Sunday, November 01, 2009

Tell the truth on drugs and get fired

This is exactly what happened to Britain with the Chairman of the Home Office's Advisory Council on the Misuse of Drugs, Professor David Nutt. He has been followed by Dr Les King also a member of the Advisory Council.

Professor Nutt said that cannabis has had its classification, for legal purposes, "upgraded" to Class B status for political reasons. He was removed because his comments were seen as political and unacceptable.

He claimed alcohol can be more dangerous than cannabis or ecstasy, which of course goes "off message" with the view the government wishes to express - simply that drugs must be worse, hence they are illegal. The truth is more than those who want to ban harmful substances know it is far too difficult and publicly unacceptable to ban alcohol, so demonise those that are banned as being worse.

Of course all drugs, including alcohol, can have serious health effects and affect brain functioning. There can be no doubt of the danger, but it appears that having an honest rational debate about this is beyond the capability of the British government.

Lauren Booth in the Mail on Sunday has a tale of her own life that outlines perhaps why all of this doesn't seem to wash with some of the public, for as a child her parents smoked weed and would drink, the effects were different:

"Because in my home, as in far too many others, the question wasn’t what was legal and what wasn’t, nor what was cool or what was not. It was this: laughing adults, stoned on illegal weed or violent, frightening ones, drunk on legal lager?

She rightfully calls for a more informed debate on why people do become addicted to substances, but this step just takes things backwards".

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