By Christopher Hope, Whitehall Editor
11 February 2009
LSD, the powerful hallucinogenic drug made famous by The Beatles,
should be downgraded from a Class A drug, according to the
Government’s drugs adviser.
The news has emerged after the Professor David Nutt was ordered to
apologise by the Home Secretary for saying that taking ecstasy was no
worse than riding a horse.
Prof Nutt is chairman of the Government’s Advisory Council on the
Misuse of Drugs, which is set to recommend that ecstasy should be
downgraded from A to B.
In a radio interview last year, months before he became chairman of
the council, Prof Nutt disclosed that he also favoured downgrading LSD
from A to B.
He said: “There are several drugs that are in class A and probably
should not be there, like ecstasy and LSD. There are other drugs that
should be up the scale.
“Ecstasy and LSD which tend to cause little dependence and relatively
moderate degrees of personal damage are probably too highly classified.”
LSD is ranked as a class A drug under the Misuse of Drugs Act. The
maximum penalty for supplying the drug is life imprisonment.
Prof Nutt, who took over as chairman of the council last November,
went on to call for a major overhaul of the drugs classification rules
He said: “I think it is time to have a complete review of all the drug
laws. And I would like to have that in the UK.”
Prof Nutt said he was content that drugs like “heroin, crack, cocaine
and metamphetamine pure” should remain as Class A drugs.
He told Radio New Zealand: “It is quite hard to move drugs out of
classes. In the UK we have has these class system now since 1971.
“Only one drug has ever been moved down a class and a couple have
moved up. Cannabis moved down and opiates moved up.”
Prof Nutt said that if alcohol emerged as a substance in modern
Britain it would be classified as an illegal Class B drug.
He said: “If alcohol was suddenly to emerge in society now and it was
suddenly assessed as other drugs of abuse it would be rated as a B
class drug and therefore not be made legal.”
The Daily Telegraph disclosed last week how Prof Nutt had written in
an academic journal that taking the drug was no more dangerous than an
addiction to horse riding.
In the House of Commons on Monday, Jacqui Smith told MPs that his
comments sent the wrong message to young people about the dangers of
She said: “I made clear to Prof Nutt that I felt his comments went
beyond the scientific advice that I expect of him as the chair of the
Advisory Council on the Misuse of Drugs.”