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Tuesday 20th February 2018

Heroin less harmful than alcohol

1st November 2010

A study by the former UK chief drug adviser has concluded that alcohol causes more harm than heroin or crack cocaine.


Professor David Nutt is the co-author of the research. He was dismissed from his post last year by Labour's Home Secretary Alan Johnson.

After Professor Nutt was sacked, he formed the Independent Scientific Committee on Drugs, a non-political organisation.

The study looked at 20 drugs and ranked them according to 16 types of potential harm to users and harm to other people.

The types of harm included the effect each drug had on a user's physical and mental wellbeing, crime and environmental damage.

The research said that cocaine and tobacco both caused an equal amount of harm, while ecstasy and LSD did the least amount of damage.

The paper said: "Our findings lend support to previous work in the UK and the Netherlands, confirming that the present drug classification systems have little relation to the evidence of harm."

Professor Nutt told the BBC: "Overall, alcohol is the most harmful drug because it's so widely used."

"Crack cocaine is more addictive than alcohol but because alcohol is so widely used there are hundreds of thousands of people who crave alcohol every day, and those people will go to extraordinary lengths to get it."


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