Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Forget the hysteria, these are the real relative harms of drugs

The South China Morning Post has reported on the polarised cannabis debate in Hong Kong, where penalties for using it run to a HK$1 million fine and seven years in prison.

But the chart above puts the 'problem' into perspective (noting that, even in this analysis, the benefits of any of these drugs are not considered - itself a form of bias). Ignoring evidence and logic, the government remains staunchly conservative:
"A dangerous drug is a dangerous drug. We have a zero-tolerance policy," says Commissioner for Narcotics Erika Hui Lam Yin-ming.
But the SCMP report broaches a broader reality:
In 2010, the British medical journal the Lancet published a study on how harmful 20 different substances, from alcohol to cannabis to heroin, were to users and to people around them in the UK. The study put alcohol at the top of the list, followed by heroin, crack cocaine. Several others including tobacco, came in above cannabis. 
The scientific journal Nature published a review in January that said old research that had shown a link between long-term cannabis consumption and decreasing IQ among users no longer held water.

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