Alcohol ‘more harmful than heroin’ says Prof David Nutt

Alcohol is more harmful than heroin or crack when the overall dangers to the individual and society are considered, according to a study in the Lancet.

The report is co-authored by Professor David Nutt, the former government chief drugs adviser who was sacked in 2009.

It ranked 20 drugs on 16 measures of harm to users and to wider society.

Heroin, crack and crystal meth were deemed worst for individuals, with alcohol, heroin and crack cocaine worst for society, and alcohol worst overall.

The study by the Independent Scientific Committee on Drugs also said tobacco and cocaine were judged to be equally harmful, while ecstasy and LSD were among the least damaging.

Harm score

Professor Nutt refused to leave the drugs debate when he was sacked from his official post by the former Labour Home Secretary, Alan Johnson.

He went on to form the Independent Scientific Committee on Drugs, which says it aims to investigate the drug issue without any political interference.

One of its other members is Dr Les King, another former government adviser who quit over Prof Nutt’s treatment.

Members of the group, joined by two other experts, scored each drug for harms including mental and physical damage, addiction, crime and costs to the economy and communities.

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