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Rome (Nov 1) – Alcohol is more dangerous than heroin. This is the sentence that the media have decided to single out from a study published in media journal The Lancet, a study that was co-authored by former drugs adviser to the UK government Prof. David Nutt, who was fired and publicly shamed by the former Labour government for saying that marijuana was illegal for political and not scientific reasons. He also claimed that there was more chance of dying in a horse riding accident than being killed taking ecstasy.
The new study ranks 20 drugs on 16 measures of harm to the users and wider society on whole. This is to say that the study is not just big writing, shouting Booze is worse than heroin! Debate the subject in an intellectual manner! What it is saying is that to the user or society, alone it is not quite as terrible as when they are combined, and the model used in the study combines both factors for every drug. This puts booze on top of the list.
The top 3 are alcohol, heroin and crack cocaine. Cocaine and tobacco are in fifth and sixth, respectively. Ecstasy, LSD, and mushrooms are all in the bottom 5. Cannabis is 9th on the list.
The news is spinning it’s top today, experts are being drafted in to do what they do and give their expert advice, and every segment leads with a sarcastic sounding newsreader saying that “alcohol is more dangerous than heroin” as if it has no basis in reality, which is where this problem starts and finishes.
Naturally it is not the BBC newsreaders fault, they checked their integrity at the door a long time ago when they signed their contract. But the public really should have more faith in scientists, ask yourself why Prof. Nutt would say something like there is more chance of you dying falling off a horse than from taking ecstasy. Then ask why a politician would have such an opinion against it.
To begin with, you cannot have an opinion on something unless you have tried it, or have a scientific knowledge of how it works. For example, if a politician dismisses the science then they must have a working knowledge of the drug in question. This would explain, certainly, the last administration. It is no wonder they started so much trouble in the Middle East.
The heroin haul dried up in Westminster thanks to Tony and his insatiable appetite for that particular drug, so he went after the source, the poppy fields in Afghanistan. It makes so much sense now. Alan Johnson, former Labour home secretary was an enabler, and when David Nutt tried to blow the whistle on the shady affair, Johnson dragged him through the dirt on the way out of his plum position.
The only thing worse than an addict, is an addict who hides his addiction. I plead with the government; do not make the same mistakes. Share the wealth.
My half-joke aside, the real trouble in the UK is the out of control drinking culture; it really is as bad as they say, maybe worse. While some schools teach that drugs are bad, alcohol is rarely included to the point that I have argued with people before that alcohol is a drug. The last person I argued with on that subject was 65. Seriously, a 65-year-old man who did not believe me when I told him not to complain about drug users, because I serve him vodka every night of the week. He still does not believe me. In fact, I think he thinks I am an idiot for even suggesting it.
While I am not calling for prohibition, obviously, there is an argument that there are too many drinks that are aimed at children that should be banned. Brightly colored, sugar filled nonsense is to alcohol what dog worming tablets are to ecstasy; they should be banned on principal.
It is not really booze, but you know how people with no clue like to say that cannabis is a “gateway drug” to harder things, well so called ‘alcopops’ is very much a gateway drug and your kids are draining bottles of the stuff down the park on a Friday night.
Bad parenting is obviously one reason, but another reason is archaic drug laws, brought in at a time of limited science and government snobbery. It is 2010, time to act like it. Stop giving smart people a hard time, Nutt is doing this for our benefit. You think he is doing it because he loves being ‘villainized’ by idiot newsreaders who take more illegal drugs than almost every other profession, with the exception of musicians, and maybe writers.
I am sorry to repeat this, but drugs are drugs, they are all a bit bad for you. Some are amazing though, I’ve seen a room of clubbers morph into one being, sweating and breathing and dancing in unison, the lights catching their perspiration as it leaves the tip of their hair, creating what looked like a rainbow over the dance floor. I have also seen some person get a bottle smashed on his head, removing part of his ear. A prize if you can spot the drug. I will give you a hint; they represent the very top and the very bottom of the list.
Henry Hunter – WorldNewsVine, Rome.