An Independent Scientific Committee on Drugs report, co-authored by the former drugs adviser David Nutt, has been published today via the leading medical journal The Lancet.
The reports aim to supply a more realistic classification list and was made by grading 20 drug types, both legal and illegal, out of 100 points according to the recorded damage they cause to individual users (through hospital admittance for overdoses and rehabilitation admittance) as well as society as a whole through instances such as drug-related assaults.
The report’s findings show that “heroin, crack cocaine, and metamfetamine were the most harmful drugs to individuals (part scores 34, 37, and 32, respectively), whereas alcohol, heroin, and crack cocaine were the most harmful to others (46, 21, and 17, respectively). Overall, alcohol was the most harmful drug (overall harm score 72), with heroin (55) and crack cocaine (54) in second and third places.” The report is in a similar vain of criticism to the 2009 reports that lead to Nutt’s dismissal and is sure to spark controversy as the committee consists of several resigned Labour drugs advisers.
While response to the report is not yet fully formed, initial responses seem mixed as many members of the public are in favour of reassessing drug classification; however, many feel it is irresponsible to imply drugs such as heroin are less of a hazard when binge drinking is a growing problem in society. One concerned citizen, Harvey Osborne, commented: ‘If teenagers are widely experimenting with alcohol, it seems irresponsible to suggest they can already handle the most dangerous drugs’.