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Alcohol more lethal than heroin, cocaine: study

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I am sorry, but this is an absolutely ridiculous study. These 'experts' are going to tell me that drinking alcohol in excess is more dangerous that using heroin or cocaine in excess? Alcohol 'outranks' the others merely because it is used more. This study is silly.

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Sometimes the truth hurts.

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The only thing hurting are my eyes from reading this drivel.

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Legalize all the above mentioned drugs and come back to us puleeze. This study is simply BS!

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Alcohol more lethal than heroin, cocaine (headline)

Heroin, crack cocaine and methamphetamine, or crystal meth, were the most lethal to individuals. (article)

Sensational, misleading headline highlights only half of the story.

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heroin and cocaine are not that bad afterall. They should lift the ban.

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heroin and cocaine are not that bad afterall. They should lift the ban.

I bet there are studies that show that current Pb (lead) exposure is less harmful than alcohol, therefore the ban of Pb in household items and food should be lifted.

Uhhuh!

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Definately a sensationalized headline but I can believe the findings. It is looking how it affects society as a whole and not just individuals. Alcohol is legal and a lot of people who have a drinking problem just don't see themselves that was because they are legally 'indulging' every now and again. But many families are broken up because of this. People with drug problems realize it is not socially accepted so once confronted may be more likely to have counceling, whereas alcoholics just think their family is being nit-picky. Also drinking and driving has a huge impact on society and drug users tend to only take themselves out when they go due to their habits.

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I agree 100percent

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Dwelling upon alchohol because developed countries assets are dwindling. inward thinking, never too late !

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I ALSO agree 100 percent!!!! I am a recovering alcoholic and got so tired of it (alcohol that is). It wasn't even as much my drinking as all the alcoholics around me as well. Oblivious to their problems. I wasn't going to be one of those people anymore. Oblivious and in denial. I have said it 100 times on a 100 forums. Legalize drugs!!! Portugal legalized drugs and drug usage went up and the number of people attending rehab went up. Alchol is legal and more than one study has proven its deadly ramifications. Adults should have to the choice to use. Whether its alcohol, tabbaco, coke, or weed. I mean really. how many stoned accidents have you heard about. how many DUIs? exactly!!! Do I even need to mention the drug cartels. and hoe easily we could take all of their power away and get lots of tax dollars in return, tax dollars that could in part be sued to help educate and rehabilitate.

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Agreed 100%. All my old relatives have problem with Alcohol, none of them has drug problems. Most people I know have died either direct, or indirect effect of alcohol and cigs. Dr Hofman, the inventor of LSD lived to see 103. Alcohol kills anyone. Drugs only worsen the lives of careless, nothing to loose kind of people.

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I ma no way saying heroin or crack can be good for anyone, but it is time to re-asses the damage alcohol vs other drugs are causing, not just to one's health, but to the society. You don't want to see people high on drugs? I'm sure they don't puke as much as drunkers do.

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The seeming comparison of the substances is what I found ridiculous. Of course something more readily and legally available will be used more making any effects more wide-spread. However, that merely means legalizing something makes its use more wide-spread. It does not make the actualy substance itself more lethal. I can play too. Knives are more lethal than guns in Japan.

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Sensational, misleading headline highlights only half of the story.

Agreed, the headline doesn't match the contents of the story. Alcohol causes more total damage, which makes sense, but that is not the same as more lethal.

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This was published in The Lancet. The Lancet is a British Medical Publication and is read mainly by members of the medical profession. It is one of the most respected medical publications in the world.

It does not publish BS as many suggest. It has the highest editorial standards and only publishes serious, well researched material, which, I have no doubt, this study is.

The conclusions of the study may not be popular with some, but they are certainly not frivolous.

The previous British government did not like Professor Nutt's conclusions when he headed a study on drugs for them. As a result, they fired him from the committee he was heading. This seems to be a trend. It seems that every committee appointed by a government since the 1960's has come to the conclusion that alcohol is more dangerous than some illegal drugs.

"Cannabis is less dangerous than the opiates, amphetamines and barbiturates, and also less dangerous than alcohol." That quote comes from the Wootton Report of 1968 which investigated the effects of cannabis for the British government. The then government rejected the conclusion. Forty years on the same results produce the same rejection.

