`Alcohol, Tobacco Worse Than Drugs'

`Alcohol, Tobacco Worse Than Drugs'
Posted by CN Staff on March 23, 2007 at 06:56:50 PT
By Maria Cheng, Associated Press 
Source: Associated Press
London -- New “landmark” research finds that alcohol and tobacco are more dangerous than some illegal drugs like marijuana or Ecstasy and should be classified as such in legal systems, according to a new British study.In research published Friday in The Lancet magazine, Professor David Nutt of Britain's Bristol University and colleagues proposed a new framework for the classification of harmful substances, based on the actual risks posed to society. Their ranking listed alcohol and tobacco among the top 10 most dangerous substances.
Prof. Nutt and his colleagues used three factors to determine the harm associated with any drug: the physical harm to the user, the drug's potential for addiction, and the impact on society of drug use. The researchers asked two groups of experts — psychiatrists specializing in addiction and legal or police officials with scientific or medical expertise — to assign scores to 20 different drugs, including heroin, cocaine, Ecstasy, amphetamines and LSD.Prof. Nutt and his colleagues then calculated the drugs' overall rankings. In the end, the experts agreed with each other — but not with the existing British classification of dangerous substances. Heroin and cocaine were ranked most dangerous, followed by barbiturates and street methadone. Alcohol was the fifth most harmful drug and tobacco the ninth most harmful. Cannabis came in 11th, and near the bottom of the list was Ecstasy.According to existing British and U.S. drug policy, alcohol and tobacco are legal, while cannabis and Ecstasy are both illegal. Previous reports, including a study from a parliamentary committee last year, have questioned the scientific rationale for Britain's drug classification system.“The current drug system is ill thought-out and arbitrary,” said Prof. Nutt, referring to the United Kingdom's practice of assigning drugs to three distinct divisions, ostensibly based on the drugs' potential for harm. “The exclusion of alcohol and tobacco from the Misuse of Drugs Act is, from a scientific perspective, arbitrary,” write Prof. Nutt and his colleagues in The Lancet.Tobacco causes 40 per cent of all hospital illnesses, while alcohol is blamed for more than half of all visits to hospital emergency rooms. The substances also harm society in other ways, damaging families and occupying police services.Prof. Nutt hopes that the research will provoke debate within Britain and beyond about how drugs — including socially acceptable drugs such as alcohol — should be regulated. While different countries use different markers to classify dangerous drugs, none use a system like the one proposed by Prof. Nutt's study, which he hopes could serve as a framework for international authorities. Source: Associated Press (Wire)Author: Maria Cheng, Associated Press Published:  March 23, 2007Copyright: 2007 Associated Press CannabisNews Justice Archives
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Comment #15 posted by afterburner on March 23, 2007 at 22:27:55 PT
No Vested Interests There, Yeah Right
"The researchers asked two groups of experts — psychiatrists specializing in addiction and legal or police officials with scientific or medical expertise"addiction psychiatrists - "treatment," whether you want it or notpolice - the most vocal prohibitionists (If you have a hammer, everything looks like a nail!)Alcohol is a drug. Good luck with your "Drug Free America" nonsense. (Destroy all medicines. Hang all doctors. Let the sick bury their own sick.) What a crock.
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Comment #14 posted by laduncon on March 23, 2007 at 16:10:13 PT
Let's not get carried away here...
Well, I'd have to reckon that many more people use tobacco and alcohol (maybe cuz they're legal, advertised on tv, parents used it, etc...) than use heroin, thus accounting for the higher number of mortalities in their case. However, I believe the mortality rate and relative danger of heroin use vs. tobacco and alcohol use is rather well established. One is extremely unlikely to overdose on tobacco (maybe if you smoke three packs in a row the nicotine will get ya); dying from it will take a rather lengthy period of time, thus lowering its immediate risk-potential. Alcohol, clearly is capable of killing someone in a very short period of time, but many are able to use it in moderation without serious detriment. I'm sure there are exceptions out there, but I do not believe that repetetive, non-detrimental (psychologically, physically, socially), moderate heroin use is a likely scenario. That is one strong addiction that will almost certainly kill, as well as hampering the likelihood of living a happy life, if it isn't beaten. That said, doesn't mean that one should be sent to prison or that certain drugs should remain illegal, just that we shouldn't kid ourselves with the possibly harmful potential of any drug (regardless of its legality).
