Forget marijuana and ecstasy – it’s the booze and cigarettes that’ll really do you in. According to the Associated Press, a new major study from London finds that alcohol and tobacco are more dangerous than some illegal drugs and should be classified in the same way. Professor David Nutt from Britain’s Bristol University and his colleagues believe that there should be a new system to classify how harmful certain substances are, based on the actual risks they pose to society. And according to their research, alcohol and tobacco would definitely be in the Top 10.
They used 3 factors to determine how harmful a substance was: The physical harm to the user, the drug’s potential for addiction, and the impact the drug’s use has on society. They asked psychiatrists specializing in addiction and police officials with scientific or medical expertise to score 20 different drugs – including heroin, cocaine, Ecstasy, amphetamines and LSD. Then the researchers calculated the drugs’ overall ratings.
The results? Heroin and cocaine were ranked as the most dangerous. Alcohol came in 5th and tobacco was 9th. That’s ahead of both marijuana, which ranked 11th, and Ecstasy, which was near the bottom of the list. Both of which are illegal substances. Also, tobacco causes 40% of all hospital illnesses, while alcohol is blamed for more than HALF of all visits to emergency rooms. And these substances harm society in different ways – damaging families and taking up police hours. Just something to think about the next time you reach for a cigarette, or that third drink. These substances might not be illegal – but some experts believe they SHOULD be.