Just because alcohol is a legal substance does not mean that it is a safe drug to consume. For socio-political reasons, alcohol remains to be legal to purchase and consume. However, whereas there are some medical implications and usages for what are known as illegal drugs, there is no therapeutic value to alcohol. Just like with illegal drugs, you can overdose on alcohol (alcohol poisoning) but alcohol is worse than illegal drugs because it is the only withdrawal, other than that from benzodiazepines, that is potentially fatal.
Alcohol is worse than illegal drugs because it is socially-acceptable to drink and therefore makes it a more insidious drug. The common perception of alcohol is that it is OK to overindulge for a “good time.”
Effects of alcohol on the brain
Looking at the effects on the brain from long-term drinking, it is clear that alcohol is worse than illegal drugs. Extended alcohol consumption can lead to something called Wernicke-Korsakoff Syndrome, also known as “wet brain.” It is a chronic and debilitating syndrome characterized by persistent learning and memory problems. Patients are forgetful and easily frustrated. They experience difficulty with walking and coordination. Although these patients have problems recalling old information, it is their difficulty in forming new information that is the most striking. For example, a patient can discuss in detail an event but, an hour later might not remember ever having the conversation. People may not be aware that prolonged liver dysfunction can harm the brain, leading to a serious and potentially fatal brain disorder known as hepatic encephalopathy, which causes changes in sleep patterns, mood, and personality; anxiety and depression; severe cognitive effects such as shortened attention span; and problems with coordination. Alcohol–damaged liver cells allow excess amounts of these harmful byproducts to enter the brain, thus harming brain cells.
Alcohol is worse than illegal drugs because it can have serious effects on physical health. And it is not just from drinking a lot over a long time; drinking too much on a single occasion can damage the heart and cause problems such as cardiomyopathy (stretching and drooping of heart muscle); arrhythmias – (irregular heart beat); stroke; high blood pressure.
Alcohol is worse than illegal drugs because heavy drinking takes a toll on the liver, which leads to a variety of problems such as Steatosis, or fatty liver; Alcoholic Hepatitis; Fibrosis; Cirrhosis.
Alcohol is worse than illegal drugs because it causes the pancreas to produce toxic substances that can eventually lead to pancreatitis, dangerous inflammation and swelling that prevents proper digestion. This can lead to malnutrition and therefore affecting brain function.
Drinking too much alcohol makes alcohol is worse than illegal drugs because it increases your risk of developing certain cancers, including cancers of the mouth, esophagus, throat, liver, and breast.
Drinking too much can weaken your immune system, making your body more susceptible to disease. Chronic drinkers are more likely to contract diseases than people who do not drink too much. Drinking a lot on a single occasion reduces the body’s ability to fight off infections, even up to 24 hours after getting drunk.
It’s safe to say that alcohol is worse than illegal drugs.
The World Health Organization estimates that risks linked to alcohol cause 2.5 million deaths per year from heart and liver disease, car accidents, suicides and cancer, accounting for 3.8% of all deaths. Alcohol is the third leading risk factor for premature death and disabilities worldwide.
Scientists with the British Advisory Council on the Misuse of Drugs (ACMD) conducted research that took into account 7 different criteria and found that alcohol is most harmful. On a scale of 0 to 100, with 0 being no harm and 100 being most harmful, they find alcohol is worse than illegal drugs, with a score of 72, followed by heroin with 55 and crack with 54.