Professor David Nutt is a British psychiatrist who was fired from his position as Government advisor a couple of years ago because he presented challenging information about the relative harm of drugs.
Professor Nutt’s view is that illicit drugs should be classified according to evidence of the actual harm they cause.
His analysis of nine ‘parameters of harm’ (grouped as ‘physical harm’, ‘dependence’, ‘and ‘social harms’) classified alcohol and tobacco as more harmful than LSD, ecstasy and cannabis. In this ranking, alcohol came fifth behind heroin, cocaine, barbiturates and methadone, and tobacco ranked ninth, ahead of cannabis, LSD and ecstasy.
David Nutt holds a chair in The Independent Scientific Committee on Drugs, the leading independent scientific body on the harms and benefits of both legal and controlled drugs in the UK. This charity requires funding from the public because investors don’t want to invest in this cause. All profits from his recently released book “Drugs Without the Hot Air” go directly to the charity.
For more talks last these, check out David’s talk “Decision making about illegal drugs: time for science to take the lead” from last year and a talk by his colleague Dr Robin Carhart-Harris talks about his scientific research into the effects and potential therapeutic uses of psychedelic drugs called “How do psychedelic drugs work on the brain?“