Tag Archives: ecstacy

Opinion: The Nutt affair – or, the thin line between evidence and policy

Firstly, a disclaimer: I am a scientist, who is also interested in governance and politics, so the following post may come across as somewhat heated. Apologies, but I do feel that the recent furore over Prof. David Nutt’s sacking as Chair of the Advisory Council on the Misuse of Drugs (ACMD) goes right to the heart of why I took up both science and politics as profession and interest respectively.

We begin with Prof. Nutt’s most recent criticism of the government’s drugs policy, which attracted headlines for claiming that alcohol, despite being legal and freely available, was more harmful than the Class A narcotic ecstasy (MDMA). At first sight this may seem like an outlandish statement to make, but the evidence, collated by Prof. Nutt, suggests otherwise; granted, the recent publication from Nutt’s The Centre for Crime and Justice Studies (CCJS) at King’s College London wasn’t peer-reviewed, but the methodologies used to calculate his ‘harm index’ were so, and published in one of the most respected medical journals, The Lancet in 2007 (the full article is behind a paywall, contact me if you want the pdf…). Just to repeat this – using what seems to me to be a robust method, taking into account everything from physical harm to the user to social harms at large, ecstasy does indeed seem to be less dangerous than alcohol, and it’s using this tried and tested method of enquiry that Nutt used to conclude that cannabis should remain a class C drug.

Posted in Op-eds | Also tagged , , , , , , and | 9 Comments
Advert



Recent Comments

  • User Avatarsuzanne Fletcher 27th May - 10:06am
    Amna Ahmed is absolutely right. " Recognising others’ need even when we have distractions of our own is part of our identity, or “British values”,...
  • User AvatarDavid Evans 27th May - 9:57am
    I agree wholeheartedly with Philip. When Caron says "I would go as far as to say that if you are spending the majority of your...
  • User AvatarAlex Macfie 27th May - 9:43am
    expats: This Janice Turner is not the current Lib Dem party leader. It's not clear whether she is even a party member. She seems to...
  • User AvatarDenis Loretto 27th May - 9:33am
    Unlike Expats I thought the Andrew Neil interview was as much a car crash for Corbyn as the previous one with May was a car...
  • User Avatarmatt 27th May - 9:19am
    I hope that Norman lamb retains his seat. Although he is not my constituency MP now, I am looking to move to North Norfolk and...
  • User Avatarexpats 27th May - 9:00am
    Jeremy Corbyn....“No rationale based on the actions of any government can remotely excuse, or even adequately explain, outrages like this week’s massacre,” he said, speaking...