Illicit drugs, science and politics can be a volatile mix, no doubt. So it's not a total surprise that David Nutt, a respected psychopharmacologist at the Bristol outpost of Imperial College London, was canned today as the U.K. top drug advisor. His downfall was a paper in which Nutt argued that ecstasy and other drugs caused less harm than alcohol, although the researcher had clashed before with the government's drug policies.
Phil Willis, Chairman of the House of Commons science and technology committee, has already released a statement noting he asked the Home Secretary "for clarification as to why the distinguished scientist Sir David Nutt has been removed of duties as Chair of Advisory Council on Misuse of Drugs (ACMD) at a time when independent scientific advice to government is essential. It is disturbing if an independent scientist should be removed for reporting sound scientific advice."