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Drugs—without the hot air: minimising the harms of legal and illegal drugs
  1. Charis Wong
  1. Anne Rowling Regenerative Neurology Clinic, University of Edinburgh, Edinburgh EH16 4SB, UK
  1. Correspondence to Dr Charis Wong, Anne Rowling Regenerative Neurology Clinic, University of Edinburgh, Edinburgh EH16 4SB, UK; charis.wong{at}

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In the wake of recent changes to legislation on cannabinoid prescribing we decided to discuss Drugs – without the hot air 1 (figure 1) for the latest Edinburgh Neurology Book Club. Written by David Nutt, Professor of Neuropsychopharmacology, this book provides his account of how he became the ‘scientist who was sacked’ by the UK Home Secretary, after comparing the risks of harm from horse-riding with those from taking ecstasy and cannabis. Following his dismissal as the chair of the Advisory Council on the Misuse of Drugs, he formed the Independent Scientific Committee on Drugs, which then systematically evaluated and ranked harm caused by drugs using a multidomain framework. Perhaps unsurprisingly, there was little relationship between legal classes and the position drugs were ranked, with alcohol ranked most harmful, while several class A drugs including ecstasy and psychedelics ranked at the opposite end. The book delved into this process and …

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  • Contributors CW attended the Edinburgh Neurology Book Club, wrote and revised the manuscript.

  • Funding The author has not declared a specific grant for this research from any funding agency in the public, commercial or not-for-profit sectors.

  • Competing interests None declared.

  • Patient consent for publication Not required.

  • Provenance and peer review Not commissioned; internally peer reviewed.