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publicado em 02/11/2010 às 12h00:00
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Approach suggests alcohol as more harmful than crack and heroin

New system of scale scores revealed that the substance was the highest on the criterion of damage to society

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A new scale system that classifies drugs based on the harm caused to users and society revealed that alcohol is more harmful drugs, most of the heroin and crack. The new scale of measurement was developed by drug experts led by Professor David Nutt, from Imperial College London, England.

Drugs, including alcohol and tobacco, are a major cause of damage to individuals and society. According to the researchers, this new scale works as a guidance for policy makers in health, policing and social care to assess accurately the damage caused by drugs.

When Professor Nutt and colleagues tried this assessment as early as 2007, they engaged experts to score the drugs according to nine criteria of damage, ranging from the intrinsic harm of drugs to health and social costs. This analysis led to great interest and public debate, while raising concerns about the choice of the nine criteria and the absence of any weight differential between them.

To correct these drawbacks, the authors conducted an assessment of damage caused by drugs from the new approach of multicriteria analysis (MCDA). The new tool uses nine criteria that relate to the damage that the drug produces the individual and seven others for the harm done to society, both in the UK and abroad. Such damages are grouped into five subgroups that represent physical, psychological and social.

The drugs were marked with points at 100, with 100 assigned to the most damaging drug in a specific criterion, and zero indicating no damage.

In general, the MCDA model showed that alcohol was more harmful drugs with total score of 72, ranking higher than heroin (55) and crack (54).

According to the researchers, heroin, crack cocaine and crystal methamphetamine were the most harmful drugs for the individual, while alcohol was more damaging to others and to society.

"As a new classification system seems to depend on which set of damage - to themselves or others - you are trying to reduce, but if you take into account the overall damage, then the alcohol, heroin and crack are clearly more harmful than all others, "he said Nutt.

According to the authors, the MCDA process provides a powerful means to deal with the complex issues of drug abuse and alcohol represents.


   Palavras-chave:   Alcohol    Multicriteria analysis    Crack    Heroin    David Nutt    Imperial College London   
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