Via Reason, a new Lancet study into the comparative harmfulness of 20 different drugs of abuse according to 16 criteria on a scale of 100.
The first caveat is that alcohol is legal, and thus cheap and widely available. So if you make heroin and crack cocaine legal then you could quickly see them overtake alcohol – and if they’re legal then companies that manufacture and distribute the drug can lobby the government, so it becomes very difficult to mitigate the harm because the people that profit from it write the laws regulating it. Although the authors note:
Many of the harms of drugs are affected by their availability and legal status. Ideally, a model needs to distinguish between the harms resulting directly from drug use and those resulting from the control system for that drug.
But look at LSD and ecstasy down there at the far right. Those are Class A drugs, the manufacture, importation or sale of which is punishable with life imprisonment – although the harm they cause is ~1/10th that of alcohol. The obvious conclusion here is that having politicians regulate the sale and prohibition of drugs has been an expensive, catastrophic failure. They’re corrupt and ignorant and have no idea what they’re doing. We need an independent body of trained professionals making these decisions.