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Drugs - without the hot air

Minimising the harms of legal and illegal drugs
David Nutt

Categories: Popular Science

This book -- future events & appearances

  • 5-Dec-2012 18:00-19:00 London School of Economics (LSE)
    12th Annual LSE Health and Social Care Lecture




David Nutt is the government scientist who was sacked for comparing the harms of horse-riding and taking ecstasy. In straightforward language, he explores the science of what a drug is and how it works, why people take drugs, and how it affects them.

His approach is evidence based. His central theme is that all drugs are harmful, from tobacco to heroin; that not all drugs harm equally; that we have to measure all the different harms of each drug. Then we can make informed decisions regarding our choice of lifestyle, and policymakers can take a rational approach to legislation on alcohol, cocaine, heroin, tobacco etc.

It's also necessary to consider the potential therapeutic and other benefits of some drugs that are currently illegal. Trials have shown that ecstasy could be effective in treating PTSD (post-traumatic stress disorder), LSD might have a role in treating addiction, and heroin is the most effective painkiller we know of, but it's not allowed to be used even for extreme pain in cases of terminal illness.

This accessible book is written in plain English for the general reader. It is relevant for:

  • Anyone interested in drugs.
  • People who take drugs.
  • Parents and children and young people. Young people are very able to see through media spin and political posturings and "adult hypocrisy". By giving them objective information they are more likely to take on board and behave intelligently.
  • Those who have to work with the consequences of drugs in our society:
    • Teachers.
    • Doctors.
    • Social workers.
    • Politicians.
    • The police and the legal profession.

Recent reviews

  • "Professor Nutt’s rational, cool-headed approach is surely the right one" The Economist, August 2012
    "a refreshingly clear-eyed work. Anyone looking for a calm and objective overview of the drugs available in Britain would do much better to read Professor Nutt’s book than to believe what they read in the papers, or what they hear from the lips of government ministers."
  • "the most sensible book about drugs you'll read this year" Cory Doctorow, BoingBoing, June 2012
    "Nutt is both committed to rigorous, evidence-based policy and to clear, no-nonsense prose that makes complex subjects comprehensible"

    "a book that everyone should read."
  • Drug bans hamper brain research, says neuroscientist, Reuters
    "LONDON (Reuters) - Bans on drugs like ecstasy, magic mushrooms and LSD have hampered scientific research on the brain and stalled the progress of medicine as much as George Bush's ban on stem cell research did, a leading British drug expert said on Thursday. ..."
  • Finally, Drug Education Gets Real: Drugs - Without the Hot Air Jason Reed, Huffington Post, 31-May-2012
    "There's an inherent danger in any sector of education: if the teachings fail to measure up to the truth, then we'll be paving the way for a deep distrust and a greater apathy. With this in mind, it is of tremendous enthusiasm that we welcome Professor Nutt's book: Drugs - Without the Hot Air"

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Book details

Drugs - without the hot air
Minimising the harms of legal and illegal drugs
publication date
31-May-2012 (UK)
1-Sep-2012 (USA/CA)
CDN$ 21.95
paperback, 198 mm high
129 mm wide
31 mm thick
350 g
Print - Search - Page last modified on August 10, 2012, at 11:02