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Do You Use The Most Harmful Drugs?
Whoops! Those would be alcohol and cigarettes -- which a new study in the Lancet classifies as more harmful than pot, and "substantially more dangerous" than LSD, or X.

Harmful drugs are currently regulated according to classification systems that purport to relate to the harms and risks of each drug. However, these are generally neither specified nor transparent, which reduces confidence in their accuracy and undermines health education messages.

Professor David Nutt from the University of Bristol, Professor Colin Blakemore, Chief Executive of the Medical Research Council, and colleagues, identified three main factors that together determine the harm associated with any drug of potential abuse:

1. the physical harm to the individual user caused by the drug
2. the tendency of the drug to induce dependence
3. the effect of drug use on families, communities, and society

...Professor Colin Blakemore added: “Drug policy is primarily aimed at reducing the harm to individual users, their families and society. But at present there is no rational, evidence-based method for assessing the harm of drugs. We have tried to develop such a method. We hope that policy makers will take note of the fact that the resulting ranking of drugs differs substantially from their classification in the Misuse of Drugs Act and that alcohol and tobacco are judged more harmful than many illegal substances.”

Sane, intelligent drug policy, anybody? For starters, how about refusing to vote for candidates who aren't behind it? Beats paying to keep a bunch of potheads and trippers in prison.

via BoingBoing

Posted by aalkon at March 26, 2007 2:34 PM


People in trouble with the law tend to get that way for having clusters of infractions, even if their prosecutions have one or two violations at the top of the page. How you gonna pull all this apart?

Also, LSD is just not in the same class as alcohol. There are people who have a beer once a year at Super Bowl parties (I are one). But people don't trip 'socially.'

Thirty years ago I went to a party at the edge of town and met a girl who happened to be doing acid. Four months later, there was another party at the same house, and there she was again, and she was doing acid again. And I said to her, "You only see me when you're tripping. You think I'm a hallucination!" I'll never forget the look on her face. It was very cruel of me, but it was also a lot of fun. Everyone should ridicule a troubled teen now and then.

Posted by: Crid at March 26, 2007 4:34 AM

Messing with the minds of overly-intoxicated fellow students kept me very entertained throughout college. Convinced a guy that was stoned and trippin' that he was really in a dream, that everything he was seeing was just an illusion. It worked out well for him until he decided to grab some girl's boobs. Or rather, it worked our great until AFTER he grabbed them. Neither drug does much for his pain tolerance, apparently...pity.

Posted by: Jamie at March 26, 2007 6:10 AM

Also, LSD is just not in the same class as alcohol. There are people who have a beer once a year at Super Bowl parties (I are one). But people don't trip 'socially.'

Of all the drugs I've seen used (and having worked to put on numerous music shows, this pretty much covers the drug spectrum), LSD pretty much never gets used by people past their early twenties (exceptions, sure, but whatever). I think people pretty much get this one of out their systems in college. My anecdotal experience suggests the following:

A fair number of successful and together adults occasionally consume the following: alcohol, pot, coke, and E. Not so much: meth, heroin, prescription painkillers, downers, etc. Interestingly the first group of drugs are all less toxic than alcohol. Regardless of toxicity, though, it seems there are some things people can do, and not get into deep shit, and some things that appear to pretty reliably get people into deep shit (or that people in deep shit are drawn to). What I've seen suggests that treating all drugs as bad, bad, bad is a policy that neglects to note the very real differences between different drugs.

Posted by: justin case at March 26, 2007 8:54 AM


But doesn't this apply to so many places?


It's sooo much easier to paint everything with as wide a brush as possible. It's sooo much harder to take into consideration shades of grey and numerous permutaitons, right? You get your black/white paint and a brush a mile wide, make a knee-jerk judgement, and paint your swath...then go back to watching tv, right?


When so many people thing this way, it's not surprising that the government follows suit.

Posted by: Jamie at March 26, 2007 11:05 AM

But thinking is such hard work! Don't you just want to be told what to do? Then you feel better knowing you are doing the 'right' thing.

The harmfulness of the various drugs has been common knowledge for at least 20 years. I don't know why they keep presenting this information like it was something new. For example, nicotine is more addictive than herion.

