The resignation of Dr Polly Taylor – the veterinary medicine expert whose post is required by law to be filled on the committee – from the Advisory Council on the Misuse of Drugs had sparked speculation that the ban on Mephedrone could be delayed.
However, it seems that the government have found a way around this problem.
They have appointed a dentist, a pharmacist, and a Professor of Phytochemistry to the committee in record time – this morning, just hours after Polly Taylor’s resignation.
The new appointees are; Mr Hew Mathewson CBE, dentist and former President and Chair of the General Dental Council; Mrs Gillian Arr-Jones, pharmacist and Chief Pharmacist for the Care Quality Commission; and, Professor Simon Gibbons, Professor of Phytochemistry, School of Pharmacy, University of London.
The Home Secretary has apparently taken legal advice on the necessity for filling the role of veterinary consultant and been advised that ‘Since Ms Taylor had already had the opportunity to give her input on the issue of Mephedrone, and since Mephedrone has no legitimate veterinary use, then the committee is still correctly constituted and able to rush out give a response to the recent deaths in which Mephedrone has been implicated as planned today’……I quote verbatim from a conversation with a government press officer seeking to explain to me how a Dentist could stand in for the required Veterinarian.
The 1971 (Misuse of Drugs) Act is very clear that before the government criminalises thousands of people by banning a drug they must take advice on drug harm and other matters from a legally constituted advisory council.
This caper originated in the allegations that two teenagers died after possibly taking Mephedrone shortly before their death. There has, as yet, been no official confirmation that this legal high is what they had taken.
That the drug is currently legal is reinforced by the week-end news that one of the most prominent dealers in Meow-Meow, as it is known on the street, is the son of Labour MP Louise Ellman. Sean Ellman has a string of shops in the North-East doing a roaring trade in meow-meow and other ‘legal highs’.
In 2004, some 150 teenagers died as a result of either driving or being a passenger in a car – did we ban motor cars? Nope. Did we even ban teenagers from driving or being a passenger in a motor car? Nope.
There must be an election imminent. Ministers are trying to flood the airwaves with evidence of how much they are doing to protect us, even when they are not sure that there is anything we need to be protected from.