back to article Jacqui Smith ecstatically ignores more scientific advice

Jacqui Smith is set to again ignore scientific advice on drug misuse by rejecting advice on reclassifying ecstasy. The Home Office will ignore a report from the Advisory Council on the Misuse of Drugs which has just finished a detailed examination of the actual harm caused by ecstacy. The group suggested moving ecstacy from …

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  1. Martin Lyne
    Coat

    Typo

    "Maybe we could save some money by just sacking these *politicians* rather than paying them to offer advice which the *population should be allowed to decide for themselves*"

    There, I fixed it for you.

    Why not, I don't know, put specialists in charge of things, rather than politicians? That way, stuff might be done correctly. Like runing the world and such. Who am I kidding? Everyone loves millions of pages of confusing legislature and an ever constricting definition of what I *can* do.

    Caught with drugs -> prison.

    Burglarise a house, mug people, stab people -> slap on the wrist.

    Better to give the police a job than be a dissenting/deviant voice.

    FYI: I don't do drugs. Well, booze. But that's fine, right?

    And there's never an "apathy for all meaningless options proffered" on a voting ballot, how am I supposed to make my voice heard regarding the state of mod-ieval politricks.

    Mine's the one with the beret, raised fist and pockets full of Fawke's Favourite.

    (Yeah, ECHELON have flagged this thread now, if they want to waste their resources on me then go for it.)

  2. Anonymous Coward
    Happy

    Great!

    I'll continue to subsidise terrorist (because that's where all the drug money is going, it's true, it's in the Daily Mail) by buying sub-standard product and if unlucky die of whatever crap the pills have been cut with....

    I'm not surprised that the government refuse to change a policy that worked so well so far. We all notice how prohibition fixed US alcool problem without any side effects like crime!

    Nearly all drug related (harmful) offences are related to habit financing. Want to cut drug crime and death toll by 99%: Provide free quality drug in controlled environment. Spend a third of current policing/enforcement /prison cost in social care. Approve Iboga treatments for Heroin withdrawal.

  3. Aristotles slow and dimwitted horse Silver badge
    Stop

    I'm sure I heard on Monday...

    A comment from someone involved in this debate somehow who was sanctioned by someone for saying that "horseriding is more dangerous than taking ecstacy".

    Apparently riding horses kills about 100 people a year while taking ecstacy kills about 30.

    But I guess that banning horse riding is not an option.

  4. Steve
    Flame

    Arrogance or ignorance?

    "We are not prepared to send a message to young people that we take ecstasy less seriously."

    I'd just like to know where she get's the impression that "young people" could give a fuck about her opinions either way.

  5. Ash
    Thumb Down

    Heard about this on Radio Two

    I forget who the interviewee was, but (sensationalist idiot) Jeremy Vine posed this horse riding point to some government rep, *specifically* asking about the health implications. She replied with nothing but trite, prohibitionist refrences to how it was illegal, class A, and horse riding was legal, and therefore the two could not be compared.

    It's not just Jacki who's a nutcase.

  6. Tony Gosling
    Happy

    Where do we find a brave and honest politician ?

    It is terrible that sensible discussion and facts on the real risks of drugs are shouted down by the sensationalist media (Daily Mail etc.) and politicians too afraid to admit the truth. Our Presbyterian, puritan PM and his spineless Home Secretary are simply the latest in a long line of politicians that are not brave and honest enough to admit that drug prohibition has been a disaster on any measure (e.g Heroin addicts increased from 1,000 in 1970 when Heroin prescription was legal to 270,000 now).

    I really hope that one day the UK may get some politicians in power who might do something sensible. It is good to see that at least The Reg and a few other publications (Independent newspaper) are prepared to talk about drugs in a factual and reasonable way. Shame the rest of the media is so rubbish.

  7. Anonymous Coward
    Happy

    Whacky Baccy Jacqui

    The listening politician strikes again blissfully ignoring reality and hard scientific evidence. She has to be the worst Home ecretary ever to have served in HM government and that includes Michael Howard. Sacky Jacqui PLEASE !

    Now to put the chemical brothers on and spark a couple of glow sticks.

    Wow flashy light and isn't everybody cuddly.

  8. davefb

    Can kill and does.

    Well fair enough.. So I'm assuming we're banning paracetamol then.

    Or peanuts..

  9. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    As much as

    Wacky Jacky is a douche, it does have a point here.

    Reclassifying E is a stupid idea.

  10. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Down

    Cumulative effects

    "Episodes" are bollocks though.

    If someone's taking Ecstasy every single day for four months the cumulative effect is going to fuck his brain up (seen it happen more than once).

    If someone rides a horse every day their risk multiplies according to probability alone.

    Horse riding has no long-term effect *unless* you have an accident. Drug use does.

    BTW, you say we may as well fire the scientists. Well, if the govt simply did as they recommended every time, we may as well fire the politicians. Scientists are just as blinkered as politicians in their own way, which is why we need both.

  11. Matthew Weekes

    Jacqui Smith

    Stupid ****.

  12. Len Goddard

    Why indeed?

    "Maybe we could save some money by just sacking these scientists rather than paying them to offer advice which the government will then ignore."

    This was exactly my thought when I heard this news on the radio this morning.

    The other good question is, given that the government will ignore any advice that does not correspond with its own prejudices, how long will competent and self-respecting scientists continue to take posts where their work will be ignored or worse, they will be held up to public ridicule for offering unfashionable views.

  13. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Wrong drug

    As people panic about ecstasy etc. and the government try and get more press for their current hot potato, the ultimate gateway drug continues to be used an abused across the UK.

    Totally addictive, and absolutely lethal (even more so is cut with other substances) dihydrogen monoxide is widely available and often sold to and consumed by children. It kills many thousands of people every year. Yet the government does nothing.

    100% of child predators use and are addicted to dihydrogen monoxide. Yet the government does nothing.

    Every sexual predator in a survey of US Super-Max prisons was found to have dihydrogen monoxide in their blood stream. yet the government foes nothing.

    Labour is too busy using your money to pay fat bonuses to their banker chums to be bothered about the dihydrogen monoxide menace afflicting our playgrounds. It is a disgrace.

    Find out the truth and contact your MP! http://www.dhmo.org/

  14. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Speed kills...

    So why have they not just gone and upped speed to a class A, if that's their criteria. And no - I don't mean fast speed, I mean druggy speed. And it's actually the drug that does the killing, rather than hyperhydration by a nervous clubber.

    Stupid government.

  15. Liam

    ffs....

    ok, so alcohol - massively bad for you, responsible for most violent crime and rape... is perfectly legal. most space cadets will admit that the nights that get most out of control are the ones where people just drink booze...

    cannabis - never physically harmed anyone... only people with a susceptability to mental episodes are in any danger.... upgraded to be more dangerous than ketamine!?!?

    ecstacy - kills 1/2 the amount of people a year that BEES do.... still bad mmmkay... dont more people drop dead on the loo than are killed by E? also take into account the amount of idiots taking drugs. why do people mix alcohol and E? hmmm uppers and downers will get me where i want to be... thats like drinking redbull and necking a sleeping tablet... i wonder why some people have heart problems from it? the fact that E is about 10x weaker than they used to be too.... simply not worth bothering... they havent been worth taking for almost 10 years now!

    check out the darwin awards.... it seems anything can be dangerous... should we all stay inside and wrap ourselves in cotton wool?

    no wonder all the younger generations think the goverment are lying deceiptful gits! they disregard medical evidence in favour of draconian laws.

  16. Anonymous Coward
    Unhappy

    But it's not a scientific issue - it's political

    I was a little confused at this: 'Ecstasy can and does kill unpredictably' as justification for keeping it as Class A. I mean, cars can and do kill unpredictably; alcohol can and does kill unpredictably. In contrast, Ecstasy tends to kill fairly predictably (dehydration generally) if it's not cut with odd stuff.

    But then this isn't about science, and hence why Professor Nutt was pushed out at the weekend, for daring to suggest that rational discussion, not blind ranting, is required on the subject of recreational drugs such as ecstasy.

  17. Anonymous Coward
    Unhappy

    Why not just make everything class A

    What the home office seems to be aiming for is that every offence from littering to kiddie touching to mass genocide should be punishable by life in prison. That way the problem of overcrowding in prisons can be solved by cheaply erecting a big wall around Britain, thereby solving all incarceration problems.

