UK - Expert commission calls for total overhaul of UK drugs legislation

Discussion in 'Drug Policy Reform & Narco Politics' started by Abrad, Jul 30, 2006.

  1. Abrad

    Abrad R.I.P. Platinum Member & Advisor R.I.P.

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    UK: "Illogical" drugs classification under fire

    Guardian Unlimited
    Classification system should be changed to reflect more up-to-date knowledge, says report by MPs

    The system for classifying illegal drugs in Britain, which determines how users are punished, is unscientific and illogical and should be completely overhauled, according to a report from MPs to be published this week.

    It will call for sweeping changes that could see substances such as ecstasy and magic mushrooms, which campaigners have long argued are in the most serious Class A with little reason, downgraded, and drugs assessed more realistically according to the harm they cause.

    The House of Commons select committee on science and technology will also demand the publication of a paper prepared by Professor David Nutt, a senior member of the government's advisory committee on drug misuse, which makes radical recommendations to ministers about how drugs should be classified.

    Nutt is understood to have argued for an entirely new way of assessing banned substances based on sound science rather than - as is the present case - historical quirks, political opinion or research that could be 30 years old. His findings remain confidential so far.

    The issue hit the headlines after Charles Clarke, the former Home Secretary, agreed to review the decision taken by his predecessor David Blunkett to downgrade cannabis from Class B to Class C, prompting complaints from police that people no longer understood it was illegal and from doctors that its possible impact on mental health was not being taken seriously enough.

    Clarke eventually decided not to reclassify cannabis but ordered a review of the whole system - which had been virtually completed but had not been published when he quit the cabinet in May. His successor, John Reid, has not published the report and officials are concerned that it may be shelved.

    A source close to the committee inquiry said that the issue was too important to ignore. 'Given the evidence, the committee had no conclusion other than to call for sweeping changes,' the source said.

    Drugs are currently ranked either A, B or C depending on the severity of the harm caused. But scientists testifying before the committee argued that in some cases, such as ecstasy, while it was known that users died it was still not clear what caused the deaths. Meanwhile, deaths from magic mushrooms were so rare as to be almost unknown. Yet both were classified alongside heroin, which regularly causes fatal overdoses.

    Ecstasy was classified in 1977, when little was known about it, while fresh magic mushrooms - as opposed to the dried form, in which they become hallucinogenic - were not even illegal until last year. The committee heard there was little evidence that the classification level of a drug served as a deterrent to users. There was some evidence from the US that classifying a drug in Class A simply encouraged the price to be driven up, making it more profitable for organised criminals to become involved in smuggling it.

    The select committee report will pose a challenge not only to the Home Office, where Reid takes an instinctively tough line on drugs policy, but to the Tories. Some members of the shadow cabinet are understood to be anxious to reopen the debate about drugs and to support a thorough overhaul of classifications, but the shadow Home Secretary, David Davis, takes a hard line on drugs.

    David Cameron did suggest during his campaign for the leadership that he supported a broader review of drug classification - as a backbencher, he signed up to another committee report suggesting the classification of ecstasy should be reviewed. He is thought, however, to have agreed with Davis when reappointing him to his shadow post that he would have free rein to be tough on drugs policy.
     
  2. Abrad

    Abrad R.I.P. Platinum Member & Advisor R.I.P.

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    Drug classification rethink urged

    news.bbc.co.uk
    anewsimg.bbc.co.uk_media_images_41185000_jpg__41185090_smoker_getty203bod.jpg
    The designation of drugs in classes A, B and C should be replaced with one more closely reflecting the harm they cause, a committee of MPs has said.

    The Science Select Committee said the present system was based on historical assumptions, not scientific assessment.

    BBC News has obtained details of a system devised by the government's advisers which is being considered as an alternative.

    It rates some illegal drugs as less harmful than alcohol and tobacco.

    Suggested rating of drugs according to harm done

    The MPs said including alcohol and tobacco in the classification would give the public "a better sense of the relative harms involved".


    It's time to bring in a more systematic and scientific approach to drug classification


    They also denounced the Advisory Council on the Misuse of Drugs - which provides scientific guidance to the government - for "dereliction of duty" in failing to alert ministers of "serious flaws" in the rating system.

