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One again, controversial UK drugs Tsar, Professor Nutt, caused panic and confusion by undermining current government advice. But, who’s telling the truth about the dangers of drugs? And why would anyone lie?

The UK government’s leading drug adviser, Professor Nutt – famous for his previous controversial statement that taking ecstasy was “no more dangerous than riding a horse” – has caused confusion once again, now claiming alcohol and cigarettes are more dangerous than cannabis, LSD, and ecstasy.

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Professor Nutt, chairman of Neuropsychopharmacology at Imperial College, London, and head of the Neuropsychopharmacology Unit at Bristol University, is now calling for the creation of an “index of harm,” to enable members of the public to compare the differences in danger levels between various drugs, both legal and illegal. In this index, alcohol would be considered the fifth most dangerous substance, after cocaine, heroin, barbiturates, and methadone. Cigarettes would be ranked number nine – higher than cannabis, LSD, and ecstasy, ranked  respectively at 11, 14, and 18. Drugs in the index are scored and ranked based on the physical harm they may cause the user, the likelihood of dependence, and harm caused to society.

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Professor Nutt criticised the government for providing mis-leading information, saying the artificial separation between legal and illegal drugs gives people the wrong impression about the dangers involved in the use of certain substances. He even went as far as saying smoking cannabis produces only a “relatively small risk of psychosis” – contradicting the government’s own advice, which claims it massively increases the risk of mental illness. He accused the former home secretary, Jaqcui Smith – famous for her porn-watching husband and shameful involvement in the MPs expenses scandal – of “distorting and devaluing” scientific research, when making the decision to reclassify cannabis as a class B drug. She accuses him of “trivialising” the dangers of drugs.

Professor Nutt has recently released a statement, saying: “No one is suggesting that drugs are not harmful. The critical question is one of scale and degree.” He added: “We have to accept young people like to experiment — with drugs and other potentially harmful activities — and what we should be doing in all of this is to protect them from harm at this stage of their lives. We therefore have to provide more accurate and credible information. If you think that scaring kids will stop them using, you are probably wrong.” Source

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The first and most obvious problem glaring at us from this “index of harm” is the incredibly high placement of alcohol, at number five – something many readers will be very surprised to see. A huge number of us drink on a regular basis, and probably consider consumption of this perfectly legal substance far healthier and less dangerous than regular use of either cannabis, LSD or ecstasy. But, if there’s scientific evidence to prove this to be more than marginally inaccurate, don’t the government owe it to us to tell us so?

The second issue is the idea that cigarettes could be more dangerous than cannabis, LSD, and ecstasy, which is shocking, by anyone’s standards. Here in the UK, we’re bombarded with press releases about the dangers of smoking cannabis; parents up and down the country are terrified their spliff-smoking teens will almost certainly find themselves suffering from schizophrenia if they insist in continuing their illegal past-time. Equally, LSD and ecstasy are promoted as dangerous, even lethal drugs – and most parents would much prefer their children were just having a drink and/or smoking some cigarettes, than taking either substance. But what if they’re wrong?

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From Professor Nutt’s above statement, we can see he openly accuses the UK government of scare-mongering tactics that he personally believes will never work. And he’s probably right, if previous campaigns are anything to go by. He’s also perfectly clear in his research-based, professional opinion as a scientist, that alcohol and cigarettes are far more dangerous than is currently admitted. So why are the government ignoring the evidence provided by his careful research and clinging to false statements made by politically-motivated individuals?

Could it be anything to do with the MASSIVE income they receive from the tax they charge on alcohol and cigarettes?

I don’t know about you, but as a parent – and regardless of any financial implications they may face as a result – I fully expect the government to provide me with the cold, hard facts about the dangers regarding drugs, as and when they discover them, so I can attempt to keep my children as safe as possible – as my job as a mother dictates. I simply cannot do so if they insist on lying to me.

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