Yes, But It’s OUR Drug…

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.


1 thought on “Yes, But It’s OUR Drug…

  1. jonolan

    The only problem with this study is that it was headed by a man who had recently been fired by UK government due to his pro-illicit drug stance. That certainly clouds the objectivity of the study.

    Of course I’m also wondering about how they rated “environmental damage” and if they cared whether or not that environmental damage was done within the UK or not, e.g., agribusiness barley in England being rated as damage but mono-cropping coca or poppies in Columbia or Afghanistan being scored lower or ignored.

    That same question of parochialism comes up in the question of the drugs’ respective societal damage. I have to wonder how the researchers scored drugs which cause great amounts of societal damage outside of the UK where their base materials are actually grown and processed.

    Still, we in the West do undervalue the damage that alcohol causes and overvalue the damage that some other drugs cause.


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