It is not often that you run into someone who lives up to their name, but Professor Nutt has proven that he can. Professor David Nutt is a chairman on the Advisory Council on the Misuse of Drugs. This council is trying to advise the British government on their stance on ecstasy. It is expected that they will recommend that ecstasy be downgraded from a Class A drug to a Class B drug. Furthermore, Professor Nutt has published an article in the Journal of Psychopharmacology explaining his views.
In it, he states that “Drug harm can be equal to harms in other parts of life. There is not much difference between horse-riding and ecstasy.” He went on to point out that horseback riding caused over 100 deaths a year, whereas deaths from ecstasy was only 30 last year- “This attitude raises the critical question of why society tolerates – indeed encourages – certain forms of potentially harmful behaviour but not others such as drug use.”
A spokesperson for the ACMD was quoted as saying, “The recent article by Professor David Nutt published in the Journal of Psychopharmacology was done in respect of his academic work and not as chair of the ACMD. Professor Nutt’s academic work does not prejudice that which he conducts as chair of the ACMD.”
I wonder if the spokesperson was also named Nutt, because if that is the case, we should crack both nuts. Firstly, as chairman of a committee that advises the government on how to handle misuse of drugs, Professor Nutt should clearly understand the impact of illegal drugs on society. It is not just in terms of deaths that we should consider the dangers of drugs. It is also the harm it does to the body, physical and psychological, without causing death. Perhaps, Professor Nutt has been on two many ecstasy trips to understand that.
Comparing drug use to horseback riding is utter and complete nonsense. Yes, accidents happen to those who ride horseback, but taken as a whole, the incidence is small. In addition, horseback riding has health benefits, which ecstasy does not. Why did he not go ahead and ban driving altogether? After all, look at the number of deaths on the road every year.
Lastly, does the spokesperson know what he is saying? How can Professor Nutt’s academic work be separate from his work as chairman of the ACMD? He is clearly voicing his own personal opinion, not any academically sound research. What is Britain coming to if they are employing Nutts in the highest positions as advisors.
The old adage of “sometimes you feel like a nut” doesn’t even apply. Once a Nutt, always a nut.