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I would still take a cold beer over a shot of heroin any day.

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Knives are more lethal than guns in Japan.

You really think so? I doubt you'd ever bring a knife to a gun fight.

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As anyone with half a brain cell (left) knows marijuana is the least harmful and lethal of all these substances including alcohol, this study validates that.

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The Lancet wants to wake alcohol imbibers to the dangers. Good shocking study. :clapclap:

The opposite result however might be a bigger danger: that of playing down the dangers for uneducated youngsters of first heroin (other drug) usage. "What, it's not even as dangerous as a drink?"

This study is topical, and for one target audience, but only relatively true. It may need complete rewriting for the audience in the next room.

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You really think so? I doubt you'd ever bring a knife to a gun fight.

You completely missed my point. Try finding a gun in Japan. Now try finding a knife. Of course, knives kill more people in Japan because there are more of them. The same is true of alcohol. Of course alcohol will kill more people than heroin or cocaine if it is used by more people and more often.

There is no way, shape or form that alcohol in and of itself is more dangerous/lethal than heroin. If both were equally legal, available and used, it would be obvious. Heck, it should be anyway.

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thetruthhurts: "Try finding a gun in Japan. Now try finding a knife. Of course, knives kill more people in Japan because there are more of them. The same is true of alcohol. Of course alcohol will kill more people than heroin or cocaine if it is used by more people and more often."

Yeah, man! Shout it out! Because everyone knows guns are lethal and illegal substances that we inject or snort into our systems, whereas we tend to drink knives.... errr... wait.... maybe it was just an odd analogy altogether. You cannot compare drugs/alcohol/addictive substances with weapons. Crimes committed using the aforementioned weapons affect others far more than the self, whereas what we are talking about is death/abuse of users. It's a silly comparison.

What we are talking about in this article is a societal problem -- the idea that alcohol is acceptable based on arguments very much like yours (it's not as bad as something else). Alcohol is more lethal than the drugs mentioned, bottom line, and regardless of the reasons. You cannot refute that -- those who think they can only do so by deflecting. Can you deny alcohol kills more people here than the aforementioned drugs? Of course you can't. And so likewise you cannot deny the contents of the article.

The idea of making heroin or cocaine legal as a result of this study, or banning alcohol, is also ridiculous. Education, once again, is the key. It won't save everyone, but it would help. Of course, this won't be printed in the Japanese media -- it's almost Bonenkai season, after all.

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Agreed with thetruth, if you've ever known anyone who's life was destroyed or ended by heroin it is absolutely the worst thing. Low usage of coke/heroin mean their societal effect is minimized overall and can't be effectively compared to alcohol in this respect. I still, however, await the day when MDMA is legalized.

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thetruthhurts,

Perhaps you should wait and look at the study before deciding that these "experts"(to borrow your scare quotes) got it wrong and that your instinct trumps their actual research.

You appear to be certain that "[a]lcohol 'outranks' the others merely because it is used more" but this article makes it clear that they also studied "how addictive a drug is and how it harms the human body".

They "[ranked the drugs] based on how destructive they are to the individual who takes them and to society as a whole."

They also looked at "death rates" and, if used correctly here, the total number of drinkers vs. users of other drugs isn't necessarily a factor.

I looked for the study today but didn't see it at the Lancet online (pub. date said 30 Oct. though).

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Alcohol is the worst, I hope that they will either ban it or raise taxes to amounts where nobody can afford it anymore.

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smithinjapan,

You are missing the point. The point is not 'weapons'. It is about substances compared were equally legal, available and used, it would be obvious that heroin and cocaine are more dangerous/lethal. In fact, the article actually says that very thing. You just need to look for it.

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Taxes can definitely be raised at stores for alcohol. It's amazing how cheap hard liquor is here compared to other nations.

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SiouxChef,

No need for me to wait for the study. From the article:

"Heroin, crack cocaine and methamphetamine, or crystal meth, were the most lethal to individuals."

If they were available, legal and used as much as alcohol, we would not need this 'study' nor would we be having a debate about this. In fact, I don't think either is necessary to understand herion and cocaine are less lethal to individuals.

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yokomoc,

I still, however, await the day when MDMA is legalized.

