human beings are amazing creatures

In response to a post on Gizmodo about the humane and sensible NYPD program of police officers carrying Narcan to give to overdosing heroin users, this comment appears:

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So that’s the opinion of MartiniGuy.

Here’s a chart showing the harm factor of different drugs, according to a major study from Imperial College London, which considered both harm to the user and to others:

Alcohol 72
Heroin 55
Crack 54
Crystal meth 33
Cocaine 27
Tobacco 26
Amphetamine/speed 23
Cannabis (marijuana) 20
GHB 18
Benzodiazepines (e.g. valium) 15
Ketamine 15
Methadone 14
Mephedrone (aka drone, MCAT) 13
Butane 10
Khat  9
Ecstacy  9
Anabolic steroids  9
LSD  7
Buprenorphine  6
Mushrooms  5

 And here’s a chart showing deaths from various drugs, showing a larger and growing alcohol deaths problem and a smaller and steady heroin deaths problem:

I think almost everybody is probably like MartiniGuy: alcohol abuse is “normal,” heroin abuse isn’t, so let the heroin users die. Our capacity to fit our moral understanding to our personal behavior is very powerful.