Sunday, 30 May 2010

Another Whiskey, Humpy?

The New Scientist reports that a landmark case which pushed through laws banning the drug mephedrone - popularly known as 'Miaow Miaow' - has come under strong criticism after a toxicology report of the two teenagers thought to have died from the drug showed neither had actually taken it.

"Legal high kills two teens," cried the Daily Express earlier this year. There followed a steady stream of stories in the UK media of the dangers of the then little known "legal high".

The government subsequently rushed through an emergency ban on the drug and related compounds that became law in early April. Although implicated in 27 deaths, a report by the International Centre for Drug Policy at University College London found it to be a contributing factor in just one.

Today, this knee jerk reaction came under further criticism following the negative toxicology tests. Reacting to this finding, David Nutt, chair of neuropsychopharmacology at Imperial College London, said: "If these reports are true, the previous government's rush to ban mephedrone never had any serious scientific credibility."

"This shocking news should be a salutary lesson to the tabloid journalists and prejudiced politicians who held a gun to the heads of the ACMD [Advisory Council on the Misuse of Drugs] and demanded that this drug should be banned, before a single autopsy had been completed," adds Colin Blakemore, professor of neuroscience at the University of Oxford. "The only good that might emerge from this fiasco is a long-overdue review of drug control policy."

When are our politicians gong to start thinking from themselves and not merely pandering to the berserk and vested interests of a heavily biased media?

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