Today sees the publication of two pieces of scientific research that threaten to destabilise further the orthodoxy on drug policy in Britain.
One says our classification system of illicit substances is basically hopeless. The other says that decriminalising illicit drugs may be quite a good idea.
Tomorrow, of course, Californians vote on whether to legalise marijuana.
It is almost exactly a year since this blog revealed that Professor David Nutt had been sacked from his position as chair of the Advisory Council on the Misuse of Drugs (ACMD) by the then Home Secretary Alan Johnson.
His dismissal, for allegedly “campaigning” against government drugs policy, prompted a show-down between scientists and ministers which saw a further seven council members resign.
A number of those experts went on to found their own Independent Scientific Committee on Drugs, operating, as they put it, “free from the constraints of policy-making and politics”.
Today an ISCD paper entitled Drug Harms in the UK: A Multicriteria Decision Analysis is published in the Lancet. Its title may not be overly exciting but its findings are bound to cause an almighty stir.
The headline is that, on the basis of new analysis assessing the relative harms of different legal and illegal drugs to the user and wider society, “alcohol was the most harmful drug (overall harm score 72), with heroin (55) and crack (54) in second and third places”.
Read the full article by Mark Easton at www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/markeaston