Also interesting is the political workings behind legalizing some drugs and not others. For example, the cotton farmers trying to eliminate the hemp farmers-that's where pot comes into the picture, as a tool in their fight.

Posted by: Chris at March 26, 2007 12:46 PM

An article on the AP wire last week talked about the fact that Pharmaceutical drug use is about to overtake illicit drug use in this country. People are getting their Pharma drugs on line now, which blurrs the distinction between prescription and illegal drugs as I see it. Is that vicodin you're getting from drugs-r-us really a vicodin, or is it tylenol with a bit of methadone sprinkled on top to make you feel the buzz?

We have to face the fact that humans have enjoyed an altered state of being since the days when Fred and Wilma were eating bronto burgers with a side of peyote button. Once the honchos get it - and figure out a way to define "harmful" - we'll be in much better shape. Personally I'd rather Walk into a room full of stoners than a room full of drunks. Most old white guys would too - they just don't know it.

Posted by: Laurie at March 26, 2007 1:36 PM

Personally I'd rather Walk into a room full of stoners than a room full of drunks.

Me too, unless you're the pizza delivery guy and the order is short.

Posted by: deja pseu at March 26, 2007 1:40 PM

Gimme the drunks; they still have their spirits (in more ways that one), and they know it's all about sex anyway. The drunks are pulling the blouses off the women while the stoners are still trying to sync up their VHS of Wizard of Oz to a (borrowed, never-to-be-returned) CD of Dark Side of the Moon.

"Naw dude, I think it's supposed to hit on the part where she falls into the pigpen...."

Posted by: Crid at March 26, 2007 3:00 PM

Justin, I think you're a bit too hard on Jamie, who is simply stating an opionion, and even at that with the buffer statement:

"My anecdotal experience suggests the following."

The attacking tone of your comment is taking away from whatever your point is.

[in all seriousness]
Try not to get so upset when someone states an opinion that differs from yours. :-)
[/in all seriousness]

You were so busy being bitter that you didn't really even say what *your* opinion was.

Personally I mostly agree with Jamie. However I would include a longer list of drugs that can be experimented with during those younger college-aged times. It just depends on how prone you are to addiction.

Posted by: jaylyn at March 26, 2007 6:02 PM

Apologies to Justin for the above post. I mixed up your two names.

Bottom line: Jamie, I think you should give Justin a break.

Posted by: jaylyn at March 26, 2007 6:08 PM

Actually, I'm not criticing him at all, or his opinion. You're just being over-sensitive on his behalf, which is cute, but silly and unproductive. I'm sure if Justin thought I was being hard on him, he'd be quite capable of pointing that out himself, and not needing a proxy.

His point was stating how people who make policy tend to over-generalize, and due to that, miss some rather important specifics (the opposite of not seeing the forest for the trees). I was agreeing with him, and making fun of people that DO over-generalize, because it's lazy and stupid. No "bitterness" about his opinion at all. That's invented by you, apparently. Chris followed my statement with similar sarcasm.

Bottom line: Don't be so busy being offended on someone else's behalf that you miss the entire point of the statement...and why do you think Justin is so incapable of responding himself that you have to step in for him, pray tell?

Posted by: Jamie at March 27, 2007 7:12 AM

Perhaps jaylyn's browser doesn't recognize the sarcasm tag?

Posted by: justin case at March 27, 2007 8:28 AM


Maybe. Tho she DID reply with her own "[in all seriousness]" tag. Oh well. But it's nice to see you're recovering nicely from the verbal beating that I apparently gave you. I'm going to pre-empt myself now, as every time I've tried to write something past the previous statement, I find myself definitely delving into the snide and mean territory.


Posted by: Jamie at March 27, 2007 10:03 AM

Hi both, I'm glad everyone is getting along.

I don't assume that Justin can't defend himself, just wanted to put in my own reaction.

Apparently I was not on your wavelengths. Not trying to start anything.

Oh well, keeps it interesting, right?

Peace. :-)

Posted by: Jaylyn at March 29, 2007 4:49 PM

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