What is the Deadliest Drug? Alcohol

While concerns over the dangers of cocaine, heroin and meth continue to make headlines, researchers have discovered there is

May 5
2015

While concerns over the dangers of cocaine, heroin and meth continue to make headlines, researchers have discovered there is one substance even more dangerous than these – alcohol. According to research published in Scientific Reports in January 2015, alcohol is the deadliest drug in the United States today. 

Comparative Risks Assessed

Scientists examined the comparative risk of death accompanying the use of a broad range of drugs, including alcohol. They used a novel method for calculating risk that they called the “Margin of Exposure” or MOE. They defined the MOE as the ratio between adverse effects of the drug and the drug’s human intake. The smaller the MOE, the more dangerous the drug was assessed to be, since this indicated a greater likelihood the user could consume a harmful dose of the substance.

They found alcohol to be 114 times more dangerous than marijuana, which is the only federally-controlled substance that has not been linked to an overdose death at this point. Four substances fell into the “high risk” category in this study; alcohol, nicotine, cocaine and heroin. THC, the active ingredient in marijuana, had the largest MOE on the list.

Other Studies Show Similar Findings

This is not the first study to demonstrate the risks associated with alcohol use. Surveys performed on incarcerated persons found that about 40 percent of individuals in prison had been under the influence of alcohol when they committed their crimes. In 2010, a U.K. study published in The Lancet ranked alcohol as the most dangerous drug in Britain, in terms of the harm it causes to users as well as the harm it causes to others.

Scientists involved in these studies will be the first to admit their methodology is far from perfect. In the recent study published in Scientific Reports, authors of the study were quick to point out that their research did not take into all of the risk factors, particularly environmental conditions of the drug use. Still, the findings were compelling in showing alcohol-related deaths significantly outnumbered deaths associated with other substances.

Dangers of Alcohol Underestimated

Although alcohol has been shown through numerous surveys and studies to pose its own risks and dangers to users, this substance is readily available and not regulated by the government. Unfortunately, that gives the impression to many drinkers that alcohol is a “safer” substance and they do not have to monitor their intake as closely.

At Pasadena Recovery Center, we see the devastating effects alcohol abuse can make on the user and the entire family. We offer treatment programs to help abusers reclaim a life of sobriety. To learn more about our treatment and recovery programs, contact Pasadena Recovery Center at 866-663-3030.

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