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Europe: British Drug Expert Calls for Downgrade on LSD, Ecstasy

Submitted by Phillip Smith on (Issue #462)
Consequences of Prohibition
Drug War Issues
Politics & Advocacy

Britain's drug classification scheme is out of whack and should be adjusted, said Dr. David Nutt, head of the British parliament's Advisory Council on the Misuse of Drugs (ACMD) in remarks reported by the BBC. Nutt called for ecstasy and LSD to be downgraded from Class A to Class B, while suggesting that barbiturates should be upgraded to Class A.

Grouping ecstasy and LSD with other Class A drugs like heroin is "an anomaly," Nutt said, adding that barbiturates could be "worth moving up to Class A." Nutt was responding to a query from the House of Commons' all-party Science and Technology Committee. "I think 4MTA [a little used relative of Ecstasy], LSD and ecstasy probably shouldn't be Class A," he told the committee.

British Parliament
In theory, Britain's drug classification scheme reflects the relative dangers of various controlled substances. But the scheme has been under increasing attack from critics -- including a parliamentary committee -- who say it does not accurately reflect the comparative social and personal harms of using various drugs.

Under Britain's classification scheme, possession of Class A drugs carries a maximum sentence of seven years, compared to five for Class B drugs. Sales of Class A drugs can bring a maximum of life in prison, compared to 14 years for Class B drugs.

While other committee members confirmed that ecstasy's status is under review, British drugs minister Vernon Croaker told the BBC he would listen to the ACMD's recommendations, but would not be bound by them. "If the ACMD look at a drug and come to us with a recommendation of course we will look at it," he said. "Whether we then act on it will be a matter of political judgment."

This isn't the first time a move to downgrade ecstasy -- which is used by an estimated half-million Britons each weekend -- has been bruited. In 2002, the House of Commons Home Affairs Select Committee recommended lowering the penalties for ecstasy, but that suggestion was dismissed by then Home Secretary David Blunkett. Last month, current Home Secretary John Reid said he would not revise the classification system despite rising criticism.

Permission to Reprint: This content is licensed under a modified Creative Commons Attribution license. Content of a purely educational nature in Drug War Chronicle appear courtesy of DRCNet Foundation, unless otherwise noted.


Anonymous (not verified)

If LSD was indeed the drug a scientist was under the infuence of when he discovered the great DNA helilx.....then that fact alone proves that inside our own minds are many solutions that we perhaps cannot yet visualize without some form of AID to help RELEASE those discoveries.

The discovery of DNA was perhaps the greatest discovery for law enforcement in its entire history...enabling law enforcement to capture a criminal long after he or she has left the scene of a since DNA was discovered by some one who was under the influence of LSD...WHY then would such a possibly powerful discovery tool such as LSD.... be OUTLAWED?

I think its outlawed because it would allow us to ALSO discover many other things about our world that we are not supposed to know..and therefor it is kept FROM the public. It has been quite clear that those who rule do so by KEEPING knowledge from the masses. And LSD might be a tool that would answer MANY questions in our world...yet it is outlawed with severe penalties for use. Can anyone elaborate on this?

Tue, 04/15/2008 - 7:20pm Permalink
Anonymous (not verified)

Having used acid and mushrooms fairly regularly in my youth with no apparent side effects or episodes of anti-social behaviour, I am irked by the classification system. These drugs are not addictive, do not lead to crime, prostitution, violence or any other naughtiness; but, instead, cause what I would describe as widening of the sensory perceptual capabilities of the individual and humanity in general.

It makes the governments position understandable when you consider the existence we are expected to accept. Go to work; go shopping; eat pizza; watch crap TV; buy cheap chinese goods; put on the radio and be corrupted by meat-heads masquerading as artists; and hand over the reigns of our lives to a corrupt, murderous state. What do they have to gain by allowing us to open our minds?

The answer is: Nothing!

We must be herded and fleeced like good sheep.

Tue, 12/23/2008 - 12:49pm Permalink

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