Researchers using their own classification and rating system in order to try and assess a drug’s overall harmful effects — not to oneself, but to society as a whole too — recently published their findings. Here’s what they found, according to various news outlets:
- The Most Dangerous Drugs? Alcohol, Heroin and Crack—in That Order
TIME – Catherine Mayer
Alcohol is more harmful than heroin or crack: study
New York Daily News
Study: Alcohol ‘most harmful drug,’ followed by crack and heroin
Experts: Alcohol More Harmful Than Crack or Heroin
WebMD – Tim Locke
If you just read the headlines, you’d think the study showed that the most dangerous drug available today is alcohol, based upon clinical or government data.
It’s easy to say that, too, because that’s what the authors also said in their study (published in The Lancet medical journal):
[H]eroin, crack cocaine, and metamfetamine were the most harmful drugs to individuals, whereas alcohol, heroin, and crack cocaine were the most harmful to others. Overall, alcohol was the most harmful drug (overall harm score 72), with heroin (55) and crack cocaine (54) in second and third places.
Ah yes, that little thing we like to call complexity rears its ugly head. And oops, did we mention there’s no actual research data in the study?