Booze as bad as LSD and Ecstasy
Here's a sobering thought for the festive party season - alcohol is more dangerous than Ecstasy and LSD, and would be a class B drug if put forward for official approval today.
That's the view of leading addiction specialist and University of Otago professor Doug Sellman who says that despite being scientifically determined "high risk", alcohol has become almost as easy to access as bread and milk.
Writing in the New Zealand Medical Journal, Sellman said alcohol was closer in danger to heroin and GHB than ecstasy and LSD and, in comparison, cannabis was much safer.
"If alcohol was a new drug, a national alcohol crisis would be declared," he said.
Sellman said research showed half of physical and sexual assaults were caused by drunk people.
Alcohol also killed more than 1000 people a year, with half those deaths injury-related among young people and a quarter cancer-related.
Sellman said New Zealand lacked a "robust" framework for drug control, as shown by the banning of BZP.
He said the ban came after a public outcry, despite any evidence of deaths or addictive properties, while the "free market rolls on for two considerably more dangerous drugs - alcohol and tobacco".
By David Fisher
4:00 AM Sunday Dec 20, 2009