By Diana Galban
In a recent study by Professor David Nutt of Britain’s Bristol University, tobacco and alcohol were placed in the top 10 most harmful drugs based on their potential for addiction, impact on society and physical harm to the user.
The study was set up between two groups of experts. One group consisted of psychiatrists who focus their studies on addictions and the second group was formed by police officers with some medical background. They were asked to rank 20 different drugs. When the results were compared at the end between the two groups, both agreed in most of their choices, which were not in correlation with those of the current British Classification System of these drugs.
Heroin and cocaine were put at the very top of this new drug listing. Alcohol was ranked as the 5th most dangerous drug and tobacco came in 9th on the list. Surprisingly, illegal drugs such as marijuana, which was placed in the 11th spot, and ecstasy were near the bottom of the list.
The present British Drug Classification system places illegal drugs in three groups (ABC) based on their overall harm to society or its users, but Nutt’s new study says it is inaccurate, in addition to the fact that it also leaves out legal drugs like tobacco and alcohol. This is what Nutt’s study is hoping to change.
Currently, cocaine, LSD and heroin are placed under Class A or most dangerous drugs that also carry the worst consequences for their possession and trafficking; followed by Class B, which includes non-injected amphetamines and barbiturates. Class C consists of anabolic steroids, mild amphetamines and tranquilizers, and cannabis, which was formerly placed under Class B drugs. Class C drugs carry the least of consequences such as two years in prison for trafficking and warnings for possession.
Studies like these play a crucial role. Not only do they change the way drugs are classified, but also inform the public of the addictive and destructive factors that raise them above other illegal drugs in the present ranking charts of harmful substances.
1) Heroin (most harmful)
4) Street Methodone
Current Drug Classification List:
Class A drugs include:
Heroin, Cocaine, Ecstasy, LSD
Class B drugs include:
Amphetamines (non-injection) and Barbiturates
Class C drugs include: