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Alcohol more harmful to society than crack, study stays

by nickj on November 1, 2010

Scientists in the United Kingdom are claiming that alcohol is more dangerous to society than even the most pervasive drugs, such as heroin and cocaine. The Daily Mail reports that researchers for the Independent Scientific Committee on Drugs used a new scale to weigh the respective dangers of drugs.

The goal of the study was to question the classification of drugs in the U.K., which the committee feels misrepresents how harmful the substances are. Ecstasy, which is considered by the government to be a class A drug, is only one eighth as dangerous as alcohol, according to the study. The inquisition was led by David Nutt, a former government employee who was fired last year for questioning their refusal to accept advice from the Advisory Council on the Misuse of Drugs.

The researchers investigated nine different categories of potential including ares such as death, mental harm and damage to personal relationships. Alcohol scored a total of 72 out of a possible 100 points. Meanwhile, crack scored just 54. Heroin proved to be the most dangerous to the individual, but it was alcohol that was the most damaging to society as a whole.

The findings were published in the medical journal The Lancet, and Nutt says that targeting alcohol should be a necessary health strategy.

While the results may be shocking, officials in England say that excessive alcohol consumption is not a significant problem in the country, and the study should not cause people to change their lifestyle dramatically.

"In England, most people drink once a week or less. If you're a [woman] and stick to two to three units a day, or a man and drink up to three or four units, you are unlikely to damage your health," a Department of Health spokesperson told the news source.

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