< /head > Colorado Coalition for Human Rights: British Panel Recommends Reclassification of Drugs

Wednesday, August 02, 2006

British Panel Recommends Reclassification of Drugs

The BBC has an interesting article on its website about a governmental committee in Britain that recommends reclassiflying drugs based on the harm they do, rather than on their current system which the panel argues are based on historical assumptions of what the drugs do, rather than scientific evidence. When one thinks of how people are currently incarcerated, especially in the U.S. it would be an interesting study to see how the prison population would change if a reclassification of drugs also led to a change in laws. Just imagine how many would be in prison if all substances worse than ecstasy had prison time. More on the study from the article:

The designation of drugs in classes A, B and C should be replaced with one more closely reflecting the harm they cause, a committee of MPs has said.

The Science Select Committee said the present system was based on historical assumptions, not scientific assessment.

BBC News has seen details of a system devised by government advisers which was considered by former Home Secretary Charles Clarke but is now on hold.

It rates some illegal drugs as less harmful than alcohol and tobacco.

The new system was based on the first scientific assessment of 20 legal and illegal stimulants used in contemporary Britain.

Alcohol was rated the fifth most harmful drug, ahead of some current class A drugs, while tobacco was listed as ninth. Cannabis, currently rated a class C drug, was below both those legal stimulants at 11th.

The MPs said including alcohol and tobacco in the classification would give the public "a better sense of the relative harms involved".

Click here to read the article.

--Tom Hayes


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