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Comment #13 posted by Sam Adams on March 23, 2007 at 15:02:39 PT
more "expert" analysis
Just one comment. I commend these guys for trying to frame the drug policy issue in a persuasive way.However, is it really necessary? They worked for months and produced a neat little mutli-colored graph.  I could've just printed the CDC list of drug-caused deaths per year just as easily. My point: more "expert" BS. Our society doesn't need this type of crap, why don't these guys go dig a ditch, or something else productive.  It's sad that we live in time where nothing can be done without the opinion of over-paid, arrogant "experts".Human beings don't need experts to survive. We all have everything we need built right it! It's actally quite amazing. We all have brains superior to the best computer anywhere in the world.Because in this case, the learn-ed experts are wrong - DEAD wrong. How can heroin be worse than alcohol & tobacco? In the US, alcohol & tobacco kill 550,00 people per year. Heroin? I'm not sure, I think it's less than 10,000.I guess if I went to grad school for 20 years, maybe I could convince myself that 500,000 is less than 10,000.
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Comment #12 posted by reverendjasongraves on March 23, 2007 at 14:19:27 PT:
Alcohol 5th on the lst of most harmful drugs
1. Heroin
2. Cocaine
3. Barbiturates
4. Street methadone
5. Alcohol
"Out of this list from a BBC report, Cannabis was number 11 after Tobacco which is at number 9.List is below:Cannabis, a healing for the nations (who want to get out of years of Alcoholism...)
List of most harmful drugs
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Comment #11 posted by kaptinemo on March 23, 2007 at 14:06:54 PT:
Did you get it? "Socially acceptable drugs"
First, we got the media to say the "P-word": 'Prohibition'.Niow, they're admitting that alcohol is a drug.This puts the prohibs on notice: they can't dodge this particular bullet aimed at their hypocrisy any more. The little kid just pointed at the bare- $$ nekkid Emperor and said he's not wearing a stich. Yes, Virginia, alcohol truly is a drug, those who use it are recreational drug users, and those addicted to it are drug addicts. Whom society does not spend scores of billions of the taxpayer's dollars on yearly, for decades, in attempting to prevent from acquiring their poison of choice. They are free to go to Hell in their own way.So...why do illicit drug users rate so much (as rthey evidently do) by DrugWarriors expending the taxpayer's hard-earned dollars? Don't alcoholics merit the same amount of 'concern' and 'compassion'? What's so special about illict drug users?Questions we can hope the media someday grow the stones to ask those empowered to answer; it took a few years for the 'prohibition' corrolary to sink in; maybe we can expect just a few months, this time...
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Comment #10 posted by Toker00 on March 23, 2007 at 13:29:10 PT
Historic Vote.
Dear Diego, (I'm getting creative now)The House of Representatives today adopted language mandating the redeployment of most American troops from Iraq by August 2008. In a razor-thin margin, the bill passed 218 to 212.Thank you those of you that contacted your Representative to urge passage of the bill.The fight over the House Supplemental Appropriations Bill with its provision on Iraq has been tough and emotional, with usual allies taking different sides on the final vote. While everyone agrees that the war needs to end as soon as possible, there were strong disagreements on how to get there reflected in the vote today.After this hard fought battle, we all must put our small differences aside and continue our work on this vital issue. There will be many more votes on Iraq in the House of Representatives in the coming months and anti-war activists must stand together if we hope to overcome a determined Bush Administration.The action on Iraq in Washington, D.C. now shifts to the Senate. Next week there will likely be votes on both Iraq and Iran on the Senate floor. We will send you additional information on these votes next week as they develop.Sincerely,John Isaacs and Guy StevensToke.
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Comment #9 posted by Taylor121 on March 23, 2007 at 13:00:00 PT
if you prefer email
Here are the emails for the committee: remember, as MPP states, phone calls make a larger impact. Being polite is the only way to go as well. Thanks.
