Thursday, October 29, 2009

HASC discusses calls for an Impact Assessment of the Misuse of Drugs Act

One of the members of the Home Affairs Select Committee (HASC) raised the issue of carrying out in Impact Assessment (IA) of the Misuse of Drugs Act during a witness session as part of the current inquiry into the cocaine trade. Undertaking such an IA has been one of Transform’s key recommendations in our written submission and oral evidence to the HASC inquiry.

Anne Cryer MP addressing the Advisory Ccouncil on the Misuse of Drugs Chair, Professor David Nutt:

'Can I ask you about the current legislation which is the MDA and associated legislation. The actualy act was approved by Parliament in '71, so that's 38 years ago. Do you think the time has come to have an Impact Assessment of that legislation and how it's applied today, is it still fit for purpose?'
Professor David Nutt:
'Well as I said in answers to other questions, it’s not perfect. I think as a construct, it is good. I think if it was made more evidence-based, if the act truly represented the harms of drugs, rather than having some other political overwriting - messages written into it - then I think it would be very powerful. So I think my council would be very comfortable with people wanting to review it.'
Anne Cryer:
'So you would support a total assessment of it?'
David Nutt:
'I would be very happy with that, yes.'
Professor Nutt, additionally, in reply to a series of questions question from David Winnick MP about whether it was time for a debate around the efficacy of prohibition, and whether drugs should be legalised, said:
'I think a very mature and wide ranging debate about the effects of regulation and legality on drug use is worth having."

You can view the whole session here (The section transcribed above starts at 1 hour and 17 minutes).

Transform have held a meeting with the Prime Minister requesting that he instigate an IA of the current legislation, but has yet to have any confirmation that such an IA will be launched . Now that the issue has been raised by the HASC, Transform are optimistic that it may be in the inquiries final recommendations due to be published in the New Year.


thepoisongarden said...

'a very mature and wide ranging debate'

Unfortunately, some people think calling for such a debate should be enough to get you sacked.

Anonymous said...

Professor Nutt is obviously far too sensible for government, who have now sacked him, because science doesn't support failing government policy!

When science has to be censored, they lose the argument. The curtain is lifting for agenda based policies.

Will the predictable outcries make any difference? I doubt it. :sigh:

Anonymous said...

wonder if the new chief drugs adviser will have the balls to support a full impact assessment. Doubt it, expect it to be a condition of employment.

Governments clear bias towards the alcohol lobby has gone too far. It's almost as bad as Lord Whitbread in the 80's.

Anonymous said...

So goodbye Professor Nutt.

Obviously you were giving them the wrong kind of advice.

Ian S said...

So of course he was sacked. Evidence base! Remember Gordon Brown sold social policy debate to the Daily Mail in exchange for not having an election at the beginning of his premiership by promising that Super Casino's, 24hr Alcohol licensing and the re-classification of cannabis would be reviewed.

David Nutt is a real scientist who therefore believes that there should be continuous scrutiny of the evidence, a bit like David Kelly but politicians and journalists prefer soundbites to brain achey stuff eg "Lethal cannabis" and "Biological missiles ready in 45 minutes"

Anonymous said...

If anyone reads this in time, today's poll in the Daily Mail is 'Should alcohol be reclassified as more dangerous than LSD/MDMA/cannabis. If we all vote, maybe we can tip the balance past 50%. Here's the link:

Anonymous said...

2 down, 29 to go!

The tories must be loving this, all the rebels jumping ship before they get into government!