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Book review: ‘Drugs – Without the Hot Air’ by David Nutt

Professor David Nutt was sacked from his role as Chairman of the Government’s Advisory Council on the Misuse of Drugs following his comments comparing the risks of taking Ecstacy to the risks of horse riding. He wrote this book to discuss the issues around drugs, for example, is alcohol more harmful than illegal drugs.

He reviews how drugs work, why people take them and ways of comparing the harm they cause. He discusses a variety of drugs, from those used for hundreds of years, to newly synthesised chemicals.

The political factors that influence the classification & legal status of drugs are reviewed. I found the discussion on legal drugs, including caffeine, alcohol & tobacco particularly interesting. 

The book is designed to be understood by the lay reader. Professor Nutt covers a wide range of issues from the impact of drugs on the person and society, to legislation, use in sport and political factors. A well written, balanced and thought – provoking review of the topic.

Rating: 9/10

Dr Holly Simms is a locum GP in Hertfordshire