The Home Secretary has been displaying some rather statist behavior of late (see here & here). However, his latest attempt to stifle debate and research contradicting government policy is particularly authoritarian.
As a distinguished scientist, Dr Nutt has proven been unafraid to speak out about the findings of drug research. In this way, he has been able to provide the public with more information on the actual risks of illegal and legal drug-related choices. Yesterday’s defense of his position is clear and logical, even if does not call for the legalization and medicalization of currently illegal drugs.
This is not the first time the government has ignored expertise on this matter. The Advisory Council on the Misuse of Drugs’ recommendation not to reclassify cannabis was contradicred by Jacqui Smith. Dr Nutt was also forced to apologize for remarks made comparing the risk of ecstasy to horse-riding. Lucky he did, else the government might have crimanalized that too.
What passes for debate and grown-up discussion of the issues of drugs is pitiful. It is only when the myths are swept away, that reasoned policy will emerge. Close-minded, hypocritical and cowardly; our politicians have a long way to go.