For those who missed it last month, Channel 4 conducted an investigation into the effects of ecstasy (MDMA) on the brain. 25 participants were each given placebo and MDMA doses whilst their brains were scanned. Afterwards each participant (one of which was Keith Allan!) was interviewed about their experience.
Whilst the show was painfully aware of its precarious position, namely trying to remain disapproving of a drug they were revealing to be relatively harmless, it did throw light on a topic often steeped in shadow. Professor Nutt was a particular joy to watch, especially after his unjust treatment by Alan Johnson in the last Labour government.
Click the link and have a watch:
At the end of the show they announced that a further study has been commissioned to look at the effects of ecstasy on PTSD, but for those of us who believe in legalisation, we were left swinging in the wind.
Why is a drug with such few long term effects illegal, whilst alcohol (a ruthless, addictive, deeply harmful drug) not only remains legal but is socially encouraged? The only arguments seem to be weak protests about feeling depressed for a few days after use, though Professor Nutt stressed that this was actually down to exhaustion from activities conducted whilst on the drug, rather than the drug itself.
MDMA is a very cheap drug to produce. In times of economic hardship it is reckless to leave such an enormous source of revenue in the hands of criminal organisations. Legalise it, test it, tax it. The status quo puts users at risk – and worse! – leaves the government out of pocket!
After meeting with Alan Johnson, three more members of the ACMD (Advisory Council for the Misuse of Drugs ) have resigned: Dr Campbell, Dr John Marsden, and Ian Ragan. The reason for these further departures is the lack of respect given to the scientific community by the government. They claim that the government ignored their advice to keep Cannabis class C and instead upgraded it for – and this may shock you – political reasons! Yes, that’s right. The government was simply trying to grab a few easy votes!
Ok, maybe that’s not shocking, and in fact it’s obvious, but if you are a respected member of the scientific community, it’s a bit bloody embarrassing to look like you’re a part of such nonsense.
The question that needs to be asked is, why has Alan Johnson mishandled this so badly? The only possible answer I can fathom is that he must secretly be pro-legalisation, and is trying to reveal our society for the hypocritical druggy nation it is. The other option – that our home secretary is in fact a grossly incompetent nitwit (and a coward to boot) – is rather too grim to contemplate.
Once again drugs have become the hot-topic, with scientists being put in the firing line for politicians and journalists to make an easy killing and rouse their rabid followers in jubilant screams of blood-thirsty ecstasy.
Professor David Nutt was the first to go, sacked for speaking the truth about the dangers of illegal drugs vs legal ones. One particular comment that caused him to be targeted was claiming that ‘taking ecstasy was no more dangerous than riding a horse’. Of course this led to the Daily Mail Taliban rushing in to condemn such a claim. ‘He is trivialising the deaths of victims of drug abuse’ they babble incoherently, gnawing at their collars and pulling their burqas close. What these zealots fail to see is that it is not trivialising to compare one statistic to another. If anything, it is they who are belittling deaths, but not of those who perish from the extremely rare reaction to E but those who die from horse riding accidents. Does the Daily Mail not think these are regrettable deaths? No, clearly they think a horse riding accident is a trivial laughable thing, and those related to the deceased deserve no sympathy at all.
Since the removal of Professor Nutt two more members of the council have resigned in support. I salute them and hope more follow suit. The government has for too long ignored scientific evidence and instead chased ‘tough’ headlines in the tabloid press. It is ignorant, cowardly and the actions of a theocracy rather than a supposed rational liberal democratic government.