Mark Easton’s BBC News blog tackles a recent study that has ranked the dangers of numerous recreational drugs – citing alcohol as the most hazardous to health ahead of even heroin and cocaine.
The study, just published in The Lancet, is interesting not just because it is yet another that shows the disconnect between official policy and the actual evidence on drug harm, but because the authors are some of the people who were sacked or resigned after the UK government got upset that they kept highlighting inconvenient evidence to this effect.
Its worth noting that ranking drug harms is an inexact science. For example, injecting any drug regularly massively increases the health risks, so opinion varies on whether you should count this is as a danger attached to a specific substance – when some drugs – like heroin, can be taken with or without injecting.
Regardless of the exact ranking, the general pattern found in this any many other studies highlights the ongoing reluctance to deal with drugs as they actually affect society.
Mark Easton’s BBC News blog is consistently excellent by the way, and a genuinely incisive attempt to get at the real evidence behind many pressing social issues.