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Why alcohol is the most dangerous drug

Ask anyone on the street and asked them what they thought the most dangerous drug was, the answers would likely focus around drugs like heroin, LSD, methamphetamine and others. But what about alcohol? Alcohol can be classified as a depressant, a form of drug that slows down vital functions and reduces a person’s ability to think rationally and can distort their judgment. It also happens to be the most dangerous drug out there.

In 2010, a study was conducted that found that alcohol was in fact the most dangerous drug available after creating a point system in which the danger-levels of each drug could be measured. The study was led by David Nutt and looked at 20 drugs, analyzing them according to 16 different points of criteria. This list of harms caused by alcohol includes: drug specific mortality, damage and impairment of mental functioning, drug-related mortality, damage and impairment of mental functioning, dependence, loss of tangibles, loss of relationships, injury, crime, environmental damage, family adversities, international damage, economic cost and community. Using these measurements, it was found that alcohol boasted a rating of 72 putting it above heroin (55), crack (54) and crystal meth (33). This makes alcohol more than twice as harmful as crystal meth, more than three times as harmful as amphetamine and even more than six times as harmful as ecstasy. This took into consideration the harm alcohol creates in relation to crime, dependence, death rate of the user, mental impairment of the consumer and economic cost which showed it to be the most harmful even when compared to drugs like cocaine or heroin that most people would guess to be the worst.
One question that would follow this information would be why. Why is alcohol so dangerous? Truthfully there are a number of reasons why:

  • Alcohol can do serious damage to your body. It can alter the chemicals in your brain, changing your personality and even hindering regular functioning in your brain which causes damage to the rest of the body. It can also cause damage to your liver, kidneys, heart and lungs and severely increase the risk of breast cancer and pancreatic cancer
  • Drinking too much can cause a person to suffer from an overdose, potentially causing hospitalization and in some cases, death, if the person is unable to gain treatment quickly enough
  • When a person drinks their inhibitions are lowered. This increases the chances of engaging in risky behaviors such as unprotected sex, substance abuse or forms of abuse in the home
  • Alcohol has a very high potential for dependence and often causes addiction in multiple people. Without treatment, the body forms a need for the alcohol, making withdrawal dangerous and potentially causing permanent damage to the users brain and body
  • The more a person gets drunk throughout their lifetime the more at risk they are of developing alcohol-related dementia
  • Drinking alcohol during pregnancy can seriously harm an unborn child by creating fetal alcohol syndrome or even miscarriage
  • Drinking alcohol can increase a person’s chances of getting into accidents on the road, harming or killing themselves or others in the process
  • Alcohol, as a depressant, can make a person depressed and even suicidal in certain cases, especially when mixed with other depressants or medications

These are just some of the reasons that alcohol can be so dangerous and is currently ranked as the most dangerous drug. In most cases, people can drink at dinner or at a social event without a problem, keeping themselves limited to a safe amount. In some cases though a person may develop an addiction to alcohol, called alcoholism, in which they need to drink to function. This will severely reduce the quality of their health, relationships and lifestyle, often causing families to break apart and shortening the life of the drinker.

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