Alan Johnson Sacks the Messenger
This, of course, relates to the recent sackings and supportive resignations of Government Scientific Advisors (see More advisers may go in drugs row) .
The home secretary faces the threat of more scientists resigning after sacking his chief drugs adviser Prof David Nutt for his comments about cannabis policy. Two members of the drugs advisory panel have quit in protest and others are to meet to discuss their next move. Alan Johnson said Prof Nutt was sacked for “crossing the line” between giving advice and campaigning for a policy.
The point is that there’s a conflict between safety, facts, opinions, freedom, freedom of speech, duty, duty of care, education, class and knowledge.
Currently, a few tens of people each year die while taking ecstasy. Most actually die from dehydration and related effects, not from the drug.
However, the drug is addictive in that it’s effects diminish with repetition and the user has to take more each time to obtain the same experience.
It can be argued that taking one drug leads to taking others, which seems a reasonable supposition. But even so, the deaths due to drug taking, as opposed to the deaths due to crimes within the drugs supply industry are miniscule.
Far better would be to fully legalise all drugs but to have life imprisonment for illegal supply. In this way, there’s be nothing to stop ‘curious’ people making their own drugs…
An even better, and logical proposition, would be to focus on preventable deaths as they stand in the real, accountable figures. Start by checking the official government death statistics… Oh! And here they are (it’s a big PDF file)
In this right-riveting read are all sorts of weirdness.
For instance, the number of deaths from CYSTITIS is greater than those due to those surrounding Ecstasy intake!! Perhaps we should be focussing our energies here?
But even more shocking, is that the deaths due to NOT WEARING A CRASH HELMET while driving a CAR are more than Ecstasy and Cystitis combined.
If HM Gov were truly concerned about the welfare of it’s citizens, they would insist on the use of crash helmets now and also make it impossible for motor vehicles to exceed ANY speed limit by the use of automatic speed limiting devices? Maybe install equipment to prevent vehicle movement if there’s alcohol on the driver’s breath?
But that removes the freedom of a person to drive how they like? – is the obvious riposte. And why should I have to wear a helmet inside my car? And if I want to drive while drunk, that’s my choice!
So? And there we are back to my first statement: “The point is that there’s a conflict between safety, facts, opinions, freedom, freedom of speech, duty, duty of care, education, class and knowledge.”
And in that, the scientist is absolutely right and Johnson has chucked away all ‘fair comment’ values of a free society and ended the debate by shooting the messenger. Meanwhile the carnage on the streets continues both by vehicle and by the gun and knife.
Either way, it’s still carnage – and deaths from Ecstasy are a pimple in comparison.