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Comment #8 posted by Taylor121 on March 23, 2007 at 12:58:16 PT
Texas: Call now in support of a bill
Rep. Harold Dutton (D-142) is sponsoring HB 758, which would significantly reduce the penalty for possession of up to one ounce of marijuana. The bill is currently pending in the House Committee on Criminal Jurisprudence. Please read on to see how you can help move this bill forward.Currently, possession of up to two ounces of marijuana is a Class B misdemeanor, punishable by up to $2,000 in fines and 180 days in jail. While possession of between one and two ounces would remain a Class B misdemeanor, HB 758 would make less than one ounce a Class C misdemeanor, which is punishable only by a fine of up to $500 — and no jail time. (Additionally, according to the state penal code, "conviction of a Class C misdemeanor does not impose any legal disability or disadvantage.")This is a reasonable bill that would significantly help save valuable police and correctional resources. The state prison system is bursting at its seams, and Texas cannot afford to jail adults whose only crime is possession of small amounts of marijuana.Please contact the members of the Criminal Jurisprudence Committee and urge them to support this bill and vote in its favor. Legislators especially like to hear from their own constituents, so if you recognize any of these names as your representative, please start with him or her. If you do not know who your state representative is, you can look that up here. If none of the committee members represent you, please just contact as many as you can.Rep. Aaron Pena — chair — (512) 463-0426 or (956) 383-7444Rep. Allen Vaught — vice-chair — (512) 463-0244 or (214) 370-8305Rep. Debbie Riddle — budget & oversight chair — (512) 463-0572 or (281) 537-5252Rep. Juan M. Escobar — (512) 463-0666 or (361) 592-6120Rep. Terri Hodge — (512) 463-0586 or (214) 824-1996Rep. Barbara Mallory Caraway — (512) 463-0664Rep. Paul Moreno — (512) 463-0638 or (915) 544-0789Rep. Paula Pierson — (512) 463-0562Rep. Robert Talton — (512) 463-0460 or (281) 487-8818You may also visit this page to see the full committee. Clicking on each legislator’s name will take you to his or her information page, where you will see a "Send Email" link in the upper right. This link will send you to an online e-mail form that you can use to send messages. Please keep in mind, however, that legislators receive countless e-mails a day, and a phone call would have a much greater impact.Feel free to contact Anthony if you have any more questions about HB 758 or if you are unsure of what to say to your legislators. Thank you for supporting the Marijuana Policy Project; please forward this alert to your friends and family in Texas so that they may also voice their support.
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Comment #7 posted by whig on March 23, 2007 at 12:26:26 PT
We have been in a constitutional emergency since FDR. If you did not know that, there are plenty of resources to confirm this.We will require an amendment to end the emergency, I think. We will have to decide what kind of government we will have in the future, if any. But it is not yet time for that, only something to be thinking about.
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Comment #6 posted by whig on March 23, 2007 at 12:19:48 PT
Sam Adams
I'm imagining two governments, side by side. One of them is the completely libertarian vision of no taxes, no services. One of them is a social welfare democracy with a guaranteed minimum standard of living for everyone.Of course, what we've got is neither utopia. But if you understand that there will be a choice and we can make that choice now and cause it to come about, then maybe you will tell me what you think.
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Comment #5 posted by OverwhelmSam on March 23, 2007 at 12:10:17 PT
Cops Gone Wild
Talk about refer madness, law enforcement and government have gone bezerk over marijuana. Residue?"On Thursday, Brown was arrested by Williamson County police during a traffic stop when marijuana "residue" was discovered in the vehicle he was riding in with his cousin.Fear of Prosecution!"While being arrested Tuesday in Calera, a 36-year-old Durant woman slipped one hand out of the handcuffs and began eating her marijuana."Enforcing our rights! minister who was arrested on charges of marijuana possession has sued police for $30 million, contending his civil and religious rights were violated because he heads a church that uses pot during worship.Of course this last one is great! In my opinion, if enough law suits plague the courts and enough people charged with marijuana possession fight their cases, somethings got to give. I doubt it will be us.
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Comment #4 posted by Sam Adams on March 23, 2007 at 10:44:54 PT
nice data, wrong conclusion
The conclusion should be that modern federal governments are not capable of implementing "drug" laws based on reason or science. The 80-year experiment is over, "drug" laws are a failure. You can't regulate people's appetites or morals with laws.So far, it seems that government will NEVER function purely for the best interests of society and health.  Because government is run by humans, and we're flawed by ego, arrogance, greed, dishonesty.  Governments want to control people for the enrichment of a few. To that end, government always strive to control people's consciousness, their minds and thoughts.We need to change our idea of utopia from one where government forces people to act in the correct way.Utopia should be where people act the correct way WITHOUT government.
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Comment #3 posted by TroutMask on March 23, 2007 at 10:33:53 PT
Idea for a title
This report should be called the "No Kidding!" report.-TM
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Comment #2 posted by Toker00 on March 23, 2007 at 09:40:05 PT
This proves the Drug Laws are topsy-turvy.
Why do most funds for the War on Drugs go to eradicate Drug No. 11, when drugs No. 1-10 are more dangerous? If Alcohol is the 5th most dangerous drug, then why is it legal to possess it and not Drug No. 11, which doesn't even rank in the top Ten? Hello, America! Why is a drug more than twice as dangerous as cannabis allowed to be controlled and regulated but cannabis/hemp is prohibited? Can anyone say CORPORATE CONSPIRACY TO KEEP CANNABIS/HEMP OFF THE FREE MARKET (And MEDICAL CANNABIS/HEMP Competition out of the way)? I was wonderin...Toke.
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Comment #1 posted by potpal on March 23, 2007 at 07:50:45 PT
BBC reporting 
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