UK’s former top drug official: Coke-head bankers caused financial crisis

By Stephen C. Webster
Sunday, April 14, 2013 18:18 EDT
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Screen shot of David Nutt on Current TV
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The former top drugs adviser to Britain’s parliament told UK newspaper The Telegraph on Sunday that risk-taking behaviors behind the financial crisis of 2008 were driven by excessive cocaine consumption by the world’s banking elite.

“Bankers use cocaine and got us into this terrible mess,” Professor David Nutt said. “It is a ‘more’ drug.” He added that cocaine has the effect of making its users feel “overconfident,” encouraging risk-taking behaviors.

Nutt was fired from his post as Britain’s top drugs adviser in 2009, after he criticized the government’s drug policies for inhibiting research into Schedule I substances like psilocybin, which Nutt has studies for its potential to alleviate symptoms of depression. At the time he’d said that consuming the unadulterated, pure form of the drug ecstasy is safer than riding a horse.

Nutt was ordered to apologize for his statement on ecstasy, but he’s since become an ardent proponent of expanded access to Schedule I drugs for scientific research.

“Regulations, which are arbitrary, actually make it virtually impossible to research these drugs,” he said of ecstasy and marijuana during a book launch event attended by The Guardian last year. “The effect these laws have had on research is greater than the effects that [George] Bush stopping stem cell research has had because it’s been going on since the 1960s.”

“I wonder how many other opportunities have been lost in the last 40 years with important drugs like MDMA, with its empathetic qualities, drugs like LSD in terms of treating addictions, cannabis for all the possible uses and insights which it might have for things like schizophrenia,” he added. “All of those opportunities have been wasted because it is virtually impossible, when a drug’s illegal, to work with it.”

Stephen C. Webster
Stephen C. Webster
Stephen C. Webster is the senior editor of Raw Story, and is based out of Austin, Texas. He previously worked as the associate editor of The Lone Star Iconoclast in Crawford, Texas, where he covered state politics and the peace movement’s resurgence at the start of the Iraq war. Webster has also contributed to publications such as True/Slant, Austin Monthly, The Dallas Business Journal, The Dallas Morning News, Fort Worth Weekly, The News Connection and others. Follow him on Twitter at @StephenCWebster.
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