there, they'll tell you what color underwear to wear if you let them...give it time, that won't sound so ridiculous if we keep sliding into fascism at the rate we are already going.

Michael Kirkby
.6 years ago

Ninety percent of the purchase price of alcohol and cigarettes is tax of some sort. Why can they not legalize marijuana which doesn't produce the same impact on society as the aforementioned?
I have been to Amsterdam and yes there are problems but the way prostitution and drugs are dealt with is far more humane than the Victorian morals and stupidity we seem stuck in.
Of course it helps when your government is the biggest drug dealer in the world; and you have one of the highest illicit drug consumption rates in the world sans modern treatment facilities.
The only people profiting are the illegal drug barons; the growers; the politicians. Most of the people who are addicted to drugs or sex or gambling have what is termed an addictive personality disorder. How come we always treat the symptoms and not the actual disease? Oh excuse me but that's typical reactive human nature isn't it? Would y'all care to become proactive for a change Mr. and Mrs. Politician?

Altaf Hussain
Altaf H6 years ago

Alcohol More Dangerous Than Crack or Heroin, Experts Say.

So what? The alcohol lobby will make sure its never made illegal.

These same cretins will make sure marijuana will never be legalized, because legalizing marijuana will cause a drop in alcohol sales.

Isn't Capitalism wonderful?

jane richmond
jane richmond7 years ago

Who'd a thunk it.

Chris A.
Chris A.7 years ago

Well said, Christine C. The Dutch have a more tolerant (legally) approach, including safe disposal of "sharps", but I don't believe that they have a worse drug problem as a consequence.

Angela Burrow
Angela Burrow7 years ago

Christina R, I don't believe prohibition is the answer. Look at what happened in the USA in the 1920s. Whenever a society bans something, it pushes it underground and means that it cannot be policed effectively, thus creating more problems than it solves.

For example, look at the British Empire at the end of the 19th century. For such a small island, we were world leaders in many areas, yet morphine, cocaine and opium were prevalent and legal, and very popular with the royal, rich, famous and powerful . Once they were banned, criminals took control of their supply, the quality plummeted and these drugs and their effects started to be a plague on society.

I honestly don't know what the solution is. We have a problem with binge drinking in the UK and we have an age restriction. Other countries in Europe also have problems, some have restrictions, others don't. I feel banning alcohol would only make the situation worse, however; at least the current supply of alcohol is monitored to ensure it is safe (doesn't contain toxins, the strength is clearly labelled, etc).

I firmly believe that some illegal drugs are a lot safer than alcohol and cigarettes. Take cannabis, for example. How many times have you seen someone stoned starting a fight, compared to a drunk? A stoner is more likely to just want to hug you. :-) Also, we now that cigarettes cause cancer and heart problems. Unless the cannabis is smoked, there are few proven health risks with ingesting it.

gerlinde p.
gerlinde p7 years ago

interesting read, thanks

Carla M.
Carla M7 years ago

It's all about moderation!

nora b.
Nora b7 years ago

I rarely drink any more and when I do it's a glass of wine or a beer. When I think back of younger days, I'm amazed I came through some of those so-called fun parties. I think I drank because they would have been boring if I hadn't.