    Will someone rid me of this troublesome Home Secretary - election now please.

  18. Dick Emery
    Stop

    Does not matter

    They could give taking illegal drug users the death sentence. It would not stop people taking drugs.

    The laws are as dumb as those that abuse drugs.

  19. Tony Hoyle

    The law is an ass

    When a law becomes as meaningless as the drug laws, and so widely broken that even the police don't seem to give a stuff any more (smoking cannabis in front of police is so common now it's not even commented on.. check out any city centre on a saturday night), then a rethink is needed. Wasting money on those stupid TV adverts doesn't help either.

    The problem is the Daily Mail and its ilk have a lot of political pull, and whilst its readers continue to believe that going within 20 paces an extacy pill means instant death they'll not allow any rational debate.

  20. Mad Mike
    Thumb Down

    On drugs

    This sort of decision really does beg the answer, who's on drugs?

    I'm beginning to think young Jacqui is taking substances far worse than ecstacy. Perhaps she drinks and maybe even smokes. How can alcohol and tobacco be legal when they kill thousands in this country and yet ecstacy that kills a few is made illegal??

    Absolutely brainless, but exactly what we have come to expect.

  21. Mark Browell

    My soundbite hell.

    Home Office Minister Alan Campbell said: "Ecstasy can and does kill unpredictably.

    I agree Alan, it's so much better to be killed predictably, e.g. by smoking or alcoholism.

    Oaf.

  22. Anonymous Coward
    Happy

    whats the point

    who cares??! well me a little but....

    I'll still take one (or two) of these 'highly' daannnngggerous ecstasy pills down my local club with my girlfriend the odd weekend when we feel like it. And have a lovely time too.

    If they want to lock me in prison for this then so be it, but I'll be a constant drain on the taxpayer, unemployable, and branded a class 'A' criminal as a result. that's nice.

    ...or they could actually regulate and legalise ecstasy (so I actually know that it is ecstasy and doesn't partly contain crap put in by some lowlife or are flatliners), and carry on contributing to society in the responsible way that I currently am doing - wow that's radical.

    p.s. it is my understanding Leah Betts died from hyperhydration, and this continues to be you're average punters argument against the 'dangers' of ecstasy. The dangers associated with drugs are largely (if not entirely) the result of criminilisation of drugs and not the drug themselves.

  23. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Try SMS or email

    "We are not prepared to send a message"

    Try email or SMS. Personally I find locking people up to explain to them that there may be unknown long term problems with the drug they are using an odd form of communications.

    Dear UK Citizen, there may be long term effects of the drug you are using, so we're going to lock you up in prison for 7 years for the good of your own health. Your caring snuggly Home Secretary, Nanny Jacqui.

  24. Mike Smith
    Unhappy

    Arguing with a teacher gets you nowhere. So don't bother trying

    I've run out of anything to say about this useless idiot. All I get now is a vague feeling of despair whenever her name is mentioned. Even the most clueless member of Major's cabinet was a shining star compared to Wacqui.

    Oh well, only 448 days max to go before the next election.

  25. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    The most deadly drugs

    are ones produced by Pharms, most of the recreational stuff is fairly harmless. The killer stuff is prescribed by Doctors, and deaths often just recorded as natural causes or accidental.

    Still, Jacqui is just living the high life off tax payers money, what does she care, she is just raking it in off the backs of everyone else, and giving us all the one finger salute by destroying civil liberties, in short she is a jerk.

  26. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    What about...

    While I absolutely do not bother who acid is classfied, I actually do wonder what utter rubbish they talk. For instance, a car 'can and does kill unpredictably'. Or booze. Or BOFHs. And lots of other things for that matter. What does Jacqui do about those threats?

    ea

  27. Norfolk Enchants Paris
    IT Angle

    Talk to the hand

    Seems to be the modus operandi of this autocratic busybody. Say anything you like as long as it is what I want to hear. It's the same with ID cards, CCTV, DNA database etc etc.

    Personally, and from a purely chemical point-of-view, I don't know why E is in a different to speed and methamphetamines. Whichever they are in it should at least be the same as they are all in the same family and all have similar neurological effects upon people.

    The real worry though is how this woman, who let us not forget is morally decrepit although not technically breaking the rules that her colleagues wrote, can dismiss the results of experts. She knows better, that's all I can think.

    It is high time that someone, somewhere reminded her that she is there as part of a government, and government is supposed to be for the people, not of the people.

    I have not and will not use these kind of drugs, and would hate my children to. But they should be classified according to how harmful they really are and not in a subjective, autocratic manner.

    Not sure what this has to do with IT though.

  28. Sarah Bee (Written by Reg staff)

    Re: As much as

    I think the original stupid idea was perpetrated long before this one was floated. The classifications are useless in and of themselves. So this is a pretty pointless squabble, only serving to demonstrate how appalling the mindset of politicians is. Drug debates always highlight their poisonous illogic.

    If only they'd all just dab a bit of MDMA and chill out, etc.

  29. Mike Richards Silver badge

    Don't forget

    Professor Nutt was also forced by Whacky-going-on-actively-dangerous Jacqui to make a public apology for his comparison of risks. Not that he'd got the statistics wrong, but because they didn't agree with her own beliefs.

    Forward to the glorious Stalinist future!

  30. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Wacky Jaqui vs Tories

    As much as I disagree with Wacky Jaqui, I am under no illusion that the Cameron and his but munch Osbourne would do anything different. Labour and the Tories are the only two parties that will ever be in power and both want the vote of 'Middle Britain'.

  31. Pete

    The message to young people is...

    Scientist? Wanker.

  32. Neil Hoskins
    Thumb Down

    The report...

    ...seriously underestimated the dangers. It didn't take into account the fact that if some fucking stupid druggie hippy starts prancing around in front of me with dilated pupils he's likely to get smacked in the gob.

  33. james
    Boffin

    lets start small

    never mind about classification lets start by stopping drugs getting to a small element of our community.say the prison population shouldn't be too hard right? then learn from the lessons and apply on a larger scale. ok a simplification maybe but it strikes me if you can't stop them getting to people who are "cut of from the world" you haven't got a hope in hell of tackling the wider problem. classification is just fluff.

    as for ignoring specialists in the field they got more form than ladbrooks

  34. Anonymous Coward
    Stop

    She is right upon this matter`

    Drugs are bad HmmmK

  35. Anonymous Coward
    Gates Horns

    Re: Re: As much as

    Shurely the orginal idea of the classifications was to educate people that the ones in the A category were badderer for you than the B ones. And people listened as they weren't anti-authority.

    Da yoof today sdgrjhfgvyaljrhf;irfguy

    Sorry I lost interest. Legalise and tax all drugs. blah blah blah, *goes out for a fag break*

  36. Anonymous Coward
    Coat

    I will let Eric Theodore Cartman speak for me on this one

    'Drugs are bad because if you do drugs, you're a hippie. And hippies suck'

    I think that just about covers it.

  37. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    are we suprised?

    Any suprised, I'ev said it before and I'll say it again - government policy is not made based on evidence, it is made based on mindless emotional responces of the repressed masses.

    Any home office minister would have done the exact same thing, they've been doing so for decades. Same score with terrorism, porn, piracy, nuclear power and, climate change.

    My mother was a mental health nurse I got a pretty solid founding knowledge in drug taking, she told me about some of the exciting side effects of drugs like speed (hallucinations a few days later ~ great) or just why would you want to sit around dribbling (heroin). Mums known a few people hooked on sleeping pills ~~~ go figure. But I experimented with this and that and had a nice healthy cannabis habit for five years. All in all 98% of drugs are pretty dull, but I did love being stonned so very much, lazy weekends lost to the fuzzy haze and a half tonne of crisps and jelly sweets whilst playing command and conquer red alert 2.

    Man - those were the days. Or sat out in the fields around the village talking shit and getting high as kites.

    Interesting statistics,

    I know no people who have died of recreational drugs (and hell I know alot of people that take or have taken drugs.)

    I know 1 person who has died from overdosing on prescription drugs.

    I know 1 person who has almost died from overdosing on over the counter drugs whilst drunk.