It's interesting that you say that. Don't know if you're aware but before David Nutt was fired (mentioned above) he caught backlash about a comment he made about MDMA (that it was less dangerous than horseback riding).

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I think alcohol should be banned. I can't tell you how many children have been hurt from it, and just the smell of people or vomit on the streets at night while walking home makes me want to puke myself. Sometimes I see people getting into a car to drive home that have obviously had too much to drink, putting others in danger. It ruins families and destroys the lives of people who are around it.

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I think alcohol should be banned.

How'd that work out last time?

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Who would you trust being around more: a guy who just had a beer, a guy who just smoked a joint, a guy who just snorted a line, or a guy who just shot up ? I think the trust ratio would decrease on down the line as the level of drug got higher. Get serious people, demonizing beer now ? What's a guy gonna do to pass the nights here ?

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gaijintraveler,

It does not publish BS as many suggest. It has the highest editorial standards and only publishes serious, well researched material, which, I have no doubt, this study is.

While this is generally true of the Lancet, every once in awhile a turd slips under the radar (see Andrew Wakefield for an example).

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SiouxChief, the only real danger of widespread ecstasy use is waking up on a Saturday morning to discover you'd had an orgy with your coworkers (I actually have read of this causing good friendships to break up!)

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Unless you're one of those 30 or so a year (UK) that die from it . . .

I just thought it was interesting that you seem ready to dismiss the study's findings about alcohol but accept what Nutt has to say about MDMA.

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thetruthhurts: "It is about substances compared were equally legal, available and used,"

No, that's YOUR point, not the point of the article. The point of the article is comparing substances, bottom line, not legality. Only towards the end of the article do they say, for people who WOULD compare it based on the study, that the idea of proposing a ban on alcohol as a result would be impossible.

You cannot compare how wide-spread harm would be if the hard drugs were allowed with how harm caused by alcohol, obviously allowed, is; all you can do is infer, and that's not what the article is about. So clearly, YOU have missed the point. I didn't miss any point, just pointed out the flaws in your argument.

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yokomoc: Stop with the approval of MDMA... Are you Oshima's lawyer or something?

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I'm pretty sure most of the cases of death by ecstacy were because of dehydration or the opposite, drowning from drinking too much water. Mixing alcohol probably led to a lot of the problems, too.

There is also a very big difference between MDMA and ecstacy, which people don't seem to acknowledge, especially on the news. With ecstacy, who knows what's in there. People who have died from ecstacy most certainly did not die from the MDMA in it.

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That's a "shocking" way to present things, but they are right. A lot of effort is made against illegal drugs, that's not a bad thing. The thing is the alcoholism and binge drinking issues are not taken seriously enough in a number of country. And if public health effort and budget has to be dispatched, "targetting" alcohol damages in priority makes sense.

I don't think a ban would be possible or even efficient, but more awareness about drinking problems would help. If you are on cocaine, it's likely that your relatives and friends will take it seriously from day one. If you simply drink, oh, it's social life, no ? They will wait till it becomes a domestic violence issue, accidents due to dangerous driving or whatever...

In my country, they made big campaigns in the 1950's and 1960's to educate people about drinking. That had a large and positive impact. Some practice that many thought "normal" in certain social classes, like children drinking wine as a main drink, have disappeared. Average people drank less, favoring wine and beer to strong liquors. Serious cases of alcohol addiction were less numerous. These days, younger generations are adopting very bad habits of partying with huge amounts of alcohol, like in Great Britain (where they did that study). In Japan, they have never done anything, correct me if I'm wrong. The margin of possible improvement is very large : post-work drinking sarariman, drinking shufu, constantly stoned old guys, binging daigakusei...

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I am not going to comment on the legality or morality of drugs but I would die a happy man if I get all of Washington D.C. high for a night.

Taka

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Well, I'm going to continue to enjoy my beers on the weekend and stay away from the heroin & cocaine.

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Sure too much alcohol is bad, but you have to be an idiot to think that too much heroin, cocaine etc..will not knock your heart out and your lights out and put you six feet under. Just look up Jimi Hendrix, etc..all of these guys died from over doses of hard drugs.

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Don't base your judgments too much on the story above. Don't base you judgment of Nutt or the Lancet either.

Read the study. It is eye-opening and "true" as far as I can see.

