Bad news, rumheads—a new scale devised by a group of scientists including Britain’s Independent Scientific Committee on Drugs and an expert adviser to the European Monitoring Center for Drugs and Drug Addiction put alcohol at the very top of the list of destructive drugs.
On a 100-point scale (which factors in drug-related death, damage to health, loss of relationships, and all sorts of other good stuff) the study shook out as follows, according to Reuters:
“Alcohol was most harmful, with a score of 72, followed by heroin with 55 and crack with 54. Among some of the other drugs assessed were crystal meth (33), cocaine (27), tobacco (26), amphetamine or speed (23), cannabis (20), benzodiazepines, such as Valium (15), ketamine (15), methadone (14), mephedrone (13), ecstasy (9), anabolic steroids (9), LSD (7) and magic mushrooms (5).”
Part of the problem with alcohol is the schizophrenic way it’s handled—society decrees that you can’t drink until you’re 21, but then companies go and make crazy stuff like Four Loko, which, according to an account in the Patriot Ledger, “combines caffeine, taurine, guarana, and alcohol with flavors like cranberry lemonade and fruit punch, according to the company’s website. Each 23.5 ounce can is 12 percent alcohol by volume—the equivalent of about four beers.”
Holy. Moly. Well, you go ahead and enjoy that cocktail or refreshing can of Four Loko. I’ll be over here doing something nice and safe like anabolic steroids. Or speed.