    Phil Willis, who chairs the committee, said the current classifications were "riddled with anomalies" and "clearly not fit for purpose".

    Controlled drugs are currently put into alphabetical categories, reflecting the level of penalties offences such as possession and dealing can attract.

    Class A, which is the highest category, contains substances such as heroin, cocaine, ecstasy and magic mushrooms.

    Class B includes speed and barbiturates. Cannabis and some tranquilisers are graded as class C substances.

    Systematic

    Mr Willis said the only way to get "an accurate and up to date classification system" was to "remove the link with penalties and just focus on harm", adding that this meant social consequences as well as harm to the user.

    Crystal meth to be Class A

    He went on: "It's time to bring in a more systematic and scientific approach to drug classification - how can we get the message across to young people if what we are saying is not based on evidence?"

    Speaking on BBC Radio 4's Today programme, he said: "In 1971 when the classification system was launched, that was right for the time.

    "What we've had is a huge societal change over that period and what we've seen is that putting a drug into Class A does not stop people using it at all."

    The alternative system proposed is based on the first scientific assessment of 20 legal and illegal stimulants.

    The MPs say it should be replaced by a league table of the harm caused by particular drugs. It was being considered by former home secretary Charles Clarke, but has now been put on hold.

    Alcohol

    It has been prepared by Professor David Nutt, a senior member of the Committee that advises the government on drug classification, and Professor Colin Blakemore - chief Executive of the Medical Research Council.

    There are three class A drugs in the top five of the system, as well as one Class B and alcohol.

    Tobacco is listed as the ninth most harmful drug and cannabis, a class C drug, comes in at number 11.

    Perhaps most surprising is the presence of two Class A drugs - ecstasy and LSD - in the bottom six.

    This places them well below tobacco and alcohol and a number of class B and C drugs.

    Professor Blakemore told BBC News alcohol and tobacco were included in the ranking to give a "calibration of what these levels of harm mean".

    He added: "That's not to say there's any argument that alcohol should be banned but it does give one a feel for the relative harm".

    CURRENT DRUG CLASSIFICATION
    Class A
    Cocaine/crack
    Heroin
    Ecstasy
    LSD
    Magic mushrooms
    Crystal meth (pending)
    Class A/B
    Amphetamines
    Class C
    Cannabis
    Ketamine

    anewsimg.bbc.co.uk_media_images_41948000_gif__41948040_drugs_graph_416.gif
     
  3. turkeyphant

    turkeyphant Gold Member

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    Gosh, now that wasn't too hard was it? The report is hilariously entitled "Drug classification: making a hash of it" and is still flawed because in incorporated social harm into its recommendations. Of course, the majority of social harm is due to the "illogical" classification itself.

    Interestingly, they spend some time discussing the slightly dubious reclassification/clarification of magic mushrooms in the UK last year. The simple conclusion is that it was completely disproportionate to put them in Class A and psilocin and psiocybin should never have been in there in the first place.

    Now, is it really too much to expect someone to take note of what these people are saying?
     
  4. Alfa

    Alfa Productive Insomniac Staff Member Administrator

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    I want that report, but can't find it. Anyone?
     
  5. turkeyphant

    turkeyphant Gold Member

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  6. Alfa

    Alfa Productive Insomniac Staff Member Administrator

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    Here is the section on magic mushrooms:
     
  7. Alfa

    Alfa Productive Insomniac Staff Member Administrator

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    I do not know if you aware of it, but this is in your hands as well. Alert the media and ask them to do a story. This is controversial enough for them. Call and write your local MP. Ask for action.
     
  8. Nature Boy

    Nature Boy Gold Member

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    These developments are hugely significant. However that league table of "Most Harmful Drugs" isn't without its flaws from what I'm seeing. Is it taken from a social perspective or a physiological perspective? Why on earth is cannabis still rated so high? From a social perspective cannabis use leads to passivism although its sale makes up a lot of drug dealers' income, is that what they're getting at? If that's the case, why not push for complete reclassification involving legal sale? Could they be citing research from soapbar analysis to give cannabis a grimmer reputation overall? From a physiological point of view, there's no way solvents, MPH, 4-MTA, steroids, GHB and ecstasy are safer. Why is MDMA still classified as ecstasy even? As far as mental health concerns go, what justifies cannabis being classified more harshly than LSD? The entire report confuses me. Is there something I'm missing here?
     
