On Wednesday 11th Feb the Advisory Council on the Misuse of Drugs (ACMD) will announce the outcome of its review of the classification of ecstasy, and in all likelihood will recommend it be downgraded from Class A to Class B.
“Parliament is reveling in moral grandstanding and populist posturing by eschewing the science on ecstasy. Truth is always the first casualty in any war, including the war on drugs. Given that the Government overruled the ACMD on cannabis classification, and has made it clear that whatever the evidence ecstasy’s classification won’t change, this entire exercise was doomed before it began.
“Drug prohibition is unique in the public health field in using criminal sanctions to reduce social and health harms. It is also uniquely ineffective. There is no evidence that punitive law and its enforcement has more than a marginal impact on levels of drug use or misuse.
“The Advisory Council's job is to reduce the health and social harms associated with the misuse of drugs, so it is a real concern that it is still using a system of classification that was derided comprehensively by the Science and Technology Select Committee less than two years ago. The ACMD’s time would have been far better spent conducting a fundamental review of the evidence underlying the classification system and distinguishing drug harms from harms caused by criminalisation. “
“From Transform’s perspective any reduction in unjust criminal penalties for consenting drug users would have been a positive step. But we remain deeply concerned that regardless of alphabetic classification, ecstasy will remain illegal, its users will still be subject to serious criminal sanctions, and the control of its production and supply will remain in the hands of unregulated criminal profiteers supplying pills and powders of unknown strength made with unknown ingredients.”
“Telling the truth about the harms associated with drug use compared to those caused by prohibition will remain taboo whilst the overarching commitment is to scare the public into supporting an unwinnable war on drugs.”
Notes for Editors:
- Transform staff will be available for comment at the ACMD’s presentation of its ecstasy review at 11.30am Weds 11th February; The Council Room, One Great George Street, London, SW1P 3AA