The Boston Globe offers a good summary of the recent U.K. row over drug classification:
In the long and tortured debate over drug policy, one of the strangest episodes has been playing out this fall in the United Kingdom, where the country’s top drug adviser was recently fired for publicly criticizing his own government’s drug laws.…
The list, printed as a chart with the unassuming title “Mean Harm Scores for 20 Substances,” ranked a set of common drugs, both legal and illegal, in order of their harmfulness – how addictive they were, how physically damaging, and how much they threatened society. Many drug specialists now consider it one of the most objective sources available on the actual harmfulness of different substances.
That ranking showed, with numbers, what Nutt was fired for saying out loud: Overall, alcohol is far worse than many illegal drugs. So is tobacco. Smoking pot is less harmful than drinking, and LSD is less damaging yet.