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Drug classification rethink urged - Beeb

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Drug classification rethink urged

By Pallab Ghosh

Science correspondent, BBC News

 

The designation of drugs in classes A, B and C should be replaced with one more closely reflecting the harm they cause, a committee of MPs has said.

 

The Science Select Committee said the present system was based on historical assumptions, not scientific assessment. BBC News has obtained details of a system devised by the government's advisers which is being considered as an alternative.

 

It rates some illegal drugs as less harmful than alcohol and tobacco.

 

The MPs said including alcohol and tobacco in the classification would give the public "a better sense of the relative harms involved".

It's time to bring in a more systematic and scientific approach to drug classification

Phil Willis

 

They also denounced the Advisory Council on the Misuse of Drugs - which provides scientific guidance to the government - for "dereliction of duty" in failing to alert ministers of "serious flaws" in the rating system. Phil Willis, who chairs the committee, said the current classifications were "riddled with anomalies" and "clearly not fit for purpose".

 

Controlled drugs are currently put into alphabetical categories, reflecting the level of penalties offences such as possession and dealing can attract.

 

Class A, which is the highest category, contains substances such as heroin, cocaine, ecstasy and magic mushrooms.

 

Class B includes speed and barbiturates. Cannabis and some tranquilisers are graded as class C substances.

 

Systematic

 

Mr Willis said the only way to get "an accurate and up to date classification system" was to "remove the link with penalties and just focus on harm", adding that this meant social consequences as well as harm to the user.

 

 

CURRENT DRUG CLASSIFICATION

Class A

Cocaine/crack

Heroin

Ecstasy

LSD

Magic mushrooms

Crystal meth (pending)

Class A/B

Amphetamines

Class C

Cannabis

Ketamine

 

Drugs key facts

Crystal meth to be Class A

 

He went on: "It's time to bring in a more systematic and scientific approach to drug classification - how can we get the message across to young people if what we are saying is not based on evidence?" Speaking on BBC Radio 4's Today programme, he said: "In 1971 when the classification system was launched, that was right for the time. What we've had is a huge societal change over that period and what we've seen is that putting a drug into Class A does not stop people using it at all."

 

The alternative system proposed is based on the first scientific assessment of 20 legal and illegal stimulants. The MPs say it should be replaced by a league table of the harm caused by particular drugs. It was being considered by former home secretary Charles Clarke, but has now been put on hold.

 

Alcohol

 

It has been prepared by Professor David Nutt, a senior member of the Committee that advises the government on drug classification, and Professor Colin Blakemore - chief Executive of the Medical Research Council.

 

There are three class A drugs in the top five of the system, as well as one Class B and alcohol. Tobacco is listed as the ninth most harmful drug and cannabis, a class C drug, comes in at number 11.

 

Perhaps most surprising is the presence of two Class A drugs - ecstasy and LSD - in the bottom six. This places them well below tobacco and alcohol and a number of class B and C drugs.

 

Professor Blakemore told BBC News alcohol and tobacco were included in the ranking to give a "calibration of what these levels of harm mean". He added: "That's not to say there's any argument that alcohol should be banned but it does give one a feel for the relative harm".

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Guest alex

Heard about this on the news. It's about time there was a bit of honesty about the harm different drugs do as opposed to the current classifications.

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What is it with Rob W and drugs?    :lol:

167712[/snapback]

 

Have you read many of his posts, 6am come down gibberish is about the only explanation.

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What is it with Rob W and drugs?    :lol:

167712[/snapback]

 

Have you read many of his posts, 6am come down gibberish is about the only explanation.

167718[/snapback]

 

 

need the odd fix to be able to get thru all the crap on here TBH ;):P:puke::aye:

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What is it with Rob W and drugs?    :lol:

167712[/snapback]

 

 

Someone has to wage the Ceaseless War against these people

 

;):P:puke::aye:

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Guest alex
Shrooms being Class A is ridiculous tbh.

167799[/snapback]

Had a laugh last summer before they closed that loophole and you could still get them at Card Bar :lol:

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Shrooms being Class A is ridiculous tbh.

167799[/snapback]

Had a laugh last summer before they closed that loophole and you could still get them at Card Bar :lol:

167806[/snapback]

 

I had a laugh and then a bit of a vomit after I consumed a full fucking bag of the things along with two litres of cider a few years back. It was good until I lost the use of my legs then it went rapidly down hill.

Edited by Ted Maul

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Guest alex
As a clean-living, number-crunching, super-cool accountant, these classifications are an irrelevance to me.

167835[/snapback]

You're forgetting white Zinfandel.

And poppers :lol:

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You're forgetting white Zinfandel.

And poppers ;)

167836[/snapback]

 

:lol: You can't expect him to do number and letters tbf.

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Alcohol isn't about to be reclassified though. :lol: Apart from perhaps putting White Zinfandel into a Real Man's Drink category.

 

As for poppers, they ming! The smell that is. When I had to work the gay night on the bar in Bliss the place used to reek of it. ;)

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Alcohol isn't about to be reclassified though. :lol:  Apart from perhaps putting White Zinfandel into a Real Man's Drink category.

 

As for poppers, they ming!  The smell that is.  When I had to work the gay night on the bar in Bliss the place used to reek of it. ;)

167843[/snapback]

 

I thought cherry beer was a real mans drink?

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Alcohol isn't about to be reclassified though. :lol:  Apart from perhaps putting White Zinfandel into a Real Man's Drink category.

 

As for poppers, they ming!  The smell that is.  When I had to work the gay night on the bar in Bliss the place used to reek of it. ;)

167843[/snapback]

 

When I was a kid someone gave me a bottle of "poppers", which I assumed were pills and proceeded to pour over my hand for a look. It took ages to get off and it fucking stank!

 

Never saw the point, does have an interesting effects on pills, like, but not worth the effort.

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Another step in the normalisation of illegal drugs.

167802[/snapback]

 

 

you mena the ones that everyone takes?

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Poppers are rank, can't say I'm fond of their preponderance in the Ghey Scene either. Some people swear by them for the rush but I just reckon they’re shagging the wrong people and need to distract themselves from the shame of it all. :lol:

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The only thing Poppers do for me is allow me to dance without being embarrased of the fact I can't.

167859[/snapback]

 

What?! How fucking strong are these poppers, like?

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I thought they were a muscle relaxant for bumming purposes?  How can that improve your dancing? :lol:

167889[/snapback]

 

"Dancing" tbh.

 

EDIT: The Fudge Polka.

Edited by DotBum

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