Do you believe that alcohol could be more dangerous than heroin?
Before you continue reading, we would just like to say that this article is in no way condoning the use of alcohol, heroin or any other narcotic substance! We urge people to stay away from them at all costs. This is a story that comes with a lot of debate, controversy and more recently, job loss. Former UK Government Chief Drugs Advisor, Professor David Nutt was controversially sacked from his job after co-authoring a report in The Lancet, the world’s leading general medical journal and specialty journals in Oncology, Neurology and Infectious Diseases. The report stated that alcohol is more harmful than heroin or crack cocaine when the overall dangers to the individual and society are considered. The study ranked 20 narcotic drugs on 16 measures of harm to people who use them and to society as a whole. For individuals alone, heroin, crack cocaine and crystal meth were classed as the worst drugs available. Heroin and crack cocaine were again mentioned with alcohol, as the most dangerous drugs in society. However, the study found alcohol to be the most harmful drug available on an overall scale.
The dismissal from his post as UK Government Chief Drugs Advisor did nothing to diminish Prof. Nutt’s argument. Instead, he formed his own group, called the Independent Scientific Committee on Drugs, which he aims to use to investigate the issue of drugs without any political involvement. His dismissal angered Dr Les King, who left his post at the Advisory Council on the Misuse of Drugs due to the unfair sacking of Prof. Nutt. According to BBC, Dr. King said that he resigned because Prof. Nutt was denied his freedom of expression. Dr. King then went on to join forces with Prof. Nutt at the Independent Scientific Committee on Drugs with two other experts in the addiction field and compiled research on various drugs, scoring them each with a harm score.
Each harm score related to:
- Physical and psychological harm
- Costs to the economy and the community
Here is the detailed graph of their findings:
Prof. Nutt stated that their findings are accurate, even if it was done differently to that of the current long-standing UK Government drug classification system – saying that “the present drug classification systems have little relation to the evidence of harm”. Their new harm ranking system listed alcohol as the most harmful drug, rating it as three times more dangerous than cocaine and tobacco. Prof. Nutt said that alcohol was rated as the most harmful drug as it’s legal and so widely used, even if crack cocaine is more addictive. He backed up this statement by saying that there are people that crave alcohol every day and will go to extraordinary lengths to get it. While these findings are debated globally, it highlights the damaging effects that alcohol and drugs has when abused. If you or a loved one is addicted to drugs and alcohol, it’s important to get professional help immediately. We provide access into the best private drug and alcohol rehabilitation centres in South Africa, the United Kingdom and Thailand. Call us now and let one of our qualified addiction counsellors assist in finding the best treatment for you or a loved one.