Calls for ecstasy downgrade

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The Independent Online

The Home Office's Advisory Council on the Misuse of Drugs (ACMD) is expected to recommend this week that ecstasy be downgraded from class A to class B, when it presents the results of a lengthy inquiry into the drug. As revealed in the IoS last month, Professor David Nutt, chairman of ACMD, and a long-term advocate of more relaxed laws on the control of "the dance drug", is prepared to urge ministers to downgrade the substance from the highest criminal category.

Professor Nutt was at the centre of controversy yesterday after he wrote in a medical journal that taking ecstasy was no worse than riding a horse. In his article, "Equasy – An overlooked addiction with implications for the current debate on drug harms", in the latest edition of the Journal of Psychopharmacology, he wrote: "The point was to get people to understand that drug harm can be equal to harms in other parts of life. There is not much difference between horse riding and ecstasy."

Home Office officials yesterday reiterated the Government's staunch opposition to downgrading.