Gabriel Nahas

BMJ 2012; 345 doi: (Published 28 September 2012) Cite this as: BMJ 2012;345:e6540
  1. Ned Stafford, freelance journalist, Hamburg

Vociferous campaigner against marijuana and other illicit drugs

In 1969, the year of the famous Woodstock music festival and the height of the hippie movement, Gabriel Nahas attended a meeting of the parent teacher association at a local school that would change the direction of his life.

At the meeting, Nahas, a professor of anesthesia at Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons in New York City, heard a detailed presentation of the increasingly widespread use of marijuana in US cities. He was shocked. For more than a decade he had been publishing papers regularly on cardiac, pulmonary, and coronary research and was a recognized expert on acidosis.1 2 3 But from that point on, his main research interest switched to an effort to try to prove the dangers of marijuana and other illicit drugs.

Nancy Reagan and Just Say No

His efforts, though, went far beyond the laboratory. He became an extremely polarizing leader of the antidrug movement. In the 1980s Nahas supported Nancy Reagan, wife of President Reagan, in her antidrug Just Say No campaign, appearing with her at a public rally. He believed …

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