For an addict this question of worst addiction is pointless when your addiction is either drugs or alcohol as the effect on you and your life is the same, no worse no better. In their most extreme effects, the physical effects of both alcohol and drug use can be equally damaging resulting in heart failures, disfigurement, amputations and death using either substance depending on the what substance is used and how they are used. Equally their psychological effects can lead to memory loss, permanent brain damage, paranoia, and have been liked to psychosis.
So perhaps the question is really targeted at society as a whole. Our society has sanctioned the use of alcohol and prescription medication and has sought to control other substances. This would suggest that when it comes to determining which is the worst addiction alcohol or drugs, then the law can give is a clear guide.
Unfortunately alcohol has more people in addiction. In the UK many more people are being treated for alcohol addiction and many more deaths are attributed to alcohol addiction. Recent figures suggest 4% of all cancers are attributed to alcohol, whilst alcohol shortens life expectancy in thousands of lives.
The desire to separate alcohol out as a drug when hearing this topic appears to be because the other substances are controlled drugs whereas alcohol is not controlled in the same way.
One argument to explain the perception of drug addiction being seen as worse is due to the crimes which drug use is connected to. These tend to be acquisitive crimes where the criminal will commit a crime to fund their substance and also the possession of the substance is a crime in itself.
Seldom highlighted is that although,
there are few crimes committed in the acquisition of alcohol there are huge
effects after the use of alcohol. Alcohol criminality takes place after using
it. In the UK
late night TV is awash with programmes dedicated to highlighting the diversity
and depth of criminal behaviour often done under the influence of alcohol.
Despite this society is very accepting of this behaviour. The way in which
alcohol impacts on our society, though well documented, remains very
acceptable, from manslaughter, sexual assaults, suicide, street and domestic
violence, drink driving, even planes being diverted committed under the