From Nancy Reagan’s “Just Say No” campaign to America’s ongoing “War on Drugs,” embedded in the American culture is a sense that hard and illicit drugs are harmful and will ruin your life. Generally left out of this discussion is alcohol. While America flirted with prohibition in the 1920s, with little success, the dangers of alcohol are most prominently displayed in drunk driving campaigns such as those publicized by Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD).
Contrary to our traditional understanding of drugs, a study published by the medical journal Lancet – and sponsored by Britain’s Centre for Crime and Justice Studies – concludes that alcohol, is in fact, the most dangerous drug – even more dangerous than the typical poster children of illicitness, heroin and cocaine.
Researchers studied addictiveness, harm to the body, damage to the environment, effects on families, and economic costs, including law enforcement, prison and health care costs. The drugs studied included alcohol, heroin, cocaine, meth, ecstasy, LSD and marijuana.
While alcohol ranked low in its lethalness to the user as compared to harder drugs such as cocaine or crystal meth, alcohol was highly ranked in its harmful effects to society, which led to its classification as the most dangerous drug. Ranking behind alcohol as the most dangerous drugs were heroin and crack cocaine.
Another reason that experts gave for alcohol’s high ranking was its widespread use and availability. The Post and Courier notes that alcohol is also associated with higher death rates and a higher percentage of crime than the other drugs studied.
Even though alcohol has been deemed “the most dangerous drug” by this British study, alcohol is still legal for consumption by adults in the United States. However, alcohol’s legality has its limits when the consumer gets behind the wheel of a car. Individuals must know their limits when dealing with such a “dangerous drug” in an effort to keep themselves and others safe.
If you have been charged with drunk driving or possession of an illegal drug such as heroin or meth, contact an experienced criminal defense attorney as soon as possible.
Related Story: Study finds alcohol most dangerous drug