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!