john_j_enright (john_j_enright) wrote,

Legal Drugs Pose Greatest Health Threat, WHO Says

Now THERE is a wacky headline, from Reuters on the web, Mar. 18.

First I like the "WHO says" at the end.

Q: Who says that?
A: WHO says that!

Sounds like the "Who's on first, what's on second" baseball routine.

The big mystery is why do legal drugs pose a health threat? Has aspirin suddenly turned deadly?

No. Actually, when they say "drug" they do not mean medicine. Nor do they mean something we usually call a "drug." They mean tobacco and alcohol.

Is it fair to call tobacco and alcohol drugs? Sure. Does it make for a misleading headline? Absolutely.

What they really mean to say is that alcohol and tobacco are more of a threat than marijuana, cocaine, heroin, ecstasy, meth, etc.

By what standard do they measure the threat? The article says that alcohol and tobacco create "a greater cost to society." We're not even talking about individual health. We're talking about an aggregate social impact.

But it's just logical that the use of legal drugs has greater social impact. That's because legal drugs are more widely used... because they are legal!

Anyway, I'm breathing a sigh of relief. I was afraid that I was going to have to stop using my asthma inhaler.

Relevant Rhyme:

Some get a kick from cocaine.
I'm sure that if
I took even one sniff
It would bore me terrifically too.
But I get a kick out of you.

-Cole Porter

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