Intended for healthcare professionals

Rapid response to:


New appointment to drug advisory body sparks controversy

BMJ 2011; 342 doi: (Published 31 January 2011) Cite this as: BMJ 2011;342:d624

Rapid Response:

Controversy or just plain prejudice?

As director of a centre for evidence based policy, Evan Harris should
be well aware of the evidence that men who have sex with men do indeed
have a higher incidence of drug misuse (1)(2)(3). Indeed if they do not,
then surely Harris' criticism of Dr Raabe's alleged comments on
homosexuality is entirely irrelevant to Raabe's position on the Misuse of
Drugs Advisory Council?

As for Mark Easton's reported comments from an unnamed member of the
Council threatening to resign over Dr Raabe's appointment, these say so
much about that member's cowardice and lack of transparency that it may be
best if they do resign. At least Dr Raabe has the courage to express his
views openly.

1. Stall R, Wiley J. A comparison of alcohol and drug use patterns of
homosexual and heterosexual men: the San Francisco men's health study .
Drug Alcohol Dependency. 1988;22:63-73.

2. Stall R, Paul JP, Greenwood G, et al. Alcohol use, drug use and
alcohol-related problems among men who have sex with men: the Urban Men's
Health Study.
Addiction. 2001;96:1589-1601.

3. McCabe S et al Sexual identity and substance misuse among
undergraduate students Substance Abuse 2003 24 77-91

Competing interests: I am also a Christian and former GP

06 February 2011
Trevor G Stammers
Programme Director in Medical Ethics
St Mary's University College, London