Relative Risk

2009-02-09

I’m kind of irritated by the response to David Nutt’s comments on Ecstasy and horse riding. He’s been widely slated by various politicians, desperate to get their "tough on drugs" soundbites.

"There’s no comparison", said one. "Horse riding teaches you discipline", he said, making a comparison. Well, yes, maybe it does. But it also rather likely to kill, cripple or maim you.

It’s not an issue of choice, of opinion, whether horse riding and ecstasy are as dangerous as each other, it’s an issue of evidence, and measurement. We can, potentially, answer the question. What we choose to do about it is a different issue, but, having measured the risk, to argue against ecstacy on the basis of danger is a poor argument if there are many other equivalent activities.

Originally published on my old blog site.