    I know 3 people who died in a car crash.

    I know a large number of people who have been injured whilst driving.

    I know a large number of people who have been injured whilst drunk.

    But I also know 2 people who are in or have been in jail for dealing drugs. One of them was 17 and only dealt in hash and skunk, got about 4 years. Isn't a shock he got done though, only black kid in the village.

    I know a reasonably large number of people with somekind of record for possessing recreational drugs.

    I also knew a guy who got done for robbing up a rec centre, they gave him 6 months, funny thing was they went "right which of these other burgleries did you do - now you've been done you wont do any time for these it just tidies up our records" turns out he'd robbed up a good 60 places. Ahh well

  38. James
    Stop

    a litte silly really!

    While I agree E's should stay Class A, it is crazy that ANYONE dismisses scientific evidence such as Cannabis is NOT harmful to the masses.

    We need to re-evaluate our government IMHO

  39. John Wilson
    Paris Hilton

    "Protect the public"

    "The Government has a duty to protect the public and firmly believes that ecstasy should remain a Class A drug."

    These are two unrelated statements. The Government has a duty to protect the public from outside threat, and from harm from other people. It does not have a duty to protect a person from themselves, and tacitly admits this when it allows smoking and drinking.

    It could be argued that a responsible government should make accurate information about drugs available (something that it currently, and most emphatically, does not do), but it is not the case that the government has any duty to protect people from themselves, or to lock people up because they ingested a chemical the government disaproves of.

    Paris. Just because.

  40. Luther Blissett

    @Tony Hoyle

    > The problem is the Daily Mail and its ilk have a lot of political pull

    Were that half true, the Red Witch of Redditch would be hung, drawn, and quartered by now and her snout on display in a glass case in a Museum of Nude Labia in some provincial town.

  41. Eddie

    The ACMD

    Is actually a very sensible organisation - go search for a wonderful document called "Making a hash of it" - their wonderful, and occasionally delightfully satirical, report on the whole issue of drug classification.

    It's a hoot.

  42. this

    Sending messages

    It's astonishing (and tiresome) how many politicians think their job is about 'sending messages'. The implication from this that they know the thing they are doing in no way addresses any issue directly but is merely a kind of slogan - never mind any colateral damage.

    In fact, the only useful thing about politicians or other pundits talking about 'sending messages' is that it flags up the fact that they are essentially second-rate.

  43. Liam

    hmmmmmmm

    "@ Dick Emery

    They could give taking illegal drug users the death sentence. It would not stop people taking drugs.

    The laws are as dumb as those that abuse drugs."

    i take it you dont drink or smoke then... since they are responsible for more death and societal breakdown than all the class As and Bs put together.

    @"p.s. it is my understanding Leah Betts died from hyperhydration, and this continues to be you're average punters argument against the 'dangers' of ecstasy" - nope the daft bitch took a shitload of paracetamol too... since around that time it was supposed to 'help your e on'. i remember being at cream in liverpool, talking to some daft scouse lad who had necked loads of paracetamol to help him up.. i mean wtf?

    and locking someone up in jail for taking a tablet... how retarded! 'so, what your doing is everso slightly dangerous. to save you and society im going to put you somewhere very dangerous'

    can you tell i did plenty of time for e dealing about 10 years ago... bitter? god damn right i am... when the landlord down the road is doing a damn site more damage than we ever did! oh, and for the record... all of us who took pills are absolutely fine 10 years later... i also worked out that i have done hundereds of E pills. around the 1000+ mark. now, if i had been horseriding to that extend the probability would be that i would have been dead 3 times over now.

    @"Personally, and from a purely chemical point-of-view, I don't know why E is in a different to speed and methamphetamines. Whichever they are in it should at least be the same as they are all in the same family and all have similar neurological effects upon people." - they are in the same family for sure... in fact all E does is release seratonin from your own head... not like the lovely affect of poisoning yourself with alcohol. i prefer to get my rocks off on my own chemicals than by feeling fuzzy over me poisoning myself

    @"If only they'd all just dab a bit of MDMA and chill out, etc." well said sarah, maybe we can all dress up as guy fawkes and pspike the house of commons. imagine that. people telling the truth! people working side by side for each other not their own causes. fuck it, lets spike the bastards, we might get more sense out of them (and watching them gurn away might be amusing too!)

  44. H2Nick

    Sacqui Sacqui Wacqui Jacqui

    Sack the parasitic waste of space.

    We should have minimum IQ requirements for MPs.

  45. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Campbell

    "We are not prepared to send a message to young people that we take ecstasy less seriously"

    Sure, keeping it class A makes Campbell et al's ecstasy taking more serious.

  46. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Politicians and Drugs

    If politicians realized that if a large chunk of the populace did drugs, they're be more apt to NOT dissent. Once they realize that, drugs would be legal across the board, probably subsidized even.

  47. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Prison

    Prison is notably bad for your health. When will they ban that?

  48. Peter
    Stop

    Climate change?

    I wonder if El Reg has ever considered its editorial policy on climate change in the same light? Massive weight of scientific evidence ... ring any bells? Or maybe another opinion piece made without reference to reality. Yes, that'll do.

  49. Anonymous Coward
    Happy

    A timely reminder

    That you Reg for reminding me that it is actually a class A drug and that I really should take more care about where I leave it lying around, people are so damn blasé about it. Well everyone that is except the occasional sanctimonious cokehead who will sneer at even the mention of ecstasy, as though they'd never lower themselves, the fuckwits.

    But overindulgence does screw with your miiiind man, that's without a doubt, I should know. Or might that have been the booze, fags, weed, speed, ketamine, coke or poppers? Suppose I'll never know. Where was I? Yeah drugs are bad; don't do it kids it'll fuck you up.

    Reach for the lasers.

  50. Graham Jordan

    Long time E user here

    I say long time, I was a long time user, I havent touched it now since July 2004 and have no intentions of doing it again. Not because it was crap, hell no, because I got tired of all the retoric crap of caining the hell out of the little things with complete randoms at some ones house till midday on Sunday, getting no sleep and looking like shit at work until Thursday.

    Yes kids I was what they call an abuser, none of this poxxy 1 pill a week, hell no, 1 pill before I even hit the club then a further dozen before the weekend was out. Heck I even took them when going to the cinema (Lord of the rings - Two towers on pills is FANTASTIC!) Now ask me how many times I ended up in A&E having my stomach pumped. Or how many times I broke down at work and had to be sent home because I wasn't able to cope. Or how many relationships I lost to drugs. Or how many friends died. Or got sent to rehab. The answer is a big fat zero.

    See the thing is, Pills will not kill you unless you have an allergy towards it. Dealers don't mix them with rat poison, thats a lie. Why would any self respecting business man want his customers dead? Its good old drowning thats responsible for the majority of E related deaths, look it up. And who's fault is it for these deaths? Thats right, its you Mr government. Why are you teaching children to keep yourself hydrated if you're "stupid" enough to take pills? Its your dodgy propaganda thats killing these kids. You need not drink any more or less than you normally do in any other situation.

    Should this be downgraded to a class B? Hell no. Lets go even further, lets legalise it. It'd cut the stuff being mixed with ket and heroin (which unfortunantly it is), you could the shit out of it and you'd stop 13 year olds getting their hands on it. And I'm afraid to say they do. Because they're so cheap and they don't do the damage many would like you to believe.

  51. Anonymous Coward
    Happy

    @ sARAH bEE

    Come the morning they would still all be the shits they were before they dropped.

  52. Anonymous Coward
    Unhappy

    prohibition is THE killer, not the drug

    Good to see some sensible (and not so sensible) comments. Loved the comment on DHMO - I'm hooked on that stuff too - oh, how I love bathing myself in it and pouring it down my throat in vast quantities.

    You know, the Government still believe that E killed Leah Betts, even though we all know that she died from consuming too much water (or DHMO if you want).

    I gave up long ago trying to add reasoned arguments to the drug debate. I would be better served shoving a needle in my armpit.

    I thought I might try to use the Government's own twisted methods to prove that prohibition is the real killer. Here goes:

    Prohibition is the cause of drug wars in drug manufacturing countries. These wars kill lots of people - Now that's a FACT.

    There. I feel better now. Off to get off my face on DHMO.

