Study: Alcohol More Dangerous For Society Than Heroin, Crack, Meth, Other Fun Stuff

A new study out of the UK looked at the combined harm done — to both the user and to others — by a host of different drugs. The conclusion: While alcohol might not damage the body as much as some other drugs, its ill societal effects make it the most dangerous intoxicant on the list.

From the BBC:

[T]he study involved 16 criteria, including a drug’s affects on users’ physical and mental health, social harms including crime, ‘family adversities’ and environmental damage, economic costs and ‘international damage.’

Considered in this light, the study puts alcohol well ahead of the number two and three finishers, heroin and crack.

Crystal meth ranked a distant fourth, as the study claims that drug’s “harm to others” value is lower than many others on the list, including tobacco and cannabis.

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  1. zigziggityzoo says:

    More dangerous because it’s more readily available, and legal.

    If everything else were legal, then I would imagine alcohol would return to a much lower position on the list, though not at the bottom.

    • spamtasticus says:

      Have you ever met anyone that does not do illegal drugs because they are illegal? I don’t do them because I don’t want to ingest toxic chemicals that will make me their bitch and could not care less about the legality. But seriously ask yourself if the law is the deciding factor in your choice when it comes to drugs and in the choices of those you know.

      • Nigerian prince looking for business partner says:

        “Have you ever met anyone that does not do illegal drugs because they are illegal? “

        I know many people who stopped smoking pot when they came to the realization that it’s illegal and can potentially end your career.

        • Gramin says:

          Agreed. I don’t smoke pot because it is illegal. If it were legal, there’s a good chance I’d give it a shot. But I prefer to stay on the right side of the law… unless I’m driving, that is. Then I prefer to speed because speed limits are way too low. 55mph in Chicago? Seriously? How about 80, please.

          • raybury says:

            I agree with everything you said. Except that only outsiders should be able to do 80 in Chicago. You locals are nuts.

      • fluffernutter09 says:

        I think the law is, actually. If things are legal, they are very likely to be more easy to get, and presumably quality controlled in some manner if there’s commercial distribution. And yes, I do know people who decline illegal substances for reasons which would presumably be moot were they legalized, such as (but not limited to) access, quality control, etc.

      • pop top says:

        Oh wow, weed is toxic?!

      • ceriphim says:

        If I understand zigziggityzoo correctly, they are implying alcohol’s effects on users and others are disproportionate because of its’ legality and the ease in obtaining it. Because it is legal more people use/abuse it than other substances.

        Therefore if all those substances were legal and as easily obtained, alcohol’s ranking would drop (because people would abuse other substances much more).

        • zigziggityzoo says:

          Alcohol is legal and it’s socially acceptable. It’s almost always been both (prohibition being the notable exception).

          If other drugs were made legal for recreational use, they have a MUCH higher chance of becoming socially acceptable, and therefore the list would balance itself out.

          An alternate method to leveling the playing field is to weight the list based upon methods described by other commenters.

      • DanRydell says:

        Right here. I wouldn’t use any of the hard drugs, but the only thing keeping me from smoking pot occasionally is the law. It’s not worth risking my job.

      • thedarkerside.to says:

        Any substance can have that effect. “Legal” or “Illegal” are purely political decisions and say very little about the dangers inherit in the product.

        Case in point? Second Hand smoke vs. Car exhaust.

        People get riled up about people lighting up, but nobody would ever get the idea to ban cars, yet, cars are posing a much higher health risk than cigarettes or smoking (especially second hand) does.

        Anybody who bases their choices on legal / illegal or perceived “safety” of a substance based on these categories is most likely in for a rude awakening.

        • MrEvil says:

          I’ve been saying the same thing for years to the smoking ban wankers. Cars produce far more dangerous and toxic chemicals than smokers. Lock yourself in your garage with your car running….you’ll die in minutes. Lock yourself in your garage with 20 smokers, you’re probably going to feel some discomfort if you’re not used to it, but you most certainly won’t die.

          Yet why is it I don’t hear talk of banning cars?

          • Kitten Mittens says:

            You seem to miss the simple cost-benefit analysis. Cars benefits largely make up for the exhaust, whereas cigarettes do not.

            • Timbojones says:

              The tobacco industry provides approximately 200,000 jobs.

