Alcohol & Tobacco vs. Illegal Drugs

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In the article “Alcohol, Tobacco Worse Than Illegal Drugs” a new British study found that alcohol and tobacco are more dangerous than some illegal narcotics such as marijuana or Ecstasy. Professor David Nutt of Britain’s Bristol University and some colleagues proposed the study and found a new structure for the “classification of harmful substances based on the actual risk posed to society” (Conroy, 2007). The researchers used three factors to determine how harmful any drug is : “the physical harm to the user, the drug’s potential for addiction, and the impact on society of drug use” (Conroy, 2007).

Then two groups of experts (psychiatrists or medical expertise) were asked to select scores of twenty different drugs. In the rankings, heroin and cocaine were the most dangerous, followed by barbiturates and street methadone. Alcohol ranked the fifth-most dangerous drug, while tobacco ranked the ninth. Surprisingly, cannabis came in the eleventh spot and Ecstasy was near the bottom of the list. Nutt believes that the current British drug system is “ill thought-out and arbitrary” (Conroy, 2007).

Even though different countries use different ways to classify drugs, none of them use a system like Nutt proposed and he hopes that his new system could “serve as a framework for international authorities” (Conroy, 2007). The information in this article and the study that Professor Nutt conducted are factual. There are more than one article about the study on the internet. In the article it says that alcohol is more harmful than marijuana, which is true. In 2001, there were 331 alcohol overdose deaths and 0 marijuana overdose deaths (CDC, 2004).

Also, when marijuana is in its nature form it is “ one of the safest therapeutically active substances known to man” (Kapperler & Potter, 2005, p. 199), and that marijuana is “far safer than many foods we commonly consume”(Kapperler &

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