Alcohol vs Illegal Drugs: Comparing the Overall Effects on Society
When people think about what is more dangerous to a person’s health and life, drugs or alcohol, most people believe that drugs are far more dangerous. However, various experts in the U.K. conducted a study to find out which of the commonly abused substances is actually the biggest threat to our society and individual people. Not surprisingly to some, alcohol was found to be the most dangerous substance compared to illegal drugs when looking at the total impact it has. The study that took a closer look at alcohol vs illegal drugs took into account environmental damage, family problems, health and the economic costs.
The main culprits in the study were found to be alcohol, heroin and crack cocaine. When looking at alcohol vs illegal drugs, heroin, meth and crack were found to be the more lethal than alcohol; however, the wider effects of alcohol exposes the larger issues that substance abuse causes. LSD, ecstasy and marijuana scored to lowest with regards to the negative impact they have.
Alcohol vs Illegal Drugs – Abuse Statistics
By looking at alcohol vs illegal drugs in abuse statistics for America, alcohol abuse creates an overall cost of around $249 billion each year. All of the illegal substances combined only cost America $193 billion each year.
In 2013, 30.2 percent of men and 16 percent of women reported binge and heavy drinking within the past month. In contrast, a total of 9.4 percent of people reported past month illicit drug use in 2013.
The prevalence of alcohol abuse is much higher in the general population than it is with illegal drugs such as meth, cocaine and heroin among others. With more people drinking heavily compared to the amount of people that abuse drugs, the total affected populace is higher in alcohol than in illegal drugs.
Why is Alcohol Worse than Other Illegal Drugs?
In the drugs vs alcohol debate, one has to consider the scope of consumption. While illegal drugs are abused by many people, none of them are as widely available or used as alcohol. Just because a person in an individual case may be more affected by illegal drugs than alcohol, the sheer amount of people that abuse alcohol leads to the conclusion that alcohol does more damage than any other drug in society.
Professor Wim van den Brink at the University of Amsterdam asks us to imagine what happens at a sports game where there is violence and general mayhem caused by alcohol. Alcohol does more damage than any other drug because of how it can damage almost all of a person’s organs. Additionally, it is linked with higher death rates and is the cause of more crime than other drugs, even heroin.
Looking at the drugs vs alcohol debate, experts encourage governments to look at the people who are problem drinkers, not the general population that only has a drink or two from time to time. This is unlike illegal drugs, which are often approached by government agencies by looking for the sources of the drugs.
With alcohol embedded into our society, the likelihood of changes to its legality is very low. The only realistic way that alcoholism can be combated is through improved education of the harmful effects that alcohol abuse has on all areas of a person’s life. Better Addiction Care can connect you to the top rehab centers in the country. Contact us at (800) 429-7690 now to find addiction treatment near you.