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An image worth seeing - Tactical Ninja

Nov. 12th, 2012

11:43 am - An image worth seeing

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Drugs ordered by their overall harm scores, showing the separate contributions to the overall scores of harms to users and harm to others
The weights after normalisation (0–100) are shown in the key (cumulative in the sense of the sum of all the normalised weights for all the criteria to users, 46; and for all the criteria to others, 54). CW=cumulative weight. GHB=γ hydroxybutyric acid. LSD=lysergic acid diethylamide.
"


From here.

That is all.

Comments:

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From:richaarde
Date:November 12th, 2012 01:54 am (UTC)
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It totally explains drug policies around the world, doesn't it?
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From:tatjna
Date:November 12th, 2012 08:13 pm (UTC)
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Your icon is totally appropriate. ;-)
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From:pombagira
Date:November 12th, 2012 05:04 am (UTC)
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yup pretty much says it all really...

*nods*
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From:forestgreenivy
Date:November 12th, 2012 12:58 pm (UTC)
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I don't know what half of those are! LOL. Khat?

I'm surprised at the cannibis, frankly. I would've thought that harm to others would be a bit less than that.

I got to vote on legalizing marijuana in Colorado, which passed. One thought I had for doing that is alcohol is legal so why not marijuana?
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From:tatjna
Date:November 12th, 2012 07:39 pm (UTC)
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Khat is a plant that's grown in North Africa and traditionally used there as a stimulant in a similar way to coca leaves in South America. It's fairly common in Britain as well because of the North African population there. I can't remember if the UK has banned it or not, but they've been mucking about with the idea for a while, and the concern around it increased after the moral panic over mephedrone (another cathinone).

It's all a bit silly really - from what I understand, using khat is about the same as being a coffee overuser.
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From:tatjna
Date:November 12th, 2012 07:52 pm (UTC)

warning: phuge graph

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Here's the graph from the report that shows how they broke down the various harms:



And here's a list of the harms divided into 'user' and 'others'.

Harms to User
Drug-specific mortality
Drug-related mortality
Drug-specific damage
Drug-related damage
Dependence
Drug-specific impairment of mental functioning
Drug-related impairment of mental functioning
Loss of tangibles
Loss of relationships

Harm to others
Injury
Crime
Environmental damage
Family adversities
International damage
Economic cost
Community

So it seems from that, that the panel of experts who came up with this graph saw Crime, Injury, Family adversities, Loss of relationships, Loss of tangibles, and Injury as the highest risk factors for 'harm to other's associated with marijuana use.

Even though these results were weighted to take account of legal status, I think there's an interesting debate to be had regarding how much of that would change under legalisation, simply because it's almost impossible to judge whether a harm such as 'loss of tangibles' stems from the black market cost of buying an illegal substance.

Next comment: definitions of harms as presented in the report.
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From:tatjna
Date:November 12th, 2012 08:05 pm (UTC)

Re: warning: phuge graph

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Drug-specific mortality Intrinsic lethality of the drug expressed as ratio of lethal dose and standard dose (for adults).

Drug-related mortality The extent to which life is shortened by the use of the drug (excludes drug-specific mortality) - eg, road traffic accidents, lung cancers, HIV, suicide.

Drug-specific damage Drug-specific damage to physical health - eg, cirrhosis, seizures, strokes cartiomyopathy, stomach ulcers.

Drug-related damage Drug-related damage to physical health, including consequences of, for example, sexual unwanted activities and self-harm, blood-borne viruses, emphysema, and damage from cutting agents.

Dependence The extent to which a drug creates a propensity or urge to continue to use despite adverse consequences (ICD 10 or DSM IV).

Drug-specific impairment of mental functioning Drug-specific impariment of mental functioning - eg, amphetamine-induced psychosis, ketamine intoxication.

Drug-related impairment of mental functioning Drug-related impairment of mental functioning - eg, mood disorders secondary to drug-user's lifestyle or drug use.

Loss of tangibles Extent of loss of tangible things (eg, income, housing, job, educational achievements, criminal record, imprisonment).

Loss of relationships Extent of loss of relationship with family and friends.

Injury Extent to which the use of a drug increases the chance of injuries to others both directly and indirectly - eg, violence (including domestic violence), traffic accident, fetal harm, drug waste, secondary transmission of blood-borne viruses.

Crime Extent to whic the use of a drug involves or leads to an increase in volume of acquisitive crime (beyond the use-of-drug act) directly or indirectly (at the population level, not the individual level).

Environmental damage Extent to which the use and production of a drug causes environmental damage locally - eg, toxic waste from amphetamine production, discarded needles.

Family adversities Extent to which the use of a drug causes family adversities - eg, family breakdown, economic wellbeing, emotional wellbeing, future prospects of children, child neglect.

International damage Extent to which the use of a drug in the UK contributes to damage internationally, eg, deforestation, destabilisation of countries, international crime, new markets.

Economic cost Extent to which the use of a drug causes direct costs to the country (eg, health care, police, prisons, social services, customs, insurance, crime) and indirect costs (eg, loss of productivity, absenteeism).

Community Extent to which the use of a drug creates decline in social cohesion and decline in the reputation of the community.

ICD 10 = International Classification of Diseases, tenth revision. DSM IV = Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, fourth revision.

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From:jaelle_n_gilla
Date:November 12th, 2012 07:16 pm (UTC)
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Soo... if I get that correctly that's including the number of uses and users, right? Alcohol is so high because everybody and their aunt does it and that makes the overall number so big. Well, it's not as if I wouldn't have guessed that alcohol was the most abused drug (because easily available, socially accepted etc.) and the most harmful to self and others because it makes many people aggressive. Seeing it in a graph is so much more WOAH though.

I don't know half the drugs mentioned but I've seen stoned people and I think I would have guessed marijuana to be the most harmless. Usually they just giggle, eat a lot, and doze. Not a lot you can do to others like that :-)
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From:tatjna
Date:November 12th, 2012 07:29 pm (UTC)
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No, this study is not based on the number of users of a drug, but on harms associated with the drug - things like risk of dependence, toxicity, associated crime, family adversities, and the like.

I'm about to post a comprehensive list of the harms the study used and their definitions above - but the whole point of the study was to compare risks of particular drugs independent of their legality or availability. That's what the normalisation bit is about.

Unfortunately the report doesn't show exactly how each drug broke down for the harms listed so I can't show what harm to others they consider marijuana causes - however having lived that life I could hazard a few guesses. ;-)

[edit] Scratch that, I found it. Will post in another comment above.

Edited at 2012-11-12 07:34 pm (UTC)
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From:jaelle_n_gilla
Date:November 12th, 2012 09:45 pm (UTC)
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So each column is for one individual person? Wow. That gives an even worse picture of alcohol.

Thanks for sharing. Quite interesting.
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From:tatjna
Date:November 12th, 2012 09:52 pm (UTC)
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Not specifically an individual person, more individual substance, normalised for the likely risk as objectively as possible if all had the same legal status.

In reality it's difficult to separate harms related to use of a substance from harms related to a substance's legal status, because a lot of these substances were prohibited before their harms could be accurately assessed - all we know is that prohibition is likely to have exacerbated harms. But this study is an attempt to objectively assess risk of harm, and it's one of the more advanced ones I've seen.

But yeah, alcohol is a lot nastier than people think.
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