LONDON: A new study in the Lancet, conducted in the UK, and resonating across the globe, says consumption of alcohol is more dangerous than drugs like heroin, cocaine, etc.
Professor David Nutt, chairman of ISCD (Independent Scientific Committee on Drugs) and author of the study, said, "It is intriguing to note that the two legal drugs assessed — alcohol and tobacco — score in the upper segment of the ranking scale, indicating that legal drugs cause at least as much harm as do illegal substances."
The study categorised the effect of alcohol and drugs and were scored out of 100. It reveals that overall, alcohol scored 72 — against 55 for heroin and 54 for crack. Researchers analysed how addiction to alcohol and also drugs destroys society, along with one's health.
But in India's pub city, there is a feeling that the report does not reveal anything new, although scepticism regarding alcohol being more dangerous than Class A drugs abounds.
"Too much is too bad. Yes I do drink but don't agree with the fact that alcohol is more harmful than drugs. Also, I am sure I have the ability to overcome any bad influences," serviceman Rohit Reddy says.
One student, who requested that his name be withheld, agrees that alcohol is a killer, but says, "Alcohol kills slowly but heroine does so faster.”
He also believes that while both drugs and alcohol are damaging to health and the social fabric, it is the fact that alcohol is relatively inexpensive and easy to come by that lures youngsters to it. "For students like us, drinking is a daily routine," he says. Admitting to having dabbled in "weed" he says that the thought of trying out Class A substances has never crossed his mind.
Student Sandeep Abung agrees that alcohol abuse is rising amongst the youth: "These days students treat alcohol like water."
It is the easy availability of alcohol, and the Lancet report, that is alarming some people in the city. "I feel alcohol is more dangerous as it is easily available. Generally students can't afford drugs and at the same time it is illegal," Rudra Dutta, a businessman, says.
Dutta doesn't know if his child is drinking, but states that if he is then he will be first to counsel him off alcohol. "If that doesn't work, then I will consult doctors or a rehab centre," he says.
British experts evaluated substances including alcohol, cocaine, heroin, ecstasy and marijuana, ranking them based on how destructive they are to the individual. The World Health Organisation (WHO) estimates that risks linked to alcohol cause 2.5 million deaths a year from heart and liver disease, road accidents, and suicides.
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