Govt experts to call for ecstacy downgrade

The government’s Advisory Council on the Misuse of Drugs (ACMD) could announce it believes ecstacy should be downgraded today..

Last year the drug was ranked as less harmful than alcohol and tobacco according to a report in The Lancet published by the ACMD’s new chairman, Professor David Nutt. The ACMD is expected to say the drug should be made class B or even class C.

Ecstasy, a synthetic drug that floods the brain with serotonin and creates a relaxed euphoria, “probably shouldn’t be class A”, said Prof Nutt.

The drug, also known as MDMA, is followed by a fatigued comedown after it begins to wear off and is taken by an estimated 500,000 people every week.

“Ecstasy can and does kill unpredictably; there is no such thing as a ‘safe dose’,” a Home Office spokesperson said.

“The government firmly believes that ecstasy should remain a Class A drug. The Home Office has not requested ACMD to review the classification of ecstasy.”

The Conservatives agree. Shadow home secretary Dominic Grieve said: “Drugs wreck lives and destroy communities. We see no evidence to declassify this drug.”

If the government were to accept the advise, dealers would only face 14 years instead of life in prison.

Those in possession of MDMA would have the maximum penalty drop form seven years to five years.

Ecstasy has caused 500 deaths in the last 15 years.