UK Government decides not to have scientific advice on drugs any more

The British government is planning to abandon the requirement to seek scientific advice before setting drugs policy. As stated in the Misuse of Drugs Act 1971, it is required that its its Advisory Council for the Misuse of Drugs contain at least six scientists and a drug industry expert.

But police reform legislation introduced last week will remove the requirement to listen to scientists before setting policy. After all, who cares what do they have to say about drugs?

The proposed changes in the Drug Advisory Council are heavily criticized. Neuroscience professor Colin Blakemore said scrapping the statutory requirement for scientists to sit on the Advisory Council for the Misuse of Drugs (ACMD) was wrong and urged ministers to listen to scientific advice even when it was inconvenient.

Prof Blakemore told the BBC Radio 4 Today programme: "You can see why evidence and advice might be inconvenient to a minister who is confident in his or her own judgment.

"But, as (US President) Barack Obama said just before his inauguration, 'We should listen to the scientists even when what they say is inconvenient'.

In a reaction, former government drug adviser David Nutt says that ‘the government cannot think logically about drugs’.

Read more: Government proposes to scrap need for scientific advice on drugs policy