Alcohol 'more damaging than heroin' says Prof David Nutt

Professor David Nutt Professor David Nutt was sacked as UK chief drugs adviser in October 2009

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The government's former drugs adviser, Prof David Nutt, believes alcohol is damaging society more than heroin.

In one report he ranked 20 drugs based on their effects on users and society and said tobacco and cocaine were equally harmful, while ecstasy and LSD, were among the least damaging.

In 2009 he was sacked after disagreeing with the government's decision to re-classify cannabis.

Prof Nutt will be speaking at the Manx Museum Theatre on 28 April.

He added: "In Britain today, alcohol is a leading cause of death in men between the ages of sixteen and fifty, so it is therefore the most harmful drug there is in terms of life expectancy, family disruption and road traffic accidents.

"It all boils down to the question of what are we trying to do when we make drugs illegal - we should be trying to reduce harm for people but in order to decide on whether to make something illegal we need to have a good appreciation of what relative harms are."

His aim, he said, was "to understand what the right approach should be, based on the science and evidence".

Prof Nutt is the Edmund J Safra Professor of Neuropsychopharmacology and Head of the Department of Neuropsychopharmacology and Molecular Imaging at Imperial College London.

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