              The act of smoking has social and psychological benefits, though it could be easily argued that the psychological problems nicotine relieves are largely caused by the addiction itself.

              I ride the bus to work. Single-occupancy commuter vehicles benefit me very little, and that indirectly, in exchange for the exhaust I must breathe.

              • subsider34 says:

                “The act of smoking has social and psychological benefits…”
                Ok, I can see the psychological benefits, but where are you getting social benefits from?

    • CookiePuss says:

      Methadone is readily available and legal and look how far down on the list it is. Its also a pretty close equivalent to heroin which ranks 2nd. Opiates like Oxycontin and Subutex are also legal with a script, again resemble heroin, and I don’t even see “pain pills/opiates” on the list.

      So in some cases it seems the legality and easy access to a drug make them less dangerous than their illegal counterparts.

      I guess it depends on where you grow up but when I was a kid (14-20) hard drugs were easier to get than alcohol which is the age group when people normally start using hard drugs. If you happen to abuse them the fact they are illegal aren’t going to stop an addict, just like most alcoholics drink and drive even though its illegal.

      • zigziggityzoo says:

        Methadone requires a scrip.
        Alcohol requires a trip to the liquor store.

        They would equate if methadone was an OTC Drug.

      • webweazel says:

        Strangely enough, where I live, drinking while driving is legal. Still can’t drive over the limit, but cruising around with a beer in the cupholder is somewhat common around here, as I see looking into other cars.

    • Groanan says:

      Yar! This article be misleading at first glance.

      It is not saying what is the most harmful substance, it is saying what is harming society the most right now where they studied.

      So because alcohol is being use the most, clearly it causes the most harm if it causes any harm at all.

      The study flawed though, because it ignores the fact that there are positive benefits to the use of alcohol and to personal liberty, and it does not add these positive effects into its analysis.

      Completely illogical dribble designed mathematically from a diseased mind missing essential protocol parameters.

      • Kitten Mittens says:

        It would help if you read the article (which Consumerist didn’t link to). The chart doesn’t show an overlap. Heroin, crack and meth are worse for individuals than alcohol.

        Second, the study and its author openly opine how it is skewed based on the legality and open availability of alcohol.

    • poco says:

      Exactly what I was thinking.

    • bigTrue says:

      You don’t know about Portugal, do you?

      They legalized everything 5 years ago and everything bad about drug use has gone away. Mexico’s president has been considering publically changing Mexico to the same thing to try and decrease the power of the cartels.

      Not saying it’s an end all, but the one country which made everything legal seems to go the exact opposite direction.

    • DragonThermo says:

      I concur. This chart proves that if alcohol is legal, then might as well make everything else legal as well as the effects will be negligible compared to alcohol.

      Heroin and Crack may still be illegal, or at least regulated, since they are almost as harmful as alcohol, but definitely everything from Cocaine on down should be legalized. But since Tobacco is pretty well regulated, maybe Cocaine, Meth, Heroin and Crack should be regulated the same way.

      What a wonderful world it would be if we can go to Walmart and get all the Ecstacy, LSD, Buprenorphine, and Mushrooms we want. Then you can choose between name-brand LSD or get Equate brand LSD.

      I say, bring back the 18th Amendment!

    • Erik Hughes says:

      Not really. Most illegal drugs – yes, even meth and crack – don’t cause the sort of violent reactions in people that alcohol does. The alcohol itself is to blame, and not just its prevalence in society.

  2. obits3 says:

    Was this study adjusted for scale? People are more likely to use a legal drug. This leads to more harm to others and harm to users.

    • kunfushuss says:

      No. It’s a misleading study/headline. Read it this morning. The problem is that they need to make those adjustments per use.

      i.e. if each use of alcohol in the US leads to 0.1 ‘harm points’ and each use of crack leads to 5 ‘harm points,’ However, lets assume 500 million drinks are consumed a year and 10 million crack rocks. This would lead to a total ‘harm score’ of 50 million apiece. (0.1*500M) = (5*10M) = 50M. This study and its associated articles would seem to suggest that alcohol = crack in this case, but the reality is that one crack rock is 50x worse for you than a drink!

      Obviously all of my numbers are made up, but that’s just an example of how irrelevant any results are, other than saying ‘maybe we should drink less, guys.’ Good luck, right?