If you can't be bothered to read the whole report, look at the pretty graphics at least. LSD, shrooms, and ecstacy are way down on the list of harm, and I suspect it is mostly because they are not very addictive and someone who is really really tripping is not going to feel like heading for bright lights or a shotgun. The most dangerous drugs are highly addictive and seem to induce violent behavior in many forms. They also do not telegraph themselves to people around a person, meaning that it is hard to tell just how drunk somebody really is until they have wrapped their car around a telephone pole.

The list looks pretty good to me. It appears that alcohol is about 10 times more harmful than LSD to others and about 100 times more dangerous to users. Read the study and you might agree. Strangely enough, I can see that the figure is probably about right. Factor in all the liver damage, cancer, halitosis, headaches, wife-beatings, etc. and it makes more sense.

Legalization? I don't care much about that, but this issue of what chemicals do to humans needs a lot more objective study.

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We need to tax all these toxins: Alcohol, Mercury (vaccines, fish), Lead (fish), Flouride (water), GMO foods and give the money to the bankers. It is the only way we can save people from themselves and grow government.

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I'm with you Sarge. Only druggies would want drugs legalized. As soon as pot would get legalized we'd be having increasing social problems like alcohol abuse causes because I think those that do pot can't see the forest for the trees and tend to overdo it. I've seen this in people I know.

And only a study in the UK could determine that alcohol is worse in a social sense because they have so many there that don't use the substance but abuse it. How many Brits have told you that they like going out for a few pints and a punch up? I've heard this way too many times from them. So this report is reflective of British society only. Let them have their pot and heroine. One day the islamic takeover of Britain will straighten them out.

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The problem with this study is that it is examining things more from a societal / social view than the actual injury to the user. Alcoholics most certainly outlive meth users which at the end of the day is why most people don't use hard drugs. enough said.....

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I just thought it was interesting that you seem ready to dismiss the study's findings about alcohol but accept what Nutt has to say about MDMA.

On the contrary I agree with the study but people seem to be misunderstanding the results, probably from the misleading headline. It's intended as a temporal snapshot into absolute effects of various drugs on society - which alcohol comes out on top because it is widely used due to it being legal thus amplifying it's effects. If heroin was taken at the scale alcohol is consumed the human race would be near extinct. However that's not the point of the study.

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EbiChiri,

Who would you trust being around more: a guy who just had a beer, a guy who just smoked a joint, a guy who just snorted a line, or a guy who just shot up ?

I don't know what you mean by 'trust being around' but if you mean giving your car keys to, I'd trust the guy who just shot up most because he's not going anywhere soon. Next would be the guy who just smoked a joint because, if he ever figures out how to get the car started, he's going to drive about 5 mph. The cocaine guy and the beer guy are just going to wreck my car so forget about them.

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The gross bias in this uncontrolled "study" sickens me. There are so many excluded factors that I can't even mention them all right here. I've known enough various users of alcohol or drugs and I can tell with certainty that alcohol is not where these cheap sensationalist put it.

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I don't know what you mean by 'trust being around' but if you mean giving your car keys to, I'd trust the guy who just shot up most because he's not going anywhere soon. Next would be the guy who just smoked a joint because, if he ever figures out how to get the car started, he's going to drive about 5 mph. The cocaine guy and the beer guy are just going to wreck my car so forget about them.

You wouldn't trust a guy after a single beer? He didn't say a can of vodka, he said a beer. Have you never had a beer before? That would be literally no imparement for most people.

Also, a joint will not make one wreckless. Nor will they drive 5mph... This is another ridiculous assumption of something you apparenently know nothing about. They would drive normal for the most part after a single joint.

About the other two, your guess is probably as good as mine...

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I'd like to see a comparison between alcohol and PCP.

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smithinjapan,

The point of the article is dubious. It is not comparing substances 'bottom line'. It merely says something more available, but individually less harmful (which is the actual point, has been my point and was also my point with the gun/knife reference)is supposedly 'more lethal'. Then, the article states: From the article:

"Heroin, crack cocaine and methamphetamine, or crystal meth, were the most lethal to individuals."

If they were available, legal and used as much as alcohol, we would not need this 'study' nor would we be having a debate about this. There is no way that heroin and cocaine are less lethal than alcohol individually.

