Campaigners attack government plans for drugs advice body

Medical Government/ NHS related news

The government will no longer need to seek scientists' advice before making drug classification policies, under new proposals branded "shocking" by campaigners.

If it becomes law, the police reform and social responsibility bill will remove the need for scientists to be appointed to the Advisory Council on the Misuse of Drugs (ACMD), which advises the government on drug policy.

At present, at least six scientists from a range of disciplines must sit on the committee, but new government proposals mean there would be no legal requirement to involve scientists in drug policy decisions.

Darryl Bickler, from the Drug Equality Alliance, said the proposals "would effectively emasculate and bypass" the advisory body.

"This would allow the government free rein to control various drug users, without the need for the statutory consultation process nor any of the required scientific expertise being present on the council," he pointed out.

Mr Bickler warned that future decisions could be based on "tabloid hysteria" rather than scientific evidence.

Imran Khan, director of the Campaign for Science and Engineering, wrote in his blog that any reform to the ACMD should be done "sensitively and with care".

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