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Carlin seventh person to resign over (mis)handling of mephedrone ban attempts

By moda00, Apr 3, 2010 | | |
  1. moda00
    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



  1. Pringles
    Mephedrone row grows as seventh member of drugs panel quits

    Mephedrone row grows as seventh member of drugs panel quits
    Eric Carlin resigns from advisory council citing 'media and political pressure' over decision to impose Class B drug status

    Another week, another drama at the body that advises the government on drugs classification. Eric Carlin became the seventh person to quit the Advisory Council on the Misuse of Drugs (ACMD) following its decision to recommend that mephedrone, better known as "meow meow", should be made a class B drug.

    His exit has prompted fresh questions about to what extent drugs policy is being shaped by society's clamour for politicians to act tough at the expense of scientific evidence. Carlin used his resignation letter to decry the mephedrone decision, arguing that it had been "unduly based on media and political pressure". The fact that the government opted to outlaw the "legal high" within an hour of the council making a verbal recommendation goes some way to supporting this view. And the government did so before making public the ACMD report.

    "The ACMD appears hell-bent on a knee-jerk call to ban mephedrone," was the view of Danny Kushlick, head of policy at the Transform Drug Policy Foundation, a think-tank that supports liberalisation.

    To critics of the government's drugs policy, a ban will simply create a criminal black market in mephedrone, divert more money from health to criminal justice and see otherwise law-abiding citizens criminalised.

    It will also popularise the drug. A substance few had heard of six months ago is now known by the vast majority of the population. The best viral marketing campaigns could not have achieved this level of brand awareness.

    There will be much more of this to come. There are already some 700 substances on the government's list of controlled drugs. But a steady stream of synthetic legal drugs like mephedrone – bubbling away in laboratories – are ready to come on to the market.

    On Friday it emerged that the government is already considering banning a relatively obscure drug, NRG-1, used as an appetite suppressant in France but being lined up as a cheap legal high to replace the soon-to-be-banned mephedrone. Our lawmakers will increasingly struggle to ensure drugs classification keeps up with the chemists' creativity.

    Partly as a result of this, some say the drugs policy is in need of an overhaul. But how it should look is difficult to imagine: historically, any move to debate a new drugs policy has triggered fears that politicians are opening the door to legalisation.

    Colin Blakemore, professor of neuroscience at Oxford University and a member of the UK Drug Policy Commission, argues: "Once we accept that the use of drugs is an inevitable component of society, we can look at things far more dispassionately." It is a vain hope. Politicians fear such a view would be interpreted as an admission of failure.

    Sunday, 4th April, 2010
  2. aranger
    Up here a guy tipped to lead our country and in charge of our biggest city had to resign in disgrace because so called gangsters were selling him coke and decided to blackmail him.

    If a guy one step away from leading a country is mad with it who else is and its things like this that I believe these experts are talking about, if to afraid to say it outright.

    You can get anything 24 hours a day seven days a week and its time to take the blinkers off.

    Many people struggle with it of that there's no doubt but most lead perfectly decent lives and there biggest danger is staying at some dealers house for a party mad with it.lol.

    Take the power away from these cardboard heroes and accept its part of life and use the tax from it to ease poverty and give better help to these troubled individuals.

    Young minds in certain places are getting poisoned by some of these no marks and actually want to be them.

    Most dealers I know are perfectly sound by the way but legalise it and set an age limit with proper education and drop this drugs are bad crap, we know they are but its better than the alternative and that's being a bloody nosey parker to put it politely.

    My da used to tell me that a spliff would make me want to fly of off roofs( how I would get up there I had no idea but he sounded plausible) and its crap like this that makes me a criminal in the eyes of our politicians, which is quite ludicrous given my first sentence.

    Peoples wallets , purses whatever need protected from all us loony eyed junkies.

    For every addict I will show you a hundred winos who would rob their grannies and imo and with the exception of some cases obviously most of these addicts would still have their problems and be sitting with the winos to escape their troubles.

