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Drugs-row Brown 'in another universe'

THE controversial former chief adviser on drugs launched a scathing attack on the Government and Gordon Brown, calling him from "some other universe".

Speaking yesterday, Professor David Nutt maintained his position that horse riding was more lethal than Ecstasy, suggested that smoking cannabis during pregnancy was less dangerous than drinking alcohol and accused the Government of failing to protect people against the dangers of drugs.

He went on to claim that if the Conservatives win the next general election things will not change and that the Government of the day will continue to peddle propaganda.

Speaking at the Students for Sensible Drug Policy UK conference at Leeds University – an organisation which calls for the legalisation of all drugs – Prof Nutt spoke about his very public dismissal as chairman of the Advisory Council on the Misuse of Drugs (ACMD).

Prof Nutt said Home Secretary Alan Johnson's decision to remove him last month was "truly surreal".

He added: "When I was sacked Alan Johnson said he was 'big enough, bold enough, strong enough' to make the decision.

"I'd say he's not big enough, bold enough or strong enough to tell the truth about drugs."

He attacked Mr Johnson's predecessor, Jacqui Smith – or "Jackboot" as he referred to her – saying that she phoned him 30 minutes before she was due to answer questions about her expenses.

He added: "When Charles Clarke was Home Secretary he didn't like my advice, but at least he had the courage to accept it."

He also attacked Gordon Brown when he said: "We have a Prime Minister whose view (on drugs) is formed in some other universe."

He said during his 10 years on the ACMD he found talking with politicians very difficult and that fewer people are voting because the House of Commons is nothing more than a "pantomime".

He said: "I never realised how unintellectual politicians are."

In answer to a woman's question about the harm of cannabis, after she admitted smoking the drug while she was pregnant, Prof Nutt suggested the use of cannabis while pregnant was less harmful that the use of alcohol.

The use of alcohol is far more troubling than the use of drugs, he said, because the cost to the public to deal with alcohol abuse is far higher than any illegal drug.

He said: "Alcohol costs 1,000 per year in excess health care costs and about three times that of other costs."

Since being sacked he said he had received hundreds of emails from people, of which 95 per cent have been supportive.

Prof Nutt was sacked from his role as chairman of the ACMD after the Home Secretary said he had lost confidence in him.

He sparked controversy when he said Ecstasy and LSD were less harmful than alcohol and cigarettes, and criticised the Government's decision to upgrade cannabis to class B.

He made his remarks in a speech in July this year, but said yesterday that the Home Office had approved the speech and even provided him with the figures for it.

Following his dismissal five members of the advisory board have handed in their notice leaving the entire committee's place within Government in some doubt.

Prof Nutt said yesterday: "The Government will find it very difficult to appoint a new chairman."

He said he will continue to offer advice to the Government and is planning on setting up a parallel committee to work side by side with the Government's official committee.

He said: "Hopefully, this new independent board will be the first port of call on drugs policy in the UK."

In the future Prof Nutt said he also wants to look into the possibility of creating a new, legal drug which could be a safer alternative to alcohol.

 
 
 

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