Booze May Be Worse Than Crack Cocaine, Meth, Study Says

Filed under: In The News, Alcohol & Drugs

Credit: Christof Stache, AFP/Getty Images

Since the '60s, kids have been arguing that marijuana is no more dangerous than alcohol.

Well, boys and girls, it turns out that's not a good thing. Alcohol is pretty frickin' dangerous, according to a new study that says it's worse than heroin and crack cocaine.

National Public Radio reports British experts ranked various drugs (alcohol, cocaine, heroin, ecstasy, marijuana, etc.) on how destructive they are to both individuals and society. They also took into account how addictive the drugs are and how much lasting harm they do the body.

Alcohol was No. 1 with a bullet, NPR reports.

Of course, it really depends on what you're looking for when it comes to self-destruction. If you want the express checkout, go with heroin, crack cocaine and meth. They'll get you out the door and on your way to the cemetery quickly and efficiently.

However, if you want a death just about as ugly, but one that's slower and destroys as many lives and families as possible along the way, researchers say go with alcohol.

They found alcohol -- because it's legal, plentiful and extremely insidious -- wreaks the greatest havoc on both individuals and society.

Pot, ecstasy and LSD ranked the lowest, by the way.

NPR reports the study was paid for by Britain's Centre for Crime and Justice Studies and was published online Nov. 1 in the medical journal The Lancet.

Researchers concede booze is not going to go away. We tried that once in America. It didn't work.

"We cannot return to the days of Prohibition," Leslie King, an adviser to the European Monitoring Centre for Drugs and one of the study's authors, tells NPR. "Alcohol is too embedded in our culture, and it won't go away."

Still, it's curious how our leaders accept that when it comes to booze, but turn into Eliot Ness when it comes to pot and other drugs at the low end of the danger spectrum.

"What governments decide is illegal is not always based on science," Wim van den Brink, a professor of psychiatry and addiction at the University of Amsterdam, tells NPR.

Although not one of the researchers in the study, he co-authored a commentary in the Lancet.

"Drugs that are legal cause at least as much damage, if not more, than drugs that are illicit," he tells NPR.

Alcohol is particularly harmful, he adds.

"Just think about what happens at every football game," he says.

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Start by teaching him that it is safe to do so.