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The Dutch smoke less than most of Europe

The Dutch smoke less than most of Europe

Last May at the international harm reduction conference in Barcelona, Mr. Costa had promised to publish the report “very soon” – it still hasn’t been released. You can see Dr Polak’s previous attempts to get Costa to respond to his questions about the paper here.
By Emily from Tranform
This time, Mr. Costa did admit that there [...]

The Century of the Self

The Century of the Self

“This series is about how those in power have used Freud’s theories to try and control the dangerous crowd in an age of mass democracy.” – Adam Curtis

The Known Universe

The Known Universe

The Known Universe takes viewers from the Himalayas through our atmosphere and the inky black of space to the afterglow of the Big Bang. Every star, planet, and quasar seen in the film is possible because of the world’s most complete four-dimensional map of the universe, the Digital Universe Atlas that is maintained and updated [...]

5 Ways to Save the Planet

5 Ways to Save the Planet

Geo-Engineering may be our only hope for avoiding the potentially catastrophic effects of climate change. This BBC program examines the most promising options being developed at present.

A Faeful Harvest

A Faeful Harvest

This illicit drug threatens the whole world. What is the solution: reducing the supply or the demand? What will it take to reduce the threat?

Why Twitter Sucks

Why Twitter Sucks

As if it isn’t already obvious…This cartoon by Current TV gives a good summary of the depressing elements of society, such as loneliness, self-absorption, and celebrity worship that Twitter seems to embody more than any other online phenomenon…so far!

King of Kong – The World of Professional Gamers

King of Kong – The World of Professional Gamers

The world of professional gamers may seem about as irrelevant to Brainwaving’s mission as say Pumping Iron does. However I believe that in both cases these films present significant and entertaining insights into some of the sub-cultures that have arisen in today’s society. They are is some sense social tumors – clusters of people that [...]

The Colombia of Prescription Drugs

The Colombia of Prescription Drugs

Mariana van Zeller travels to South Florida, the “Colombia of prescription drugs”, to expose a bustling pill pipeline that stretches from the beaches of Ft. Lauderdale to the rolling hills of Appalachia. “The OxyContin Express” features intimate access with pill addicts, prisoners and law enforcement as each struggles with a growing national epidemic.

Cannabis Country

Cannabis Country

Laura Ling goes to Morocco–the largest exporter of cannabis in the world.

No Laughing Matter

No Laughing Matter

Ben Cato Clough investigates the rising trend in people who are using laughing gas recreationally and asks whether it is as innocuous as it first appears.

Soldiers on Acid

Soldiers on Acid

Wed, Dec 2, 2009
Featured
Environmental Graffiti Will be Changing Dramatically Soon. Get a Sneak Preview By Signing Up Here.

A still from the British LSD experiment video
What looks like a soldier having a bit of fun was actually a series of controlled experiments that [...]

MDMA Rising

MDMA Rising

Introduction #
We are rarely surprised by media coverage about recreational psychoactives. Most can be lumped into the broad genre of sensationalist exposé about the terrible dangers of drugs designed to titillate teens and frighten parents. The ABC News special “Ecstasy Rising”, first aired on April 1st, 2004, stands out mostly because of the very high [...]

Avian Einsteins

Avian Einsteins

How do we learn to speak? What is the connection between language and movement? Join a broad and distinguished panel on an exploration of how striking parallels between bird and human brains are providing sharp new insights into how we acquire language and the links between hearing and movement.
This event was moderated by Faith Salie [...]

Dynamo Jack’s Super-Human Powers

Dynamo Jack’s Super-Human Powers

This legendary footage shows the apparently super-human powers of an Indonesian Medicine man, who claimed to derive his power from meditation and the control of his yin and yang forces within his body – you must see this.

The Self Aware Universe

The Self Aware Universe

Amit Goswami is one of the world’s foremost quantum physcicists. In the late 1980s Goswami developed an idealist interpretation of quantum mechanics, inspired in part by philosophical ideas drawn from Advaita Vedanta and theosophy. Calling his theory “monistic idealism”, he claims it is not only “the basis of all religions worldwide” but also the correct [...]

Prof. David Nutt’s fighting for truth

Prof. David Nutt’s fighting for truth

David Nutt in New Scientist:
http://www.newscientist.com/article/dn18099-david-nutt-governments-should-get-real-on-drugs.html
IF THERE is one thing that politicians can and should do to limit the damage caused by illegal drugs, it is to take careful note of the evidence and develop a rational drug policy. Some politicians find it easier to ignore the evidence, and pander to public prejudice instead.
I can trace [...]

Pumping Iron

Pumping Iron

I saw this and thought it was probably the best documentary I had ever seen – Arnie is so much better in real life than he is playing a made up character. Its amazing insight into the Governator’s character, he’s definitely got my vote anyway.
Unfortunately I read this is Wikipedia which slightly undermines my initial [...]

