Professor Nutt’s Dangerous drugs list revealed
Wednesday, November 4th, 2009
Published in the paper Estimating Drug Harms: a risky business, the above graph presents the findings of Professor David Nutt’s research regarding the classification of drugs based on the level of harm.
The research was based on three factors that determine the harm associated with any drug; physical harms on the individual, dependence and social harms on families, communities and society.
The list, based on these components is presented below, along with the classification of each drug given under the Misuse of Drugs Act, with Class A attracting the most serious penalties.
Heroin (Class A)
Derived from the opium poppy, heroin was originally used as a painkiller. There were 897 recorded deaths in England and Wales as a result of heroin according the Office of National Statistics.
Cocaine (Class A)
Stimulant produced from the South American coca leaf. Attributed to 235 deaths and almost 25,000 seizures in 2008.
Barbiturates (Class B)
Manmade anaesthetic. Accounted for 13 deaths last year.
Street methadone (Class A)
Synthetic opium, commonly used as a substitute to heroin. Blamed for 378 deaths last year.
Alcohol (Not controlled)
Led to 8,724 deaths in 2008 according to the Office of National Statistics. Other sources claim this figure is much higher.
Ketamine (Class C)
Hallucinogenic drug. There were 23 ketamine-related deaths in the UK between 1993 and 2006. In 2008, there were 1,266 seizures.
Benzodiazepine (Class B)
Relaxant used to treat anxiety and insomnia. Benzodiazepine’s include diazepam, temazepam and nitrazepam. Accounted for 230 deaths in 2008.
Amphetamine (Class B)
A psychostimulant used to suppress hunger and combat fatigue. Thought to lead to 99 deaths and almost 8,000 seizures in 2008.
Tobacco (No class)
Highly addictive stimulant. More than 100.000 people died from smoking related illnesses in 2008, including cancer, respiratory diseases and heart disease.
Bupranorphine (Class C)
Opiate used for pain control. Cause 43 deaths in the UK between 1980 and 2002.
Cannabis (Class B)
A psychoactive drug subject of intense controversy over its long-term effects and capacity for inducing schizophrenia. Accounted for 19 deaths and 186,000 seizures last year.
Solvents (Not controlled)
Fumes inhaled form commonly found products such as glue and aerosol sprays. Account for around 50 deaths a year.
4-MTA (Class A)
Laboratory manufactured drug that releases serotonin into the body. Four reported deaths between 1997 and 2004.
LSD (Class A)
Hallucinogenic developed by a German chemist in 1938. Very few deaths reported.
Methylphenidate (Class B)
A psychostimulant used to treat attention deficit disorders. Found under the brand name Ritalin.
Anabolic steroids (Class C)
Used to help developed muscle mass and to induce aggression. Accounted for numerous deaths amongst bodybuilders.
GHB (Class C)
A dance drug used to induce a sense of euphoria. Can suppress breathing and induce comas. Blamed for 20 deaths and 47 seizures.
Ecstasy (Class A)
Psychoactive dance drug. Accounted for 44 deaths and 5,000 seizures.
Alkylnitrates (Not controlled)
Stimulant, also known as ‘poppers’. Can reduce blood pressure which can lead to fainting and in some cases death.
Khat (Not controlled)
A psychoactive plant, also known as qat. Produces mild psychological dependence