Britain has gone backwards in the last 10 years in its desperate attempt to prove that some drugs are really harmful: reclassifying cannabis [from C to B] and failing to reclassify MDMA down. Social sciences tells us that what we do makes little difference. We ban mephedrone and use doesn't go down. We've got to have acceptance that there's a value in at least trying to be rational.
David Nutt, Professor of Neuropsychopharmacology at Imperial College London and Chair of the Independent Scientific Committee on Drugs, has eloquently criticised the 'scientific censorship' imposed by the UN single conventions that restricts and chokes the study of controlled substances such as cannabis, MDMA and psilocybin in medicine.
As someone who has worked in recreational drug research for nearly 20 years, I'm very aware of the difficulties in getting research money.However, I remain cynical about this particular project, in terms of the message it may send to some viewers about drug use and how this feeds into a continuing focus on a chemical-based approach to 'treating' mental ill-health.
There's an inherent danger in any sector of education: if the teachings fail to measure up to the truth, then we'll be paving the way for a deep distrust and a greater apathy. With this in mind, it is of tremendous enthusiasm that we welcome Professor Nutt's book: Drugs - Without the Hot Air: Minimising the Harms of Legal and Illegal Drugs.