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Drugs Ranking

This is the first ranking based upon scientific evidence of harm to both individuals and society. It was devised by government advisers - then ignored by ministers because of its controversial findings 


1: Heroin (Class A) 
ORIGIN: Vast majority comes from poppy fields of Afghanistan 
MEDICAL: Sedative made from the opium poppy. Can be smoked or injected to produce a 'rush'. Users feel lethargic but experience severe cravings for the drug 
NO. OF UK USERS: 40,000 
NO. OF UK DEATHS IN 2004: 744 
STREET VALUE: 30-100 a gram 
DANGER RATING: 2.75/3 

2: Cocaine (Class A) 
ORIGIN: Made from coca shrubs from Colombia and Bolivia 
MEDICAL: Stimulant made from leaves of the coca bush. Increases alertness and confidence but raises heart rate and blood pressure and users will crave it 
NO. OF UK USERS: 800,000 
NO. OF UK DEATHS IN 2004: 147 
STREET VALUE: 30-55 a gram 
DANGER RATING: 2.25/3 

3: Barbiturates (Class B) 
ORIGIN: Synthetic lab-made drugs, used to be prominent in clubs 
MEDICAL:Powerful sedatives. Widely prescribed as sleeping pills but dangerous in overdose and now superseded by safer drugs 
NO. OF UK USERS: Not many 
NO. OF UK DEATHS IN 2004: 14 
STREET VALUE: 1-2 a tablet 
DANGER RATING: 2.10/3 

4: Street Methadone (Class A) 
ORIGIN: Synthetic drug similar to heroin but less addictive 
MEDICAL: Similar to morphine and heroin and used to wean addicts off these drugs because it is less sedating. Street versions may be contaminated 
NO. OF UK USERS: 20,000 
NO. OF UK DEATHS IN 2004: 200 
STREET VALUE: 2 a dose 
DANGER RATING: 1.90/3 

5: Alcohol (Legal) 
ORIGIN: Brewed across the world in many different forms 
MEDICAL:Central nervous system depressant used to reduce inhibitions and increase sociability. Increasing doses lead to intoxication, coma and respiratory failure 
NO. OF UK USERS: Most adults 
NO. OF UK DEATHS IN 2004: 22,000 
STREET VALUE: 2.25 pint of lager 
DANGER RATING: 1.85/3 

6: Ketamine (Class C) 
ORIGIN: Anaesthetic drug popular on club and rave scene 
MEDICAL:Intravenous anaesthetic used on humans and animals which, when taken in tablet form, creates hallucinatory experiences 
NO. OF UK USERS: Unknown 
NO. OF UK DEATHS IN 2004: N/A 
STREET VALUE: 15-50 a gram 
DANGER RATING: 1.80/3 

7: Benzodiazopines (Class C) 
ORIGIN: Tranquilisers used to beat anxiety and insomnia 
MEDICAL:The most common prescription tranquillisers. Effective sedatives which have a calming effect, reducing anxiety, but are addictive 
NO. OF UK USERS: 160,000 
NO. OF UK DEATHS IN 2004: 206 
STREET VALUE: Prescription drug 
DANGER RATING: 1.75/3 

8: Amphetamines (Class B) 
ORIGIN: Synthetic stimulants snorted, mixed in drink or injected 
MEDICAL:Man-made drugs that increase heart rate and alertness. Users may feel paranoid. Newer form, methamphetamine, is addictive 
NO. OF UK USERS: 650,000 
NO. OF UK DEATHS IN 2004: 33 
STREET VALUE: 2-10 a gram 
DANGER RATING: 1.70/3 

9: Tobacco (Legal) 
ORIGIN: Most of the leaf comes from the Americas 
MEDICAL: Contains nicotine, a fast-acting stimulant which is highly addictive. Tobacco causes lung cancer and increases the risk of heart disease 
NO. OF UK USERS: 12.5m 
NO. OF UK DEATHS IN 2004: 114,000 
STREET VALUE: 4.50 a packet 
DANGER RATING: 1.65/3 

10: Buprenorphine (Class C) 
ORIGIN: Can be made in a laboratory 
MEDICAL: More expensive alternative to methadone used to wean addicts off heroin. Preferred by some addicts because it leaves them more 'clear headed' 
NO. OF UK USERS: Unknown 
NO. OF UK DEATHS IN 2004: N/A 
STREET VALUE: Unknown 
DANGER RATING: 1.55/3 

