UK government rejects advice from drugs adviser to downgrade ecstasy

BMJ 2009; 338 doi: (Published 13 February 2009) Cite this as: BMJ 2009;338:b592
  1. Zosia Kmietowicz
  1. 1London

    The Home Office has vetoed a recommendation from the independent drug advisory body to downgrade ecstasy from a class A to class B drug, saying it is not prepared to send a message to young people that it takes ecstasy less seriously.

    Ecstasy is currently a class A drug along with heroin, crack cocaine, cocaine, and lysergide (LSD). Anyone found supplying drugs of this category can face a sentence of life in prison.

    The Advisory Council on the Misuse of Drugs looked at more than 4000 papers for the first evidence based review into the effects of methylenedioxymethamphetamine (MDMA), commonly known as ecstasy, since the drug was classified in 1977. It said that ecstasy was no more dangerous than other amphetamines, which are class B drugs.

    Alan Campbell, home office minister, said, “Ecstasy can and does kill unpredictably. The government has a duty to protect the public and …

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