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Destructive for people and society: Scientists claim that alcohol is worse than heroin
Alcohol is more dangerous than heroin and cannabis. British researchers around the renowned specialist and pharmacologist from the University of Bristol, David Nutt, have carried out a new evaluation of the most common drugs and published their results in the current issue of the specialist journal "The Lancet". Accordingly, alcohol is number one in terms of the destructive power for people and society.
Alcohol more destructive than any other drug Similar to the German government's drug report, the researchers led by David Nutt come to the conclusion that heroin, crack and metamphetamines can be regarded as the deadliest drugs for humans in their direct effect. However, taking social effects into account, alcohol is by far the most destructive drug. Only then do heroin and crack follow. Marijuana, ecstasy and LSD, on the other hand, were classified by the scientists as significantly less destructive. According to the British researchers, alcohol has a particularly great potential to destroy families or to influence other people around the addict. In addition, it caused by far the highest consequential costs in health and social services. According to the experts around David Nutt, alcohol is particularly dangerous because of its widespread use. In addition, not only are consumers directly affected, but their environment is also particularly badly affected. The British Center for Crime and Justice Studies has commissioned the study.
Alcohol damages the entire organ system As part of the current publication, other scientists such as the professor of psychiatry and addiction at the Free University of Amsterdam, Wim van den Brink, also supported David Nutt's position. "Just think about what happens at every football game," van den Brink wrote in a commentary on the release of "The Lancet." The expert also pointed out that excessive drinking damages almost the entire organ system and that alcohol abuse is not only associated with higher death rates, but also generally plays a role in violations of the law more often than other drugs, for example as heroin.
Legal classification of intoxicants The newly determined drug ranking therefore leads directly to the discussion about the legal classification of the various intoxicants. This means on the one hand the question arises whether alcohol has been handled far too loosely up to now and on the other hand it has to be considered whether other intoxicants have not been regulated too hard.
Regarding the legal regulation on alcohol consumption, however, the scientists make it clear that despite the destructive power for people and society, a ban on alcohol, similar to that in the United States at the time of prohibition, would not solve the problem. For example, Leslie King, one of the authors of the study and a consultant to the European Drugs Agency, emphasizes: "Alcohol is too deeply rooted in our culture, it cannot simply be removed." Instead of a ban, the experts therefore specifically recommend to the frequent drinkers with information campaigns and to avoid confronting the majority of people who only consume alcohol sporadically with unnecessary attempts at instruction. A rise in prices on the part of governments would also, according to the British scientists, be an appropriate way to reduce alcohol consumption in our society.
Drug Policy: Issue with Conflicts According to David Nutt, when it comes to the legal classification of the various drugs and their classification into "legal" and "illegal", a revision is appropriate with regard to the classification of substances with relatively harmless social and physical consequences . As a former British Government drug advisor to Prime Minister Gordon Brown, Nutt had to witness - despite massive protests on his part - how Britain, for example, tightened penalties for possession of marijuana in 2009. This state drug policy contradicts the findings of research, Nutt had criticized the actions of the politicians at the time. And while he continued to emphasize in lectures that LSD, ecstasy, and cannabis are less dangerous than alcohol and tobacco, the British government simply released him from his position as drug officer.
Disregard for science from political calculation With the results of the current study, Nutt sees his position strengthened and therefore repeated his previous accusation that science is often disregarded from political calculation. His Dutch colleague van den Brink draws a similar conclusion with the statement: "What governments declare illegal is not always supported by the knowledge of science". For example, political decisions on tobacco and alcohol are always accompanied by considerations of possible tax revenues. It is clear that "legal drugs (...) cause at least as much damage as illegal ones", explained David Nutt. For example, the World Health Organization (WHO) assumes that 2.5 million people die each year from the consequences of alcohol consumption. These include deaths from heart and liver diseases or car accidents, which in turn are directly related to alcohol consumption. (fp, 11/02/2010)
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