Blog post

It’s time for a drug revolution

Who controls drugs? Who controls whether you take drugs, what you take, and what the consequences are? The answers are of course, pretty complex. Governments play a part as do drug producers and suppliers; your peers, your environment, all play a role, as does mention blind chance. But what I want to talk about today is you and your power. You are often written out of the picture when the media talk about drugs sweeping the nation, or taking lives, as if the people in the equation are just passive victims of monstrous molecules.   We think you can affect not only your own drug use and how harmful that is but also how the media portrays drug use and represents research and how government decides on policy. DrugScience exists to help bring about the reduction of drug harms now – not in 5 or 10 years or when governments decide to look at the evidence. We know there’s so much that can and should be done. And we know that individuals have the power to make it happen. We believe that individuals should have the information to empower more informed choices about their use of both legal and controlled drugs. We believe that media coverage of drugs issues and research should be accurate and balanced. We believe that government policy should actually reduce harms – not “send a message”.

We need a drug revolution. We need to break through the misinformation and champion the evidence, champion rationality. We need to show those that fail to understand the issues at hand, whether through ignorance, prejudice or self-interest, that reducing drug harms benefits everyone, not just those that take them.

If you’ve ever used our objective, rigorously researched drugs information; if you’ve ever benefitted from the newspaper articles, TV interviews and media interventions that I and other DrugScience Members have been part of; if you use drugs, drink, or know anyone that does (you probably do!); if you believe we need a drug revolution, please donate now. We exist to benefit the public and we can only continue to exist with your help. Thank you.


  1. John Husband

    John Husband on 04/30/2014 4:32 p.m. #

    I believe we are talking about both medically approved and disapproved psychotropic drugs. These are, respectively, slow-acting and fast-acting. It seems to be the rate of absorption and excretion together with the actual affinities for neuro-receptors that define the profile of such a drug.

  2. Derek Williams

    Derek Williams on 05/01/2014 3:37 a.m. #

    A good first step is to think about the way we talk about drugs: The article talks about "legal or controlled drugs", but what do you mean by "controlled"? Prohibition is not drug control in any plain English use of the word "control". Perhaps the first step is to break from the politicians "spin" on things and use plain english?

  3. Darryl Bivkler

    Darryl Bivkler on 05/01/2014 3:47 a.m. #

    It's got some great points here, but it's a fetish about things, drugs cannot be "legal" - the point about a drug revolution encapsulates this fundamental error- no David, they don't control things they control us, and the things will not revolt.

  4. Hannah

    Hannah on 05/05/2014 11:16 a.m. #

    I have literally just written a letter to many MPs after witnessing my friend have a serious reaction to MDMA, I do not understand why they are not being regulated, I have witnessed too many people get hurt from substances that are probably not what they think they are, I just don't understand why they do not see how easy it is to regulate what people are consuming, because whatever they believe, people are not going to stop taking drugs.

  5. OLEG

    OLEG on 05/14/2014 7:57 a.m. #

    ALL GOOD DAY. PROMPT How do I contact professor David Nutt? There is great demand harmless alcohol. Are willing to invest. OLEG FROM RUSSIA. NAAAGVAL@GMAIL.COM

  6. Hasse

    Hasse on 05/14/2014 10:14 a.m. #

    "Who controls drugs?"
    International Narcotics legislation is controlled by the UN, where the delegations from USA; England and France are the main players. USA is the worlds largest manufacturer of hard liquor and UK is nr 2 while France and Italy are the two largest producers of Wine. Alcoholic drinks are big business and a protected drug monopoly. The drugs of the third world may not compete as they could do in the past when India was a british colony and production/distribution of opium was central to the british economy. Professor Carl Trocki claim in his book "Opium, Empire and the Global political Economy" that he doubts if the british empire could have been established without the income from the British Crowns opium sales. Thus obviously the western establishment is heavily involved in the drug control thus reducing the income and influence of the third world as well as disregarding the sufferings of many millions of people by "the war on drugs" ....

  7. Kyle

    Kyle on 06/01/2014 2:20 a.m. #

    Hi Prof Nutt,

    Although i doubt you or team monitor or read these comments, Unfortunately this is the only means of contacting you, as it seems impossible to contact you via anywhere on your website.

    Im interested to know whether the idea of a Daily Vitamin of the beneficial aspects of magic mushrooms has been talked about or tested?

    Enhanced vision,
    Enhanced hearing,
    Enahcned Neurology,

    I honestly believe we are turning a blind eye to a massive GAMECHANGER.

    Easily comparable to the film "Limitless".

  8. Adam

    Adam on 06/01/2014 4:18 p.m. #

    I full heartedly agree that it is time for a drugs revolution and I believe it will happen in our lifetime. My personal frustrations with the current pile of drug legislation is that it infringes upon individuals' personal freedoms. It is a sad state of affairs that in the UK, the only respectable recreational drug is alcohol. The largely negative public attitude towards other drugs is a destructive force in society, especially considering that alcohol is erroneously viewed by many as 'not like' other drugs, or even not a drug but merely a 'drink'. The well informed among us know that there are controlled substances which are far safer and for many people, far more enjoyable than alcohol. It is a travesty that our freedoms are restricted in this way - and the cost is our health.

    Without delving too far into the quagmire of conspiracy theory, I believe we must give serious consideration to the possibility that systemic corruption might be working against public health. I'm sure this idea isn't new to many readers here. The fact that we don't have [and the Labour government rejected the implementation of] an evidence-based drugs policy suggests to me that political forces are acting to preserve the interests of the alcohol and tobacco industries.

