Sacked drugs adviser says Government will eventually “have to accept” his advice

Prof David Nutt, the drugs adviser sacked by the Government last year, has said that they will eventually "have to accept" that his scientific view is "correct"

The drugs adviser sacked by the Government last year has said that they will eventually “have to accept” that his scientific view is “correct”. In an interview with Left Foot Forward’s Mark Thompson, David Nutt explained why he felt his new drugs committe would work where the Advisory Council on the Misuse of Drugs (ACMD) had failed.

Professor Nutt said of the new Independent Scientific Committee on Drugs:

“It contains 20 top scientists, a lot of them from the ACMD, spanning all the range of science right through from chemistry to human pharmacology and clinical experience. I think this will become the voice of science on drugs in the country. The ACMD science group has pretty much disbanded – there’s only two scientists left. They cannot do the science.

“I’m hoping eventually the Government may well say “ok, we’ll let the independent committee do the science and we’ll contract them to produce some scientific reports”, and then the ACMD can do policy and we can do science and then people will know exactly where they stand because at present everything gets mixed up with political interference.

“I think the Government will have to listen because the people will listen, the public will listen, the media will come, and they’re already coming to us as the opinion on drugs and I think eventually the Government will have to accept that we are the correct, we’re the best scientific opinion they can get on drugs and why not come to us?

“To do something other than that would actually, there would be endless battles between our scientists and their scientists and our scientists are stronger, we’ve got very strong scientists; people would see that we were telling the truth and they would never believe what the Government scientists say.”

Watch the interview:

Earlier, he had described the problems with the present system, saying:

“We need to have a re-think and go to a science based policy. At the moment, a bit of it is science based, a bit of it is moral based and a bit of it politically based and it just confuses people – no one knows for sure exactly what it means when a drug is in a particular class…

“I think also people are confused because drugs like alcohol and tobacco are legal and they kind of deny the fact that they’re drugs and so a lot of people are very comfortable with the fact that other drugs are things that bad people take, the underclass…”

He added:

“I would completely dismantle the classification system and rebuild it in an evidence-based way and I would remove the penalties for drug posession. I think people shouldn’t be penalised for posessing drugs or using drugs – they should be treated in a different way like they do in Portugal.

“We should understand why they use them and try to minimise the harms and i think imprisoning people for using drugs is truly the most expensive and ridiculous way of dealing with the problem.”

• Read Mark’s review of “An Audience with Professor David Nutt”, an event at Reading University last week in which he outlined how best to proceed.

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