Drugs adviser Eric Carlin quits over 'rushed' Mephedrone ban

A Government adviser today became the latest member of the Advisory Council on the Misuse of Drugs (ACMD) to resign, in what he said was a protest in the way mephedrone had been criminalised.

Eric Carlin said the decision taken earlier this week to criminalise the drug was "unduly based on media and political pressure".

He is the latest member of the ACMD to resign following the sacking of former chairman Professor David Nutt.

Carlin, 47, said he had grown disillusioned with the ACMD's "lack of interest" in prevention and early intervention with young people.

Earlier this week Home Secretary Alan Johnson announced the dance drug mephedrone would be banned within weeks.

The legal high, linked to up to 25 deaths in England and Scotland, will be banned and made a Class B drug.

Mr Carlin, speaking from Brussels, said he believed the decision to rush through the ban had been politically motivated in order for the Government to look tough prior to the election.

He tendered his letter of resignation to the Home Secretary yesterday.

It reads: "We had little or no discussion about how our recommendation to classify this drug would be likely to impact on young people's behaviour.

"Our decision was unduly based on media and political pressure."

He added: "As well as being extremely unhappy with how the ACMD operates, I am not prepared to continue to be part of a body which, as its main activity, works to facilitate the potential criminalisation of increasing numbers of young people."

Danny Kushlick, director of the Transform Drug Policy Foundation said: "This latest resignation is because Carlin recognises that criminalisation causes harm for young people in direct contradiction to the Government's stated intention."

Mr Carlin said far more consideration and debate had been needed into how young people use the drug.

He explained: "We've not properly considered it, not assessed how young people use it."

Prof Nutt was sacked last year after saying ecstasy was less harmful than alcohol.

Earlier this week, Dr Polly Taylor a long-standing member of the ACMD, quit just hours before Mr Johnson's mephedrone announcement.

A spokesman for the ACMD said: "We can confirm that Mr Carlin has tendered his resignation to the Advisory Council on the Misuse of Drugs."

A Home Office spokesman added that the ACMD would still continue its work.

A Home Office spokesman added: "The resignation today was regrettable.

"However it does not impact on our plans to ban mephedrone and the other substances as soon as parliamentary times allows."

"The Home Secretary has full confidence in Professor Iversen and the rest of the ACMD committee."

Prof Nutt told Sky the ACMD had been placed under inappropriate pressure.

He said: "I think there's been a terrible pressure to come to a resolution about mephedrone - inappropriate pressure.

"The meeting this week was rushed through so that the chairman could leave to do a press conference when the Home Secretary wanted to do a press conference - it's a travesty about a proper discussion, about the proper way in which you should deal with an important issue like mephedrone."

Shadow home secretary Chris Grayling said: "The relationship between the Government and its drugs advisory council has become utterly shambolic.

"After all the chaos of the last few months, it finally looked as if Alan Johnson might be getting things back into shape again.

"The decision on mephedrone was the right one, but this latest resignation suggests pretty clearly that the Home Secretary has been completely unable to restore his relationship with the experts who advise him."

Liberal Democrat home affairs spokesman Chris Huhne added: "Once again, the Government's contempt for expert advice has decimated the ACMD.

"There is no point having experts to advise on drugs if Labour is only interested in pandering to tabloid newspaper editors.

"The only way to restore science to the heart of drugs policy is to make the ACMD completely independent of Government."

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Arts and Entertainment
Lou Reed distorted the truth about his upbringing, and since his death in 2013, biographers and memoirists have added to the myths
musicThe truth about Lou Reed's upbringing beyond the biographers' and memoirists' myths
Ed Miliband received a warm welcome in Chester
election 2015
Life and Style
Apple CEO Tim Cook announces the Apple Watch during an Apple special even
fashionIs the Apple Watch for you? Well, it depends if you want for the fitness tech, or the style
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooksA special investigation by Andy McSmith
  • Get to the point
2015 General Election

Poll of Polls

Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Project Implementation Executive

£18000 - £23000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: They work with major vehicle ma...

Recruitment Genius: Chiropractic Assistant

£16500 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A Chiropractic Assistant is needed in a ...

Recruitment Genius: Digital Account Executive - Midlands

£18000 - £26000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: They work with major vehicle ma...

Recruitment Genius: Web Developer

£28000 - £30000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This company provides coaching ...

Day In a Page

NHS struggling to monitor the safety and efficacy of its services outsourced to private providers

Who's monitoring the outsourced NHS services?

A report finds that private firms are not being properly assessed for their quality of care
Zac Goldsmith: 'I'll trigger a by-election over Heathrow'

Zac Goldsmith: 'I'll trigger a by-election over Heathrow'

The Tory MP said he did not want to stand again unless his party's manifesto ruled out a third runway. But he's doing so. Watch this space
How do Greek voters feel about Syriza's backtracking on its anti-austerity pledge?

How do Greeks feel about Syriza?

Five voters from different backgrounds tell us what they expect from Syriza's charismatic leader Alexis Tsipras
From Iraq to Libya and Syria: The wars that come back to haunt us

The wars that come back to haunt us

David Cameron should not escape blame for his role in conflicts that are still raging, argues Patrick Cockburn
Sam Baker and Lauren Laverne: Too busy to surf? Head to The Pool

Too busy to surf? Head to The Pool

A new website is trying to declutter the internet to help busy women. Holly Williams meets the founders
Heston Blumenthal to cook up a spice odyssey for British astronaut manning the International Space Station

UK's Major Tum to blast off on a spice odyssey

Nothing but the best for British astronaut as chef Heston Blumenthal cooks up his rations
John Harrison's 'longitude' clock sets new record - 300 years on

‘Longitude’ clock sets new record - 300 years on

Greenwich horologists celebrate as it keeps to within a second of real time over a 100-day test
Fears in the US of being outgunned in the vital propaganda wars by Russia, China - and even Isis - have prompted a rethink on overseas broadcasters

Let the propaganda wars begin - again

'Accurate, objective, comprehensive': that was Voice of America's creed, but now its masters want it to promote US policy, reports Rupert Cornwell
Why Japan's incredible long-distance runners will never win the London Marathon

Japan's incredible long-distance runners

Every year, Japanese long-distance runners post some of the world's fastest times – yet, come next weekend, not a single elite competitor from the country will be at the London Marathon
Why does Tom Drury remain the greatest writer you've never heard of?

Tom Drury: The quiet American

His debut was considered one of the finest novels of the past 50 years, and he is every bit the equal of his contemporaries, Jonathan Franzen, Dave Eggers and David Foster Wallace
You should judge a person by how they peel a potato

You should judge a person by how they peel a potato

Dave Hax's domestic tips are reminiscent of George Orwell's tea routine. The world might need revolution, but we like to sweat the small stuff, says DJ Taylor
Beige is back: The drab car colours of the 1970s are proving popular again

Beige to the future

Flares and flounce are back on catwalks but a revival in ’70s car paintjobs was a stack-heeled step too far – until now
Bill Granger recipes: Our chef's dishes highlight the delicate essence of fresh cheeses

Bill Granger cooks with fresh cheeses

More delicate on the palate, milder, fresh cheeses can also be kinder to the waistline
Aston Villa vs Liverpool: 'This FA Cup run has been wonderful,' says veteran Shay Given

Shay Given: 'This FA Cup run has been wonderful'

The Villa keeper has been overlooked for a long time and has unhappy memories of the national stadium – but he is savouring his chance to play at Wembley
Timeless drama of Championship race in league of its own - Michael Calvin

Michael Calvin's Last Word

Timeless drama of Championship race in league of its own