  53. Anonymous Coward
    Flame

    Some Wacky Jacqui Quotes

    I briefly saw Jacqui Smith in parliament, on telly, on the matter of horses and ecstasy. She stridently refused to let truth, reason or basic accuracy get in the way of government policy. Let me just find some relevant bits in Hansard...

    http://www.publications.parliament.uk/pa/cm200809/cmhansrd/cm090209/debtext/90209-0001.htm

    "I spoke to Professor Nutt about his comments this morning. I told him that I was surprised and profoundly disappointed by the article. I am sure that most people would simply not accept the link that he makes up in his article between horse riding and illegal drug-taking."

    "the link that he makes up"? A comparison is not a "link". As for accusing someone else of making something up... Can we call her 'Wacky Black Pot Jacqui' now?

    Oh, and wouldn't this also count as an example of a Straw-Man fallacy, where the Straw-Man is the "link" she herself makes up and falsely attributes to Professor Nutt, just to knock it down with the back of her dismissive hand? Why, yes. Yes, it would.

    "I made completely clear my view that there is absolutely no equivalence between the legal activity of horse riding and the illegal activity of drug taking, and that will always be the basis on which I make decisions about drugs policy."

    Sounds like she's saying the two are imcomparable because one's illegal and one's legal. But when the question is whether or not they should be illegal, she's just Begging the Question (NOT to be confused with 'raising the question'):-

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Begging_the_question

    "In logic, begging the question has traditionally described a type of logical fallacy (also called petitio principii) in which the proposition to be proved is assumed implicitly or explicitly in one of the premises."

    So when Wacky Jacqui emphasises the illegality of ecstacy as if that justifies its illegality, that's just about the clearest, plainest, simplest and most blatant example of Begging the Question we could have. It is plain-as-day circular reasoning.

    What's frightening is that she gets away with such blatant rejection of truth and reason. It's as if she believes she is above truth itself, and can overrule reason by speaking in a sufficiently authoritative tone. Such utterly staggering arrogance. I hope Professor Nutt rips her statements to utter shreds.

    She has to go.

    She absolutely has to go.

    Flames, because I find her intolerable attitude so inflammatory.

  54. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Media reporting

    "Nutt said a ten year study of media reporting found the likelihood of a newspaper reporting a death from paracetamol was one in 250, versus one in 50 for diazepam and every single death from ecstacy was reported."

    The media reports things the rarer they are.

    Almost 10 people are killed every single day in car accidents in the UK, yet this gets barely any coverage. Conversely if a train crashes (fatally maybe once every 2-3 years) and a handful of people die, it'll be on the front pages for half the week.

    Apparently 150~200 people die from paracetamol poisoning annually in the UK (and many of those are probably suicides), so they're not newsworthy.

    So the fact that Ecstacy deaths are reported in the media is alone probably indicative that it's a rare occurance.

    (Of course it's not strictly fair to compare Ecstacy deaths with driving on numerical deaths alone, seeing as the majority of the population uses the roads daily whereas a much smaller number of people take E, and then probably only occasionally.)

  55. Disco-Legend-Zeke

    9000 killed in drug war.

    And that's just a small part of Mexico. According to a recient headline.

    Of course drugs are dangerous. Yet we tolerate these dangers. We use Tylenol or opiates to relieve pain. We take alcohol as a food, as a social lubricant, and to protect out stomachs from bacteria.

    Smoking anything introduces particulates. Speed kills. Plunging you hand in boiling water hurts like hell.

    As the US learned during prohibition, the social gain (yes, fewer Americans consumed alcohol) was far outweighed by the cost in human life in the Mob wars of the era.

    Although drugs only kill their users, it is the artificially high prices created by drug policies that lead to the killing of innocents.

    Better to have a Meth addict die a terrible death from his drug than kill an innocent college girl because he must carjack 3 cars a day to pay $500 for 50 cents worth of Krystal. And when he dies, it should be chalked up as a failure of the educational system, not of law enforcement.

    LEGALIZE, TAX, EDUCATE.

  56. Richard Porter
    Thumb Down

    Make 'em all Class A

    Why not just make all drugs Class A and have done with it? Then the kids could boast that they'd had 'five straight As'. Or you could make the really bad ones AA and the really, really bad ones AAA.

  57. Sooty

    why does dangerous = illegal anyway?

    who cares even if it does damage someone's health, it's their choice to take it. I've never really understood why so many drugs are illegal. If someone is sat in their home getting high, on their nice cheaper, safer, legal drugs, they're not out breaking into someone's house trying to get their next fix. And if they're wandering around a rave crying and hugging random people, it doesn't exactly have a big down side to society!

  58. Anonymous Coward
    Coat

    Ban Wacky Jacqui

    For the vast majority of us, Ms Smith will die unpredictably and unexpectedly in 1 of 1 cases... and she's terribly dangerous to my (mental) health... can we have her classified and banned please?

  59. Steve

    Re: Cumulative effect

    "If someone's taking Ecstasy every single day for four months the cumulative effect is going to fuck his brain up (seen it happen more than once).

    If someone rides a horse every day their risk multiplies according to probability alone.

    Horse riding has no long-term effect *unless* you have an accident. Drug use does."

    And if someone rides a horse every day for four months, they are more likely to be injured than someone who rides once a month because they expose themselves to risk for longer.

    Someone who drinks a bottle of scotch every day for four months is going to fuck themselves up far more than someone who drinks a bottle once a month even if they take a pill a month as well. Cumulative effects are not about the total amount you take in your lifetime, but about the rate at which it enters and builds up in your system.

    Why does the government think we are capable about being sensible about alcohol but not other substances?

  60. Stefan

    I'm undecided

    Keeping ecstasy as class A does have a deterrant effect, surely? OK, it didn't deterr me one damn bit, but then I have a moral baseline derived from common-sense rather than common law.

    Keep it class A. Maybe some young folk will treat it with a little more respect than they do weed or speed. But then... speed is class B? Holy shit. That stuff will not only kill you, it will turn you into a raving paranoiac by dint of physical damage to your brain structure.

    Wow. I'm realising the whole classification system is in a bit of a tangle.

    License the whole swathe of recreational drugs. People take drugs, let's give them at least a fighting chance of not becoming dead through allergies to, for instance, warfarin (which E gets cut with unnervingly frequently).

  61. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Probably against most comments

    >Nutt asked: "So why are harmful sporting activities allowed, whereas relatively less harmful drugs are not?

    Horse riding - break your leg or whatever. Wait a while it mends and potentially you're back being a useful member of society.

    Drug taking - do your head in permanently and are no use to anyone.

    I don't see what all this artificially induced stupor is all about. If your life is so dull that you need that little bit extra then why not end it all and save living for the rest of us.

  62. Alfazed
    Happy

    No seriously ?

    They say, "We are not prepared to send a message to young people that we take ecstasy less seriously."

    So, are they prepared to send the message that they seriously do take more ecstasy than the young ?

    As do many people I know, myself not included. However, they all have one thing in common, they do take their politicians less seriously - as they are aware that doing it any other way can seriously damage your wealth. And your sense of humour.

    Seriously !

    ALF

  63. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    What else floats?

    "Jacqui Smith is set to again ignore scientific advice on drug misuse by rejecting advice on reclassifying ecstasy."

    With a bit of luck she'll ignore the scientific advice on gravity next, walk out of a top-floor window and, in excellent Humean fashion, get to know the pavement in greater detail.

    "The Government has a duty to protect the public ..."

    I thought in a democracy the Government had a duty to do what we tell them to do?

    "We are not prepared to send a message to young people that we take ecstasy less seriously"

    What's all this shit about 'sending messages to people'? Have MPs only just discovered email or something?

    "But it is not all Jacqui's fault ..."

    Why? Why not? Can't we just blame the Witch, burn her and move on?

  64. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    @Graham Jordan

    A couple of my mates went a mad on drugs. Aged 25 or so they'd done some damage to themselves, mentally. They said so themselves. They also seemed to view it as an acceptable (or perhaps inevitable) price for what they got.

