How harmful is alcohol compared to other misused substances?

Updated: Nov 27, 2018
  • Author: Warren Thompson, MD, FACP; Chief Editor: Glen L Xiong, MD  more...
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Answer

An analysis in the United Kingdom in 2010 found that overall, alcohol was found to be the most harmful drug to the person consuming and to others. However, this study does not mean that substances other than alcohol have no harmful consequences; heroin, cocaine, and methamphetamine were found to be the most harmful drugs to individuals themselves. In addition, this study did not address the issue of polydrug abuse, which is a common phenomenon in individuals abusing substances. The combination of alcohol and other substances can lead to serious adverse effects, and such combinations were not explored in this study. [12]


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