A surprising study from London has found that alcohol is MORE dangerous than illegal drugs like heroin or crack cocaine.
“British experts evaluated substances including alcohol, cocaine, heroin, ecstasy and marijuana, ranking them based on how destructive they are to the individual who takes them and to society as a whole.”
“Researchers analyzed how addictive a drug is and how it harms the human body, in addition to other criteria like environmental damage caused by the drug, its role in breaking up families and its economic costs, such as health care, social services, and prison.”
“Heroin, crack cocaine and methamphetamine, or crystal meth, were the most lethal to individuals. When considering their wider social effects, alcohol, heroin and crack cocaine were the deadliest. But overall, alcohol outranked all other substances, followed by heroin and crack cocaine. Marijuana, ecstasy and LSD scored far lower.”
“The study was paid for by Britain’s Centre for Crime and Justice Studies and was published online Monday in the medical journal, Lancet.”
“Experts said alcohol scored so high because it is so widely used and has devastating consequences not only for drinkers but for those around them.”
“ ‘Just think about what happens (with alcohol) at every football game,’ said Wim van den Brink, a professor of psychiatry and addiction at the University of Amsterdam. He was not linked to the study and co-authored a commentary in the Lancet.”
“When drunk in excess, alcohol damages nearly all organ systems. It is also connected to higher death rates and is involved in a greater percentage of crime than most other drugs, including heroin.”
Clearly because alcohol is legal it doesn’t have the same stigma that the other “hard” drugs have. So when you talk to your teens about drug use, do you warn as harshly about alcohol as crack, meth or heroin? (I think once teens head to college, many parents accept they are going to drink and hope they don’t drink and drive. I don’t think parents expect them to start shooting up smack and would probably perceive that as a worse situation.)
Should countries reclassify alcohol? Should it be illegal again? Should they make it more expensive to buy? (I see moonshine stills popping up all over Athens!) Should there be more education about the impact of alcohol has on your body? Do we need to send “Super Size Me” filmmaker and guinea pig Morgan Spurlock out to make a documentary about the dangers of drinking? Would that make an impression on kids (and adults)? Would this study make an impression on your teens?