    I've seen people fried by alcohol, I shared a house with a glue-sniffer (I thought he was just mending the table when he first moved in), lived in nottingham where I've seen the damage it did to people (shooting gallery over the wall by the canal on london road straight across the water from the industrial stationers, if anyone wants to check), and the damage it did to society in terms of the violence and trouble it stirred up (St. Annes & the meadows - not nice places) with gangs etc. which are drug-money-fueled. Gangs/organised crime are the *real* danger I feel. Views of whether legalisation would benefit or hinder them depends on who you talk to.

    I'm for legalisation, but I'm not a taker. I've noticed that many takers are against legalisation because they see it as an external control on their usage without which they'd do it to excess.

    Dunno. Ideally yes, legalise, but there is a cost and it may not be immediately obvious - societal as well as the obvious personal.

    It's not simple. OTOH ignoring reality is for the worst kind of political idiot.

    Story:- Found said glue sniffer at the bottom of the stairs unable to get up them, doubled over in pain. Pushed him upstairs to his room where he started convulsing and passing out so I yelled for another guy we shared with, who fortunately was a nurse and did what was necessary until the ambulance came. Turned out he'd had substantial glue, blow, booze and on top of that three(!!) grams of uncut speed. Went to hospital with him. My only consolation for his thoughtlessness was that with all that speed, he wasn't going to sleep it off.

    I raised the subject the next day when he came back. I got five words into a polite request that he didn't do that again, at which he stopped me, thanked me for taking care of him, then told me he'd stab me if I said any more.

    No moral, just a story.

  65. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    @Wacky Jaqui vs Tories

    "As much as I disagree with Wacky Jaqui, I am under no illusion that the Cameron and his but munch Osbourne would do anything different. Labour and the Tories are the only two parties that will ever be in power and both want the vote of 'Middle Britain'."

    As an ordinary IT professional, I think the important issue is did Boris Johnson telephone that 'so called' scientist and turn him against our popular Home Secretary? I think this is a Tory plot to turn Britain into a bong heaven. As I spend my days using a computer technology to process information using the latest microprocessor chips, I cannot understand why anyone would object to locking people up for 7 years for this vile substance unless this is a Tory plot to make us vulnerable to terrorists.

    Yours,

    Richard Timney

    Ordinary Professional Information Technologist

    http://www.thesun.co.uk/sol/homepage/news/article2095365.ece

  66. Roger Heathcote
    Thumb Down

    @ Anonymous Coward

    "Wacky Jacky is a douche, it does have a point here.

    Reclassifying E is a stupid idea."

    And a 7 year stretch for being in possession of a small amount of a substance statistically less harmful than alcohol, tobacco or paracetamol is just good common sense is it?

  67. Watashi

    The kids are alright

    If we could switch the country from Alcohol to Ecstacy, we'd see a huge drop in crime, in street violence, spousal abuse, mental health problems, premature deaths, traffic accidents, serious long-term health problems, sick days taken due to hang-overs, and kebabs consumed.

    However, we'd also see a significant increase in Tabloid scare stories and militant mothers on the rampage, and a complete loss of alcohol tax revenue and the end of the current New Labour government.

    This decision is a combination of realpolitik and knee-jerk establishment authoritarianism. It's democracy at it's worst: supposedly ethical and intelligent politicians punishing the enlightened majority for the benifit of the swing-vote holding, ignorant minority.

  68. Anonymous Coward
    Boffin

    dont bother me with facts

    police spokesman on Radio 4 this morning:

    "this is not some scientific exercise, peoples' lives are at stake"

  69. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    The whole whether it's safe for you is a misnomer

    The gov couldn't give a shit if you take drugs. What it cares about is getting voted out because a sizable percentage of the people out there who can't write computer software, (vastly more than those who can,) steal from and kill people

    1. On drugs.

    2. For drugs.

    3. To control drugs.

    4. To buy drugs.

    They wouldn't give a shit if it weren't for this. (Except perhaps Harriet Harman, who would also complain on the addition criteria of 5. You'd rather take drugs than spend your life making it easy for people (with vaginas.))

  70. 2FishInATank
    Paris Hilton

    I don't do drugs any more....

    ...than the average touring funk band.

    Can we have a Bill Hicks icon please?

  71. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    hahahaha!!!

    Equasy...

    Because alcohol and tobacco products make too much money to make illegal...

    I live in South Carolina, U.S. of A and it's illegal for a restaurant to serve undercooked beef (and they get what, maybe a death a year because some stupid cook didn't wash their hands while preparing said beef).

    You can drink, smoke and beat your wife, but if you want some taste to your food...

    At least you're in good company with science being thrown out in favor of ignorance.

  72. b
    Go

    politics a little bit of

    Well the next election is sewn up before it starts. Groovy Dave's drugs policy is better than Labour's in the same way that herpes is better than AIDS, so that's a step forward. Kind of.

    But we deserve better.

    We deserve better than to be lied to by crooks who fiddle taxpayers' cash.

    We deserve better than to be told what we may and may not do with our own bodies.

    We deserve better than to have important policy decisions dictated to us by mouth-breathing cretins who are utterly unable to manage spelling, punctuation and grammar, let alone the avalanche of nonsense that passes for "news" coverage on this issue.

    Enough is enough. It's high time something was done. We can sit around and bitch on the internet but no-one who can make a difference is listening.

    The political parties will court the hysterical incoherent proles at the Mail and the Sun and will ignore our informed opinion, after all, we can only vote for one of three parties, all with identical policies.

    I say no more, I say enough.

    The next general election will be decided, like all the previous general elections, by a few thousand people in a few dozen seats around the country. There are the euro elections that no-one bothers to vote in and council elections that are decided on a few hundred votes. The system is rotten to the core. We can make that work to our advantage.

    A part founded on completey legalising drugs standing in marginal seats would pick up votes. If we pushed hard enough it could pick up a lot of votes, maybe not a majority but enough to "send a message" as our politcial masters are so fond of saying.

    Am I peeing in the wind here? Any thoughts?

  73. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Responsible people take responsible decisions responsibly?

    A decision taker has to weigh various factors before arriving at a decision and is not a slave to any or all of those factors.

    'nuff said?

  74. adnim Silver badge

    @Tony Gosling:finding a brave and honest politician

    I feel that is an impossible task. Anyone with an interest in politics and a desire to become a MP will get absolutely nowhere with their party of choice unless they fit in. This means thinking and behaving within limits set by the party hierarchy. Step out of line, think a little differently, oppose the status quo and it is certain that progression within the party(any of them) will not happen.

    As an independent there is also little hope, it is not healthy being a little fish in a sea of sharks.

  75. Dave Oakes Silver badge
    Thumb Down

    MDMA Deaths - I think not!

    There has not been a single death due to MDMA alone, people have died from MDMA and drinking a bottle of vodka, or MDMA and a gallon of water, or MDMA and a car, there is always more than just MDMA but they are always reported as "ecstasy/MDMA deaths".

  76. Evil Graham
    Happy

    Not only that

    But Es are considerably cheaper than horses, which is a very important issue in these difficult economic times.

  77. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Ali G.

    'Which of this stuff is really good?'

  78. John Bayly
    Alert

    @Aristotles slow and dimwitted horse

    "But I guess that banning horse riding is not an option."

    Don't give them ideas, horse riding is an upper class pastime and is a slap in the face of the working class labour supporters. Given the chance, they'll ban it if possible.

    Disclaimer: I don't like horses, and never saw the point in fox hunting, though I did grow up game shooting. We didn't even shoot foxes even thought they tended to eat pheasant chicks, as it meant more work shooting rabbits.

  79. John Imrie
    Thumb Up

    @Sarah Bee

    Would you please come and stand as an MP in my Constituency, as you seam to be able to do the following

    1) Keep your head when the flames rise.

    2) Talk sense where the Politicians talk bollocks

    3) Keep us, El Reg's loyal readership, in line

    I'll even stump up the deposit.

    Sarah Bee for PM

  80. John Curry

    Wow.....

    .....it takes the type of intelligence normally found only in the Daily Mail to genuinely try and equate the effects of horse riding with the effects of ecstacy.

    Anonymous Coward "Cumulative Effects" has it more than right here. The rest of you actually seem to be more than a little stupid. Ban paracetamol? No thanks, it has actual medical value and the ability to treat real ailments. Ban cars? Er, no, completely different argument.