  9. Alfa

    Alfa Productive Insomniac Staff Member Administrator

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    MPs savage government's 'ad hoc' drug policy

    · More addicts than ever before, says chairman
    · Dereliction of duty by advisory council alleged

    James Randerson, science correspondent
    Monday July 31, 2006
    The Guardian


    aimage.guardian.co.uk_sys_images_Guardian_Pix_pictures_2006_07_30_magicmushrooms372ready.jpg
    Magic mushrooms are classified in the Class A category. Photograph: Daniel Berehulak/Getty Images


    MPs have mounted a savage attack on the government's drugs policy, denouncing it as "based on ad hockery", "riddled with anomalies" and "not fit for purpose".They have also challenged the basis for the ABC classification system, saying that the harm caused by drugs should be separated from criminal penalties.
    The criticisms come in a report from the parliamentary science and technology select committee published today as part of an inquiry into how the government uses scientific evidence in policy making. It describes as "dereliction of duty" the failure of the government's expert committee, the Advisory Council on Misuse of Drugs (ACMD), to alert the Home Office to serious doubts about the effectiveness of the system. "If the government wants to hand out messages through the criminal justice system then let it do so, but let's not pretend to do it on the back of scientific levels of harm from drugs because clearly that isn't the case," said Phil Willis, chair of the science and technology committee. "The only way to get an accurate and up-to-date classification system is to remove the link with penalties and just focus on harm."

    The investigation - entitled Drug Classification: Making a Hash of it? - found no evidence that the sliding scale of classification deters users from taking the more harmful drugs. "We have more drug addicts today than we've ever had and we have more people using class A drugs than ever ... the classification system as a device to reduce harm to individuals and society has failed," Mr Willis said.
    Even the police regarded the system as of "minor importance", he said. When asked by the committee about anomalies in the system, Andy Hayman, the chair of the Association of Chief Police Officers' drugs committee, said the system was "pretty crude" but this was not a problem because police could use their discretion.
    The ABC system attaches higher penalties to more dangerous class A drugs such as cocaine than to less dangerous drugs such as cannabis, which is in class C.
    Steve Rolles of the Transform Drug Policy Foundation, who gave evidence to the inquiry, welcomed the report. "It's all very well to have good science at one end of this equation, but if there's no evaluation and review of the impact of the classification on key indicators the whole thing then becomes a joke, really."
    The report does not offer a detailed alternative to the current arrangements but says criminal sanctions could be better linked to the level of criminality surrounding particular drugs, and that penalties could make a clearer distinction between individual use and dealing. The report falls short of calling for personal drug use to be decriminalised.
    It denounces the ACMD's use of political and social criteria in its recommendations to the government. One example, according to the MPs, was methamphetamine or "crystal meth". In November 2005 the committee reviewed its class B status and concluded that although medical arguments warranted raising it to class A with heroin and cocaine, this might make it more desirable on the street.
    "It is highly regrettable that the ACMD took it upon itself to make what should have been a political judgment," says the report. "Invoking this non-scientific judgment call as the primary justification for its position has muddied the water with respect to its role." In May the ACMD reconsidered its position and recommended moving the drug into class A.
    The MPs also criticised the government's "opaque" approach to changes in the system and the way in which the changes often appear to be a "knee-jerk response to media storms". Neither the Home Office nor ACMD chairman Sir Michael Rawlins was available to comment.

    Criticisms


    Methamphetamine

    The decision to keep crystal meth in class B in 2005 was criticised as "political" and the subsequent reversal looked "like the council either realised it had made a mistake, or had succumbed to outside pressure".

    Ecstasy

    MPs critical of failure to review evidence for class A status, given its profile and widespread use.

    Magic mushrooms

    The council's failure to speak out on government's decision to put fresh magic mushrooms in class A in July 2005 "undermined its credibility".

    Cannabis

    The timing of the second review of cannabis classification in March 2005 gave the impression that a media outcry was enough to prompt a review.