11: Cannabis (Class C) 
ORIGIN: Plant is easily cultivated in temperate climates 
MEDICAL: Leaves of the cannabis sativa plant or resin can be smoked or eaten. It is a relaxant but stronger forms can also cause hallucinations and panic attacks 
NO. OF UK USERS: 3m 
NO. OF UK DEATHS IN 2004: 16 
40-100 an ounce 
DANGER RATING: 1.40/3 

12: Solvents (Legal) 
ORIGIN: Organic compounds found in glues, paints, lighter fluid 
MEDICAL: Includes glue, gas lighters, some aerosols and paint thinners. Produces euphoria and loss of inhibitions but can cause blackouts and death 
NO. OF UK USERS: 37,000 
NO. OF UK DEATHS IN 2004: 53 
STREET VALUE: 9.99 a tin of paint 
DANGER RATING: 1.35/3 

13: 4-MTA (Class A) 
ORIGIN: Amphetamine derivative; similar effects to ecstasy 
MEDICAL: Amphetamine derivative, similar to ecstasy, and also known as 'flatliners'. Popular dance drug, producing feelings of euphoria 
NO. OF UK USERS: Unknown 
NO. OF UK DEATHS IN 2004: N/A 
STREET VALUE: Unknown 
DANGER RATING: 1.30/3 

14: LSD (Class A) 
ORIGIN: Hallucinogenic, synthetic drug more popular in 1960s 
MEDICAL: Man-made drug that has a strong effect on perception. Effects include hallucinations and loss of sense of time. A 'bad trip' can cause anxiety 
NO. OF UK USERS: 70,000 
NO. OF UK DEATHS IN 2004: N/A 
STREET VALUE: 1-5 a tab 
DANGER RATING: 1.25/3 

15: Methylphenidate (Class B) 
ORIGIN: Medicine, similar to amphetamines 
MEDICAL: The chemical name for Ritalin, the stimulant drug used to treat children with attention deficit hyperactive disorder which helps them concentrate 
NO. OF UK USERS: Unknown 
NO. OF UK DEATHS IN 2004: N/A 
STREET VALUE: Unknown 
DANGER RATING: 1.20/3 

16: Anabolic Steroids (Class C) 
ORIGIN: Hormones used by bodybuilders and sportsmen 
MEDICAL: Synthetic drugs that have a similar effect to hormones such as testosterone. Used by body builders to increase muscle bulk 
NO. OF UK USERS: 38,000 
NO. OF UK DEATHS IN 2004: N/A 
STREET VALUE: 7.99 a tablet 
DANGER RATING: 1.15/3 

17: GHB (Class C) 
ORIGIN: Synthetic drug, sold as 'liquid ecstasy' 
MEDICAL: The date rape drug, Gammahydroxybutyrate, is a sedative that has a relaxing effect, reducing inhibitions, but can lead to stiff muscles and fits 
NO. OF UK USERS: Not many 
NO. OF UK DEATHS IN 2004: 3 
STREET VALUE: 15 a bottle 
DANGER RATING: 1.10/3 

18: Ecstasy (Class A) 
ORIGIN: Synthetic drug in tablets; popular in dance scene 
MEDICAL: MDMA or similar man-made chemicals. Causes adrenaline rushes and feelings of wellbeing but also anxiety and high body temperature 
NO. OF UK USERS: 800,000 
NO. OF UK DEATHS IN 2004: 33 
STREET VALUE: 1-5 a pill 
DANGER RATING: 1.05/3 

19: Alkyl Nitrites (Legal) 
ORIGIN: Liquid, better known as 'poppers'; inhaled 
MEDICAL: Gives a strong, joyous rush and a burst of energy for a few minutes which quickly fades and can leave a powerful headache 
NO. OF UK USERS: 550,000 
NO. OF UK DEATHS IN 2004: N/A 
STREET VALUE: 2-6 for 10ml 
DANGER RATING: 0.95/3 

20: Khat (Legal) 
ORIGIN: Green-leaf shrub grown in region of Southern Africa 
MEDICAL: Natural stimulant, its leaves are chewed to produce a feeling of wellbeing and happiness. Popular with the Somali community 
NO. OF UK USERS: 40,000 
NO. OF UK DEATHS IN 2004: Not many 
STREET VALUE: 4 a bunch 
DANGER RATING: 0.80/3

  Also see, ...

War on Drugs - Pros And Cons

Is Ecstasy that Bad?

 



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