Alcohol & Tobacco vs. Illegal Drugs

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Date added: 17-09-15

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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 & Potter, 2005, p. 199). Alcohol has far more dangerous long-term effects than marijuana such as permanent damage to vital organs, several different types of cancer, high blood pressure, and malnutrition and nutritional deficiencies ("Alcohol ," 2006). While marijuana smoke contains “some of the same cancer-causing compounds as tobacco, sometimes in higher concentrations” ("Marijuana ," 2010).

At the top of the charts is cocaine and heroin ,which is also accurate. Cocaine is at the top because it “is the most powerful natural stimulant available to man” (Kapperler & Potter, 2005, p. 194). While heroine is “the single most abused opiate in the US, and has one of the most serious addiction rates of all illegal drugs” ("Heroin: one,"). The reasons why these two are so dangerous is because when on heroin the “mental functioning is slow and disoriented”("Heroin: one," ), and while cocaine can result in “acute cardiovascular or cerebrovascular emergencies—severe circulation problems to the heart or brain” ("Cocaine and crack," ).

In the article, it is stated that “tobacco causes 40 percent of all hospital illnesses, while alcohol is blamed for more than half of all visits to hospital emergency rooms,” and “the substances also harm society in other ways, damaging families and occupying police services” (Conroy, 2007), which is true. In 2000, the leading cause of death was tobacco at 435,00 deaths (Kapperler & Potter, 2005, p. 203). Also, there were 85,000 deaths from alcohol and another 16,700 from alcohol-related motor vehicle crashes.

This article stated facts conducted from a experiment that Professor Nutt and colleagues performed with the help of experts. Due to the information that was stated, this article is factual and had no intent of providing myths about the subject. The three factors that the researchers creates a measurement to determine the rankings. This scale shows accuracy and helps support validity and reliability. It’s important to know the truth about this topic because many people think that marijuana and some other illegal drugs are more dangerous than alcohol and tobacco.

However, the article informs people that alcohol and tobacco are more harmful than one thinks and that countries should provide a different way to classify drugs. References Alcohol . (2006, March 06). Retrieved from "http://www. gdcada. org/statistics/alcohol. htm" Cocaine and crack cocaine abuse. (n. d. ). Retrieved from "http:/www. psychiatric-disorders. com/articles/substance-abuse/cocaine-abuse. php" Conroy, S. (2007, March 24). Alcohol, tobacco worse than illegal drugs. Associates Press, Retrieved from

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