Soapbox Tuesdays – Alcohol vs. Class A Drugs

Yesterday, I came across an article on Yahoo News with the headline Alcohol ‘more dangerous than heroin’ and  I just have to comment on  it for my first Soapbox Tuesday.

You see, I actually agree that alcohol is more dangerous than Class A drugs.

Yes, I know that you can (and most likely will) become addicted to heroin after taking it just once, whereas most people do not become alcoholics, so the issue here is not necessarily one of the likelihood of becoming addicted (although I’m sure nobody will disagree with the statement that one may become addicted to either), but in terms of long-term effects, I really do believe that alcohol is the more dangerous drug.

From the article:

His [Professor David Nutt] team analysed how addictive a drug is and how it harms the human body as well as other factors like environmental and socio-economic costs, such as health care, social services, and prison.

They found heroin, crack cocaine and methamphetamine, or crystal meth, to be the most lethal to individuals.

When considering their wider social effects, alcohol, heroin and crack cocaine were the most dangerous. But overall, alcohol outranked all other substances, followed by heroin and crack cocaine. Marijuana, ecstasy and LSD scored far lower.

Marking substances from zero to 100 based on their criteria, alcohol scored 72 overall, compared to 55 for heroin and 54 for crack.

Now, I will hasten to point out that I do occasionally drink alcohol, although these days, not very often and not very much, but I’ve had possibly more than my fair share of drinks in my lifetime, and I’m not disputing anyone’s right to have a drink, in a pub or club or in the comfort of their own home, but please bear with me…

Above, in brief, are some of the short- and long-term effects of heroin on the body (pinched from Wikipedia). I’ll also add to that the well-known fact that you can die from an overdose the very first time you use it…

… the same can be said of alcohol!

Yup, you can overdose on alcohol to the extent that you get alcohol poisoning and die as a result. I’m also willing to bet that if you injected alcohol into your veins, you’ll be dead pretty quickly too.

But that isn’t the only danger where alcohol is concerned. How many people do you know would shoot up and then get behind the wheel of a car? Now think again, how many people you know who will have a drink or two and then drive home from the pub. Fair enough, they might be below limit, but the drug is still in their system and reducing their effectiveness while in control of that vehicle. Go a step further – I’m sure many of us know someone who has driven a car while over the limit, whether by a little or a lot. Not all of those people will be involved in an accident, but many will. Those who do risk killing themselves – and others.

And then there are all those incidences of people who, with a few drinks in them, become very handy with their fists. You know the ones – they lose their temper more easily and it flares up to the point where they’re swinging punches. Or picking up blunt objects and hitting someone with them. Or a broken bottle. Or a knife.

One hears countless news stories of those who have brutally beaten and/or killed while under the influence of alcohol. Funnily enough, I don’t think I can recall many such stories of heroin-users doing that whilst under the influence of their drug of choice.

I’d be interested in hearing your point of view, whether you agree or disagree. Please leave a comment below and, if you post on your own blog, please leave a link to your Soapbox Tuesdays post!

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2 responses to “Soapbox Tuesdays – Alcohol vs. Class A Drugs

  1. I love my Margarita or two in the summertime, since started on meds for my Blood Pressure have not had one in 4 years! Do not miss it one bit…
    Have to say that for me growing up in a small town in South Texas among many alcoholics was one reason why I am a teetotaler now! When I was age 15 my next door neighbor was killed by a head on collision with a drunk driver, he left behind his wife and son and daughter… Luckily the wife survived the wreck but not without some major injuries that caused her many broken bones and a lot of time spent in the hospital recuperating! The other casualties of the wreck were a neighbor of theirs and her son who were also injured and they too survived after a long period of recuperation… My best friend who was in the car too though still alive lost her childhood, lost all hopes of getting married and having children, lost the ability to walk without aid and without wearing a back brace for the rest of her life! More importantly she also suffered brain damage, the loss of her spleen, the loss of her uterus and more or less the loss of what would have been a wonderful life once she graduated high school and went on to college to get her degree! A lovely young woman was turned into a caricature of herself and has been living in unbelievable pain for almost 33 years all because some one got behind the wheel of a vehicle going the wrong way on an access road at a high rate of speed drunk! The bad part was the driver of the vehicle she was in was also inebriated so his judgement was impaired and his reaction time was too slow to swerve out of the way of the oncoming car that killed him as well as the other drunk driver who caused the entire destruction of lives in a matter of minutes!

    To say that I have a problem with people who drink excessively for entertainment is an understatement! I have never had any contact as far as I know with someone using Heroin, cannot say the same about the idiots I know under the influence of alcohol as I have known many people over the years who drink too much and drive impaired!

    Luckily so far no one in my own family has been affected by these folks out there, quite a few of my friends have though and it would be a wonderful thing if people would wake up to the fact that alcohol really is a very dangerous “drug”, not just something you drink!

    jackie >_<

  2. Thanks for your comment, Jackie.

    It is exactly as you say – alcohol really is a DRUG, and an addictive one at that, which impairs judgement and the ability to avoid danger, as well as sometimes being the trigger for someone to go off the deep end.