Alcohol More Harmful Than Heroin

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Alcohol More Harmful Than Heroin

A new study has discovered that alcohol is a more dangerous drug than heroin and cocaine. The report is from Britain’s Independent Scientific Committee on Drugs. Its research classified drugs on the basis of the harm they do in our society. Alcohol came top of the list, with heroin second and cocaine third. Researchers created nine categories of harm that drugs can do "from death to damage to mental functioning and loss of relationships," and seven types of harm they do to others. Experts in Britain are now calling for new laws to control alcohol. Don Shenker from the group Alcohol Concern said: “The government should now urgently ensure alcohol is made less affordable and invest in prevention and treatment services to deal with the rise in alcohol dependency that has occurred."

The research was led by a former government drugs advisor, Professor David Nutt. He has been calling for a change in the way Britain classifies drugs for many years. He was fired in 2009 for his views and claimed the government was more interested in politics than scientific evidence. Any laws that make alcohol a dangerous drug would cause harm to any government trying to win an election. However, the current study is very extensive and strongly suggests he was right to call for a reclassification. Professor Nutt told Britain’s Guardian newspaper: "We need to rethink how we deal with drugs in the light of these new findings." One suggested change is that cigarettes are put in the same category as cocaine, because they cause as much harm to the individual and society.

WARM-UPS

1. DRUGS: Walk around the class and talk to other students about drugs. Change partners often. Sit with your first partner(s) and share your findings.

2. CHAT: In pairs / groups, decide which of these topics or words from the article are most interesting and which are most boring.

  new / dangerous drugs / society / alcohol / relationships / experts / prevention / rise / drugs advisor / change / fired / politics / rethink / evidence / cigarettes / individual

Have a chat about the topics you liked. Change topics and partners frequently.

3. HARMFUL: How harmful are these? Complete this table with your partner(s). Change partners and share what you wrote. Change and share again.

  Your society How harmful? Laws needed?
Alcohol      
Nicotine      
Marijuana      
Caffeine      
Heroin      
Prescription drugs      

4. ALCOHOL: Students A strongly believe alcohol is a dangerous drug; Students B strongly believe it isn’t.  Change partners again and talk about your conversations.

5. SOCIETY: Who does alcohol most harm? Rank these and share your rankings with your partner. Put the most harmful at the top. Change partners and share your rankings again.

  • unborn children
  • battered wives
  • abused children
  • the drinker
  • traffic accident victims
  • victims of drink-related violence
  • people who live near bars/pubs
  • everyone

6. HEROIN: Spend one minute writing down all of the different words you associate with the word ‘heroin’. Share your words with your partner(s) and talk about them. Together, put the words into different categories.

 

BEFORE READING / LISTENING

1. TRUE / FALSE: Read the headline. Guess if  a-h  below are true (T) or false (F).

a. Researchers have found that alcohol is a bigger danger than cocaine. T / F
b. The research was on how harmful drugs are to people and societies. T / F
c. No one in the U.K. wants to change the laws about alcohol. T / F
d. One person wants to make alcohol cheaper to buy. T / F
e. The leader of the research previously lost his government job. T / F
f. Making strict alcohol laws doesn’t help governments stay in power. T / F
g. The study from Mr Nutt does not suggest a reclassification of drugs. T / F
h. One suggestion is to put cigarettes and cocaine in different categories. T / F

2. SYNONYM MATCH: Match the following synonyms from the article.

1. discovered a. consultant
2 basis b. handle
3. categories c. broad
4. experts d. found
5. deal with e. groups
6. advisor f. proof
7. fired g. grounds
8. evidence h. proposed
9. extensive i. specialists
10. suggested j. sacked

3. PHRASE MATCH:  (Sometimes more than one choice is possible.)

1. alcohol is a more dangerous a. for a change
2 classified drugs on the basis of b. of the list
3. Alcohol came top c. alcohol dependency
4. ensure alcohol is made d. of these new findings
5. deal with the rise in e. drug than heroin
6. He has been calling f. for his views
7. He was fired in 2009 g. to the individual
8. more interested in politics h. the harm they do
9. deal with drugs in the light i. than scientific evidence
10. they cause as much harm j. less affordable

 
 

WHILE READING / LISTENING

GAP FILL: Put the words into the gaps in the text.

A new study has ____________ that alcohol is a more dangerous drug than heroin and cocaine. The report is from Britain’s Independent Scientific Committee on Drugs. Its ____________ classified drugs on the ____________ of the harm they do in our society. Alcohol came top of the list, with heroin second and cocaine third. Researchers created nine ____________ of harm that drugs can do "from death to ____________ to mental functioning and loss of relationships," and seven types of harm they do to ____________. Experts in Britain are now calling for new laws to control alcohol. Don Shenker from the group Alcohol Concern said: “The government should now urgently ____________ alcohol is made less affordable and invest in prevention and treatment services to ____________ with the rise in alcohol dependency that has occurred."     
damage 
ensure 
basis 
deal 
discovered 
others 
research 
categories
The research was ____________ by a former government drugs advisor, Professor David Nutt. He has been ____________ for a change in the way Britain classifies drugs for many years. He was ____________ in 2009 for his views and claimed the government was more interested in politics than scientific ____________. Any laws that make alcohol a dangerous drug would cause harm to any government trying to win an election. However, the current study is very extensive and ____________ suggests he was right to call for a reclassification. Professor Nutt told Britain’s Guardian newspaper: “We need to rethink how we deal with drugs in the ____________ of these new findings." One suggested change is that cigarettes are put in the same ____________ as cocaine, because they cause as much harm to the individual and ____________.    
category 
fired 
society 
strongly 
led 
light 
calling 
evidence

