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'Absurd' that magic mushrooms and MDMA class A drugs, expert tells MPs


[Release date]2019-06-12[source]independent
[Core hints]The classification of magic mushrooms and MDMA as class A drugs is absurd when the potential risk of harm and abuse is s

The classification of magic mushrooms and MDMA as class A drugs is “absurd” when the potential risk of harm and abuse is significantly lower than legal or less strictly controlled substances, MPs have been told.

Magic mushrooms have some of the lowest rates of harm of any drug and studies have indicated they possess great potential for treating serious depression, but they’re classified alongside crack cocaine and heroin under the Drugs Act since 2005.

Professor Matthew Hickman, an expert on drug deaths from Bristol University and a previous chair of the Advisory Council on the Misuse of Drugs (ACMD), said that politics, not evidence of harm, had been behind this classification.

“When I was on the ACMD, my first meeting was regrading magic mushrooms as class A solely because, chemically, it was like LSD,” he told MPs on the told the Health Select Committee after being asked for his view on the UK’s drug classification system.

“Because the committee never downgraded a drug, or took a drug off, it just had to be the same.

“If it’s pharmacologically the same it should get the same [classification]. It is absurd.”

“MDMA shouldn’t be a class A,” he added. “That’s also been used for treatment resistant depression and PTSD as well.”

MPs are reviewing the state of UK drug policy at a time when drug overdose deaths are rising but addiction and treatment services have been repeatedly cut.

Experts blamed the short sighted decision to remove responsibility for drug treatment from the NHS as part of the 2012 Health and Social Care Act, and give it to local authorities whose budgets have been repeatedly cut.
 

 
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