      • partofme says:

        It is misleading if you’re not paying attention. However, the purpose of the study does have a good use and meaning. It’s the sum total damage. Suppose we were considering natural disasters, and the argument was hurricanes v. tornadoes. There are many different measures we could take. We could take the damage per hurricane v. the damage per tornado. Hurricanes would come out well ahead. We could take the damage per square mile of area hit. Tornadoes would probably come out well ahead. We could take the cumulative total of all hurricanes or tornadoes in a year period (or decade, etc.). This drug study is more like this third measure.

        Such a measure is good for use in public policy formation, if understood correctly. There may be 20 guys in their basements totally destroying their lives on khat (or it’s cousin, khatteh), but we don’t need to allocate ridiculous amounts of public money rooting it out. This speaks nothing as to whether it should be legal/illegal. It does point out that sometimes major damage can be happening just by the sum total of minor damage happening over and over again. Of course, the exact pieces that factor into this measure can be debated until the cows come home, because none of these measures will ever be perfect (e.g. ‘per use’ or ‘per user’.. if you decide on ‘per use’, how much is a ‘use’.. and of course, what kind of damages can be attributed solely to the drug?).

        • obits3 says:

          Good thought, the type of data should match the question being asked. For example:

          Should this study be used to see where we need to put public money? Yes.

          Should this study be used to discuss the legality of these drugs? No.

    • dangerp says:

      Watch the video. Only 25 seconds in he says it is not adjusted for scale, which is why alcohol looks so dastardly.

      • obits3 says:

        Thanks for the info. My work computer doesn’t have sound (we all take lunch at different times, so I don’t watch videos because someone might see me at my desk with headphones and think that I’m not working when I am really at lunch).

    • bigTrue says:

      You should look up Portugal’s drug policy for the past five years. They made everything legal 5 years ago and let anyone found using drugs choose to go to rehab. Most do, because there is no stigma or criminal charges.

      Add into the fact, if you treat the sick as sick (and not criminals) and let those of us not sick (read, responsible drug users, yes, we exist.) have our fun without fear of being made criminals, it’s amazing how the “drug problem” works itself out.

      • obits3 says:

        I didn’t mean to imply that legal drugs were more harmful. My point was that they are more harmful over all relative to the other drugs on the chart due to a scale issue. For example:

        Drug 1: 20 Users with 5 having harmful problems.
        Drug 2: 5 Users with 4 having harmful problems.

        Drug 2 is the more harmful drug if adjusted to scale (80% vs 25%), but Drug 1 is the more harmful drug for society as a whole at this time (5 problems vs 4 problems).

  3. AngryK9 says:

    Prohibition, here we come! It’s the 1920s all over again.

    (Not really)

    • spamtasticus says:

      We have had Prohibition all these years. Just with drugs instead of alcohol. The drug war and it’s casualties and crime are no different from Prohibition.

  4. AngryK9 says:

    Prohibition, here we come! It’s the 1920s all over again.

    (Not really)

  5. SideshowCrono says:

    I find it hard to believe that Cannabis is so much more “harmful to others” than Meth. Being from the Northeast for most of my life, I only really hear about the ravages of Meth in the rest of the country from secondary sources. I was under the impression that Meth was a barn-expoloding, neighbor robbing, ignore your kids and all responsibilities kind of a time.

    Besides those guys that ran over the girl on her bike at the drive-through, that kid who just had to tell his parent’s he was getting high & that’s why he didn’t watch his little brother at the pool, I really didn’t think pot was all that bad for society…

    • Billy says:

      According to that chart above, cannabis *is* less harmful than Methamphetamine (meth).

      • Billy says:

        Oh, crap. I missed the “to others” part.

        • mindaika says:

          I believe that a significant portion of the “harm to others” part of cannabis is related to the drug trade. On a global scale, the dangers posed to people by the illegal drug trade are significant. Legalization would eliminate those threats. Conversely, the “harm to others” caused by alcohol is like related to the ~13,000 drunk driving fatalities per year.

      • Nigerian prince looking for business partner says:

        I think the only reason marijuana makes the list is because it is illegal. Nobody is stealing copper or mugging old ladies to buy it but a lot of people are buying it from the same shady people who also sell meth and crack.

