Bankers' Cocaine Habit 'To Blame' For Financial Crisis Says David Nutt, Ex-Drugs Tsar

A former government drugs tsar who was sacked from his role after suggesting horse-riding was as dangerous as ecstasy has waded into the debate about the financial crisis, saying bankers' cocaine habit was to blame for the economic meltdown.

Professor David Nutt told the Sunday Times that the class A drug had made bankers "overconfident" and led to them taking more risks.

He blamed cocaine for the recent financial crash as well as the 1995 collapse of Barings bank, saying the white powder contributed to bankers' "culture of excitement and drive and more and more and more. It is a 'more' drug".

David Nutt was sacked by the government

The 61-year-old is a professor of neuropsychopharmacology at Imperial College London and is in favour of decriminalising a number of drugs, hitting headlines last week after claiming the government's policy on magic mushrooms, ecstasy and cannabis made it difficult to study their beneficial qualities.

He insisted the "insane" and "absurd" laws hindered harnessing the chemical psilocybin, which could be used to treat depression. He told the BBC it would cost him £6,000 to buy a licence in order to study the drug, or he would be forced to buy it on the street which his "ethics committee would not allow."

He said: "We have regulations which are 50 years old, have never been reviewed and they are holding us back, they're stopping us doing the science and I think it's a disgrace actually."

In June last year he claimed that legalising or decriminalising cannabis would cut alcohol consumption by a quarter.

Nutt, was sacked by the Labour government in 2009 for opposing ministers' decision to upgrade Cannabis from a class C to class B drug and arguing there was "not much difference" between riding and ectascy.

"A regulated market for those drugs is the best way forward," he claimed.

"Cannabis is not safe, but in population terms but I believe that kind of regulation would have a net benefit on public health."

"I think you might find you might reduce alcohol consumption by a quarter if you went with a Dutch model," he concluded.