Alcohol and tobacco are more dangerous than some illegal drugs, such as marijuana or Ecstasy, and need to be reclassified to reflect the threat they pose to society, says a British study published Saturday in The Lancet medical journal.
Using three factors to determine the harm they cause, Professor David Nutt of Bristol University and his colleagues concluded that alcohol and tobacco were among the top 10 most dangerous substances, the Associated Press reported.
The three factors used to determine the rankings of 20 substances were: physical harm to the user; potential for addiction; and impact on society. Heroin and cocaine were ranked most dangerous, followed by barbiturates and street methadone. Alcohol was ranked number five and marijuana number nine. Ecstasy was near the bottom of the list.
Nutt noted that alcohol and tobacco are legal in the United States, Britain and most other countries, while marijuana and Ecstasy are illegal. He questioned the scientific rationale for this kind of approach to drug classification, calling it ill thought-out and arbitrary, the AP reported.
Alcohol is associated with more than half of all visits to hospital emergency rooms and tobacco causes 40 percent of all illnesses that require hospitalisation. Both substances have other negative effects on society, such as harming families and using up police resources, the study said. – (HealthDayNews)
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