, 12 tweets, 3 min read Read on Twitter
I have resigned from the Advisory Council on the Misuse of Drugs. Recent political vetting and
exclusion of suitably qualified applicants to join means that the ACMD is losing its independence. A thread to explain follows…
After the unjustified dismissal of @ProfDavidNutt in 2009, several ACMD members resigned. A
working protocol was put in place to protect the independence of the ACMD from ministerial
The independence of the ACMD was a big factor in my deciding to apply to join in 2014. Please note that members of the ACMD are not paid by the government for their work – it is done in members’ own time, or in time paid for by their employer (for me, it was a mixture of both)
This spring, it came to light that people who were considered suitable for membership of
the ACMD by an appointments panel had not been appointed by ministers after vetting of their
social media had revealed disagreements with government policies and ministerial statements.
Vetting included collecting information on applicants' statements on Brexit and Windrush, as well as drug policy.
I asked for clarification of the number of people this applied to and of the process for excluding
suitably qualified applicants. This has not been provided.
One of the people who was excluded from ACMD membership was @niamhrelease, a highly
respected lawyer whose expertise on British drug law is internationally recognised (the ACMD
currently has no qualified lawyer as a member).
As reported by @matthabusy in June, @niamhrelease’s appointment was blocked on the basis of
tweeted disagreements with government ministers.
Ministers have not provided any assurance that this will not
happen again. If ministers take decisions on who can join the ACMD on the basis of whether or not they agree with government policies, then it is no longer an independent body. Which is why I have resigned.
I am very proud of the work I did with colleagues during my time on the ACMD, including leading
work (with @ADPconsultancy) on reducing opioid-related deaths in the UK gov.uk/government/pub… ...
... and on
reducing drug-related harms in custody-community transitions
My resignation from the ACMD should not be taken in any way as a comment on other ACMD
members or on the civil servants who work with the ACMD, who have always been highly
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