    The balance is between risk and benefit, and cost to society. Yes there's risk involved in driving a car, but the benefits far outweigh them, both for the individual and society (green arguments aside). Horse riding has a risk, but it is kept entirely to the individual involved (and the horse).

    Drug taking not only effects the individual, but also those around that individual. It can, and does, lead to anti-social behaviour. It can lead to crippling addictions, which can in turn lead the user into crime and poverty. It's a bit selfish to suggest that there's nothing wrong with that just because you want to get your jollies off.

    Of course, the same can be said of alcohol, and gambling, and I reckon there's a large degree of hypocrisy there, but the sanest way to put a point across on that isn't to say "badgers carry TB therefore ban badgers" or some other such tosh.

  81. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Down

    Im

    sure people with brains have said this. but surely part of the reason a drug like e's is so 'unpredictable' in its ability to kill is that there is no regulation.

    Take one from an untrusted (or less likely a trusted) source and potentially you could be putting anything from paracetamol to well pretty much anything inside you. Or any strength. So one night you might feel the need for 2 or 3, next night you might think you need 2 or 3 then oops...

  82. Anonymous Coward
    Boffin

    Why am I not suprised

    Really, I'm not! I just love it when this happens and they NEVER learn.

    Why cant we take a lesson from the Dutch, its illegal there, but they KNOW people are going to take it no matter how illegal/legal and KNOW that nasty things are sometimes put in there as well. So they educate people and make things available to test it so you at least know SOMETHING about it. This government, by not allowing at least testing etc (I think its illegal to own/buy a testing kit in this country) is basically saying they would rather us die - I suppose by doing that they can attribute the death to Ecstacy/MDMA instead of actually investigating if it was something more erroneous in the pill/powder.

    I for one know what prescription drugs are capable of, after I broke my thigh I was put on Tramadol for 3 years whilst I was treated and they didnt tell me that it was addictive and the cold turkey of it is akin to one of Heroin (so I have been told seeming I havent ever even seen H let alone taken it). Add to that the Tomazepan and Diazepam to stop the muscle spasms and help me sleep. Again without education of what that shit does to you. Yeah thanks for that...

    Fuck it, force feed every politician a decent clean pill and wait 2 hours. One big hug fest and then they will know the "real dangers" when compared to other freely available legal or prescription drugs...

  83. Anonymous Coward
    Coat

    stop with the messages

    Can politicians stop "Sending messages", and have a frank discussion instead. Its like modern political debate has been reduced to texting with all these messages.

  84. jezza
    Unhappy

    Steve said:

    "We are not prepared to send a message to young people that we take ecstasy less seriously."

    I'd just like to know where she get's the impression that "young people" could give a fuck about her opinions either way.

    ___________________

    that about sums it up, although its a bit of stretch to call me a young person anymore :)

    Me, and about half the people i went to uni with and am still in contact with have been doing the odd pill every month or two for the last 10 years. I really have to be sad that its such a terrible crime to smile, chat to strangers, be full of happiness and love for a few hours.

    Oh no, wait. It's ruined my life and turned me into a raving (come on its a good pun for wednesday afternoon) addict who mugs old ladies to feed my habit. Just dont tell the big corporate i work somewhat hard for.

    /facepalm

  85. Tawakalna

    "Not sure what this has to do with IT though."

    nothing really, but it's another chance to laugh at Wacky Jackie, since so many of her crazy schemes and odd ideas do have a direct impact on IT.

  86. Anonymous Coward
    Stop

    Target the "undesirables"

    It seems to be a policy of targeting the "undesirables" with draconian and ill-thought-out policies. Kiddy Fiddlers. Perverts. Druggies. Very few people are willing to speak out to protect their interests. Who next? Fringe political groups? Trade unionists? Dissidents?

  87. Anonymous Coward
    Happy

    When will they realise...

    that class A B C or even Z makes no odds to the end user. Weed was just as easy to get when it was C as it is/was at B. MDMA is class A and that hasn't stopped millions of pills being popped every weekend.

    If drugs must be illegal, just call them all illegal and let the courts determine on a case by case basis how much prison time you must do relating to your level of use, harm to those around you caused by your use etc.

    This makes me so angry I'm off for a smoke

    Smiley? OBV.

  88. RW
    Unhappy

    Red rubber clown noses for those opposed

    NuLabour has become a parody of a government. It would be a comedy if it weren't so sad and harmed so many people with its foolishness.

    Suggestion: that every Briton who is tired of NuLabour's nonsense, the spin, the lies, the idées fixes, the Fascism-Bolshevism, the disregard for simple freedom -- that every Briton tired of this wear a clown's red rubber nose in public as an expression of their profound distaste for Jacqui Smith, Gordon Brown, Harriet Harman, Hazel Blears, and all the rest of that sleazy, dishonest, lying cabal.

    Sadly, I predict that if this suggestion took root, the Home Office would instruct the police that the wearing of red rubber noses in public was an offense against anti-terrorism legislation, and that said noses are to be confiscated on the spot.

    Remember, freedom-loving readers of el-Reg, even in far away lands there are those of us depressed and sad at the dire straits the UK is in thanks to the stupids in charge.

  89. Anonymous Coward
    Flame

    "Sending a message"

    It's complete bullshit when the English language is at your beck and call to express your message in clear, unambiguous prose.

    "Sending a message" is an American thing, specifically a southern American thing. I was born, though not brought in, South Carolina, and know whereof I speak.

    Evidence: My sister is much more heavily into the "southern thing" than I and at one time had a bad case of "southern belle" syndrome. She once took her car in for servicing. Wasn't satisfied. What did she do? Did she pick up the phone and say "Hello, this is Ms. X, I am not satisfied with the servicing you gave my car and I'd like to bring it in for you to look at."

    No.

    She got in the fucking car and drove back and forth past the mechanic's premises "to send him a message."

    If your reaction to this is "wotthefuck?", rest assured that mine was too.

    Ms. Smith in the Home Office may think she's sending the message "we take ecstasy seriously", but the message people are receiving is "I'm a fucking Bolshevist control freak bonehead." Typical, perhaps, of school teachers?

    If she took ecstasy at all, she'd probably be a better person for the experience. For that matter, Britain would be a better place if members of the governing party all had to take a tab of ecstasy every morning.

  90. Mark Silver badge

    @Roger Heathcote

    "And a 7 year stretch for being in possession of a small amount of a substance statistically less harmful than alcohol, tobacco or paracetamol is just good common sense is it?"

    You twat. Those stats would be attained how exactly? Do they know and count everyone that uses (and how many times) and then work out the ratio of those that are seriously harmed - I doubt it.

    Chances are the stats you refer to are how many people out of the population (or rate per 1000) are harmed by each substance i.e. x number of people per year are hospitalised due to alcohol etc. Given the takers of alcohol or tobacco would be an order (or more) of magnitude larger you would expect more incidents.

    The categorisation is, I would hope, based upon the actual danger/risk of the substance in both one-off and cumulative use which is why the scientists should carry a little more weight although political meddling will always win the day. Heroin being class A as it's easy to overdose and die not to mention the shit that may be cut with it.

    Don't rely on stats - they're manipulated and shite at best.

  91. Peter
    Linux

    Games

    Cat and mouse. Drugs especially recreational drugs are a convenient thing for criminals to get involved in and police to chase.

    If drugs were legalised what would the petty criminals do? Where would the sniffer dogs go?

    Resort to kidnapping, extortion and protection rackets?

    In a strrange way I guess the recreational drugs make for a business model that doesent bother the rest of "straight" society too much.

  92. Tony

    IMO

    I definitely think that ecstasy should be viewed as a class A drug.

    Cannabis and mushrooms too for that matter.

    Speed is probably about right at class B.

    Heroin and crack should be moved to class C however, as they are nowhere near as much fun.

  93. MnM
    Linux

    The Law

    is not for me.

  94. b

    lies, damned lies and..

    "Those stats would be attained how exactly? Do they know and count everyone that uses (and how many times) and then work out the ratio of those that are seriously harmed - I doubt it."

    The recent harm estimation did exactly that.

    http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/uk_politics/5230006.stm#drugs

    Note "mean harm" on the graph. They worked it out in exactly the way you sugest.

  95. Pete

    To be fair to Jacqui...