        I shared an alley with a crack dealer for two years. I have no doubts that a lot of college students buying pot had absolutely no idea how dangerous their dealer was.

    • Kitten Mittens says:

      This was in the UK. Less Hillbilly Heroine over there?

  6. quijote says:

    “So heroin is not dangerous?” haha! What a knob.

    • thedarkerside.to says:

      The problem with Heroin et. al. is mostly that the dealers can cut it with whatever they like. There is no standard of purity. ODs happen mostly because the dealer sold something stronger than they expected.

      Of course it has abuse potential, but so does water, but by making it illegal any kind of standard is out the door and you never know what you really get.

    • Karita says:

      In a lot of ways, it IS less dangerous than alcohol. You can live just fine for years with a properly-managed addiction. And unlike with alcohol, heroin withdrawal won’t kill you.

    • bigTrue says:

      The lead singer of Modest Mouse is a very vocal heroin user. Not to say he’s an example, but there are people who use all types of drugs as either recreational or a self medication and get through the day without anyone really the wiser until they tell you. Sure, addicts for the most part suck, but there is a whole category of drug users who hold down very good jobs and still enjoy substances in the same way “normal god fearing folk” like booze. There is also nothing wrong with what they do, except for the fact society says there is.

      • Kitten Mittens says:

        Brock admits to past drug use, and now says that drugs are “just something I kind of have to fight… I just try and make sure that it’s not around, or I’m not around it.”

        Vocal?

  7. DewBerry says:

    Booze is a big problem in the UK, and drugs not as much as here (in the US).

    Alcohol IS the biggest societal drug problem there – but this result cannot be directly applied here.

    Disclosure – I am British.

    • DewBerry says:

      …and we’re talking societal harm here – drunk driving – missed work days – policing costs – violence

  8. MTFaye says:

    This graph doesn’t show a lot of other major factors that affect what they’re trying to prove. Sure, more people are hurt because of the effects of alcohol, but its also the most legal, most widely available, and most socially acceptable drug on that list by a huge margin. This simply means there is a significantly larger total amount of people using the drug, thus a greater chance that “harm” might come to someone as a result. If 80% of the population ate ‘shrooms regularly, they would probably be at the top of that list, instead of the bottom.

  9. Alvis says:

    I was under the impression that heroin had no lasting ill effects in and of itself. That is, you won’t get liver disease like with alcohol or lung cancer like with tobacco – so long as you don’t OD and stop breathing, your body isn’t harmed.

    Of course, studies like to lump in irrelevant dangers like damage from bad injecting technique or street cutting agents. That’s like saying that it’s dangerous to eat fast food because you might get into a car accident on the way to the restaurant.

    • FreshPorcupineSalad says:

      How many times have you rehearsed this?

    • Loias supports harsher punishments against corporations says:

      I find it unlikely that anything that causes physical changes to your body has no lasting effect, even if that effect is positive. I.e. continuous used of vegetables causes positive long-term health effects whereas as alcohol, which is by definition a poison, has negative long-term health effects.

      Of course, research suggests moderate use of alcohol is beneficial in the long term, so who knows. Maybe heroin grants long life.

    • Nigerian prince looking for business partner says:

      Based on my recent stint on jury duty, I’d say there are a lot of heroine users out there who can’t do much else but use heroine and do things to get money to buy heroine.

    • Applekid ┬──┬ ノ( ã‚œ-゜ノ) says:

      I noticed that a noteable fast-food item is not on their list.

      4/12
      DOUBLE DOWN EVERY DAY

  10. AEN says:

    Butane? So much for camping.

  11. Bativac says:

    I say legalize all of it and see what happens. Will the streets be filled with crackheads like something out of Night of the Living Dead? Or will crime rates dramatically fall as users simply pick meth up at the local Walgreens?

    Also it’s interesting to see cannabis on the list. A lot of the pro-legalize-it crowd insist that the drug is “harmless.” While I agree that the drug should not be illegal, I also think that anybody using it should be aware of the risks associated with longterm use. Negative effects on brain function and the respiratory system, for example.

    I’d like to see more controlled studies on marijuana use.

    • Dre' says:

      Marijuana has no negative respiratory effect when used with a vaporizer.

      • JeffM says:

        ^^^ Trust him- he’s a Doctor.

