A famous David Nutt figure included in an article of his in The Lancet.
I believe their labeling- if only because alcohol is one of the most widely-used and socially acceptable drugs. The drug is also capable of great physical harm. Many families have been affected in very bad ways by alcoholism, my own included. My own parents rarely drink (half a beer and my mom is *very* drunk), but we have other family members who are alcoholics or recovering alcoholics. No one in the family talks openly about the problems with alcohol these people face, but everyone whispers about it. One family member has serious health problems as a result of many years of drinking. Personal stories aside, however, I am very happy to see someone take a scientific approach to understanding drugs and the harm they do. There should be more scientific research on this, in my opinion. There should be more scientific debate and dialogue between various researching groups. Perhaps there already is- anyone work in this field and know more about it?
Personally, I think we should follow science- not social convention and socially-impregnanted prejudices- when it comes to tackling drugs and their regulation (or lack thereof). As David Nutt infamously said in one of his papers, taking the drug ecstasy is statistically less-dangerous than horseback riding.
Drugs and their legality are a major topic of discussion these days. For instance, yesterday California voted against legalizing marijuana.
Personally, I am a scaredy-cat goody two-shoes when it comes to drugs. I drink alcohol occasionally- no more than 3 or 4 drinks a month, generally- and I’ve been drunk maybe 3 or 4 times. Once was after I went on a wine tour without having breakfast and ended up drunk by 11am. I have since learned to eat breakfast before wine tours and not to drink all the wine just because it’s “free.” However, I find it funny that as a goody two-shoes I actually regularly use the most harmful drug of all. Also, I have never tried ecstasy (or any other drugs aside from alcohol), though I did take horseback riding lessons for several years.
Actually, most of us regularly use the “most harmful” drug… at least once a month at Skeptics in the Pub. According to Nutt and his research team, perhaps we should be organizing monthly cannabis or khat events, rather than monthly drinking events. Might be better for our health, if illegal most places in the world.