As to your point about the article, if someone wants to talk about the potential dangers of alcohol, and they want to convince anyone not already convinced, this article and study are the exact wrong way to do it. Comparing something used on a daily basis with something rarely used by most people and saying the one that is used more commonly does more damage (yet they admit it does less damage individually) is irresponsible. There were and are no flaws in my argument or in my analogy (although I admit that I dislike analogies in general). If you have more knives and few guns, as is the case in Japan, knives will be used more often. That does not mean that knives are more lethal than guns individually. Equally, if alcohol is more available and used more, it does not mean that heroin and cocaine are less dangerous. It just means they are less dangerous if you don't use them. Wonderful, I hear radiation exposure is lovely for the health of humans as long as you are not exposed to it.

Lastly and to repeat, in the small amount of space the article does devout to actually comparing just the substances, it is admitted that alcohol is less lethal:

"Heroin, crack cocaine and methamphetamine, or crystal meth, were the most lethal to individuals."

So, no flaws or errors on my part. They are all in this silly study and your inability to read it.

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icewind007,

Also, a joint will not make one wreckless. Nor will they drive 5mph...

Good turn of phrase, I like it. However, if someone had the right stuff, one joint will indeed give you the munchies, warp time, and open the heavens. I also assumed EbiChiri meant consuming said mind altering substances to the point of being silly; not just one beer, not just one weak joint. Otherwise, why compare them to one shot of heroin or one line of coke?

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Elbudamexicano says. "Just look up Jimi Hendrix, etc..all of these guys died from over doses of hard drugs." Many die form overdoses of alohol, too. What did Keith Moon of the Who and John Bonham die overdose on? Alcohol.

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gaijintraveller,

Actually, Keith Moon died of a drug overdose. In addition, while it is obvious that the over 40 shots of vodka contributed directly and concretely to his death, John Bonham died from inhaling his own vomit. People have died of overdoses of water, too.

Yes, alcohol is dangerous if abused, however heroin is dangerous full stop. The comparison is silly and irresponsible.

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“We cannot return to the days of prohibition,” said Leslie King, an adviser to the European Monitoring Centre for Drugs and one of the study’s authors. “Alcohol is too embedded in our culture and it won’t go away.”

However we have technology today that we didn't have in the past. The addition of a single chemical compound to alcohol would mean that people would be unable to drink more than a couple of beers/glasses of wine/shots of vodka etc, without feeling unwell. In effect this would restrict people to a couple of drinks a night, stop binge drinking, keep people under the "drunk driving" limit in most places (not Japan, but in many places 2 drinks is okay), and stop people getting so drunk they need to visit the hospital emergency room.

However breweries refuse to add the compound. It's idiocy, in effect they're saying that their sales are more important that their customers' health. The levels of the substance could be set slightly higher (3 or 4 drinks), but the research I read suggested that 2 drinks was what was proposed and rejected.

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And only a study in the UK could determine that alcohol is worse in a social sense because they have so many there that don't use the substance but abuse it.

But Mike dude, one study indicated that a majority of health problems and hospital visits were attributed to alcohol. Another sheriff in the West of the US said that EVERY one that came to his jail was related to alcohol. Don't get me wrong, I like my wine--got 73 bottles stored up, but I only have one per week. Most people just don't have this level of moderation. Most of the teachers I hear at these ESL gigs like California, Berlitz, etc, get bombed EVERY night.

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The ridiculous premise the headline is based on is revealed right here in the article:

" Experts said alcohol scored so high because it is so widely used "

Well, duh! So, in Saudi-Arabia alcohol is not used, and the same study would thus rank it as harmless? Incredible that such nonsense makes it into the Lancet.

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why is this not surprising the study was done by someone who wants to legalize drugs.

Harms to the user included things such as drug-specific or drug-related death, damage to health, drug dependence and loss of relationships, while harms to others included crime, environmental damage, family conflict, international damage, economic cost, and damage to community cohesion.

scientific study? apparently not. LOL

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What did Keith Moon of the Who and John Bonham die overdose on? Alcohol.

Not to be a spoilsport --oh, WTF, here goes actually Bonham died of asphyxiation caused by vomitus and Moon from an overdose of Rx drugs.

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m5c32,

Actually, I already beat you to the spoilsport punch.

