As a member of the ACMD, I just want to correct some of the impression given in the media about the Council’s membership.
We’re not all pure scientists – in fact, some of us, myself included, are not scientists at all.
I have 15 years’ experience as Chief Executive of first, a street drugs agency, then a charity trying to improve standards in drug misuse prevention practice and policy for young people.
I feel privileged and at the same time qualified to work with the top scientists and the other Council members to review evidence and consider what we should recommend to Government.
This has included recommendations not just about drug classification but also about campaigns, drugs education and prevention and supporting vulnerable families. The ACMD has carried out very important pieces of work in all of these fields; it hasn’t just focussed on criminal justice recommendations or assessing pharmacological effects of particular drugs.
ACMD’s reports and recommendations have harnessed expertise not only of scientists but also social scientists, police officers, the probation service, a judge, people who have managed drug treatment agencies and experts in drug prevention and education (sorry colleagues if I’m missing anyone out!). We have also actively sought advice from external experts and practitioners and the public, including young people, to help us in our work.
I’ve just been reading C. Wright Mills “The Sociological Imagination” from 1959!
“It is the human meaning and the social role of science…its political significance that are undergoing confused re-appraisal.”