Illegal drugs disappoint: New research finds legal drugs best way to self-destruction

Illegal drugs disappoint: New research finds legal drugs best way to self-destruction

by Mark PleissNews Editor

Have you heard the good news?

Grab a pipe, a leather wine skin and some purple pills. This one is big. published a story March 23 reporting the release of a new study in England with a downright tree-hugging, sandal-wearing finding: Marijuana and ecstasy are at the bottom of the list of drugs deemed “the most harmful” in society.

Fire up the bongs, gentlemen…I can almost hear Jefferson Airplane now.

To completely finish this immense slap-in-the-face of current social lawmaking concerning human stimuli, the finding, which was published in The Lancet magazine by Professor David Nutt of Britain’s Bristol University, has placed alcohol and tobacco-the two legal drugs currently on the market (for you hermits and native Antarcticans)-at the top of the list of “most harmful.”

According to the study, Nutt and his fellow scholars weighed each of the drugs in the report on three topics, “the physical harm to the user, the drug’s potential for addiction and the impact on society” the drug causes.

The story said the researchers “asked two groups of experts-psychiatrists specializing in addiction and legal or police officials with scientific or medical expertise.” Scores were given to 20 different drugs, “including heroin, cocaine, ecstasy, amphetamines and LSD.”

Surprisingly, when the experts came together, all their findings were similar. The only disagreement came from the current British classification systems for drugs.

Nutt’s study found heroin and cocaine to be the most dangerous. Alcohol was the fifth-most harmful drug and tobacco placed a disappointing ninth. Marijuana lagged behind at 11th, and “near the bottom of the list was ecstasy.”

According to Nutt, current laws on drugs are poorly thought out. In The Lancet, he and his colleagues write, “The exclusion of alcohol and tobacco from the Misuse of Drugs Act is, from a scientific perspective, arbitrary.”

CNN’s story also points out that “tobacco causes 40 percent of all hospital illnesses, while alcohol is blamed for more than half of all visits to hospital emergency rooms.”

Now, some might say a young man like myself with an upcoming degree in journalism and an oceans-and-atmospheres-knowledge of science has no right meddling in the business of scientists and drug experts, but as a college kid, I feel as though I have a certain understanding of drugs, and of course, their users.

Although I never inhaled.

Despite all this, it probably wasn’t in the intent of Nutt to say drugs like ecstasy and marijuana aren’t dangerous and should be legalized. In fact, it’s quite the opposite.

What the doctor really wants is tougher regulation on tobacco and alcohol due to the incredible stress they put on our society, despite their legality.

I think he just assumes people know popping ecstasy isn’t one of the best ideas, especially because they’re far more likely to suffer harmful consequences from a bad batch of “X” than from a bad pack of USA Gold 100s or a warm month-old case of Old Style from Citgo.

Personally, I think ranking drugs is a bit of a dangerous business, especially since such numbers can easily be misleading and can cause more misinformation than actual reliable information (See the first few paragraphs of this story).

In the end, it’s how much you use the drug, how addictive your personality is, what drug you’re using and where it’s coming from that’s going to determine whether you fall into addiction, depression or just dead on the floor.

But still, I never inhaled.