Alcohol *is* a Drug

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This post was originally published in 2009
It may contain stale & outdated information. Or it may have grown more awesome with age, like the author.

While I was in the car this morning, listening to the news, the presented said “…the victim and the perpetrators were under the influence of alcohol and other drugs.” I was a little surprised – alcohol is a drug, isn’t it?

Definitely. And a fairly dangerous one at that: “The therapeutic index or safety ratio of alcohol is about 10. That is, if an average non-addicted 70 kg (154 lb) person drinks 10 times as much alcohol (330 grams) within a 15 or 20 minute period as is needed to get a “buzz’ (33 grams–the amount roughly equivalent to two glasses of wine, shots of whiskey, or cans of beer), then there a substantial risk of death. Similarly, if an average person ingests 2 grams of MDMA which is about 16 times the normal recreational dose of 125 mg, then death might occur.” From Drug Toxicity

The table below, from Gable’s 2006 study “Acute toxicity of drugs versus regulatory status”*, we can see further comparisons of the toxicity of various drugs.

Alcohol more deadly than Morphine, Caffiene more deadly than Marijuana

Maybe someone should tell the news presenter, so she can use the correct terminology in the future.

*Gable, R. S. (2006). Acute toxicity of drugs versus regulatory status. In J. M. Fish (Ed.), Drugs and Society: U.S. Public Policy, pp.149-162, Lanham, MD: Rowman & Littlefield Publishers.

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