Intended for healthcare professionals


Advisory drugs panel is losing independence, says academic who quit

BMJ 2019; 367 doi: (Published 07 October 2019) Cite this as: BMJ 2019;367:l5913
  1. Jacqui Wise
  1. London

A senior member of the independent panel that advises the government on drug related issues has resigned amid what he says is “political vetting” of members.

Alex Stevens, professor in criminal justice at the University of Kent, said that the exclusion of suitably qualified applicants meant that the Advisory Council on the Misuse of Drugs was losing its independence.

In June it emerged that a government minister had vetoed the appointment of Niamh Eastwood, a highly respected lawyer and executive director of the drugs charity Release.1 Victoria Atkins, the minister for crime, safeguarding, and vulnerability, vetoed Eastwood on the basis of tweeted disagreements with government ministers. …

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