Much has been written all over the internet about the sacking of David Nutt, the chair of the UK Advisory Committee on the Misuse of Drugs, for his stance that cannabis, ecstasy and LSD are less harmful than alcohol or tobacco. Two of his fellow committee members also quit in protest, and more may follow.
I don’t think I need to say much here at all, but I’d like to point interested people to places where information is available. I’ve been watching the story unfold and have found it interesting to watch the government and popular press go into damage control mode. There have been some blatant attempts to cast doubt* on the science behind the paper that got him sacked.
I think probably the funniest bit was from the Home Office: “The home secretary expressed surprise and disappointment over Professor Nutt’s comments which damage efforts to give the public clear messages about the dangers of drugs.”
So, by presenting the scientific evidence to the public directly, Prof Nutt was damaging the clear message the government gives the public? Which clear message is that then? This one? (FRANK – which is, frankly, laughable). Or do they mean Gordon Brown saying that skunk is lethal? Because that’s such a clear message to all the people who’ve smoked it and not died. Obviously giving people facts is sullying this clear message. Oh and by the way, England – ‘new’ skunk has been around in Unzud since the mid-90s. Just saying.
I think these two articles are worth reading even if you don’t read anything else:
Bad Science on the Nutt Sack Affair.
BBC article on the politics around the sacking.
Anyway, if you think the whole Nutt thing is crazy like a crazy thing, there are a couple of things you can do: Join the Facebook group (25,000 as at today – that’s 20,000 since I joined it). Facebook doesn’t change anything but it does bring together a large group of similar-minded people, create networks and provide information as it comes to hand. And Sign the petition. You can do this if you’re an expatriate so you don’t have to be living in England. There are 5,000 signatures on it currently. Even if it doesn’t get Nutt reinstated, the response to this sacking will make governments worldwide aware that people are not just sitting there letting the wool be pulled over their eyes by politicians who would feed us misinformation about things that affect our health.
Because for once, it’s not just the folks with an interest in drug policy who are taking notice.
* Daily Mail. Nuff said.