Advisory Council on the Misuse of Drugs

Home Department written question – answered on 24th June 2004.

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Photo of Mr Bill Tynan Mr Bill Tynan Labour, Hamilton South

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department

(1) if he will place in the Library a copy of the (a) agenda and (b) minutes of the meeting of the Advisory Council on the Misuse of Drugs of 28 November 2002;

(2) who the members of the Statistics, Information and Research Committee of the Advisory Council on the Misuse of Drugs were in (a) 2001, (b) 2002 and (c) 2003; and what the professional background of each is;

(3) if he will place in the Library a copy of the assessment of the Statistics, Information and Research Committee of the Advisory Council on the Misuse of Drugs of the cannabis related articles of the 23 November 2002 edition of the British Medical Journal;

(4) if he will place in the Library copies of the (a) agenda and (b) minutes of each meeting of the Statistics, Information and Research Committee of the Advisory Council on the Misuse of Drugs in 2003;

(5) if he will place in the Library a copy of the research of the Statistics, Information and Research Committee of the Advisory Council on the Misuse of Drugs that informed the Advisory Council's final report on the reclassification of cannabis.

Photo of Caroline Flint Caroline Flint Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Home Office)

The Advisory Council on the Misuse of Drugs (ACMD) is a statutory independent body established under the Misuse of Drugs Act 1971 (MDA 1971) to advise the Government on drug related issues within the UK. Two of the ACMD's subcommittees—the Technical Committee (TC) and the Statistics, Information and Research Committee (SIRC) held several joint meetings in relation to discussing the reclassification of cannabis. The TC has the broad remit of reviewing the MDA 1971 and the Misuse of Drugs Regulations. As part of this it has responsibility for advising the full Council as to the appropriate classification and scheduling of drugs. SIRC, which was dissolved on completion of the cannabis work, was responsible for monitoring and providing advice on research bearing on drug misuse in the UK and drawing attention to the full Council features which appeared most significant. Included at Annex A, is a list of all SIRC members between 2001 and 2003 with their backgrounds and the organisation which they represented. Also included is a list of all Technical Committee Members during the discussions on cannabis reclassification and their respective background and the organisations that they represented.

The ACMD's minutes and agendas are not public documents. The published report—"The Classification of Cannabis under the Misuse of Drugs Act 1971", published in 2002 represents the considerations and conclusions of the TC, SIRC and the full Council on the reclassification of cannabis. This includes a list of published research material which was taken into consideration. As indicated above, SIRC was disbanded on completion of the cannabis work. However, the articles featured in the British Medical Journal published on 23 November 2002 were closely considered by Professor David Nutt (chair of the ACMD Technical Committee), Sir Michael Rawlins (chair of the ACMD) and Department of Health officials who were content that the advice given by full council to reclassify cannabis was not compromised by the content of the articles.

Annex A: Membership to the Statistics. Information and Research Committee 2001–03

Mrs. K. Roberts—Pharmacist

Dr. M. Donmall—Manchester University Drugs Research Unit

Dr. N. Dorn—Drugscope

Ms. V. Evans—Drugscope

Mr. P. Hayes—National Treatment Agency

Dr. M. Hickman—Department of Social Science and Medicines

Professor M. Lader—Psychopharmacology

Dr. L. King—The Forensic Science Service

Mr. M. Silver—National Criminal Intelligence Service

Richard Pates—Clinical Psychiatrist & Chair of the Advisory Panel on Substance Misuse for the Welsh Assembly

Ms. C. Clancy—Senior Lecturer (Mental Health and Addictions)

Mr. M. Frischer—Department of Medicines Management, Keele University

Ms. S. Haw—Health Education Board for Scotland

Mr. P. Stroner—Scottish Drugs Misuse Database

Professor J. Strang—Senior Lecturer, Addiction Research Unit

Ms. K. Barton—SEHD

Mr. N. Wilson—National Criminal Intelligence Service

Technical Committee Members during the discussions on the reclassification of cannabis

Professor D. Nutt—Psychopharmacology, University of Bristol

Dr. J. Duxbury—Department of Oral Medicine, University of Manchester

Dr. C. Gerada—General Practitioner

Dr. N. Gill—Public Health Laboratory Service

Ms. L. Hewitt—Project Manager, Stockwell Project

Mr. R. Howard—Drugscope

Mr. A. Hunter—The Association of British Pharmaceutical Industry

Professor R. S. Jones—Department of Anaesthesia, University of Liverpool

Dr. L. King—The Forensic Science Service

Professor O. Meth-Cohn—Chemist, University of Sunderland

Dr. D. Paterson—Consultant Psychiatrist

Professor M. D. Rawlins—Psychopharmacology, University of Newcastle

Mrs. K. Roberts—Pharmacist

Dr. S. Reuben—Liverpool Drug Dependence Clinic

Professor G. Phillips—Chemist

Dr. S. L. H. Thomas—Regional Drugs and Therapeutics Centre, Newcastle

Dr. J. Loudon—Health Department, The Scottish Executive

Dr. M. Griffin—The Forensic Science Service

Dr. E. Major—Medicines Control Agency

Mr. R. Treble—Laboratory of the Government Chemist

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