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Tobacco is second most dangerous legal drug.

A new study by London's Imperial College's chair of neuropsychopharmacologist, David Nutt, claims that the three most dangerous drugs in the world are alcohol, heroin, and cocaine -- in that order.  In the study Drug Harms in the U.K., published in what is arguably the medical community's most prestigious journal -- Lancet -- Professor Nutt outlines a convincing case for the controversial claim that alcohol is the most dangerous drug illegal or legal in the world today.

The study examined twenty different drugs, including tobacco, marijuana, methamphetamine, ecstasy, cocaine, heroin, and -- you guessed it -- alcohol.  The study gave each drug a rating in terms of its propensity to cause various personal problems --

health issues, injuries, dependency, mental impairment, loss of material wealth such as being fired from a job, and relationship loss.  Each drug was then rated on societal problems it caused -- crime, local decay, family problems, and a general economic cost to society.

Heroin and crack cocaine proved to be the most dangerous drugs to individuals.

However, when combined with the societal impact, alcohol came out ahead as the world's most dangerous drug.  And in most societies alcohol, unlike crack and heroin, is perfectly legal for adults to consume.

After alcohol, heroin, and crack cocaine, the next worse drugs were crystal methamphetamine and powder cocaine.  Then comes tobacco -- another legal drug.  In seventh place is amphetamine/speed.  Marijuana -- which is the subject of legalization controversy in the U.S. -- is deemed the eighth most harmful.

He concludes, "Aggressively targeting alcohol harms is a valid and necessary public health strategy."