Welcome, Guest! - or
Easy to remember!  »  VinNews.com

New York - Alcohol Is More Harmful Than Heroin or Crack: Study

Published on: November 1, 2010 08:15 PM
Change text size Text Size  
Bookmark and Share
Photo illustrationPhoto illustration

New York - It’s sobering news for drinkers.

Alcohol is even worse than heroin and crack on the list of “most harmful” drugs, according to a new study published in the British medical journal, The Lancet.

A variety of social, physical and psychological problems that are caused by drugs were examined by a panel of experts, who concluded that alcohol, heroin and crack were the most harmful to others while heroin, crack cocaine and methamphetamine were the most harmful to individual users, CNN reported.

Dr. Petros Livados, director of the Addiction Institute of New York at St. Luke’s-Roosevelt Hospital, agreed with the study findings.

“Both in terms of the medical consequences as well as societal consequences, I agree that alcohol ranks very high in overall harmfulness,“he told the News. “Alcohol has tremendous repercussions in our society in terms of drunk driving and societal consequences.”

Advertisement:

Twenty drugs were scored on 16 criteria – nine related to the harms that a particular drug does to an individual and seven to the harms a drug does to others. All the drugs were scored out of 100 points, and overall, alcohol came in the highest, at 72 points, according to The Lancet. Heroin came in second with 55 points and crack cocaine took third place with 54 points.

While cocaine and tobacco were found to be equally harmful, LSD and ecstasy were found to be the least harmful, according to BBC.com.

Funding for the study came from the Centre for Crime and Justice Studies in London.

The report in the Lancet was co-authored by Professor David Nutt, Britain’s former chief drug policy advisor, who stirred up controversy last year when he wrote an article that said riding a horse was more dangerous than taking ecstasy, CNN reported.

Almost 17.6 million adults in the United States either are alcoholics or have alcohol problems, according to the National Institutes of Health.

But because alcohol is legal and easy to access, many people don’t think it is a problem for them, says addiction expert Dr. Jeffrey Parsons, chair of the psychology department at Hunter College.

“It is legal and socially sanctioned, so it does not carry the same stigma and issues that illegal drugs do,“he says. “But the negative health consequences of alcohol are even greater than with many illegal drugs.”

Drinkers tend to equate “legal"with “safe,“but that’s not necessarily the case, says Lebanon Valley College psychology professor Lou Manza. “In the general public’s mind, because you can go and buy alcohol in the store, it is okay,“he said.

One major difference between alcohol and other drugs, such as nicotine, is that there is a “safe"level of it for many people, Livados says. It’s generally recognized that two drinks a day for men and one for women can be considered safe, with exceptions such as people with depression or anxiety, those with alcohol dependence and pregnant women.

“It’s not the same with nicotine,“Livados says. “We have not been able to find a low threshold under which smoking cigarettes is safe. There’s no such thing.”

Alcohol dependence tends to be masked more often than dependence upon other drugs, Parsons says. “With alcohol, someone can feel like a law abiding citizen despite the fact that they’re abusing a drug,” he told The News.


More of today's headlines

New York, NY - Mayor Michael Bloomberg says an independent president has more chance at succeeding than a Republican or Democrat. He has said unequivocally he won’t... New York, NY - New Yorkers are accustomed to strong odors, but several years ago a new aroma began wafting through the city’s streets, a smell that was more unnerving...

 

Total7

Read Comments (7)  —  Post Yours »

1

 Nov 01, 2010 at 08:50 PM HaNavon Says:

This is a bit misleading, but still true...

Heroin, freebase cocaine and methamphetamine are not "casual drugs" that can be used at a party in small amounts, once in a while. They are drugs that are highly addictive and have real, negative consequences in the lives of its users, whereas alcohol can be used responsibly in a social setting and can be used occasionally. As with all substances, it has abuse potential and should not be used by people who have highly addictive personalities or who have a history of abuse.

It may be that the social stigma around heroin and freebase cocaine will lead a user toward rehab, where alcohol is acceptable and may cause a person to think that he can taper his use single handedly, and in that respect, alcohol can indeed be more dangerous.

3

 Nov 02, 2010 at 01:14 AM formally Says:

to #1

Most people who try drugs even heroin do not become addicted and most can do it every now since most I think it is 9 out 10 do not have addicted personalities.

In addition the total death toll and misery from alcohol is much greated than all drugs combined. Of course that could be that alcohol is legal and is easy to get

4

 Nov 02, 2010 at 09:35 AM Not_just_that___ Says:

Reply to #3  
formally Says:

to #1

Most people who try drugs even heroin do not become addicted and most can do it every now since most I think it is 9 out 10 do not have addicted personalities.

In addition the total death toll and misery from alcohol is much greated than all drugs combined. Of course that could be that alcohol is legal and is easy to get

What have you been smoking?

5

 Nov 02, 2010 at 09:38 AM kollelfaker Says:

#3 not true but the more its used the deeper the addiction achohol is an excepted drink but over dose causes part of the brain to shut down and allows atoxic level into your system that can kill you because we dont see it as a danger that in it self is the danger watch men during a kiddush how many stagger home.

6

 Nov 02, 2010 at 12:36 PM I'm just saying Says:

Oy! Lamaske veOy! Lasamim.

7

 Nov 02, 2010 at 12:39 PM harvey Says:

drugs are looked down on much more than alchohol is

8

 Nov 02, 2010 at 03:53 PM raykaufm Says:

"It’s generally recognized that two drinks a day for men and one for women can be considered safe"

Not just safe but beneficial. I would very much like to review the actual study. The study include fatalities from drunk driving and other societal impacts, not from it's effect on the individual consumer. In that case, the study is bogus in that it conflates bad behavior, I.E. drunk driving, with danger from the substance itself. Make no mistake, alcohol can kill if taken in sufficient quantity but so can water. It is a well established medical axiom that the difference between a poison and a medicine is the dose. two ounces of proof alcohol a day is good for you (as long as you don't drive immediatly after consuming it), two bottles a day will kill you (unless you're Ozzie Osborne). Sherree, if your around, jump in here.

9

Sign-in to post a comment

Scroll Up
Advertisements:

Sell your scrap gold and broken jewelry and earn hard cash sell gold today!