Today Dr Polly Taylor, the veterinary medicine expert on the Advisory Council on the Misuse of Drugs (ACMD) quit just hours before Alan Johnson was expected to ban the legal high mephedrone.

An expert has quit over a ban on the legal high, mephedrone.

In her resignation she told the home secretary:

“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.”

Since Prof Nutt quit the council six members have stood down, seemingly because they are giving the government the scientific advice they require and the government isn’t listening.

The council advise the government on the dangers of drugs which in turn allows laws to be made. However when Prof Nutt was in charge the research proved that tobacco and alcohol were more dangerous than the class A drug ecstasy, which isn’t reflected by law.

Dr Taylor’s resignation echoes that of the previous panel members. It looks as if the research backing a ban on the legal high mephedrone doesn’t exist yet, but despite this the home secretary planned on announcing a ban.

So what choice do the panel members have? Well they can either watch the government ignoring their advice and keep their jobs or they can tell the public what their research shows (like Prof Nutt did) or they can quit as Dr Taylor has done.

Sacrificed herself to science

In quitting Dr Taylor has put a hold on a ban, the ACMD needs a veterinary medicine expert, and it will take a few weeks to find another one, she has sacrificed herself to science.

The deaths linked to mephedrone are not proven, there isn’t a scientific basis to say that mephedrone kills yet, they have been linked by the media.

The government needs to please voters, especially before an imminent election but allowing the media to dictate science over a panel of experts is not justified. As Dr Taylor says laws should not exist to please the mood of the day’s press.

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