Cigarettes and alcohol may cause more harm on the societal level than the seemingly harder drugs marijuana and ecstasy, according to a study released by British journal The Lancet. The study suggests that, despite appearances, the two commonly used and legal substances could be more dangerous than their outlawed counterparts.


AP via ABC News:

In research published Friday in The Lancet magazine, Professor David Nutt of Britain’s Bristol University and colleagues proposed a new framework for the classification of harmful substances, based on the actual risks posed to society. Their ranking listed alcohol and tobacco among the top 10 most dangerous substances.

Nutt and colleagues used three factors to determine the harm associated with any drug: the physical harm to the user, the drug’s potential for addiction, and the impact on society of drug use. The researchers asked two groups of experts psychiatrists specializing in addiction and legal or police officials with scientific or medical expertise to assign scores to 20 different drugs, including heroin, cocaine, Ecstasy, amphetamines, and LSD.

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