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Roll Reversal

March 23rd, 2007 · 4 Comments

A new Lancet study finds—contrary to conventional wisdom, but confirming what anyone familiar with actual users of these various drugs could already have told you—that E and LSD are less harmful than alcohol and tobacco. In one sense, this ought to be beside the point: Adults should be allowed to do things that are harmful to themselves. But it does serve as a reminder that the moral panic surrounding certain drugs is utterly disconnected from the reality of their objective dangers. (HT: Boing Boing.)

Tags: Nannyism



4 responses so far ↓

  • 1 Matt F // Mar 23, 2007 at 5:42 pm

    The article also implies that marijuana is significantly more harmful than LSD and ecstasy, which is interesting and somewhat unexpected.

  • 2 Julian Sanchez // Mar 23, 2007 at 6:09 pm

    Not all *that* unexpected: Pot is typically smoked, and so comes with all the health risks associated with smoking pretty much anything. It’s probably also relevant that someone who “smokes pot” will often smoke it pretty regularly, say a few times a week, whereas I suspect very few people who “use LSD” do so even as often as monthly.

  • 3 Pithlord // Mar 26, 2007 at 2:42 am

    But it appears that the “amount of harm” the drugs do is evaluated as overall harm at current rates of usage. So the fact that illegal drugs cause less harm than legal ones seems like an argument for prohibition.

  • 4 Julian Sanchez // Mar 26, 2007 at 2:59 pm

    Is that the case? That was not the impression I had from the summary, though I’ll admit I’ve not looked at the full study. It seemed, rather, as though they were evaluating the impact on a per-user basis. Obviously, if you’re talking about the complex effects of different legal regimes, you have to take all sorts of other things into account: The possible expansion of the harms to more users, on the one hand; the effect of eliminating the criminal black markets surrounding the drugs on the other.