        • GrammatonCleric says:

          Actually he’s pretty much right, and on that same note don’t believe the ignorant people who tell you that marijuana kills brain cells too. If you really believe that you should watch The Union, it’s a documentary… And i’m pretty sure they even have a doctor or two on there.

  12. Loias supports harsher punishments against corporations says:

    I wonder if some of these that are high on harming yourself but really low on harming others is because you get so messed up you pretty much separate yourself from society at large.

  13. MistahFixit says:

    Am I too late to say this is another study to file in the ‘Well DUH!’ folder?

    I’m disappointed though that Cannabis ranked as high as it did on that chart. I find it very hard to believe it’s more harmful than say, LSD, Ecstacy or Psychotropic Mushrooms.

  14. grapedog says:

    i never should have stopped taking shrooms!

    realistically, the legality of alcohol certainly makes it easier to obtain and that would affect it’s destructive power… but how often do you see someone who smoked weed or tobacco go into rage-filled angry mode and become a total douchebag like I see happen to a lot of people who ingest alcohol?

    I can’t remember EVER seeing some stoner getting angry because someone accidentally bumped into him. I’m trying hard to think of the last time I saw a stoner speeding down the highway at 110mph in a 60mph zone.

    • MistahFixit says:

      “Man I’ll tell you what… I’ve never met me an angry pot-smoker.” ~ Robin Williams

    • tmac40 says:

      But what are they chances they will be going 30 mph in that 60 mph zone?

      • grapedog says:

        i agree with you on that point, that they could be going below the speed limit. I’ve heard stats say that driving UNDER the speed limit is actually more dangerous than driving over. But let me rephrase the question to you. If you had to drive on a small circular race track with 4 other people, who would you rather have to deal with. 4 totally high pot smokers or 4 raging drunks? I’d pick the pot smokers…

    • Applekid ┬──┬ ノ( ã‚œ-゜ノ) says:

      I like shitake.

    • webweazel says:

      Stoners usually just want to be left to their own devices, and to munch from the fridge and take a nap. Bump into a stoner, and it’s usually “Sorry, dude.” as he wanders off. The only downside to pot would probably end up on the waistline. Although, most of the potheads I have ever known have always been pretty thin.
      Driving high is another thing entirely. Going down the highway, you’d be doing 40 and THINK you’re doing 110. Even though everyone is passing you, you still think, “Damn, I’m going too fast…” You lose your buzz too quick from the paranoia.
      I have never met an angry stoner. And I’ve known quite a few of them over the years.

  15. Hitchcock says:

    I’m curious, how are the effects of Meth vs standard amphetamine? What effects does Meth have that makes it worse?

    • MistahFixit says:

      My understanding is that Meth is the ‘Bath-tub Gin’ of amphetamines. Meth labs leak toxic fumes, liquids, or even explode from time to time. :/

    • ccuttriss says:

      It’s due to it’s selfish nature. It puts the “Me” in methamphetamines. If you’re going to bring some, bring enough for everybody.

  16. JMH says:

    Are we including drinking and driving in the harm due to alcohol? Because I blame cars for that, not alcohol.

    • Kitten Mittens says:

      Seriously?

      None of these items are harmful without humans. It’s the harmful effects these have DUE TO HUMAN USE. The car doesn’t drive itself.

      And presumably they used drugged drivers as they did drunk drivers.

  17. KillerBee says:

    I think I’ll take up ‘shrooms. Thanks, Consumerist.

  18. ceriphim says:

    If I understand zigziggityzoo correctly, they are implying alcohol’s effects on users and others are disproportionate because of its’ legality and the ease in obtaining it. Because it is legal more people use/abuse it than other substances.

    Therefore if all those substances were legal and as easily obtained, alcohol’s ranking would drop (because people would abuse other substances much more).

  19. lucky13 says:

    How about forwarding this report to US AG Holder and the DEA? For everything other than alcohol, the “harmful” effects to others (society) are largely,if not completely, due to the illegality. Would there be ANY cartel violence associated with cannabis if it were legal? I can’t really imagine that pot smokers would run rampant cleaning convenience stores out of Twinkies at gunpoint…

  20. schiff says:

    Study is suspect in my opinion. What was the criteria of “harm to others”? Crystal meth has made it difficult to purchase many OTC cold medications, set limits that reduce the availability of these meds to families, and forced the reformulation of many OTC cold meds to use less effective ingredients to avoid these restrictions, to keep sales up and availability the same. That is a HUGE “harm to others”.

