DS Daily - 2nd November 2009


Questions the NTA has answered

The NTA has responded to 20 questions posed by Addiction Today about drug treatment policy and practice - the questions and answers in full [NTA, UK]

Johnson defends drugs row sacking

The home secretary has defended sacking the UK's chief drugs adviser after his criticism of the government's tough approach to cannabis and ecstasy [BBC, UK]

Scots expert attacks drug scientist

Scotland’s leading drugs expert [professor Neil McKeganey] has accused a former scientific adviser of “undermining” efforts to tackle narcotics ... While it is Prof Nutt’s right as an academic to state his views on drug risks, Prof McKeganey said, “it is not his right to publicly undermine the decisions taken in relation to those drugs by ministers” [The Herald, Scotland, UK]

Why Professor David Nutt was shown the door

He was asked to go because he cannot be both a government adviser and a campaigner against government policy - Letters from Alan Johnson and others [Guardian, UK]

David Nutt's sacking provokes mass revolt against Alan Johnson

Johnson faces 'collective action' threat from advisers as two resign in protest [Guardian, UK]

The drugs experts who are standing down

Les King and Marion Walker [Times, UK]

Six drugs service scientists may resign over sacking of chairman

Growing fury at 'disgraceful' decision that undermines relations between politicians and scientists [Independent, UK]

Advisers have a right to speak plainly, without being spun against

Alan Johnson's spectacular own goal with the scientific community presents an opportunity to strengthen its voice in Whitehall [Times, UK]

DrugScope response to Home Secretary's decision to force resignation of the ACMD Chair

The Home Secretary's decision to force the resignation of the chair of an independent advisory body is an extremely serious and concerning development and raises serious questions about the means by which drug policy is informed and kept under review [DrugScope, UK]

Science is on the side of drug adviser sacked to make Labour look like saviours

The Home Secretary was doubly wrong to sack Professor David Nutt. Letters from Hugh Gurling, Professor of Molecular Psychiatry, University College Medical School London, and others [Telegraph, UK]

Scientists quit government drugs body over David Nutt sacking

The affair has led scientists to question the Government’s wider commitment to the independence of external scientific advisers, and raised fears that experts will become reluctant to sit on advisory panels [Times, UK]

Perils of advising on drug policy

A call to reinstate Professor Nutt. Letter from Ian Stolerman, Emeritus Professor of Behavioural Pharmacology, Institute of Psychiatry, King’s College London [Times, UK]

Drugs: Prejudice and political weakness have rejected scientific facts

In dismissing David Nutt, its chief drugs adviser, the government has bowed to public mood [Observer, UK]

Second drugs adviser quits post

Dr King said he would like to see the ACMD become an independent body, free from the government's influence [BBC, UK]

Two members of drugs panel quit

Dr Les King quit the ACMD in protest over Prof Nutt’s dismissal. He was followed by Marion Walker a pharmacist, who is also clinical director of Berkshire Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust's substance misuse service [Telegraph, UK]

Ministers face rebellion over drug tsar's sacking

Mass walkout threatened as axed adviser David Nutt accuses Gordon Brown of being first prime minister to go against advice of his scientific panel [Observer, UK]

The case of Professor Nutt and the need for political lies

UK drugs policy is in chaos and it’s all the fault of politicians playing to the media instead of making policy based on fact [UKCIA]

Is cannabis very harmful? Don't be a dope

Classification of drugs bears no relation to the damage they cause ... Prof Nutt's mistake was to imagine that this was a scientific issue when it is a political one Telegraph, UK]

Fatuous, dangerous, utterly irresponsible - the Nutty professor who's distorting the truth about drugs

Nutt was not sacked because he gave ministers advice they didn't want to hear. It was because he was playing politics and undermining government policy [Daily Mail, UK]

Bruce Anderson: Let's be honest... legalise drugs and society would benefit

This is a war that cannot be won. And the suppression of David Nutt won't help [Independent, UK]

Estimating drug harms: a risky business?

Professor David Nutt Eve Saville Lecture 2009. 13-page PDF [Centre for Crime and Justice Studies, King’s College, UK]

Cast adrift

Closing the gaps - Services must link to provide a stronger net [Editorial - Drink and Drugs News, UK]

DDN Features

Full list of DDN features for download [Drink and Drugs News, UK]

Depression and alcohol misuse most common mental disorders amongst UK troops

Researchers at the Institute of Psychiatry have found that common mental disorders such as depression and alcohol misuse are the top psychological problems amongst UK troops post-deployment and not post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) as is widely believed [Institute of Psychiatry, UK]

Action on Britain's epidemic of pill addiction

Peer to use House of Lords speech to reveal relative's addiction to prescription drug [Independent, UK]

Informal peer supply and social capital

It's clear that engaging networks of injecting drug users to help with self distribuition of equipment is a great way to increase the numbers of sterile equipment available. However for some people (it seemed mainly to be some service managers) the concepts seemed full of problems. Hopefully this article might help with at least one of them [Injecting Advice, UK]

Federal Stimulus Grant Supports Crucial Study of Anti-Nicotine Vaccine

Efforts to develop a vaccine capable of preventing tobacco addiction got a $10-million shot in the arm in the form of an American Recovery and Reinvestment Act grant [NIDA, USA]

Trends in alcohol- and drug-related ED and primary care visits: data from three U.S. national surveys (1995–2005)

These data suggest that drug-related ED visits are continuing to increase, although the increase has not been as substantial between 2000 and 2005, as that which was observed between 1995 and 2000, and highlight the opportunity provided by the ED and primary care settings for screening and brief intervention for substance-related problems. 7-page PDF [NIH, USA]

The Invisible Tide

Towards an International Strategy to Deal with Drug Trafficking Through West Africa. 44-page PDF [International Peace Institute]

Legal drugs spark a boom in pill popping

A largely unregulated industry is selling pills claimed to mimic the thrills of illicit drugs [The Age, Australia]

Alcohol price rise 'will hurt public'

The Australian liquor industry has warned that raising taxes on alcohol and imposing tighter restrictions on sales will not change the national drinking culture or solve the problem of youth binge drinking [The Australian]

Police to double roadside drug tests

Victoria Police will target drugged drivers as frequently as drink drivers in order to tackle what they see as a growing problem of drug-affected drivers [The Age, Australia]