Drug-danger ‘league table’

Monday 9 October (2006)

the drug 'league table'
click here for the full chart

I was browsing the Internet this afternoon when I came across something rather interesting. An article on New Scientist reveals a list formulated by the ‘UK Science and Technology Select Committee’ which attempts to re-organise drugs (both licit and illicit) into an order based on the ‘actual social and physical harm they cause’. I’ve only tried six of the substances on the list, but the results are very interesting reading.

Before I go any further here’s the list itself:

1. Heroin – class A
2. Cocaine – class A
3. Barbiturates – class B
4. Street Methadoneclass A
5. Alcohol – legal (consumed vast quantities)
6. Amphetaminesclass B (consumed once by mistake, dissolved in a bottle of water)
7. Tobaccolegal (smoked on numerous drunken occasions)
8. Cannabisclass C (smoked numerous times)
9. Solventslegal
10. 4-MTAclass A
11. LSDclass A (consumed several trips)
12. Ritalinclass B
13. Anabolic steroidsclass C
14. Ecstasy* – class A (consumed large quantities in Manchester)

Firstly, this confirms a number of things that seem common sense to a lot of recreational drug users – but more importantly, it highlights the hypocrisy of the current system. To see ecstasy and LSD so low on the list may shock some of you, but it’s not difficult to find evidence that these drugs are relatively harmless. The social dangers of LSD (especially when consumed in large quantities) are plain to see; it has the power to unhinge you, but it’s physically harmless and the majority of people recover from the experience easily, and regard it with good memories. Similarly, the Government are keen to point out the dangers of consuming ecstasy – there are many famous deaths from the substance. But, like paracetamol or any other drug, consume too much of it and your body can’t handle it – that’s common sense. Personally I’ve taken over ten pills in an evening, and seen others do considerably more – sure you feel like absolute shit the next day, and you can’t piss to save your life, but I’m still here aren’t I? Shit, I was a lightweight in Jillys. The biggest danger with pills is the fact that you’re buying them on the black market, and you have no idea what’s actually in them – from relatively harmless substances like caffeine, to more serious ‘mixers’ like ketamine, speed and PCP. Pure MDMA (real ecstasy) is a lot safer, although obviously a lot stronger than street pills.

I should point out that I don’t really advocate ecstasy anymore – I only tried it because I was drunk and my friend wanted to do it as well, and although I have no regrets of the many fantastic nights out I had, I can easily see how it might be psychologically habit-forming. Simply, nights out on alcohol aren’t as much fun. There is more of an immediate danger with pills, and some people are allergic to them, which will kill them pretty quickly. I noticed in myself it caused memory loss after a couple of months, and is generally probably a quite detrimental substance to develop a habit for. But shit, it’s lower on the list than Ritalin, and they give that stuff to kids. LSD, meanwhile, I advocate.

Anyway what’s really interesting to me is that this esteemed British body of scientists have placed alcohol in fifth place. It’s a common anti-prohibition argument that alcohol is the most dangerous drug of all, but the fact of the matter is you really need to over consume on it to kill yourself – or alternatively, it takes years and years of steady abuse. To find that the boffins think that it’s safer than speed is certainly a surprise though. And tobacco is more harmful than cannabis they say – surely it’s only a matter of time before it’s legalised and taxed, because everyone knows someone who does it regularly. It’s by far the more useful drug; cigarettes sedate you slightly the first few times, then they cease to affect you until you try and stop smoking them (when they tickle the shit out of you) – cannabis at least has recreational potential and artistic merit.

Yes, tobacco and alcohol annoy me in their position as the only legal ‘recreational’ drugs. Alcohol makes you lose co-ordination, lose your inhibitions, and it makes some people more violent (myself included on some occasions.) Ecstasy makes you want to hug everybody. Just as shallow, but considerably more peaceful. A legalised form of MDMA pill would be a major staple for party animals, and it might even cause the level of street violence in Britain to decrease.

Of course, there is the argument that if you start legalising certain drugs it will cause a shift towards harder illegal drugs – I mean if you’re a stupid townie and suddenly ecstasy and LSD are legalised, you won’t be a bad-boy for taking them. The only way to maintain your moronic edge will be to get into coke and heroin. But seriously, they’re already doing that aren’t they.

Anyway, the list interested me, and I hope it interests you too – it’s good to see some real scientists coming out and saying “hey, not all of these drugs are as bad as each other” and not excluding alcohol or tobacco for being legal. Puts things in perspective a bit.

* fun fact: the time I had a chat with Jake and Mr. Schafer was the second time I took ecstasy. As far as I know, only Gabez knows this. I had an argument in the club before I came up, so I went home and then… well, fuck, it makes you feel very friendly, what can I say.


3 Responses to “Drug-danger ‘league table’”

  1. Tony Chaunavel Says:

    I have tried MDMA and also LSD and have learn’t much.

    I carried alot of rubbish from Vietnam and understood that MDMA could help and it did however that was in the UK I the went to Amsterdam and tried it there it was pure MDMA no worries it was great and made life wonderful I also tried LSD I understand and agree that you need guidance when you try it interesting not much happened had much to learn would try it again. Together with pure MDMA it should allow me to clear what I have from war.
    In Manchester MDMA is the dance drug talked to many who were using it care is needed and Dance Ambulance provides that back up when things go wrong.
    Sis try Ecstasy in Sydney never again it is full of rubbish the best I could obtain was 10% MDMA I wont mention the other substances but not nice and such material will screw you up of that I have no doubt in Sydney most people believe MDMA is dangerous, wrong but what is called Ecstasy IS! Yes it should be legalized to control it’s quality and people need to learn about it and how to use it NOTE that while it is illegal it used and people die believing they are taking MDMA those who wish to keep it illegal are responsible for many deaths etc Next and most importantly it should be available for medical use just as LSD should be making a substance illegal has often resulted in it’s underground use one look at the time of Prohibition should have taught us something! Even if it was just to show how ignorant we can be! But then this is a land of freedom

  2. drug dog Says:

    A friends dog had a lot of acid and molly at one point and played with them frequently, he shed his knowledge of these drugs to me and claimed lsd is by far less dangerous than mdma….the ld50 for lsd is extremely low because of how low the dosage/potency of it is for it to be active. No physical damage can come from shrooms or lsd unless self inflicted. On that note if one is not prepared for their experiences with lsd it could be dangerous. mdma on the other hand, if pure and taken correctly should be safe enough for most people. Unfortunately it is more likely than not to be cut with other drugs (for better profits for the dealer etc.) All this is just an opinion that lsd is less likely to cause harm to you physically than mdma.
    Psychological effects of the two drugs are very real tho. If someones dog had a had time on acid the dog will probably change his view on pretty much everything. Now if your poodle was into molly and frequently used it, your poodle without molly will go into a deep, deep depression. The dog who spoke of this said he had done that very thing and didn’t have fun, but beforehand when he was into acid, everything was normal. Why do dogs do drugs so much? I wonder if that dog could see colors while on acid.

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