  21. sammi says:

    What is needed is a more realistic attitude toward social alcohol use instead of wallowing in the kind of Puritanical fear that studies like this one promote. Cheerz IntelliShot is a new functional shot/mixer than helps the body to more efficiently process alcohol’s most toxic metabolite, acetaldehyde. ATH is an extremely toxic carcinogen created as the liver breaks down alcohol that has been linked in numerous studies to everything from hangover, to liver disease, cancers, osteoporosis, Alzheimer’s, and even dependency–in SOCIAL drinkers. Social alcohol use (and abuse) is never going away regardless of the amount of proselytizing and finger wagging. A little more awareness and promotion of responsibility and less fear mongering would be a tremendous leap forward. Christopher Hitchens said, “Alcohol is happiness, and people cannot be counted upon to pursue happiness in moderation.” If Hitch had access to something like IntelliShot years ago he might not be dying of his self professed enjoyable vices.

  22. Thyme for an edit button says:

    When I was in college, I worked at campus events. The campus police would be security at some events like concerts. They didn’t really care about people smoking pot, but people caught with alcohol would be kicked out. The ones drinking were the ones whose behavior tended to get too aggressive and unpredictable.

  23. shibblegritz says:

    This appears to be a patently silly study. Marijuana ranks higher then ketamine, LSD and mushrooms on both the harm to individual and harm to society scales? That makes absolutely no sense.

    And if this study looked at overall harm, not the propensity for harm in any given use instance, then of course alcohol, the most widely distributed and freely available drug next to caffeine will come in atop the list.

    If not, then I just don’t know what they’re smoking, pun intended.

    • failurate says:

      While for the most part this study is garbage, the numbers make sense for the drugs you mentioned when you consider the study is based on total number of users and events. The hallucinogens are probably not nearly as widely used as marijuana.

      Jerry is dead and I don’t think Phish tour anymore.

  24. dangerp says:

    This study lost all of it’s credibility only 0:25 into the video. They are saying that alcohol is the most dangerous because it’s widely used. If you are trying to say that one drug is worse than another, then you have to account for usage. Any of these drugs would skyrocket to the top of the list if they were readily available and legal, simply due to the criteria of the report. Chris, maybe you should have pointed that out in your editorial, rather than repeating what is in the chart?

    tl;dr, this study is nothing more than a drug popularity contest.

  25. Anonymously says:

    The study must be bunk because everyone knows cannabis is completely harmless!</sarcasm>

    • Cheap Sniveler: Sponsored by JustAnswer.comâ„¢ says:

      Sarcasm noted.
      Its Not harmless. We all know that. Same negative affects as tobacco – (refer to list, tobacco and pot are nearly equal) Marijuana only rates so high on the list because of its prevelence of use.

  26. Nessiah says:

    so if i give up alochol for cocaine…would that be a positive change? Much less harm to other and slightly less harm to myself

  27. APCO25guy says:

    I don’t need a scientific study to confirm what my experience on the street as an EMT tells me. ETOH is involved in a good 45 percent of the calls I run, whether it’s the fights, the college parties that result in projectile vomiting and code runs to save some 20 year old kid’s life, the DUI’s and the innocent people taken out, the broken families from some poor slob who chooses to booze over manning up and handling their problems…et al. I’ve seen just about enough of what it does to people to make me never take a drink again.

  28. NeverLetMeDown says:

    Doing this study without indexing for frequency of use is just silly. It’s like saying that you’re better off jumping off the Brooklyn Bridge than eating a jelly donut, since heart disease kills a lot more people than falls from bridges.

  29. u1itn0w2day says:

    Alcohol is legal and more accessible so wouldn’t the law of averages relate to this result?

  30. golddog says:

    I’m not gonna bother watching the video and just go ahead and call bullshit right away. I’m sure if I sought out the print version of their research and looked at their methodology (and perhaps who funded the study) I could rip this apart in mere minutes.

