'The population is with me' [imgr="white"]http://www.drugs-forum.com/photopost/uploads/45583/46642997_nutt_bbcnew.jpg[/imgr]
Prof Nutt has not shied away from controversy
The man at the heart of the row over the relationship between politics and science appeared relaxed and unrepentant.
Speaking at a briefing of science journalists, Professor David Nutt leant back in his chair and said his only regret was the way the government had treated him.
He stood by his most controversial comments - such as comparing the dangers of ecstasy with horse riding as he did earlier this year to the consternation of the then home secretary Jacqui Smith.
Asked in retrospect if it was a wise comparison to have made, he thought it was indeed - and that many parents now thought twice about letting their children clamber onto a horse.
And he questioned the right of politicians to use certain words - berating Prime Minister Gordon Brown for the vocabulary he used to describe skunk, one of the most potent forms of cannabis.
"Scientists should talk about lethality," he said, "not politicians".
The sacking of Professor Nutt over his comments on cannabis - which contradict current classifications - have raised a string of questions about politicians' right to pick and choose which scientific advice they heed - but also scientists' role as the apparent guardians of truth.
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
Professor David Nutt
Among the scientific community there is support for Professor Nutt's conclusions that alcohol and tobacco are more damaging than cannabis or LSD, although reservations about the way he has expressed himself.
Moreover, it has been suggested that regardless of the comparative harmfulness of cannabis and alcohol, in a democracy it is down to society not scientists to decide the message it wants to send out about certain drugs.
But when it came to his criticism of current cannabis classification, "the population is with me," said Professor Nutt, pointing to a recent Mori poll.
He said that since being sacked over his remarks on alcohol, he had received numerous emails from the parents of children with alcohol problems commending him.
Next week, the remaining members of the body Professor Nutt chaired before his sacking - the Advisory Council on the Misuse of Drugs - will meet the Home Secretary Alan Johnson to discuss the body's future.
Two other members of the formerly 31-strong council have already gone. Whether the remaining members stay or resign en masse after the meeting still hangs in the balance.
If it disbands, the professor has dangled the prospect of heading a new, independent advisory body - saying he has already secured the funds for just this purpose.
Whether the body continues or collapses, Professor Nutt seems unlikely to be interested in assuming a low profile anytime soon.
Scientists do have a vital role to play in providing and interpreting evidence
Sir John Bell
Academy of Medical Sciences
And whatever he goes on to do, the long term impact of this fallout on the relationship between the political and scientific communities is unclear.
The government's chief scientific advisor, Professor John Beddington, has told the BBC that he would be consulting with the many heads of expert committees to see if they had experienced any difficulties.
Sir John Bell, president of the Academy of Medical Sciences, said it was true that scientific evidence was "not necessarily the only factor that must be considered when making policy".
But he warned: "Scientists do have a vital role to play in providing and interpreting evidence.
"Much progress has been made in embedding independent scientific advice into policy and we hope that the current debate does not discourage either scientists or policymakers from making further progress."
Dear Drugs-Forum readers: We are a small non-profit that runs one of the most read drug information & addiction help websites in the world. We serve over 4 million readers per month, and have costs like all popular websites: servers, hosting, licenses and software. To protect our independence we do not run ads. We take no government funds. We run on donations which average $25. If everyone reading this would donate $5 then this fund raiser would be done in an hour. If Drugs-Forum is useful to you, take one minute to keep it online another year by donating whatever you can today. Donations are currently not sufficient to pay our bills and keep the site up. Your help is most welcome. Thank you.