    Alcohol and tobacco
    Should be included in a more scientific scale of drug-induced harm.
     
    Last edited: Sep 9, 2017
  10. Nature Boy

    Nature Boy Gold Member

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    With a rising population stating that "there are more drug addicts today than ever" basically means squat-diddly. Would they care to re-evaluate their status on drug enforcement rather than bitch about how more crackdowns must to be made in order to curb drug abuse? It's like a dog chasing its tail. Also, how has the harm reduction system "failed" if it hasn't even been applied yet? Mr. Willis talks out of his ass.
     
  11. Alfa

    Alfa Productive Insomniac Staff Member Administrator

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    Drug use has not only risen per head, but also in percentage.
     
  12. Lunar Loops

    Lunar Loops Driftwood Platinum Member & Advisor

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    Drug 'classes' have little link to the dangers

    And this from The Independent (UK) :
    Drug 'classes' have little link to the dangers

    By Nigel Morris, Home Affairs Correspondent

    Published: 01 August 2006



    Britain's antiquated drugs laws stand accused of failing millions of people because they bear little or no relationship to the harm caused by everything from a hit of heroin to a seemingly harmless pint of lager.
    The Home Office has been warned by its own senior advisers that alcohol and tobacco are more harmful to the nation's health than the Class A drugs LSD and ecstasy.
    Research by medical experts, who analysed 20 substances for their addictive qualities, social harm and physical damage, produced strikingly different results from the Government's drug classification system.
    Heroin and cocaine, both Class A drugs, topped the league table of harm, but alcohol was ranked fifth, ahead of prescription tranquillisers and amphetamines.
    Tobacco was placed ninth, ahead of cannabis, which has recently been downgraded from a Class B to Class C drug, at 11th.
    Alcohol and tobacco, and solvents, which can also be bought legally, were judged more damaging than LSD (14th) and ecstasy (18th).
    The warning on alcohol comes amid growing alarm among ministers over a surge of "binge drinking" over the last decade. They fear it is fuelling rising levels of violent crime and creating long-term health problems for the nation.
    Methadone, used to wean heroin addicts off the drug, also scored highly, being judged more dangerous other Class A substances.
    The research will put more pressure on the Home Office to a rethink the 35-year-old system for classifying illegal drugs as Class A, B or C substances. It reflects the penalties for possessing them or dealing in them, but that means heroin is categorised alongside drugs such as ecstasy.
    The analysis was carried out by David Nutt, a senior member of the Advisory Council on the Misuse of Drugs, and Colin Blakemore, the chief executive of the Medical Research Council. Copies of the report have been submitted to the Home Office, which has failed to act on the conclusions.
    Professor Blakemore told the BBC Radio 4 Today programme: "Alcohol, on our classification, is the fifth most harmful drug - more harmful than LSD and by a long way than ecstasy and cannabis and a whole range of illegal drugs.
    "That's not to say there's any argument that alcohol should be made illegal, but it does give one a feel for the relative harm potential from any drug."
    Strongly influenced by the research, MPs on the Commons science and technology select committee demanded an overhaul of the system to give the public a "better sense of the relative harms involved".
    They called for a new scale to be introduced, rating substances on the basis of health and social risks and not linked to legality or potential punishments.
    They questioned whether ecstasy and magic mushrooms should remain in Class A and called on the Government's drug adviser, the Advisory Council on the Misuse of Drugs (ACMD), to look at the issue.
    Phil Willis, who chairs the committee, said the current classifications were "riddled with anomalies" and were "clearly not fit for purpose".
    "This research shows why we need a radical overhaul of the current law and a radical review of the classification system," he said.
    "It's clearly not fit for purpose in the 21st century, neither for informing drug-users or providing public information."
    One committee member, the Liberal Democrat MP Evan Harris, said that putting drugs in the wrong category "undermined the whole system". "Lots of young people know that there's a difference between ecstasy and heroin," he said.
    Martin Barnes, chief executive of the drugs charity DrugScope, said: "With ecstasy, although it is a harmful substance and has led to deaths, if you look at its harmfulness with other Class A drugs, it is much less harmful in terms of links to criminality, mortality and poor health.
    "But one of the difficulties, if the classification of a drug is changed, is that that then becomes a key issue in terms of politically how it is received."
    Cannabis was reclassified from Class B to Class C in 2004 on the advice of the ACMD. The move prompted fierce criticism in some quarters and was later reassessed in light of new scientific data.
    Critics said the change sent out a message that cannabis was not harmful, and downgrading it had caused confusion over whether the drug was still banned.
    But in January, the then Home Secretary Charles Clarke announced that after an ACMD review of evidence, the decision to downgrade cannabis would stand. His successor, John Reid, has so far made no pronouncements on drugs policy.
    Lord Victor Adebowale, chief executive of the social care organisation Turning Point, said: "Our work across the country with people affected by drugs and alcohol tells us that a classification system should take into account the health, social and economic costs of substance misuse."
    Reforming the laws
    By Jeremy Laurance
    More than a third of people claim to have taken illegal drugs during their lifetime, and 10 per cent say they have done so in the last year. Efforts to restrict drug use have failed to curb high rates of consumption in the UK. Though use of heroin and crack cocaine is comparable to other countries, use of recreational drugs is higher.
    Britain had a relatively liberal approach to drugs in the 1960s, with heroin prescribed to addicts. The 1971 Misuse of Drugs Act introduced "ABC" classification: Class A drugs such as heroin carry the highest penalties, with lesser penalties for class B and C drugs.
    But evidence has shown policies based on enforcement alone have failed. In 2002, the Home Affairs Select Committee, which included the future Tory leader, David Cameron, said this was the "single lesson" that had come from the previous 30 years. It backed a proposal by David Blunkett, former Home Secretary, to downgrade cannabis to class C.
    A trial relaxation of the laws on cannabis went ahead in Lambeth, south London, where police guidance was changed from arresting and charging people for possession of small amounts of cannabis, to focusing on dealers. The experiment was extended nationwide with the reclassification of cannabis in 2004. The Government is now considering a proposal for a new lower threshold for a presumption of supply, which sources suggest could be 5g of cannabis and 5 tablets of ecstasy. The proposal has been criticised by the Advisory Council on the Misuse of Drugs as a retrograde step that will lead to more police time being spent on users rather than dealers.
     