    Would you trust someone with an 18% pass mark?

  96. Mr Larrington
    Paris Hilton

    @AC

    "Horse riding has no long-term effect *unless* you have an accident."

    Sorry, laddie, but this is complete bollocks. Side effects of long-term horse riding include bow legs, fat bum, reading the Daily Mail, driving a Range Rover like a total cock and voting Conservative.

    In the meantime, consider the graph at here:

    http://www.thatsfuckingstupid.com/index.php/2009/01/see-me-after-class/

  97. Wayland Sothcott Bronze badge
    Happy

    Sending the wrong message

    Professor Nutt was accusing of "sending the wrong message".

    Not that his message was inaccurate, since clearly he had done lots of scientific research from which he based his conclusions. The results of that research unfortunately did not equal what the government wanted it to. Surely Professor Nutt could have just ignored the research and sent out "The right message" ?

    Smilie face obviously.

  98. Pascal Monett Silver badge

    "the long term effects of (insert your poison here) use 'cannot be ruled out'"

    Yeah sure. Funny how that argument is totally ignored when it comes to cigarettes, alcohol, guns, Wall Street, genetically-modified organisms and a bunch of other subjects that have been proven to be dangerous in given circumstances.

    I am seriously tired of this game of switch-to-the-argument-that-suits-us-best that these politicians play nonstop.

    I would like a global policy put in place : choose a line of conduct and STICK TO IT. If you are worried about long-term effects of one thing (as well you should be), then take that perspective into account in ALL other aspects of your mandate.

    Politics would be a lot simpler if each subject had a checklist with the same items :

    - is it a global issue ?

    - is it financially important ?

    - is it socially important ?

    - is it economically feasible ?

    - is it socially acceptable ?

    - is it morally acceptable ?

    - will there be any short-term benefits ?

    - will there be any long-term benefits ?

    - what will the short term cost be ?

    - what will the long term cost be ?

    Go through the list publicly, each time, and validate the answers with experts AND the public.

    The day that happens we'll all be one big step closer to democracy.

  99. sam

    Politics

    Poli = many

    Tics = Blood sucking insects

    Says it all really

  100. Matt

    @Mark

    You always have been and always will be a stupid arse hole.

    The advisory body are a group of scientists employed by the government, not a group of lame ass idiots who make shit up for the news and country ---ktards like you, they do science not the crypto mythical bullshit media hype that you seem to suck up through your arsehole you dumb turgid shit.

    The catogrisation is based on crypto mythical bullshit media hype, which is why E a rather harmless drug is in the same class as Crack cocaine and Heroine - ----ing horrific ultra addictive drugs. Those two are the only class A drugs, get you completly physically addicted after 2 or 3 hits and will kill you in a second if you're unlucky.

    There are so many clueless ---ks in this comment thread I want to be sick on it.

    However I feel a bit better now.

    @Peter

    lol that reminds me of a comedy sketch I saw on Bird and Fortune once.

  101. Anonymous Coward
    Stop

    @Chris W

    > "Horse riding - break your leg or whatever. Wait a while it mends and potentially you're back being a useful member of society.

    > Drug taking - do your head in permanently and are no use to anyone."

    Oh, very clever. Anyone can make up an imaginary example to prove a supposed point. If you wanted to make your example into an honest comparison, of course, you'd compare outcomes that were relatively equally likely to occur in both cases. If every third person broke their legs every other week riding horses, while only one in a billion did their head in permanently on drugs, how would that not make horse riding the massively more significant harm to society? But instead you compare the very worst possible outcome for drugs to a trivial and inconsequential outcome for horse riding. How very manipulative of you. So why exactly did you choose that example, and not something like this one?

    > "Horse riding - break your spine, be paralyzed for life, a burden on society and no use to anyone.

    > Drug taking - feel a little bit bleary the next morning. Wait a while it mends and by lunchtime you're back being a useful member of society"

    The answer is because you constructed the example out of whole cloth, solely in order to support a pre-judged conclusion. So the example you give is not any kind of "evidence" or "support for" your theory, merely a restating of it. You really aren't saying anything beyond "I think drugs are bad because I think drugs are bad". Apparently, abstinence is no guarantee of clear thinking and logical reasoning ability after all!

  102. Ed Blackshaw Silver badge

    @Matt

    Rather brutally, but accurately, put.

    I think I might write a letter of support to the rather put upon Professor Nutt. I think he should be encouraged to stand up to the rabid lunatic that is our home secretary, rather than succumb to her rantings and publicly apologise for being correct.

  103. Ed Blackshaw Silver badge
    Thumb Up

    Reading this thread

    I do find it amazing that the arguments being put forward supporting drugs policy all seem to be critically flawed (straw man, ad hominen, etc., etc.) whereas the arguments that are well constructed and based upon logical reasoning appear to be against it.

    Given that those that support the use of recreational drugs would reasonably be expected to be more likely to have engaged in their use than those who don't support them, would that suggest that recreational drug use somehow imporves ones capacity for reasoned and logical thought? No wonder politicians want them banned, they wouldn't want a well informed and reasonable populace - they'd lose their jobs!

  104. Anonymous Coward
    Unhappy

    @b

    yes we do deserve much better, but as long as people continue to feel that voting for the same 2 (identical) (useless) parties is the only way to change things then we won't get anything better.

    People often say they won't vote for [insert said 'small' party here) cos they won't get in, that is a pathetic argument that really makes me mad. I can only hope/dream that in these pressing times people really realise that real change is possible. I feel that the legalisation of drugs is something which would cause a sea change in our society, placing the onus on the individual to be responsible and the state to regulate and educate. It would create thousands of jobs, reduce crime rates massively, increase tax revenues, reduce alcohol deaths (?). If people do not operate within the new parameters (black markets/drugs at work,driving etc) then yes, the full weight of the law should be brought upon them.

    We need our own Obama, and it certainly ain't David Cameron.

  105. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    The ACMD is not composed purely of scientists and medical experts.

    Also on the council are police officers and judges amongst other - people who would no doubt prefer to have a less heavy workload.

    The members of the council are unelected and unaccountable - the ballot held to decide the coincil's stance is anonymous so no single member can be identified as supporting the move or not.

    If one bothers to actually read the reports issued by the ACMD you would discover that the study on cannabis was basically an opinion poll conducted by a third party, and that the ACMD only considered the direct harms of cannabis, whereas indirect harms and social harms are always considered with alcohol and tobacco.

    The minutes from the last meeting of the ACMD reveal a similar picture for their report on ecstasy, i.e. it only takes into account direct harms and it's based on a third party's study (with funding source undisclosed) that was actually conducted in North America.

    The comments on ecstasy being as harmful as horse riding were: not made by the council, but by Professed Nutt; taken out of context and misquoted by the media.

  106. Anonymous Coward
    Paris Hilton

    Waqui bends the stats when it suits her......

    Of course using stats that horse riding is more dangerous than taking E wont go down well, even if its true, nor would the fact that DIY accidents kill more people, as do adverse reactions to over the counter and prescription meds.

    The home office has form on this, take Domestic Violence which according to Wacqui kills 2 women a week, yet the ONS figures show that in a given year about 40 women die violent deaths as a result of crime in the UK, but then a soundbite of 0.8 a week doesn't sound as good especially when its flavour of the month.

    As for the stats guy apologising, grow some cohones and tell the retarded chimp we call a home secretary to take her comments and shove them somewhere more appropriate.

    Paris, she knows the appropriate place to shove it.

  107. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Up

    Classification works a treat

    Ecstasy is cheap. Very Cheap. Pills are generally less than a pound these days. The price of powdered MDMA gets less and less. The quality of the product is also way down and I'm sure many dealers are cutting with all kinds of junk including the legal MDMA analogues which even less is known about. So obviously MDMA being a super scary illegal class A drug is working wonders to put everyone off using and selling it.

    Keep up the good work Big Brother.

  108. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Down

    All balls!

    If you want DR Ugs to pay visit, you will find him, no matter what Plod, Jacqui or the local baptist minister think or say! Reclassify all you want, makes no difference to the pot-head or addict, they still "need" the fix to make through the next day, so they will do it and they will do it away from everyone else. Just 'cos the DM is obsessed with giving people like that arsehole from the Babyshambles a conduit from which is can show off like some spoilt 3 year old, everyone else hides their habit, through shame, guilt or simply trying to keep going without going inside.