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Actually, I already beat you to the spoilsport punch.

My bad. You got it.

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and they linked red meat to cancer and they linked grilled meat to cancer and they linked mobile phones to cancer and they have linked message boards to suicide.

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Actually, I believe Moon died of a prescription drug that he was taking to get him off of alcohol which, when combined with alcohol, has serious side effects like death. Maybe if he stayed drunk he'd still be alive? Nyah.

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Actually, I believe Moon died of a prescription drug that he was taking to get him off of alcohol which, when combined with alcohol, has serious side effects like death.

It seems alcohol was not involved. He was to take the medication whenever he had a craving for alcohol and took like five times more than a lethal does of them. ie He overdosed on them. You might be right about what would have happened had he stuck to alcohol. Than again, maybe not.

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I would comment, but I am not completely sure alcohol is relevant to this discussion. Is alcohol a drug? Hold up...yeah, it is, and a strong one at that. That might explain why my mother suggested I smoke marijuana rather than drink. I didn't listen BTW because I don't like the effects of marijuana, but she had a point.

So anyway, most of the outrage here is people getting played by the media and failing to read the story. Yeah, the people who wrote this knew heroine and cocaine are illegal but alcohol is not. That does not change the numbers. They made the mistake of letting you and the media interpret the numbers, and this is what they get for thinking most of you know how to think.

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Brainiac2000,

You did comment. You claim that illegality does not change the numbers? Of course it does. It changes the amount something will be sold, used etc. I know how to think just fine. I think their study stinks. They should have merely said alcohol can be dangerous and given examples if they so chose. Their comparisons are ridiculous and meaningless. Don't believe me? Try looking at the part of the article where they ADMIT heroin is more lethal than alcohol individually.

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"Their comparisons are ridiculous and meaningless. Don't believe me? Try looking at the part of the article where they ADMIT heroin is more lethal than alcohol individually."

You have contradicted yourself completely there.

"You claim that illegality does not change the numbers? Of course it does."

I think you mean to say illegality affects the numbers. Nobody denied that. But the situation as it stands shows alcohol doing more damage. Of course that may be mostly, largely or even completely due to the fact that alcohol is legal, nobody denies that. But actually proving that takes further investigation, and if you assume the outcome, you are not being scientific.

They provided the data, now you draw a conclusion. Your conclusion seems to be you don't like the data, or you don't like that it was interpreted for everyone before hand. That is not very scientific either.

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You have contradicted yourself completely there.

You have me confused with the people who researched and wrote this study. They are the ones contradicting themselves. I am merely pointing this out.

the situation as it stands shows alcohol doing more damage.

Since the study itself says that heroin is actually more lethal. I question whether anything in this study is of any more value than just saying alcohol can be a very dangerous substance.

actually proving that takes further investigation

Which has not been done here, ie, irresponsible and ridiculous.

That is not very scientific either.

Sure it is. It is this 'data' that is not scientific.

BTW, LOT'S of people in this discussion seem to be discounting the factor of legality. This does include the very people who created this study. It is a huge factor. Of course something with wider usage will have a greater effect. However, using that to compare with obvously more dangerous and illegal substances is irresponsible, ridiculous and, yes, unscientific.

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thetruthhurts at 06:34 AM JST - 4th November Of course something with wider usage will have a greater effect. However, using that to compare with obvously more dangerous and illegal substances is irresponsible, ridiculous and, yes, unscientific.

I disagree. It isn't scientific since they've clearly stated that,

Experts said alcohol scored so high because it is so widely used In other words they've acknowledged the factor and so it is scientific, you're just missing the point.

The point they're trying to make is that alcohol should be a controlled substance given its economic and social cost.

For arguments' sake let's assume that they never got around to banning opium, which was used in everything from cough syrup to children's growth formula up until about 1910.

The main thrust of the opposition to banning alcohol seems to be, "But it's legal!". Well, opium would be in the same position. How would you point out to society at large that it needs to be banned? By showing the social cost, the lethality, etc. as compared to things that society already agrees are "dangerous" and "undesirable".

That's what this research is doing, it's trying to point out to a society that's been using alcohol for thousands of years that it's time to stop.

