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Home secretary accused of bullying drugs adviser over comments about ecstasy

BMJ 2009; 338 doi: (Published 13 February 2009) Cite this as: BMJ 2009;338:b612
  1. Zosia Kmietowicz
  1. 1London

    Champions of evidence based medicine have defended the UK government’s drugs adviser who was criticised this week by the home secretary for saying that the risk associated with taking the recreational drug ecstasy was no worse than riding a horse.

    Ben Goldacre, a doctor and author of Bad Science, said that it was “completely ridiculous” that David Nutt was forced to apologise for his comments, which he made in an article in the Journal of Psychopharmacology and were widely reported in the British press at the weekend (2009;23:3-5, doi:10.1177/0269881108099672).

    In the article, which was written before Professor Nutt took his post as chairman of the Council on the Misuse of Drugs, he argued that “equine addiction syndrome” results in 100 deaths a year compared with 30 …

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