 

LISTENING – Listen and fill in the gaps

A new ________________________ alcohol is a more dangerous drug than heroin and cocaine. The report is from Britain’s Independent Scientific Committee on Drugs. Its research classified drugs ________________________ they do in our society. Alcohol came top of the list, with heroin second and cocaine third. Researchers created nine ________________________ drugs can do "from death to damage to mental functioning ________________________," and seven types of harm they do to others. Experts in Britain are now calling for new laws to control alcohol. Don Shenker from the group Alcohol Concern said: “The government ________________________ alcohol is made less affordable and invest in prevention and treatment services ________________________ alcohol dependency that has occurred."

The research ________________________ government drugs advisor, Professor David Nutt. He has been calling ________________________ Britain classifies drugs for many years. He was fired in 2009 for his views and claimed the government was ________________________ than scientific evidence. Any laws that make alcohol a dangerous drug would cause harm to any government trying to win an election. However, the current study is very extensive and ________________________ right to call for a reclassification. Professor Nutt told Britain’s Guardian newspaper: "We ________________________ deal with drugs in the light of these new findings." One suggested change is that cigarettes are put in the same category as cocaine, because they ________________________ individual and society.

 

AFTER READING / LISTENING

1. WORD SEARCH: Look in your dictionary / computer to find collocates, other meanings, information, synonyms … for the words ‘top’ and ‘list’.

top list    
 

  • Share your findings with your partners.
  • Make questions using the words you found.
  • Ask your partner / group your questions.

2. ARTICLE QUESTIONS: Look back at the article and write down some questions you would like to ask the class about the text.

  • Share your questions with other classmates / groups.
  • Ask your partner / group your questions.

3. GAP FILL: In pairs / groups, compare your answers to this exercise. Check your answers. Talk about the words from the activity. Were they new, interesting, worth learning…?

4. VOCABULARY: Circle any words you do not understand. In groups, pool unknown words and use dictionaries to find their meanings.

5. TEST EACH OTHER: Look at the words below. With your partner, try to recall how they were used in the text:

  • report
  • basis
  • list
  • loss
  • control
  • rise
  • calling
  • fired
  • views
  • right
  • light
  • cigarettes

 

STUDENT DRUGS SURVEY

Write five GOOD questions about drugs in the table. Do this in pairs. Each student must write the questions on his / her own paper.

When you have finished, interview other students. Write down their answers.

  STUDENT 1

_____________

STUDENT 2

_____________

STUDENT 3

_____________

Q.1.       
Q.2.       
Q.3.       
Q.4.       
Q.5.       

  • Now return to your original partner and share and talk about what you found out. Change partners often.
  • Make mini-presentations to other groups on your findings.

 

DRUGS DISCUSSION

STUDENT A’s QUESTIONS (Do not show these to student B)

a) What did you think when you read the headline?
b) What springs to mind when you hear the word ‘alcohol’?
c) How dangerous a drug is alcohol?
d) How can alcohol be more harmful than heroin?
e) What problems does your society have with alcohol?
f) Would the world be a better place without alcohol?
g) At what age is it OK (if at all) for people to start drinking?
h) Should people with alcohol-related diseases pay higher medical costs?
i) Should laws on alcohol be tighter?
j) Would it be possible to ban alcohol in a society?

-----------------------------------------------------------------------------

STUDENT B’s QUESTIONS (Do not show these to student A)

a) Did you like reading this article?
b) Should alcohol be classified as a drug?
c) Why are politicians afraid to be tough with alcohol and cigarettes?
d) What laws would you pass about alcohol if you were president?
e) What are the most damaging drugs in your society?
f) Why did the report suggest putting cigarettes in the same category as cocaine?
g) Do you think we can ever get rid of the drugs problem?
h) What do people take drugs?
i) Should there be more education about drugs in schools?
j) What questions would you like to ask Professor David Nutt?
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A new study has discovered that alcohol is a more dangerous drug than heroin and cocaine. The report is from Britain’s Independent Scientific Committee on Drugs. Its research classified drugs on the basis of the harm they do in our society. Alcohol came top of the list, with heroin second and cocaine third. Researchers created nine categories of harm that drugs can do "from death to damage to mental functioning and loss of relationships," and seven types of harm they do to others. Experts in Britain are now calling for new laws to control alcohol. Don Shenker from the group Alcohol Concern said: “The government should now urgently ensure alcohol is made less affordable and invest in prevention and treatment services to deal with the rise in alcohol dependency that has occurred."
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