It took nearly 35 years to ban Opium in the U.S. starting with a ban on public smoking in 1875, with a complete ban for anything except prescription use in 1909, the first international treaty in 1914 and the next is 1924.

I don't think that alcohol will die as easily, but criticising the research is unfair, and saying, "But it's legal", misses the point entirely.

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Typo: It is scientific

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Frungy,

This study is all over the place. It is badly done and it is irresponsibly done. You do seem to miss the point that the study is not in favor of banning alcohol. You also seem to be unaware that alcohol is a controlled substance with an age limit and limits on when it can and cannot be used. Again, I have no problem with a study that wants to show the dangers of alcohol. I have a big problem with it being compared to illegal substances and less used substances as if they were equal.

Again, how many people are able to use heroin responsibly? How many are able to use alcohol responsibly? The answer is that this study is irresponsible, ridiculous, and unscientific. Let me add, misleading to the mix.

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So very very true. It's too bad that so many people seem to think that they need alcohol to have fun, or just to get through life.

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thetruthhurts at 09:50 AM JST - 4th November You do seem to miss the point that the study is not in favor of banning alcohol. You also seem to be unaware that alcohol is a controlled substance with an age limit and limits on when it can and cannot be used. Again, I have no problem with a study that wants to show the dangers of alcohol. I have a big problem with it being compared to illegal substances and less used substances as if they were equal.

You seem to miss the point that they are not comparing these substances, "as if they were equal", they clearly state that alcohol use is more common and that this is a big factor. They're not pretending that they are equal, instead they're counting the total social cost of various substances. This is a fair approach to take. If they were interested in the risk factor of each substance then a per capita approach would have been appropriate, but this isn't an analysis of risk factors.

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but this isn't an analysis of risk factors.

It isn't? You could have fooled me with the fact they attempt to claim alcohol is more lethal or dangerous than heroin. Any way you slice it, it is baloney on a plate.

Again, no one is that I can see is arguing against the fact that alcohol can be dangerous. I personally am arguing that the comparisons with heroin etc are ridiculous.

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FIRST: The legality of a substance has almost zero impact. I could get alcohol very easily when I was 16. I could get any drug in college. All you have to is look for something and you can find it. So many of you are being very defensive and many are in denial about 2 things. Your alcohol usage and the ease of finding drugs in the USA. I am a recovering alcoholic. There is one thing I have learned, most alcoholics in the world are in complete denial that they are alcoholics. take the AA quiz to see if you are an alcoholic. IF you answer yes to any 2 questions (or more) then you are an alcoholic (surely you will make a defensive excuse about that as well). Most "social" and "casual" drinkers I know could easily answer 3 to 5 yes to that quiz. what about you? Mr Defensive.

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There are 8 places to buy booze within 5 minutes of my house, 4 of them open 24 hours plus numerous bars and pubs. Methinks alcohol is a popular product and demonizing it is just another witch hunt by the morally aplomb. So I like to drink, so do millions of others. So what ?

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Ebichiri sums up why drinking is more lethal is one post - amazing!!! :)

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Humankind would be better off without drugs, alcohol, caffeine, tobacco, guns, knives, tasers, bombs, missiles, pornography, prostitution, bad television programs, etc. but it doesn't mean they should be illegal.

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kujiranikusuki,

Thanks. I took your AA test. I answered yes to none of them. In addition, I have seen nobody so far claim alcohol is harmless or that it cannot be dangerous. You are living proof that it can be a very harmful drug. You are to be commended for your battle every day. No question about this. However, comparing it to heroin and the harm that drug does is irresponsible. I will keep saying this because it is the truth.

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Junnama,

Ebichiri merely sums up that fact that it is more readily available. Cars are readily available too. Should we get rid of them. Listening to music through headphones can lead to deafness. Should we get rid of them. In fact, I would guess more people become deaf from the overuse of headphones than using heroin. All in favor of replacing earphone use with heroin, raise your hands!

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More readily available and people don't care if it's abused ;)

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people don't care if it's abused

Perhaps you could point out such people. I have never met one.

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Unless, you were joking (just saw the winky face), then, nevermind, please ;)

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thetruth, don't mistake the results of this research with the media narraive spin on it. Nowhere in the article are any of the researchers quoted, and the spin is based entirely off the quotes from this De Brink who had nothing to do with the study. It's just sensationalist reporting.

