Saturday, October 31, 2009

Saddle sores and drug wars

One of the least appealing aspects of Gordon Brown's government has been the pusillanimous pandering to puritanism. The sacking of the government's drugs adviser for daring to advice ministers that scientific evidence and what the Daily Mail would like to be true are not the same thing is a classic example of this failing.

Admittedly, there is a counter argument that David Nutt's job was to advise rather than criticise ministers who failed to take his advice. In any case, he might have expected the flack that his observation that horse riding was more dangerous than taking ecstasy would attract.

That said, I am not aware that anyone has actually refuted his comments about horse riding, which does rather suggest he was correct. Not that drug policy should be based on bare statistics like that. If we are to have a mature and sensible debate about drugs we need to know how enjoyable each activity is so that we can evaluate the risks and rewards attached to each. I would also like to know whether anyone has ever died after riding a horse under the influence of ecstasy. If not, it might be worth trying.

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