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New appointment to drug advisory body sparks controversy

BMJ 2011; 342 doi: (Published 31 January 2011) Cite this as: BMJ 2011;342:d624
  1. Clare Dyer
  1. 1BMJ

Nine new members have been appointed to the UK Advisory Council on the Misuse of Drugs after a spate of resignations sparked by a row over threats to their independence by the previous Labour government.

A raft of members of the council, an independent body that advises the Home Office on drug policy, resigned in protest after the then Labour home secretary, Alan Johnson, sacked its head, David Nutt, in November 2009 over comments he made in an academic lecture (BMJ 2009;339:b4563, doi:10.1136/bmj.b4563). In the lecture Professor Nutt said that tobacco and alcohol were more harmful than cannabis, ecstasy, and LSD and criticised the former home secretary Jacqui Smith for reclassifying cannabis from class C to class B.

But the appointment of one …

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