Another expert resigned from the Government's drug advisory panel yesterday over plans to outlaw the 'legal high' mephedrone.
Charity worker Eric Carlin said the ban was 'unduly based on media and political pressure' and would criminalise many young people.
Mephedrone, known as 'meow meow', is legally on sale in shops and over the internet for as little as £2 a bag.
It has been linked to the deaths of up to 25 young people.
Home Secretary Alan Johnson has said he intends to push through legislation to make it a Class B drug after Easter, while Prime Minister Gordon Brown has denounced it as 'this evil hurting our youth'.
Mr Carlin, 47, whose background is in preventing drug addiction, said the rush to ban the drug was political posturing to make the Government look tough ahead of an election.
In his resignation letter to Mr Johnson, he said: 'We had little or no discussion about how our recommendation 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 Advisory Council on the Misuse of Drugs operates, I am not prepared to be part of a body which works to facilitate the potential criminalisation of increasing numbers of young people.'
Earlier this week Dr Polly Taylor, the only vet on the Advisory Council on the Misuse of Drugs, resigned hours before Mr Johnson's announcement of the ban, saying she feared the panel's advice was not being treated independently. 'I feel that there is little more we can do to describe the importance of ensuring that advice is not subjected to a desire to please ministers or the mood of the day's Press,' she wrote.
Mr Carlin's resignation from the ACMD is the seventh since former chairman Professor David Nutt was sacked last year for saying that Ecstasy was less dangerous than horse riding.
Several other advisers resigned in protest at Mr Johnson's decision to axe him, claiming it was an attack on their ability to give independent advice.
Professor Nutt has since called for mephedrone to be sold in a regulated way like alcohol and tobacco.
Mr Carlin, who jokingly describes himself as a 'feckless Scot', is not a scientist but has a background in drug prevention. He was chief executive of Mentor UK for nine years and previously worked with Angel Drug Services, a charity that works with homeless addicts. He previously criticised former Education Secretary Ruth Kelly's for proposing random drug testing in schools.
Members of the ACMD include academics, medics, drug treatment workers and police. The Home Office called Mr Carlin's resignation 'regrettable' but said it would not affect plans to ban the drug.
Last week Lois Waters, 24, from Norton, North Yorkshire, became the latest person to die after taking mephedrone.
"Government Adviser Quits Over Plans to Rush Through Ban on 'Meow Meow'" from the Daily Mail Online
by Colin Fernandez
April 02, 2010
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