Alcohol Ranks As Most Harmful Drug

By Staff Writer

Many individuals abuse alcohol thinking that they are causing little harm to themselves and others. However, a new report suggests that alcohol causes more damage to individuals and the community than any other drug, including heroin or crack.

The report was written by David Nutt, a professor at Imperial College London. He developed a system that ranks the destructiveness of drugs based on the damage that they cause to the community. The system considers factors that range from the health effects of substance abuse to costs associated with treating drug users.

On the model’s 100 point scale, alcohol scored a 72. This compared to 55 and 54 for heroin and crack, respectively. Nutt said that the ranking system could help government officials prioritize policies to minimize the damage caused by the drugs.

“What a new classification system might look like would depend on what set of harms – to self or others – you are trying to reduce,” he said. “But if you take overall harm, then alcohol, heroin and crack are clearly more harmful than all others.”