I am one of the scientists that did the study, which compared the physical effects, the social effects and how addictive different drugs are. As a team we published a paper in your newspaper, Lancet. I am aware that our paper caused a lot of discussion because it was interpreted that we believe the drugs are not classified correctly. I am writing to you so you can understand a perspective from a scientist who was involved in this particular study.
Firstly I must tell you that I do believe that the drug
classification is wrong. The reason I believe this is because of three different aspects to what a drug does to the consumer. The physical harm, the social harm and also the dependence of that drug. In table 1 there are nine drugs listed with their class and for each criteria a score out of three. Out of these drugs three are legal, four are classed as A and two are classed as B. Two of the legal drugs are tobacco and alcohol. Looking at alcohol first, we see from the table that it scores higher in all three categories then both LSD and ecstasy which both have been classed as an A class drug. Also alcohol scored a higher mark for social harm then cocaine, also a class A drug. Already from this table we are able to see that a drug, which is legal right now, have worse social harm, physical harm and dependence then class A drugs. Looking at tobacco, it has a higher score in all three categories then two drugs which are classed as A. Personally I believe that both of these drugs should have been made illegal seeing that the risks to taking them are worse then the risks to some drugs that have been not only classed as illegal but also as a class A drug. I do not believe it is right to make them illegal now however seeing that the amount of consumers is so high that if they were made illegal it would just make people find them and risk the consequences. It would also mean that people who are addicted to the drug now would find it very hard to quit...
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