Pubdate: Sun, 20 Dec 2009
Source: New Zealand Herald (New Zealand)
Copyright: 2009 New Zealand Herald
Author: David Fisher


Here's a sobering thought for the festive party season - alcohol is
more dangerous than Ecstasy and LSD, and would be a class B drug if
put forward for official approval today.

That's the view of leading addiction specialist and University of
Otago professor Doug Sellman who says that despite being
scientifically determined "high risk", alcohol has become almost as
easy to access as bread and milk.

Writing in the New Zealand Medical Journal, Sellman said alcohol was
closer in danger to heroin and GHB than ecstasy and LSD and, in
comparison, cannabis was much safer.

"If alcohol was a new drug, a national alcohol crisis would be
declared," he said.

Sellman said research showed half of physical and sexual assaults were
caused by drunk people.

Alcohol also killed more than 1000 people a year, with half those
deaths injury-related among young people and a quarter

Sellman said New Zealand lacked a "robust" framework for drug control,
as shown by the banning of BZP.

He said the ban came after a public outcry, despite any evidence of
deaths or addictive properties, while the "free market rolls on for
two considerably more dangerous drugs - alcohol and tobacco".
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MAP posted-by: Richard Lake