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Monday, 1 November 2010

Drugs - Harm or Danger, or both?

I would just like to briefly comment on the current headline story "Alcohol 'more harmful than heroin' says Prof David Nutt" This appears to be an update on a previous Lancet Article in 2007 "Alcohol 'nearly as harmful as heroin'"

I know Prof. Nutt due to working on a Foresight Project Brain Science, Addiction and Drugs back in 2005 and the co-author Dr King who advised on a some drug trafficking research I was part of.
The aspect I would like comment on is the assessment of harms that is the basis of the research. From my understanding the same methodology could be used to come up with the headline "Sugar more harmful than Guns" or "Potatoes more harmful than Arsenic" or "Toasters more harmful than Nuclear Submarines".

In my opinion an assessment of harm should not be isolated from an assessment of risk. Prior to the Misuse of Drugs Act 1971 there were various Dangerous Drugs Acts.
We should be assessing what is dangerous as well as what is harmful.

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