Letter to Lynne Featherstone: don't classify AL-LAD

Posted Sun 19th Oct 2014, 2:29pm

Edit: changed references from Norman Baker to Lynne Featherstone, the new minister for drugs

AL-LAD is a (legal) close analogue of LSD that's been available online for the past few months. The "subjective effects are almost identical to that of LSD" and it seems to have a similar safety profile (i.e. it's extremely safe).

Unfortunately, on 10th June, the Advisory Council on the Misuse of Drugs (ACMD) recommended that AL-LAD should be controlled as a Class A substance.

We've written to Lynne Featherstone MP, the minister for drugs, asking her to reject the ACMD's recommendation. Here's the full text of the letter we sent:

Dear Ms Featherstone,

In a letter to you dated 10th June 2014, Les Iversen, Chair of the Advisory Council on the Misuse of Drugs (ACMD), recommended that AL-LAD, a psychedelic and close analogue of LSD, should be controlled as a Class A substance. I am writing to ask you to reject the ACMD's recommendation.

As you are aware, the ACMD is the statutory body which advises the Government on issues relating to drug misuse. The ACMD derives its power from section 1 of the Misuse of Drugs Act 1971. The Act states:

"It shall be the duty of the Advisory Council to keep under review the situation in the United Kingdom with respect to drugs which are being or appear to them likely to be misused and of which the misuse is having or appears to them capable of having harmful effects sufficient to constitute a social problem."

It is my contention that in recommending the classification of AL-LAD, the ACMD has acted outside its statutory duty: the ACMD provided no evidence or explanation that AL-LAD is 'capable of having harmful effects sufficient to constitute a social problem'.

Indeed, I believe no such evidence exists. AL-LAD is a safe substance. Animal experiments indicate that are that a person would have to take approximately 1,000 times the active dose to risk death, compared to 100x for caffeine and just 10x for alcohol. In addition, there is no suggestion of third-party harm occuring as a result of its production or transportation.

Classifying AL-LAD will have at least three negative outcomes. Firstly, the liberty of those who choose to take it will have been restricted. Secondly, some people are likely to turn to other legal but less safe substances. Thirdly, AL-LAD that continues to be sold underground will likely be of poorer quality, possibly tainted with genuinely dangerous chemicals.

I am encouraged by the Liberal Democracts' willingness to reconsider the UK's drug laws. In the mean time, I implore you to at least hold the ACMD to their proper terms of reference, and ask them to present evidence that AL-LAD is 'capable of having harmful effects sufficient to constitute a social problem'. If and when no such evidence arises, I believe you should reject the recommendation to classify AL-LAD. This would be one small step to safer, saner drug policy in the UK.

Yours sincerely, 


Stephen Reid
The Psychedelic Society