The Real Killer Drugs

The Real Killer Drugs
Posted by CN Staff on March 25, 2007 at 10:45:48 PT
A Register-Guard Editorial
Source: Register-Guard
USA -- What if the system used for classifying dangerous drugs evaluated the actual risk a given drug poses to society? Would it change the ranking of dangerous drugs used by governments and law enforcement agencies? A British research team says that it would, principally because two legal drugs - alcohol and tobacco - would join familiar illegal substances on the list of the most dangerous drugs. Professor David Nutt, a psychopharmacologist at Britain's Bristol University, and colleagues proposed a new framework for the classification of harmful substances that makes a lot of sense.
Nutt's team asked experts to evaluate drugs using three criteria: the physical harm to the user, the drug's potential for addiction and the impact on society of drug use. Using those criteria, alcohol and tobacco rank in the top 10 most dangerous substances. The ratings process involved 29 psychiatrists specializing in addiction and 16 other experts with backgrounds in chemistry, pharmacology, psychiatry, forensics, police and legal services. They assigned scores to 20 different drugs, including heroin, cocaine, amphetamines, Ecstacy and LSD. The results, published in the British medical journal Lancet, offer an opportunity to view alcohol and tobacco in a more realistic social context - as drugs, alongside other harmful drugs. The comparison raises interesting questions for policy makers. Heroin and cocaine topped the most-dangerous list, followed by barbiturates and street methadone. At the No. 5 position was alcohol, and tobacco was ranked as the ninth most harmful, just behind amphetamines. Marijuana placed 11th, LSD 14th and Ecstasy finished 18th. Professor Nutt, who also serves on the British Advisory Council on Misuse of Drugs, says his study should prompt a fresh look at drug classification and at the legal penalties for specific drug violations. Britain's counterparts in the United States should join the debate. U.S. law, for example, ridiculously lists marijuana on Schedule I of the Controlled Substances Act, along with heroin, cocaine and metham- phetamine. Using Nutt's analysis, imagine how marijuana would rank in terms of relative harmfulness next to tobacco (435,000 deaths in 2000; 18.1 percent of total U.S. deaths that year) or alcohol (85,000 deaths in 2000; 3.5 percent of total deaths)? Alcohol-related motor vehicle crashes kill someone every 31 minutes and injure someone every two minutes in the United States, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. How's that for harm? Credible drug policy should be evidence-based, for legal and illegal drugs. The British study offers eye-opening evidence that, compared with illegal drugs, the harm caused by alcohol and tobacco has been minimized or ignored by policy makers on both sides of the Atlantic. Source: Register-Guard, The (OR) Published: Sunday, March 25, 2007Copyright: 2007 The Register-GuardContact: rgletters guardnet.comWebsite: Article:Alcohol, Tobacco Worse Than Drugs
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Comment #1 posted by Truth on March 26, 2007 at 07:42:17 PT
a truth....
tobacco killspot heals
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