A recent study has suggested that alcohol could be more dangerous than substances including crack cocaine.
The research was led by the sacked government drugs advisor David Nutt, with colleagues from the Independent Scientific Committee on Drugs.
It found that alcohol is three times as harmful as cocaine and tobacco on a new scale which looks at the damage a drug does to both the individual user and wider society.
Published in the Lancet, the report gave alcohol a score of 72 out of 100 in terms of harm.
This compares to 55 for heroin and 54 for crack cocaine.
Heroin was found to be the most dangerous drug to individuals.
Mr Nutt told the BBC: "Overall, alcohol is the most harmful drug because it's so widely used.
"Crack cocaine is more addictive than alcohol but because alcohol is so widely used there are hundreds of thousands of people who crave alcohol every day, and those people will go to extraordinary lengths to get it."
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