  13. turkeyphant

    turkeyphant Gold Member

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    I am well aware, although I admit I don't do enough. When the law was passed regarding mushrooms I had a lengthy exchange with my local MP pretty much outlining the cogent arguments made in this paper. However, he's a Tory and hence kept dodging the issue by coming back again and again with misinformed rubbish about latent psychological disorders. In some ways this is a case for legalisation but despite presenting him with more and more reasons why the classification was nonsensical and against harm reduction he stopped sending letters back after saying that we'd have to "agree to disagree" or something equally pathetic.

    I think I'll be better off with the media this time.
     
  14. turkeyphant

    turkeyphant Gold Member

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    I think the main reasoning behind it is the idea that chronic long term use can be psychologically harmful, perhaps moreso than LSD. But as I mentioned earlier, it's not entirely psysiological - it heavily incorporates social harm using an unmentioned meter. MDMA and acid are pretty damn non-toxic and have high therapeutic indices. MDMA is referred to as ecstasy because MPs and the public at large are morons - indeed, there are some pretty basic mistakes in the report to be found.
     
  15. hh339

    hh339 Gold Member

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    UK: "Illogical" drugs classification under fire

    1 August 2006
    BOOZE IS MORE OF A DANGER THAN LSD
    By Mike Swain

    ALCOHOL is a more dangerous drug than illegal ones such as LSD and ecstasy, experts said yesterday.

    A list drawn up for the Home Office put booze in the top five most dangerous drugs rated by harm.

    Tobacco came in at ninth out of 20 - more dangerous than cannabis.

    The list was used by MPs to recommend scrapping the current classifications of drugs as Class A, B or C.

    They say a new scale should be introduced that rates substances according to their harm.

    The current system ranks drugs according to the penalties they attract.

    Advertisement
    Falk AdSolution

    But the Commons science and technology committee said that system was based on "conservatism".

