You may remember, a few years back, the public spat between the government and its advisor, Professor David Nutt, about the classification of drugs. Professor Nutt said that using Ecstasy was no more dangerous than horse riding. He was subsequently sacked from his post.
This wasn’t because he was wrong. Indeed, he was, and remains, one of the foremost experts in his field. Unfortunately, what he said contradicted the popular belief, fostered by certain newspapers, and in certain influential circles, that all drugs are, per se, a bad thing.
This is very strange. Most of us take drugs in some form or another. We drink alcohol, smoke cigarettes, take painkillers, and will generally pop any pill our doctor prescribes without a second thought.
Anyone who has read the list of side effects of the average proprietary medicine will know that they are anything but harmless, and yet it is the names of the illegal drugs which fill us with dread.
Professor Nutt has stated that the drug laws are “insane”.
Psilocybin, for instance – the active ingredient in magic mushrooms – has great potential for the cure of depression, but because of its status no one can get hold of the drug in order to undertake research.
This is despite the fact that psilocybin mushrooms grow out of the ground in prolific numbers all over the UK in the autumn.
Other psychoactive chemicals, such as Ecstasy and LSD, were once the subject of intense research as possible cures for a variety of psychological conditions. The research became blocked after the media backlash following the counter cultural uprisings of the 1960s.
This is the subject of a talk which I will be hosting at the Whitstable Labour Club at 7.30 on Saturday 28th March.
Called “Tripping Out To Stay Sane”, the talk will feature Dr David Luke, Senior Lecturer in Psychology at the University of Greenwich, and will explore the medical potential of psychedelics in the field of mental health.
Hopefully this will be the first of a series of talks hosted by the Labour Club under the title “The Transcendental Café”.
Entry is free and you are all welcome to come along to explore this fascinating topic.