Don’t change ecstasy law, say police chiefs

Weakening the laws on ecstasy will send out an “unfortunate message”, senior police officers in England and Wales have warned.

The Association of Chief Police Officers (ACPO) has written to the Government’s drugs advisors calling for the law to remain unchanged.

The Advisory Council on the Misuse of Drugs is discussing whether ecstasy should be downgraded from a class A to a class B drug.

Prof Nutt, the incoming head of the Council, has said ecstasy is less harmful than cocaine or heroin and should be reclassified. But the police want the law to stay as it is.

“From an operational policing perspective, ACPO does not support any change in classification of ecstasy from its current class A status,” said Tim Hollis, chief constable of Humberside Police and ACPO’s lead officer on drugs.

Between 2003 and 2007 there were 246 ecstasy-related deaths – about 50 each year.

The Advisory Council on the Misuse of Drugs recommended the disastrous policy of downgrading cannabis from class B to class C in 2004.

The downgrade was followed by a surge in cannabis-related health and crime problems and earlier this year the Government announced that the policy would be reversed.

The Home Office has said the ecstasy law should stay as it is, setting up another clash between the Government and the drugs council.

A Home Office spokesman said: “Ecstasy can and does kill unpredictably; there is no such thing as a ‘safe dose’. The Government firmly believes that Ecstasy should remain a class A drug.”