    Chairman Phil Willis said: "The only way to get an accurate and up-to-date classification system is to remove the link with penalties and just focus on harm.

    "That must be harm not only to the user but harm defined by social consequences as well."

    Liberal Democrat Dr Evan Harris described the current classification system ranking drugs in categories of A, B, or C as an "evidence-free zone".

    He said: "Lots of young people know that there's a difference between ecstasy and heroin."

    The new list was prepared by Prof David Nutt, a senior member of the Advisory Council on the Misuse of Drugs, and Professor Colin Blakemore, chief executive of the Medical Research Council.

    Professor Blakemore said the list was drawn up by asking a range of experts to rate the physical harm, potential for dependence and social harm.

    Lord Victor Adebowale is chief executive of social care organisation Turning Point, who work with drug and alcohol abusers.

    He said: "Our work across the country tells us that a classification system should take into account the health, social and economic costs of substance misuse."

    RISK FACTOR

    The most dangerous drugs defined by harm:

    1. Heroin

    2. Cocaine

    3. Barbituates

    4. Street methadone

    5. Alcohol

    6. Ketamine

    7. Benzodiazepines

    8. Amphetamine

    9. Tobacco

    10. Buprenorphine

    11. Cann

    12. Solvents

    13. 4-MTA

    14. LSD

    15. Methylphenidate

    16. Anabolic steroids

    17.GHB

    18. Ecstasy

    19. Alkyl nitrites

    20. Khat

    http://www.dailyrecord.co.uk/news/n...-is-more-of-a-danger-than-lsd--name_page.html
     
  16. Abrad

    Abrad R.I.P. Platinum Member & Advisor R.I.P.

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    Drugs: the real deal

    This is the first ranking based upon scientific evidence of harm to both individuals and society. It was devised by government advisers - then ignored by ministers because of its controversial findings



    1: Heroin (Class A)
    ORIGIN: Vast majority comes from poppy fields of Afghanistan
    MEDICAL: Sedative made from the opium poppy. Can be smoked or injected to produce a 'rush'. Users feel lethargic but experience severe cravings for the drug
    NO. OF UK USERS: 40,000
    NO. OF UK DEATHS IN 2004: 744
    STREET VALUE: £30-100 a gram
    DANGER RATING: 2.75/3

    2: Cocaine (Class A)
    ORIGIN: Made from coca shrubs from Colombia and Bolivia
    MEDICAL: Stimulant made from leaves of the coca bush. Increases alertness and confidence but raises heart rate and blood pressure and users will crave it
    NO. OF UK USERS: 800,000
    NO. OF UK DEATHS IN 2004: 147
    STREET VALUE: £30-55 a gram
    DANGER RATING: 2.25/3

    3: Barbiturates (Class B)
    ORIGIN: Synthetic lab-made drugs, used to be prominent in clubs
    MEDICAL:powerful sedatives. Widely prescribed as sleeping pills but dangerous in overdose and now superseded by safer drugs
    NO. OF UK USERS: Not many
    NO. OF UK DEATHS IN 2004: 14
    STREET VALUE: £1-2 a tablet
    DANGER RATING: 2.10/3

    4: Street Methadone (Class A)
    ORIGIN: Synthetic drug similar to heroin but less addictive
    MEDICAL: Similar to morphine and heroin and used to wean addicts off these drugs because it is less sedating. Street versions may be contaminated
    NO. OF UK USERS: 20,000
    NO. OF UK DEATHS IN 2004: 200
    STREET VALUE: £2 a dose
    DANGER RATING: 1.90/3

    5: Alcohol (Legal)
    ORIGIN: Brewed across the world in many different forms
    MEDICAL:Central nervous system depressant used to reduce inhibitions and increase sociability. Increasing doses lead to intoxication, coma and respiratory failure
    NO. OF UK USERS: Most adults
    NO. OF UK DEATHS IN 2004: 22,000
    STREET VALUE: £2.25 pint of lager
    DANGER RATING: 1.85/3

    6: Ketamine (Class C)
    ORIGIN: Anaesthetic drug popular on club and rave scene
    MEDICAL:Intravenous anaesthetic used on humans and animals which, when taken in tablet form, creates hallucinatory experiences
    NO. OF UK USERS: Unknown
    NO. OF UK DEATHS IN 2004: N/A
    STREET VALUE: £15-50 a gram
    DANGER RATING: 1.80/3

