Study finds that Alcohol is the Most Dangerous Drug above Heroin and Cocaine
With more than 3 million deaths each year linked to alcohol consumption, alcohol has been named the most dangerous drug on the market.
Despite the popular belief that illicit recreational drugs such as heroin and crack cocaine cause the most harm to society — which is fuelled in part by the war on drugs — one UK study indicates that alcohol actually surpasses all others as the most dangerous drug. It is no surprise, as the negative effects of alcohol are well-documented. However, they are easily ignored and significantly downplayed.
The study was published in the reputable Lancet medical journal and undertaken by the UK’s former government drugs adviser, David Nutt along with other leading drug specialists on behalf of the Independent Scientific Committee on Drugs. Researchers reviewed several recreational drugs and gave them each a score based on the harm they caused to users and the harm caused to others. According to their findings the most harmful drugs to users were heroin, crack cocaine, and methamphetamine. The drugs that caused the most harm to others were alcohol, heroin, and crack cocaine.
When the two part scores were combined alcohol came out on top as causing significantly more harm in society overall. The researchers argue that if the level of harm is taken seriously into account in the classification of drugs, alcohol should be treated as a class A drug.
Of course, critics of the research assert that if heroin and crack cocaine were legal and there was greater widespread use, these drugs would prove to be more dangerous than alcohol. However, the reality is that the current levels of alcohol abuse cause the most harm to society, yet the dangerous effects of alcohol use are rarely given the spotlight.
Another more recent study published in Scientific Reports in January 2015 also found that the effects of alcohol fall in the “high risk” category. The study analysed several licit and illicit recreational drugs to shed light on which are most harmful. According to their findings, alcohol, nicotine, heroin, and cocaine fall into the “high risk” category. However, when the rankings are controlled for actual population consumption alcohol is the only drug that remains in the “high risk” category.
This means that more and more research is pointing to the fact that the effects of alcohol are more harmful than we like to acknowledge.