Prominent psychiatrist Professor David Nutt has been touring New Zealand giving lectures about his view that illegal drugs should be classified according to the harm they cause.
Professor Nutt was sacked last year from his position as chairman of the Advisory Council on the Misuse of Drugs (ACMD), after publishing a paper claiming that alcohol was more dangerous than ecstasy and marijuana. His sacking led to the resignation of a number of other members of the same committee.
He and his team used nine different parameters of harm caused by drug use, classified into three groups: physical harms, dependence and social harms. Using these parameters, they found that alcohol was ranked fifth behind heroin, and tobacco ninth, making them more harmful than many illegal drugs (see image, right).
Professor Nutt is Director of the Neuropsychopharmacology Unit at Imperial College London, President of the European College of Neuropsychopharmacology, and Chair of the Independent Scientific Committee on Drugs. He is also the current Edmund J Safra Professor of Neuropsychopharmacology at Imperial College London.
In addition to his lectures (podcast below), he was also interviewed by 3 News about New Zealand’s drink driving laws.
David Nutt Lecture – Pt I[audio:https://www.sciencemediacentre.co.nz/wp-content/upload/2010/08/David-Nutt-Pt-I.mp3]
David Nutt Lecture – Pt II[audio:https://www.sciencemediacentre.co.nz/wp-content/upload/2010/08/David-Nutt-Pt-II.mp3]