  31. Kat@Work says:

    Bullshit. In what way is cannabis harmful to others? Alcohol is more harmful to other than meth? Have these people ever been around a meth head? Mushrooms are not harmful to others at all? Tell that to the guy who killed and COOKED his roommate after drinking mushroom tea. http://www.manolith.com/2010/06/01/mma-fighter-kills-friend/

  32. Groanan says:

    This political use of this study would have us look hard at allowing individuals free choice in the substances they use because those who use them are of a detriment to society’s goals (which are to progress economically I imagine, perhaps also to increase everyone’s “quality of life” hedonistically).

    The study is too narrow to support any action because it looks only at drugs. If it looked at actions, it would come the the conclusion that allowing people to drive is far worse for society’s goals, and that everyone should be forced to ride public transportation paid for with taxes.

    The study also ignores what other effects flow from freedom of consumption.
    It ignores what happens to a society when its people are over-regulated to the point of revolt.
    It ignores what happens to an oppressed people when they do not have drugs and alcohol to keep them passive.
    It ignores the reality that society has not the means to prevent drug and alcohol use, but can only make its consumption more harmful to society by making it an illicit activity, one which criminals partake in facilitating, raising crime rates and making more persons outlaws.

    If this is used to legalize cannabis, hurray for “science.”
    If this is used to impose stricter regulations on alcohol, booooooooo.
    It isn’t my country, but anything that happens over there can cause ripples over here.

  33. haggis for the soul says:

    Well, yeah. Alcohol has calories and as we all know, obesity is the scourge of humanity.

  34. dolemite says:

    The moral of the story…switch to ‘shrooms and LSD.

    What’s funny is…although pot is illegal, there are still TONS of people that do it, and it’s like what…1/5 as dangerous as drinking? Even if 1/5 of people do pot as drink, that means they’d be on equal footing.

  35. ThoughtFool says:

    Great … this study gives license to start using the bottom 5 or 6 drugs with greater regularity. Tell me that X, Qat and shrooms aren’t as easy to get as alcohol? But simple economics factors in too. Here in the south of the US, it’s far cheaper to load up on 40s than X.

    The simple reality: people who would otherwise cause harm to themselves or others through irresponsible use of any drug aren’t very likely to be swayed by a study to stop using the harmful drugs. They may shift around and experiment, but within a few months, they will probably be back to their previous behaviors.

    Gloom and doom? Nah, the basic fact is that some people will always seek escape. Everyone has their escape, be it drugs, sex or spending too much time on the computer.

    And with that, good night!

  36. lawgirl502 says:

    Yeh, alcohol is dangerous, but we are missing a lot of info on this study. This is BS. What qualifiers did they use? Dangerous how? Where did they study? What data was availble? Has it been peer reviewed? Duplicated? Studied in other societies?

  37. DragonThermo says:

    Bring back the 18th Amendment!

    There was a guy on a late night talk show with a “Legalize Crystal Meth” tshirt. Once marijuana becomes [officially] legal in California tomorrow, they are going to start on legalizing meth. I mean, who DOESN’T want to get tweaked out and lose their teeth?

  38. DragonThermo says:

    According to a documentary miniseries on the History Channel about drug laws, when the first drug laws and food/drug labeling laws were passed in the early 20th century, Congress debated which drugs would be added to the controlled substances list. For a while, caffeine was on the list of controlled substances.

    Can you imagine what would have happened if caffeine were made illegal?

    And where is Caffeine on the above list? Surely enough people have been harmed by direct and indirect caffeine consumption.

  39. MrEvil says:

    I find this study a bit flawed. We tried banning alchol back in the 20′s because of these ill effects on society… but instead we had MORE ill effects on society without Alchol than we did with. People being poisoned by tainted or poorly distilled spirits, innocent people gunned down in the streets by stray tommy-gun bullets. Tax revenues fell through the floor because the government was no longer collecting Alcohol taxes and yet had to spend more money on prohibition enforcement. We also had many Americans who lost their jobs because we basically made an entire industry illegal. FDR campaigned heavily to have prohibition repealed during the depression and when it was dead it put alot of folks back to work in legitimate jobs.

    America knows all too well what happens when you make booze illegal.

  40. Erik Hughes says:

    Here’s a link to the actual study:

    http://www.thedarkpassenger.org/2007_David_211305_1.pdf

  41. farker says:

    Instead of stacked bars, wouldn’t side-by-side bars for “harm to others” and “harm to self” have been more helpful?