Thursday, February 08, 2007

Rational, scientific assessments of drugs and narcotics

This chart above is the best thing I have seen in months. (I first saw it in mixmag.) It is from England's Science Select Committee, who were charged last year with finding out if England's policies on illegal drugs made any sense. The short is answer is no.

They reviewed the ABC classification scheme, A being worst, C being least worst, and found that the way the drugs had been ranked did not match scientific assessments on their effects and impacts on society and health.

So, they rearranged the impacts of drugs based on scientific assessments. The graph above, from this report, is what they ended up with. They left the old A, B, C labels on. It gives a good idea of how the political and societal judgments on drugs don't match the scientific assessment. For instance, alcohol and tobacco are both much higher than permitted by governments. Marijuana is much higher than its advocates like to admit, but lower than its detractor paint it. Ecstasy and LSD are much lower risks than any policy treats them.

Ponder the graph, for it is wonderful, and chock full of information.