q + a




newq + atestingarticlesbooksexperienceslinks

British Government Risk Classification

Sir Kenneth Calman, Govt Chief Medical Officer, has instituted a government directive on how to explain risks to the public in a consistent way, intended for patients with a choice of treatments. They argued that statistics are confusing to normal people, and so they want to establish consistent use of terms so that the 'man in the street' can compare one type of risk with another.
From The Times, 26/9/96 on "On the State of the Public Health", HMSO 1995

Risk of dying in any one year as a result of exposure to the various dangers:

Moderate risk = less than 1:100 but greater than 1:1,000, eg Smoking 10 cigarettes a day, parachuting

Low risk = less than 1:1,000 but greater than 1:10,000, eg Influenza, road accident

Very Low risk = less than 1:10,000 but greater than 1:100,000, eg leukaemia, playing soccer, accident at work, murder

Minimal risk = less than 1:100,000 but greater than1:1,000,000, eg railway accident, horse riding, fishing

Negligible risk = less than 1:1,000,000, eg hit by lightning or radiation leak from nuclear power station

The risk of death from using Ecstasy depends on the number of users and the number of deaths per year, both figures which are disputed. At a recent meeting I attended along with a senior police officer, senior drugs educator and head of drugs agency Lifeline, all were convinced that there are well over a million regular users of Ecstasy, some thought as many as 2 million. On the other hand, the British Crime Survey 1996 reported that there are only 80,000 regular users.
The number of deaths known to be due to Ecstasy (ie, it was found in their blood and there was no other obvious cause) is about seven per year in the UK. Higher figures include 'Ecstasy-associated deaths' of people who have taken Ecstasy but whose death was not directly attributed to the drug.

If we assume a million users, this works out at 1:143,000, implying the risk is "Minimal".

If we assume 80,000 users, this works out at 1:11,430, implying the risk is "Very Low". index

E for Ecstasy contents

Spiritual book index