    Allow me to illustrate just a couple of the myriad absurdities of the current drugs legislation.

    'Magic mushrooms' are a class A substance yet psilocybe semilanceata grow without human encouragement over vast areas of the UK - legislating against nature; I don't need to explain why that's preposterous.

    Papaver somniferum, the opium poppy is a popular ornamental flower grown by gardeners in the summer. Most varieties of opium poppy grown in the UK, contrary to popular belief, do in fact produce opium. The principle alkaloid of opium is morphine, a drug which can easily cause dependence and addiction if used too frequently, and fatal overdose if used recklessly. The opium poppy is perfectly legal to grow, compare this with the incredibly benign cannabis plant; completely illegal to germinate. And the non-toxic psilocybe magic mushrooms, also illegal to grow, despite the fact that some species grow like weeds on our very own island.

    I for one, enjoy the irony that these are referred to as 'controlled' substances.

  9. Seb

    Seb on 06/04/2014 4:50 p.m. #

    Personally, my experience with MDMA is a positive one. It has let me come out of my shell and i feel more confident, even when I'm not on it. obviously you should do everything in moderation and if you have a mental disability then you should probably stay away from drugs. But then again, if the government would stop being idiots and give the time and money for these things to be researched or even made legal then there wouldn't be so many problems. Just imagine the money the government could make if they sold MDMA over a counter. At least you would know what you were getting was the real thing and it could be moderated by a card/database. Anyway thats my own opinion on MDMA.



  10. Cubensis

    Cubensis on 08/17/2014 5:13 a.m. #

    It's definitively time for a change in the drug policies, there are too many people incarcerated wrongly. It's time for change!

  11. Alfie Cattell

    Alfie Cattell on 08/21/2014 3:20 a.m. #

    Are the politicians intelligent enough to understand and rationally interpret evidence that is laid before them by science for the good of society? Yes of course they are. Are the people that vote in this country representative of the beliefs and thinking style of the country as a whole? No because hardly anyone votes. Who does vote? Daily mail readers and middle aged women account for the lions share.

    Professor Nutt and other drugs scientists biggest hurdle in bringing forth a fact based rational attitude towards drugs in this country is bringing awareness to the people that their their voice will change things. At least two thirds of the population know that marijuana is not a harmful drug, so why is alcohol completely legal, socially accepted and regulated in this society and marijuana not? Because the people that bother voting are Daily Mail readers and middle aged women. That means drug policies will forever be contrived, sensationalised, paranoid and opinion based unless we, us clear thinking people, us normal everyday British citizens! us majority!! us TWO THIRDS OF THE FUCKING POPULATION!!!! Stand up and fucking say something about it I mean come on, the reason people think that no matter what they say makes no difference is because they don't actually say anything!! ironic is just too weak a word, this is stupid of course we can change things we don't live in North Korea ffs... Professor Nutt is right, we have the power to scare politicians into making the correct fact based decisions and we need to start this drug revolution for the health and welfare of our society.

    Marijuana is a gateway drug, a gateway drug to the championing of evidence and rationality, I think we should start with this because comparatively speaking we all know its harmless, so do the police, so do the judges and so do the politicians. Then and only then will professor Nutt and other great scientists have immediate influence which is exactly how it should be.

    Scientists should be on top, not on tap

  12. Hjalmar Karl Sveinbjörnsson

    Hjalmar Karl Sveinbjörnsson on 12/08/2014 1:09 a.m. #

    I just wanted to thank the ISCD and David Nutt for the work they are doing

    I finished reading Drugs with out the hot air and now looking for more books after Dr Nutt or more around the field

    in my eyes he is an unsung hero that is only trying to bring clarity and facts to the cesspit of ignorance that the current legislation is

  13. Juan

    Juan on 12/30/2014 10:54 a.m. #

    Greatings from Denmark!

    The situation here can be compared to your paradox.

    For several years the public representation of Copenhagen, that is the elected representation, has with a significant majority of members sought permission to do a 3 year experiment with legalization of cannabis. The aim was naturally harm reduction and to end the massive income of organized crime. Science has established that the cannabinoid CBD has a antipsychotic property which evens out or minimizes the risk of haven a harmful reaction to cannabis. Therefore part of the proposal from the Town Hall of Copanhagen was to introduce regulations in compliance with resent studies. To no avail, sadly this just confirms the paradox.

    I believe we, {the ones with science on our side} are looking for the solution in the wrong places, because the obvious solution in my mind is so seemingly radical. The current form of our democracy has obviously been outdated for years. The so called signaling is just another expression for mind control. I would argue that the control of drug culture, through broot police force is a kind of mind control, hence are we as citizens not free to develop culture. The good and wise sir Huxley once argued that the sophisticated technologies and the systematic biokrati will eventually rob the citizen of her freedom. I do believe this is where we find our selves and to the best of my judgment i believe the solution is a Direct Democracy. Many of the constitutions in European countries where written before the dawn of the digital web. Back then it would not be possible to have a Direct Democracy, since logistically it does take a lot of resources to have elections. Today we find our selves in a different age, in a different world where our beloved technology could be used in the evolution of the "system".

    I do not think its time for a drug revolution, i do believe its time for evolution.

    Power to the people!

  14. marialorreta

    marialorreta on 11/18/2015 10:58 a.m. #

    please we should all say a big wow to dr morgan from Global Bud Dispensary.for more than 10 years now,i have been suffering from cancer with metastasis,and one of my friends linked me with dr morgan who gave me a wonderful treatment and now i have regain my health.he has medical weed and hash oil which is very effective.

    here is his contact: (720) 772-7615
    Here is their


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