    Their biggest fear is going for their papers and getting asked for money off of people with needles hanging out their arm as opposed to a load of drunks asking.

    I don`t want my kids near some of the people I have associated with when mad with it and imo they would be safer going to a chemist than any of these places.

    No need to worry though because drugs are bad and they will know never to touch them, ever. Aye right you are.
  3. moda00
    Re: Mephedrone row grows as seventh member of drugs panel quits

    (bold/underlining mine)

    Well, it is at least heartening to see that so many at the influential gov't level are taking a stand against this latest drug war insanity and I hope this sends a clear message. But sadly enough, more will likely line up and take their place.

    I love the quote by the professor bolded above-- the root of this issue is that humans always have and always will use drugs. Be it ayahuasca or "soma" or mushrooms or coca leaves of the native tribes who use ritually or spiritually, or the alcohol/party industry, cigs, caffeine in coffee, tea, energy drinks... people prescribed amps for ADHD, or narcolepsy, modafinil for hypersomnia or for long missions w/out sleep in the army or navy.. those who are under care of psychiatry, SSRIs mood stabilizers and sedatives galore... how about herbs and supplements- hormones for bodybuilding, for gender reassignment surgeries... how about opiates for oral/dental surgery (most of us get our wisdom teeth removed..) General anesthesia and PCA morphine for cesareans, bypass surgery, live organ donation.. benzos for anxiety.. plants w/ psychoactive effects-- even animals with said effects in their secretions or bodies. GHB- a date rape drug, or a quality of life treatment for those w/ severe sleep disorders? How about weight loss drugs, many related to amphetamines? Or cactii or hoasca- okay for some people based on religion, but banned to others. Plants like hemp or marijuana, poppy for opium-- encouraged by our governments at times, produced by for-profit pharma companies at times- then throwing people in prison left and right other times?? What of the myriad of drugs which serve as both illegal and "evil," and as a money maker and touted medicine (methamphetamine comes to mind (desoxyn)...)?

    And what of those people who "use" something/anything anyway, despite what the law may say in a given time or place? Has our approach helped these people, substantially reduced the need for treatment/intervention for abuse/addiction?? Now the past few years, more recent developments-- Intentionally produced chemicals/molecules to circumvent newest laws. And all the while, the plants keep on growing, and those who choose to use keep on using some substance of another, within any level of legality or lack thereof (and those who cannot stop using via addiction, they too keep on using).

    How long until we open our eyes- humans use all sorts of plant and lab-made substances every day for every fathomable reason. We have since the beginning of our species, and I would argue it is a huge part of what makes us conscious beings.

    There is no way to regulate or solve this "issue" as it is a basic fact of human life and existence. The fact is, there may be some real health precautions surrounding this specific substance, but rather than do the research that could be beneficial by reducing harms or learning new things about pharmacology and human health, we rush to ban it? Black market here we come. Will we ever learn!?

    And to think, they don't want the embarrassment of admitting they failed. Stubborn asshats lacking any human decency is what I say. Surely having the public resignation of so many of your governmental experts and officials is embarrassing enough? But no, sometimes it seems they will just keep on making a bigger and bigger mess while claiming that they are taking action and addressing any problems.

    Just the opposite is going on, and if they don't figure it out soon (or swallow their pride enough to deal with it from a multifaceted perspective and involve others in the response to this newest drug fad) they will become less and less credible, and meanwhile, the harm done to the mostly young people who are using this substance will remain steady or increase, and the funding, instead of paying taxes to help all people and assist with important projects (one would hope, at least- don't have much faith in that over here on my side of the pond, but that's another story..) this money will go to criminals and gangs capitalizing on the newest prohibitions.

    How many times must the same thing happen over and over with no change to speak of until one realizes it is time for a new approach (oh yeah haven't I heard that somewhere? something about "definition of insanity" and such? ho-hum...)

    Oh and :thumbsup: Eric Carlin!!!
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