Over on Mind Hacks, Vaughan Bell has put together a great little post that calls attention to just how worthless, misleading and inaccurate the catch phrase "as addictive as cocaine" has become in the popular press.
To illustrate his point, Bell rattles off a handful of recent examples of things claimed to be as habit-forming as cocaine. They include: World of Warcraft, cannabis, love, porn, power and cupcakes, to name a few.
But here's the thing: all these comparisons are basically crap. Bell explains:
In fact, the concept of ‘addictive as cocaine' really makes very little sense. Even among drugs, cocaine has a unique chemical profile and social context that are the main things that determine its ‘addictiveness'.
Even if you wanted to make the vague analogy that rates of problematic use are similar you'd need to do a decent epidemiological study.
The classic research from the US reports that about 5% of users become cocaine dependent two years after starting the drug.
As Bell rightly points out, no such study exists on the use of WoW, let alone cupcakes.
Read more, including the rest of the (surprisingly extensive) list, over on Mind Hacks.