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Study suggests alcohol more dangerous than heroin, cocaine

By Andrew Moran     Nov 1, 2010 in Health
London - A new study conducted by British scientists suggests that alcohol is much more harmful to individuals and to the wider society than illegal drugs such as heroine, crack cocaine and ecstacy.
There are various negative health effects when drinking alcohol on a regular basis, including being diagnosed with liver cirrhosis. The World Health Organization (WHO) concluded that alcohol causes about 2.5 million deaths per year, which accounts for less than 4 percent of all deaths.
But is alcohol more harmful than hard drugs?
A new study released on Monday by the Independent Scientific Committee on Drugs (ISCD) in London verifies that it is, according to Agence-France Presse. British scientists researched the dangers of alcohol had on the person and the overall society.
Cocaine
Cocaine
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The researchers argue that the current drug classification system has “little relation to the evidence of harm.” The head author, Professor David Nutt, added: “They also accord with the conclusions of previous expert reports that aggressively targeting alcohol... is a valid and necessary public health strategy."
Study experts, who hope to assist in future policy decisions with these results, found that crystal meth, crack cocaine and heroin were the most deadly, however, when taking into account the social effects, alcohol was more dangerous.
They used a substance score from 0 to 100 using various criteria: Alcohol garnered a score of 72, while heroine gained 55 and crack had 54.
“Our findings lend support to previous work in the UK and the Netherlands, confirming that the present drug classification systems have little relation to the evidence of harm,” said the study authors, reports the Press Association. “They also accord with the conclusions of previous expert reports that aggressively targeting alcohol harms is a valid and necessary public health strategy."
The results of the study can be found published in the medical journal The Lancet.
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