Stephen Hawking’s Universe

Stephen Hawking’s Universe

“Where do we come from? How did the universe begin? Why is the universe the way it is? How will it end?“All my life, I have been fascinated by the big questions that face us, and have tried to find scientific answers to them. If, like me, you have looked at the stars, and tried [...]

Neanderthal

Neanderthal

In 1848 a strange skull was discovered on the military outpost of Gibraltar. It was undoubtedly human, but also had some of the heavy features of an ape… distinct brow ridges, and a forward projecting face. Just what was this ancient creature? And when had it lived? As more remains were discovered one thing became [...]

Berkeley in the Sixties

Berkeley in the Sixties

The sixties gave birth to he civil rights movement, anti-vietnam war protests, the counter-culture movement, women’s rights movement & the rise of the Black Panthers. The most notable place during the 60’s was Berkeley, where radical politics was rampant & the need to change America & the world was ever more urgent.
Unfortunately the sound [...]

God on the Brain

God on the Brain

These people suffer from one of the strangest of all brain disorders. It makes them think they have been touched by god. But their unusual condition is giving scientists a unique insight into faith and the human mind. As a result researchers are now asking one of them most explosive questions of all – could [...]

DMT ‘The Spirit Molecule’

DMT ‘The Spirit Molecule’

RICK STRASSMANS OVERVIEW FROM HIS BOOK DMT: THE SPIRIT MOLECULE
In 1990, I began the first new human research with psychedelic, or hallucinogenic, drugs in the United States in over 20 years. These studies investigated the effects of N, N-dimethyltryptamine, or DMT, an extremely short-acting and powerful psychedelic. During the project’s five years, I administered approximately [...]

Quantum Possibility

Quantum Possibility

Joseph Dispenza, D.C ON The Brain, Quantum Physics & The Observor and Creating Your Day

Zeitgeist the Movie

Zeitgeist the Movie

Zeitgeist, the Movie is a 2007 documentary film by Peter Joseph about historical and modern conspiracies, including the origins of Christianity, the September 11 2001 terrorist attacks, and the banking system. Due to subject matter and the unorthodox methods used in citing the sources for the information presented, many of the statements and sources in [...]

Zeitgeist Addendum

Zeitgeist Addendum

Director Peter Joseph stated: “The failure of our world to resolve the issues of war, poverty, and corruption, rests within a gross ignorance about what guides human behavior to begin with. It addresses the true source of the instability in our society, while offering the only fundamental, long-term solution.”
Part I follows on from Part III [...]

The Power of Nightmares

The Power of Nightmares

Another fascinating and insightful Adam Curtis film, this time concerning the parallel development of modern Islamic radicalism and Neo-conservatism. Details the rise of the latter movement and its masquerade as traditional conservatism to garner support and acquire power. This film also discusses the development of the current Arab political ideology and shows how both movements [...]

Should I smoke dope? (BBC)

Should I smoke dope? (BBC)

Journalist Nicky Taylor travels to Amsterdam to investigate the growing debate about the legal classification of cannabis. While there she helps out in a coffee shop that sells the drug, and discovers first hand what the effects of cannabis are on everyday life. Back in the UK Nicky finds out about the genetically modified cannabis [...]

Dr. Quantum

Dr. Quantum

Dr. Quantum makes the fundamentals of quantum physics seem simple – at least until you start thinking about it! I think everyone should watch him, just to have some idea of how weird and counterintuitive quantum physics really is. No wonder so many quantum physcisits end up with pretty whacky theories of the universe, God, [...]

American Drug War

American Drug War

35 years after Nixon started the war on drugs, we have over one million non-violent drug offenders living behind bars.
The War on Drugs has become the longest and most costly war in American history, the question has become, how much more can the country endure? Inspired by the death of four family members from “legal [...]

Bill Hicks – the great comedian discusses prohibition

Bill Hicks – the great comedian discusses prohibition

Bill Hicks – the great comedian discusses prohibition

Dangerous Knowledge – The story of four great thinkers driven mad by their genius

Dangerous Knowledge – The story of four great thinkers driven mad by their genius

In this one-off documentary, David Malone looks at four brilliant mathematicians – Georg Cantor, Ludwig Boltzmann, Kurt Gödel and Alan Turing – whose genius has profoundly affected us, but which tragically drove them insane and eventually led to them all committing suicide.
The film begins with Georg Cantor, the great mathematician whose work proved to be [...]

A Unified Theory – is the universe conscious?

A Unified Theory – is the universe conscious?

Quantum Physicist John Hagelin discusses consciousness, the observer effect & Superstring Unified Field Theory.
Hagelin is a world-renowned quantum physicist, educator, public policy expert, and leading proponent of world peace. He received his A.B. summa cum laude from Dartmouth College and his M.A. and Ph.D. from Harvard University, and conducted pioneering research at CERN (the European [...]

