Izawwlgood wrote:I linked around a bit but couldn't find the criteria they base this ranking on. "Harmful" to user? To someone drugged? To someone habitually using, vs. one time using? Habit forming?
According to the full text, the harmfulness index is based upon 3 criteria: Physical, Dependence, and Social.
Assessment of the propensity of a drug to cause physical harm—ie, damage to organs or systems—involves a systematic consideration of the safety margin of the drug in terms of its acute toxicity, as well as its likelihood to produce health problems in the long term. The effect of a drug on physiological functions—eg, respiratory and cardiac—is a major determinant of physical harm. The route of administration is also relevant to the assessment of harm. Drugs that can be taken intravenously—eg, heroin—carry a high risk of causing sudden death from respiratory depression, and therefore score highly on any metric of acute harm. Tobacco and alcohol have a high propensity to cause illness and death as a result of chronic use. Recently published evidence shows that long-term cigarette smoking reduces life expectancy, on average, by 10 years. Tobacco and alcohol together account for about 90% of all drug-related deaths in the UK.
This dimension of harm involves interdependent elements—the pleasurable effects of the drug and its propensity to produce dependent behaviour. Highly pleasurable drugs such as opioids and cocaine are commonly abused, and the street value of drugs is generally determined by their pleasurable potential. Drug-induced pleasure has two components—the initial, rapid effect (colloquially known as the rush) and the euphoria that follows this, often extending over several hours (the high). The faster the drug enters the brain the stronger the rush, which is why there is a drive to formulate street drugs in ways that allow them to be injected intravenously or smoked: in both cases, effects on the brain can occur within 30 seconds. Heroin, crack cocaine, tobacco (nicotine), and cannabis (tetrahydrocannabinol) are all taken by one or other of these rapid routes. Absorption through the nasal mucosa, as with powdered cocaine, is also surprisingly rapid. Taking the same drugs by mouth, so that they are only slowly absorbed into the body, generally has a less powerful pleasurable effect, although it can be longer lasting.
Drugs harm society in several ways—eg, through the various effects of intoxication, through damaging family and social life, and through the costs to systems of health care, social care, and police. Drugs that lead to intense intoxication are associated with huge costs in terms of accidental damage to the user, to others, and to property. Alcohol intoxication, for instance, often leads to violent behaviour and is a common cause of car and other accidents. Many drugs cause major damage to the family, either because of the effect of intoxication or because they distort the motivations of users, taking them away from their families and into drug-related activities, including crime.
I'm just gonna edit the full text into the OP for convenience.
EDIT: Nevermind, too long.
What you don't understand, you can make mean anything.