    You want to make a difference? You declassify, you stop wasting money on prosecution and you do your damn hardest to pay good money currently being wasted on solicitors, to carers to help get as many people as possible of the stuff they want to get off.

    Perhaps we should classify alcohol and ciggies too ( that one is close already! ). Two people fighting in town square? Drugs or alcohol? Yep, but of course the gov makes too much tax on cigs and booze, so fat chance or stopping the violence! Nope, nail down the pot and acid heads, happily staring at the back of a cornflakes packet for 16 hours straight, who can barely lift the spliff, let alone a fist to strike someone!

  109. Tony
    Unhappy

    A few points

    The illegality of a substance and the level of that illegality does not stop people from taking it. Fact.

    'Why is that a fact?' I hear you cry (after putting down your copy of the daily mail). Well.. millions of ecstasy tablets are taken every weekend in the UK, despite it already being erroneously classed as one of the most serious drugs you can possess. Furthermore if you look at other countries with harsher penalties for drug possession than our own, drug use is still prevalent.

    So, taken that prohibition of a substance does not prevent it's widespread use, what does it actually achieve?

    It ensures that all the money from the lucrative business of supplying that substance is controlled by criminals. They pay no tax and they protect their business with extreme violence. Many make no distinction between who they sell to (so it is as easily available to young teenagers as adults) and are involved in many other types of illicit activities, funded by the money they make.

    It ensures there is no control on quality. The aforementioned dealers want to make as much money as possible so there is a financial incentive for them to mix the substance(s) they are selling with whatever crap they can get away with to make more cash. Users also have no idea of how much to take, as the drug they have bought could be 1% pure or 100% pure. This means that people actually have little control over what they are taking, particularly as our caring sharing government refuse to let people actually get their purchase tested before they take it.

    It means that there is a lack of proper information available to anyone wanting to minimise the risks when taking a drug. For example the government has frequently told people that the biggest risk of ecstasy is dehydration and to drink more water then usual. In fact drinking too much water is one of the biggest causes of ecstasy-related deaths.

    It actually causes the 'gateway drug' effect that many like to throw around as a reason for keeping less harmful substances illegal. People who experiment with drugs like cannabis and ecstasy and find them relatively harmless are already breaking the law and buying them from a dealer who may well sell other things. In their mind the government has said that crack is no worse than ecstasy. They've tried E's and it was fine, so why not give crack a go?

    It criminalises millions of people that are (in most cases) otherwise law-abiding. People that are active, contributing members of society face arrest and potentially imprisonment for doing something that in most cases has little or no negative impact on others.

    It discourages people that take a substance and do develop a problem from seeking help. The possibility of arrest and the social stigma attached to drug use means that people often do not seek help until the problem has become very serious, possibly life-threatening.

    So in conclusion - What does the current drug classification system do?

    1) It costs us all money as the billions made from taxing these substance could fund a decrease in other taxes.

    2) It puts our children at risk by creating a black market that is as available to them as anyone else and ensuring they can't get proper information on the risks involved.

    3) It puts anyone using the drugs at risk as it means there is no control over what they are taking.

    4) It puts non-users at risk by encouraging and financing armed criminals and gang violence. It also means that billions of pounds is spent on policing the law and prosecuting offenders, meaning that those resources are not spent on tackling other types of crime.

    The 'war on drugs' cannot be won because it is a ridiculous political battle against our own citizens and human nature. It is time to end the war and seek a peaceful, diplomatic solution before it costs any more lives.

  110. Mark Silver badge

    @Matt Posted Thursday 12th February 2009 10:47 GMT

    If you read my post you muppet you'll see that I stated that the scientists opinion should carry more weight but that politics always wins out i.e. they don't listen.

    That'd be this bit...

    "The categorisation is, I would hope, based upon the actual danger/risk of the substance in both one-off and cumulative use which is why the scientists should carry a little more weight although political meddling will always win the day."

    Read before you type.

  111. Chewy

    Bill Hicks put it best

    I think it's interesting the two drugs that are legal - alcohol and cigarettes, two drugs that do absolutely nothing for you at all - are legal, and the drugs that might open your mind up to realise how you're being f*cked every day of your life? Those drugs are against the law. Coincidence? See, I'm glad mushrooms are against the law, cos I took 'em one time, you know what happened to me? I laid in a field of green grass for four hours, going, 'My God, I love everything.' Yeah, now if that isn't a hazard to our countries...How are we gonna justify arms dealing if we know we're all one?

  112. Matt

    @Mark

    Your entire post read along the lines of "the statistics are all bollocks, the law is mostly based on scientific evidence with some political faffing"

    "The categorisation is, I would hope, based upon the actual danger/risk of the substance in both one-off and cumulative use which is why the scientists should carry a little more weight although political meddling will always win the day."

    All this read as was that you believed that although politics meddles around the edges that the origonal evidence that the classifcations were based upon was based on scientific fact, and that the recent scientific evaluation was nothing more then statistical manipulation.

    Your post started with an attack on someone with personal experiance, winded its way through derision of the evidence and attempted to salvage itself with an unimportant quip about political meddling.

  113. Paul
    Coat

    @Whacky baccy Jaqui

    She may have heard the evidence.

    But she didn't inhale!

    My 2 penneth, Sack the stupid cow, then force feed her plenty of E in a ganja smoke filled room..

  114. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    @AC 12th February 2009 10:56 GMT

    Yes I do think drugs are bad, very astute, you must have been reading between the lines to deduce that.

    Why is that virtually every single presrciption drug has a host of side effects yet people seem to think that back room produced artificial stimulants are not only safe but don't have any side effects at all.

    >But instead you compare the very worst possible outcome for drugs to a trivial and

    inconsequential outcome for horse riding. How very manipulative of you.

    We'll have to agree to differ on that. Most sport injuries are relatively trivial (OK I made that up if you want statistics go look for them yourself) and I rarely see evidence of them. However I see evidence of drug abuse everytime I walk into my nearest city centre. All the way from glue sniffing to heroin abuse. I've helped out in drug rehabilitation halfway houses and you can tell what people use despite them believing that nobody would have known they were an abuser.

    Why don't they have rehabilitation centres to wean people off sports?

  115. Dave B

    @Target the "undesirables"

    They came first for the kiddy fiddlers, And I didn’t speak up because I wasn’t a kiddy fiddler;

    And then they came for the perverts, And I didn’t speak up because I wasn’t a pervert;

    And then they came for the druggies, And I didn’t speak up because I wasn’t a druggie;

    And then they came for me . . . And I let them because by that time nobody was any fun anymore..

  116. Tony

    @Chris W

    Chris, you say that you have worked in a halfway house-

    How many people did you meet with an ecstasy addiction there?

    You say that you see evidence of the problems caused by drugs in your city centre-

    How many people would you estimate you see in your city centre causing a problem on ecstasy?

    It's a rhetorical question as I'm pretty sure the answer is 'none' and 'none'.

    I don't think anyone would say that all drugs are harmless. In fact that is actually kind of the point. If they insist on criminalising recreational drug use then at the very least the system by which they do so should be based on the actual social harm that the substance is causing. Otherwise it sends out a message to society at large and children specifically that crack and heroin are no more dangerous than ecstasy, which is blatantly untrue.

  117. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    @Tony

    You are confusing addiction and damage. A lot of damage can be done without addicition.

    I do agree with you on the classification issue. However, if a drug has been classified as illegal then that's it, call it whatever you like but it's still illegal.

  118. Steve

    @ Chris W

    "Most sport injuries are relatively trivial (OK I made that up if you want statistics go look for them yourself) and I rarely see evidence of them. However I see evidence of drug abuse everytime I walk into my nearest city centre."

    Most of the side effects of drugs are relatively trivial and you don't see them either. You're also less likely to see the worst effects of sporting injuries for the simple reason that they tend to leave people immobile.

  119. Andrew

    Horses

    "Apparently riding horses kills about 100 people a year while taking ecstacy kills about 30.

    But I guess that banning horse riding is not an option."

    Ban horse riding? Don't you remember the fuss over banning people from riding round on horses killing things?!

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