5 Reasons The Most Dangerous Drug Is Not Illegal by MARCO TORRES

Hundreds of millions of people indulge in one of the most dangerous drugs which is sold right over the counter. When it comes to harm done to other people and the users themselves, not heroin, crack cocaine, methamphetamines, marijuana or even tobacco come close to the health and safety hazards caused by this one depressant.

Drug harms fall into two broad categories: those that affect you, and those that affect others. The personal ones include death, health problems (including mental health), accidents, addiction, relationship breakdown and legal trouble. Harms to other people include violence, financial problems, crime and environmental damage — both at home and where the drugs are produced.

One rule of thumb is that risks become more serious with repeated use. Take addiction, for example. According to the US National Institute on Drug Abuse, it can take only “a few” uses of a drug to become addicted to it, although the potential for addiction varies between drugs and people. What’s interesting is that cannabis is one of the most demonized “drugs” yet there is no evidence of it’s addictive nature in human beings.

Perhaps the best guide to the harm comes from the UK’s Independent Scientific Committee on Drugs (ISCD), which¬†analysed 20 drugs on 16 criteria. It found the most harmful illicit drug to be heroin, with an overall rating of 55 out of 100, with crack cocaine on 54 (see diagram). LSD and magic mushrooms are among the least harmful, and also carry the lowest risk of dependence.