Now what's to be taken from the study? It's a snapshot of how varying drugs affect society at the moment, given current laws, law enforcement, economical factors, social trends etc. Where it would be useful is as a baseline to enact future legislation.

Let's assume a couple of things - it's accepted that society as a whole needs some kind of drug or drugs as an escape from societal constraints to maintain order, and it's desired that legislation and fiscal policy exists to create an optimal distribution of drug use so as to minimize the negative impacts of these drugs overall.

What the study would suggest is that further restrictions should be placed on alcohol above what is currently done to lower it's overall negative impact - probably in the form of price increases and in fact price hikes are already being seriously considered in the UK. This, though, would have to be traded off to some extent by easing restrictions on drugs that score at the low end of the study - marijuana, MDMA etc (and NOT heroin and coke of course). Perhaps starting with limited medical/psychotherapeutic usage.

This is how I interpret it anyway.

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To me it seems that there is a lot of misdirection.

You can't compare alcohol with illegal drugs, because drinking too much alcohol would be at least the same damage that doing coke, methanphetamines or other drugs...

The point to me that this article should be about is that, there is a substance that equally or more dangerous to the human being and the society and it is legal, so we have to prevent that.

It would be valid if you compared alcohol with tobacco, both are legal and widespread used.

Of course I won't defend either posture, but I saw a chirrotic liver due to alcohol so personally i don't want to have anything to do with it

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JoiceRojo at 02:50 AM JST - 5th November It would be valid if you compared alcohol with tobacco, both are legal and widespread used.

An interesting observation and a study I'd like to see actually.

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I couldn't read all the responses of this article as there are just too many and they started to sound all the same.

I think many people who read that short article really missed the whole point of the original story!

The point as I saw it is that alcohol is more deadly than all the others for various reasons. First, it's readily available, less expensive and legal. This means that anyone who has a few dollars can get a drink. Not only that, it's (mostly) socially acceptable. You can drink in many eating establishments as well as bars. You can buy it at a store and drink it at home. In some countries (like Japan) you're even allowed to drink in open public areas.

Because of that, it is also the most abused of all the other drugs. More people imbibe alcohol than use another other drug. That fact alone creates uneven statistics. If nearly 100% of the country drinks but only 10% do heavier or more deadlier drugs, then of course you will have larger problems with the drug that is used the most.

I didn't read the original study that the article was based on, but it would be interesting to see what their final conclusion was. I don't think (according to the article) that it wasn't to ban alcohol or legalize the other drugs, but to find some other solution to the whole problem.

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I drink shouchu every day, but I forget why, so no problem.

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jonobug: You are right. The most important thing to remember is that alcohol does more damage because it is legal and therefore accessible and acceptable. If you really wanted to compare legal and illegal drugs, you would have to focus on just the harmful effects on the body and not the wider social effects.

But I think what this study is trying to point out is that just because alcohol is legal, doesn't mean it is not a dangerous drug. People tend to think that because it's legal and everyone does it, that it is okay. We sometimes forget that the beer, wine and cocktails we are consuming are causing damage to our body.

Most importantly is the message we are sending to young people. When teenagers learn about the dangers of all drugs and see grown-ups drinking responsibly and moderately, they are more likely to to be responsible about their intake of legal drugs like alcohol.

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Drink driving, binge drinking, alcoholism, are all afflictions pushed onto many societies around the world, more people need educating about both the dangers and consequences of alcohol misuse.

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you didnt read the article properly. this rating is based not just on harm to the individual bit to society as a whole. read it again. Jonobugs is correct. Those who jumped to health issues and crack cocaine missed the point entirely. truth hurts indeed, if you can find it.

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The truth certainly does hurt, but I ain't the one in pain. If the only purpose of this study was to show that a more commonly used and legal substance effects more people (or society in general) than a more dangerous, less commonly used and illegal substance, then it is a study in a waste of time and effort. Again, no one is arguing that alcohol cannot be dangerous. What I am arguing is that this study is an absolutely horrible way of conveying such a message. That is the point that can be most easily derived from this 'study'.

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life without alcohol is booooooring. Studies have also shown that alcohol consumers live longer despite the health problems. Something about the stress levels lower and happiness levels higher.

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