Drugs classification should be scrapped, experts say

A leading think-tank has called for the British government’s system of drugs classification to be scrapped. The UK Drugs Policy Commission says classifying illegal drugs on a “danger scale” of classes A, B or C needs to be overhauled because they do not affect drug use.

The news comes ahead of a meeting when the Home Office’s independent Advisory Council on the Misuse of Drugs will discuss whether to downgrade ecstasy from class A. Ecstasy (MDMA) remains the third most popular illicit drug in Britain, with five per cent of young adults aged 16 to 24 saying they have used it in the last year.

The council, which is made up of 21 academics and drugs experts, provides advice to Governments on illegal drug use and is expected to recommend downgrading the drug from A to B.

Reports from the Police Foundation in 2000, the Commons Home Affairs Committee in 2002 and the Commons Science and Technology Committee in 2006 have all favoured the move.

Roger Howard, Chief Executive, UK Drug Policy Commission, told The Daily Telegraph: “The purpose and operation of the drug classification system has become increasingly confused amongst politicians and the public in recent years. The time has come for an independent wholesale review of the system to clarify how a scientific rating of drug harms should be used for drug classifications and for wider applications such as setting policing priorities or public health messages.”

This summer the Dutch politician Wouter Bos also pointed out that there is no reliable data on the safety of ecstasy and similar "new" drugs, and that a reevalution of these popular compounds is long overdue.

Read more here: www.telegraph.co.uk