The Upshot

Study finds alcohol is more harmful than heroin or crack

Brett Michael Dykes
The Upshot

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Here's a bit of, well, sobering news: A new study finds that the consumption of alcohol is more harmful to humans than the consumption of cocaine or heroin.

The study -- commissioned by Britain's Centre for Crime and Justice Studies and published online Monday in the medical journal Lancet -- evaluated and ranked alcohol, cocaine, heroin, ecstasy and marijuana based on how destructive they are to individuals and to society. In other words, the study factored in the collateral damage caused by a substance -- the breakup of families, health care costs, etc.

Heroin, crack cocaine and methamphetamine, aka crystal meth, were found to be the most deadly to individuals. But factoring in the wider effects to society, alcohol was deemed worse than heroin and crack cocaine. Drugs like marijuana and LSD ranked much lower.

It's just a hunch, but we imagine that the study will be warmly received by rocker types like Pete Doherty and Courtney Love, not to mention supporters of Prop. 19.

(1975 photo of drunk men in Tokyo in front of sake wine and whiskey dispensers: AP)

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