Losing the War on Drugs – the costly price of war

Losing the War on Drugs – the costly price of war

Losing the War on Drugs – the costly price of war

Constrains of Consumerism – Blu’s vision of materialism

Constrains of Consumerism – Blu’s vision of materialism

Constrains of Consumerism – Blu’s vision of materialism

The End of Aging – Is old age a curable disease?

The End of Aging – Is old age a curable disease?

The End of Aging – Is old age a curable disease? – a TED talk by Aubrey de Grey

The Harms of Drugs? – scale of the harms of legal and illegal drugs compared

The Harms of Drugs? – scale of the harms of legal and illegal drugs compared

The Harms of Drugs? – scale of the harms of legal and illegal drugs compared

What Does It All Mean? – The times are changing fast

What Does It All Mean? – The times are changing fast

What Does It All Mean? – The times are changing fast

Evolution of Man – Blu’s vision of man

Evolution of Man – Blu’s vision of man

Evolution of Man – Blu’s vision of man

Elegant Universe – String Theory simply and delightfully explained

Elegant Universe – String Theory simply and delightfully explained

Elegant Universe – String Theory simply and delightfully explained.

You are now watching: Prof. David Nutt’s fighting for truth

David Nutt in New Scientist:

http://www.newscientist.com/article/dn18099-david-nutt-governments-should-get-real-on-drugs.html

IF THERE is one thing that politicians can and should do to limit the damage caused by illegal drugs, it is to take careful note of the evidence and develop a rational drug policy. Some politicians find it easier to ignore the evidence, and pander to public prejudice instead.

I can trace the beginning of the end of my role as chairman of the UK’s official advisory body on drugs to the moment I quoted a New Scientist editorial (14 February, p 5). Entitled, fittingly enough, “Drugs drive politicians out of their minds”, the editorial asked the reader to imagine being seated at a table with two bowls, one containing peanuts, the other the illegal drug MDMA (ecstasy). Which is safer to give to a stranger? Why, the ecstasy of course.

I quoted these words in the Eve Saville lecture at King’s College London in July. This example plus other comments I have made – such as horse riding is more harmful than ecstasy – prompted Alan Johnson, the home secretary, to say that I had crossed the line from science to policy. This, he said, is why I had to go.

But simple, accurate and understandable statements of scientific fact are precisely what the advisory council is supposed to provide. Why would any scientist take up some future offer of a government advisory post when their advice can be treated with such disdain?

As well as ignoring its own advisers, the UK is falling out of step with international trends. When Portugal softened its drugs laws in 2001, drug use remained roughly constant, but ill health and deaths from drug taking fell. Decriminalisation quietly crept up the agenda in Vienna this year at a meeting of the UN Commission on Narcotic Drugs, where governments heard new, independent evidence on how the harms of criminalisation were outweighing the benefits (The Beckley Foundation Global Cannabis Commission Report). In August, President Felipe Calderón of Mexico approved a law decriminalising possession of small amounts of marijuana and other drugs. And just last month, Eric Holder, the US attorney general, instructed federal prosecutors to stop hounding medical users of marijuana in the 14 states where such use is legal.

No one doubts that heavy users of marijuana are risking trouble with their mental health. What I have simply pointed out is that we need a consistent policy, recognising that heavy users of alcohol and tobacco are more numerous and are causing themselves – and others – even more trouble through their indulgence.

Policies that ignore the realities of the world we live in are doomed to fail. This is true for just about all the biggest issues that we confront, from energy and climate to criminal justice, health and immigration. I’m not arguing that science dictate policy; considerations such as cost, practicality and morality also have a role. But scientific evidence should never be brushed aside from the political debate.

The current British government has said repeatedly that it wants its policies to be evidence-based, but actions speak louder than words. On ecstasy, for example, it made policy first, sought advice second – and cynically rejected the advice it was given. The result is shambolic policy-making which gives great cause for concern if that is how governments operate more generally.

The results of a government inventing its own reality and acting on it can be seen in the appalling consequences the George W. Bush presidency had for world peace, the environment and human rights. The message for the British government is a simple one: don’t exclude rational argument in order to exploit a visceral public response. Politicians have to win the hearts and minds of their electorate. If your policy is informed by an underlying moral imperative, be open about what that is, and don’t try to disguise it with a veneer of pseudo-science. We ignore scientific evidence at our peril.

David Nutt, professor of neuropsychopharmacology at Imperial College London, was chairman of the UK government’s Advisory Council on the Misuse of Drugs until he was dismissed last week by the UK home secretary (and he remains one of The Beckley Foundation’s most esteemed Scientific Advisors)

Click here to see BBC’s Horizon documentary on the Scale of Harm’s research that Prof. Nutt headed in collaboration with The Beckley Foundation.

3 Responses to “Prof. David Nutt’s fighting for truth”

  1. David Nutt: Governments should get real on drugs | Brainwaving Says:

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