The Nutt Study – Jörg Simon Schmid

The “Nutt Study” is an internationally widely received, but also controversially discussed study, which was conducted in 2007 at the University of Bristol under the direction of Prof. David Nutt. The aim of the study was to raise the risk potential of psychoactive substances on a scientific basis and to make them comparable on several dimensions

The recommendations derived from the findings met with little response in government circles, prompting Nutt to be removed from office in 2009 as chairman of the Advisory Council on the Misuse of Drugs (AMCD). In 2010, David Nutt, together with the Independent Scientific Committee on Drugs (ISCD) he founded, published a follow-up study. On the basis of a multi-criteria decision analysis (MCDA), this enabled an even more complex assessment of the risks of psychoactive substances. In 2013, Nutt received the prestigious John Maddox Award for his commitment to scientific excellence by Nature magazine for his continued dedication.

The current Nutt study (2013) is also based on the multi-criteria decision analysis as a methodological basis. While past studies from 2007 and 2010 have been accused of being limited in scope to the United Kingdom (UK) and its legislation, the new study goes one step further in 2013. Assessments of the dangers of individual psychoactive substances are now being undertaken by scientists and experts from across Europe, which could lay the foundations for a pan-European perspective within drug legislation.

In addition to a presentation of the current findings and methodological changes, we would like to discuss with them what implications arise from the European perspective for politics and science.