Sci + Society,

#037: Dr. David Nutt and the Obstacles to Rational Drug Research

May 11, 2014

In Episode #37, Jesse interviews Dr. David Nutt on the legal and social obstacles surrounding progressive drug research.  Dr. Nutt has been both a champion and a leading authority on rational drug policy as it relates to research for many years.

Amongst many other appointments, Dr. Nutt has been the Chair of the Advisory Council on the Misuse of Drugs (ACMD) in the UK. In 2004-2005 he was the clinical scientific lead on the UK Government Foresight initiative “Brain science, addiction and drugs” that provided a 25-year vision for this area of science and public policy. He broadcasts widely to the general public both on radio and television and also lectures widely to the scientific and medical communities.

Currently, he is Chair of the Independent Scientific Committee on Drugs, as well as the Edmund J. Safra Professor of Neuropsychopharmacology and Head of the Department of Neuropsychopharmacology and Molecular Imaging at Imperial College London.  He is President of the European College of Neuropsychopharmacology (ECNP), UK Director of the ‘European Certificate in Anxiety and Mood Disorders’ and the ‘Masters in Affective Disorders’ Courses jointly administered by the Universities of Maastricht, Bristol and Florence. In addition, he is the Editor of the Journal of Psychopharmacology, advisor to the British National Formulary and on the MRC Neuroscience Board.

This Week In Neuroscience: Many Ivy Leaguers Don’t Consider ADHD Drug Abuse Cheating

According to findings presented at the Pediatric Academic Societies (PAS) annual meeting last week, nearly one-in-five Ivy League students misuse prescription stimulant drugs while studying – and even among those who don’t, a solid third don’t view such misuse as cheating.

The study analyzed data collected from 616 Ivy League sophomores, juniors and seniors who had not been diagnosed with ADD/ADHD. Of those surveyed, 18% reported misusing stimulants to study at least once while in school and 24% said they had used the drugs on eight or more occasions. Not surprisingly, those students who misused stimulants were more likely to view the use of the drugs as a “common occurrence” on their campus.  (The time-honored “C’mon Mom, everybody’s doing it!” excuse.)

Hopefully you heard our interview with Dr. Jehanjeer Sunderji a few weeks ago, which focused on the dangerous popularity of Adderall abuse amongst college students – and the significant potential for negative affects from the drug.

Read the original article here.

What You’ll Learn

  • Why horseback riding is worse for your brain than many highly illegal drugs
  • Shocking statistics on alcohol-related deaths in the UK
  • What one of the leading anti “hard-drug” industries is, and why
  • The mechanisms through which psychedelics enhance creative brain function

Key Terms Mentioned


  1. Gabriel says:

    Great podcast.
    What is the name of the scientist that discovered the DNA test on LSD?.

  2. Johne145 says:

    I do trust all of the ideas you’ve presented in your post. They’re very convincing and can certainly work. Nonetheless, the posts are very short for beginners. May just you please lengthen them a bit from next time? Thanks for the post.

    1. Jesse Lawler says:

      Yeah, these posts are just meant to be adjuncts to the podcast episodes, not really stand-alone content. Working to improve that in the future, but probably won’t back-fill info into these historical episodes. 🙂

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