    7: Benzodiazopines (Class C)
    ORIGIN: Tranquilisers used to beat anxiety and insomnia
    MEDICAL:The most common prescription tranquillisers. Effective sedatives which have a calming effect, reducing anxiety, but are addictive
    NO. OF UK USERS: 160,000
    NO. OF UK DEATHS IN 2004: 206
    STREET VALUE: Prescription drug
    DANGER RATING: 1.75/3

    8: Amphetamines (Class B)
    ORIGIN: Synthetic stimulants snorted, mixed in drink or injected
    MEDICAL:Man-made drugs that increase heart rate and alertness. Users may feel paranoid. Newer form, methamphetamine, is addictive
    NO. OF UK USERS: 650,000
    NO. OF UK DEATHS IN 2004: 33
    STREET VALUE: £2-10 a gram
    DANGER RATING: 1.70/3

    9: Tobacco (Legal)
    ORIGIN: Most of the leaf comes from the Americas
    MEDICAL: Contains nicotine, a fast-acting stimulant which is highly addictive. Tobacco causes lung cancer and increases the risk of heart disease
    NO. OF UK USERS: 12.5m
    NO. OF UK DEATHS IN 2004: 114,000
    STREET VALUE: £4.50 a packet
    DANGER RATING: 1.65/3

    10: Buprenorphine (Class C)
    ORIGIN: Can be made in a laboratory
    MEDICAL: More expensive alternative to methadone used to wean addicts off heroin. Preferred by some addicts because it leaves them more 'clear headed'
    NO. OF UK USERS: Unknown
    NO. OF UK DEATHS IN 2004: N/A
    STREET VALUE: Unknown
    DANGER RATING: 1.55/3 11: Cannabis (Class C)
    ORIGIN: Plant is easily cultivated in temperate climates
    MEDICAL: Leaves of the cannabis sativa plant or resin can be smoked or eaten. It is a relaxant but stronger forms can also cause hallucinations and panic attacks
    NO. OF UK USERS: 3m
    NO. OF UK DEATHS IN 2004: 16
    £40-100 an ounce
    DANGER RATING: 1.40/3

    12: Solvents (Legal)
    ORIGIN: Organic compounds found in glues, paints, lighter fluid
    MEDICAL: Includes glue, gas lighters, some aerosols and paint thinners. Produces euphoria and loss of inhibitions but can cause blackouts and death
    NO. OF UK USERS: 37,000
    NO. OF UK DEATHS IN 2004: 53
    STREET VALUE: £9.99 a tin of paint
    DANGER RATING: 1.35/3

    13: 4-MTA (Class A)
    ORIGIN: Amphetamine derivative; similar effects to ecstasy
    MEDICAL: Amphetamine derivative, similar to ecstasy, and also known as 'flatliners'. Popular dance drug, producing feelings of euphoria
    NO. OF UK USERS: Unknown
    NO. OF UK DEATHS IN 2004: N/A
    STREET VALUE: Unknown
    DANGER RATING: 1.30/3

    14: LSD (Class A)
    ORIGIN: Hallucinogenic, synthetic drug more popular in 1960s
    MEDICAL: Man-made drug that has a strong effect on perception. Effects include hallucinations and loss of sense of time. A 'bad trip' can cause anxiety
    NO. OF UK USERS: 70,000
    NO. OF UK DEATHS IN 2004: N/A
    STREET VALUE: £1-5 a tab
    DANGER RATING: 1.25/3

    15: Methylphenidate (Class B)
    ORIGIN: Medicine, similar to amphetamines
    MEDICAL: The chemical name for Ritalin, the stimulant drug used to treat children with attention deficit hyperactive disorder which helps them concentrate
    NO. OF UK USERS: Unknown
    NO. OF UK DEATHS IN 2004: N/A
    STREET VALUE: Unknown
    DANGER RATING: 1.20/3

