But, when you take the public’s view of alcohol and compare it to how they perceive illicit drugs, there seems to be something askew.
I’m not here to advocate drug use, but maybe to just put a little proper perspective on the dangers of alcohol compared to illegal drugs. It’s socially acceptable to enjoy a few drinks, and even when it gets out of hand, it’s often not taken seriously. We see all kinds of light-hearted, funny commercials about how guys have irrational urges to corral a six pack of Bud Light, the latest being a guy who is scared out of his mind of bungee jumping, but at the first sight of alcohol below, he takes the plunge. Funny, but Budweiser does seem to enjoy making guys look like hopeless alcoholics.
If we saw a similar commercial for marijuana, the public reaction would be, by and large, quite different. But should it be?
I say this because, according to a new study, alcohol can actually be more harmful to society than heroin or crack cocaine when considering the overall dangers. That may sound shocking, but let’s take a look at the specifics.
The report, co-authored by Professor David Nutt of the University of Bristol, and former British government chief drugs adviser, ranked 20 drugs based on the harm to users and society as a whole. While heroin, crack and crystal meth were at the top as the worst for an individual’s health, alcohol was worst overall when it came to societal impact. Heroin and crack came in second and third place, respectively.
The study’s authors gave each drug a score for harmful effects, which included mental and physical damage, addiction, crime and costs to the economy and communities.
The one hole in the study was that it didn’t examine the harm of someone doing more than one drug at the same time. This may be a bit unscientific, but I think it’s safe to assume the results wouldn’t be better.
The key is that alcohol is used on a wider scale, which helps escalate its impact. Watch the video below to learn more.
November 5th, 2010