Most people are all too familiar with the dangers posed by such illegal drugs as heroin or crack – but it is the legal substance, alcohol, which is deemed as most dangerous. A feature on the New York Daily News shared the results of a study published in the British medical journal The Lancet, which arrived at that conclusion.
A panel of experts studied different social, physical and psychological problems associated with various drugs. The experts arrived at the conclusion that alcohol, heroin, and crack, in that order, were most harmful for others. On the other hand, heroin, crack, and methamphetamine were deemed as most harmful to the individual user.
Dr. Petros Livados, director of the Addiction Institute of New York at St. Luke’s – Roosevelt Hospital, shared the following insight regarding the results of the study with the Daily News: “Both in terms of the medical consequences as well as societal consequences, I agree that alcohol ranks very high in overall harmfulness. Alcohol has tremendous repercussions in our society in terms of drunk driving and societal consequences.”
The study was funded by the Centre for Crime and Justice Studies in London, and the report on The Lancet was co-authored by the former chief drug policy advisor of Britain, Professor David Nutt.
Dr. Jeffrey Parsons, addiction expert and chair of the psychology department at Hunter College, shared that since alcohol is legal and sanctioned socially, “it does not carry the same stigma and issues that illegal drugs do… But the negative health consequences of alcohol are even greater than with many illegal drugs.”