Alcohol and tobacco are more "harmful" than LSD and ecstasy, according to a new study published in scientific medical journal the Lancet. Researchers from Bristol University and the UK's Medical Research Council came up with "a systematic framework and process" to assess the harm of certain drugs. They developed a "matrix of harm" to classify 20 different drugs. From Bristol University:
Professor David Nutt from the University of Bristol, Professor Colin Blakemore, Chief Executive of the Medical Research Council, and colleagues, identified three main factors that together determine the harm associated with any drug of potential abuse:
1. the physical harm to the individual user caused by the drug
2. the tendency of the drug to induce dependence
3. the effect of drug use on families, communities, and society…
Professor Colin Blakemore added: "Drug policy is primarily aimed at reducing the harm to individual users, their families and society. But at present there is no rational, evidence-based method for assessing the harm of drugs. We have tried to develop such a method. We hope that policy makers will take note of the fact that the resulting ranking of drugs differs substantially from their classification in the Misuse of Drugs Act and that alcohol and tobacco are judged more harmful than many illegal substances."