    16: Anabolic Steroids (Class C)
    ORIGIN: Hormones used by bodybuilders and sportsmen
    MEDICAL: Synthetic drugs that have a similar effect to hormones such as testosterone. Used by body builders to increase muscle bulk
    NO. OF UK USERS: 38,000
    NO. OF UK DEATHS IN 2004: N/A
    STREET VALUE: £7.99 a tablet
    DANGER RATING: 1.15/3

    17: GHB (Class C)
    ORIGIN: Synthetic drug, sold as 'liquid ecstasy'
    MEDICAL: The date rape drug, Gammahydroxybutyrate, is a sedative that has a relaxing effect, reducing inhibitions, but can lead to stiff muscles and fits
    NO. OF UK USERS: Not many
    NO. OF UK DEATHS IN 2004: 3
    STREET VALUE: £15 a bottle
    DANGER RATING: 1.10/3

    18: Ecstasy (Class A)
    ORIGIN: Synthetic drug in tablets; popular in dance scene
    MEDICAL: MDMA or similar man-made chemicals. Causes adrenaline rushes and feelings of wellbeing but also anxiety and high body temperature
    NO. OF UK USERS: 800,000
    NO. OF UK DEATHS IN 2004: 33
    STREET VALUE: £1-5 a pill
    DANGER RATING: 1.05/3

    19: Alkyl Nitrites (Legal)
    ORIGIN: Liquid, better known as 'poppers'; inhaled
    MEDICAL: Gives a strong, joyous rush and a burst of energy for a few minutes which quickly fades and can leave a powerful headache
    NO. OF UK USERS: 550,000
    NO. OF UK DEATHS IN 2004: N/A
    STREET VALUE: £2-6 for 10ml
    DANGER RATING: 0.95/3

    20: Khat (Legal)
    ORIGIN: Green-leaf shrub grown in region of Southern Africa
    MEDICAL: Natural stimulant, its leaves are chewed to produce a feeling of wellbeing and happiness. Popular with the Somali community
    NO. OF UK USERS: 40,000
    NO. OF UK DEATHS IN 2004: Not many
    STREET VALUE: £4 a bunch
    DANGER RATING: 0.80/3
     
  17. WrtngCocaineTutorial

    WrtngCocaineTutorial Palladium Member

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    hmmm. they don't have crack on the list. maybe that's why coke is so high. they've "mixed them"

    seen coke described as less dangerous than alcohol, and meth elsewhere...
     
  18. Nature Boy

    Nature Boy Gold Member

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    Long term chronic cannabis use can be psychologically harmful moreso than LSD? That's simply not true. That's to say that a blotter of acid a day is safer than a spliff a day! Granted they probably mean people aren't as likely to use LSD every day but this isn't about likelihood, it's about assessing harm and they're delivering the wrong message, in that one case at least. Cannabis is also non-toxic whereas MDMA and LSD can be toxic although I understand it takes ridiculously high doses. It's unknown whether it's possible to reach a toxic level of THC, all evidence suggests that it's impossible. I just think they're having a dig at cannabis because it's predominantly smoked and often smoked with tobacco which could lead to various cancers (though there is very little evidence to suggest that one can get cancer from smoking cannabis strictly alone, and if there is, it's not enough evidence to deem it "dangerous"). It's all very messy IMO.

    Also 16 deaths from cannabis in 2004? Blatant lie!
     
  19. Lunar Loops

    Lunar Loops Driftwood Platinum Member & Advisor

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    WTF? There are lots of holes to be picked in this, but how the hell did they come up with a figure of 16 people dead as a direct result of cannabis? A blatant lie in our eyes, Nature boy, but no duobt they have some bizarre reasoning behind this astonishing figure. Would suggest the number of UK users is also seriously under-estimated.

     
  20. Sklander

    Sklander Silver Member

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    Cannabis more dangerous than LSD, Anabolic Steroids and Ecstacy... This list is a total crock of shit... I don't even feel that Cannabis is dangerous.

    Tobacco should be number one.

    1. Tobacco
    2. Alcohol
    3. Mixing of Alcohol with Cocaine, Opiates, Barbs, and Benzos.

    Otherwise, the rest are relatively safe if taken in moderation.

    Drug users need to rate how dangerous a drug is, not some magazine that hasn't ever done any of these drugs.