Update: Raabe has now been sacked due to the public uproar.
Thanks to Neuroskeptic for the update. Thanks to the public for the uproar.
The Government announced this week the list of individuals it has appointed to be on the new Advisory Council on the Misuse of Drugs (ACMD). The home secretary is still forced to include scientists on the ACMD by law but this last bastion of hope is to be removed by the Police Reform Bill which will allow for an ACMD with not a single scientist or medical professional. So who has Theresa May appointed to advise her on what may be last ever academically qualified advisory council on drugs?
Dr Hans-Christian Raabe, prominent anti-abortion, anti-contraception and anti-homosexual campaigner and daily maily rent-a-quote is sure to cause a stir. In his spare time Raabe contributes to the Maranatha Community, a bizarre religious group that offers “Gay Affirmative Therapy” to cure homosexuality.
Dr. Raabe is a strange choice for someone who is supposed to be an evaluator of evidence. He has made it very clear that he has a strong religious conviction that all forms of drug use are morally abhorrent and that “harm-reduction actually encourages rather than prevents drug misuse“. He has been in serious trouble with the government before for deceitful behaviour motivated by his rigid moral code. He was found to have formally submitted medical advice to a select committee on abortion without disclosing his involvement in numerous anti-abortion campaign groups. He was even the “medical director” of the Christian anti-abortion pressure group “Council for Health and Wholeness” which coincidentally also managed to submit a separate dossier for the same abortion review. None of this was disclosed when Raabe gave his “medical” consultation on abortion law in which he claimed abortion can cause breast cancer despite there being no real evidence for this and this being completely outside his remit of expertise as a paediatrician. In 2009 Raabe stood for European parliament for the Christian Peoples Alliance Party on a zero tolerance on drugs platform. It is Raabe’s opinion that users of cannabis should be treated no differently to users of heroin.
Raabe’s “medical” opinion on drugs, quoted from his formal comment on the a BMJ article on the benefits of regulation of cannabis:
“The only way of stopping people from dying from drug-related deaths is to prevent drug use in the first place!” Dr Hans-Christian Raabe (10 October 2010)
I challenge you to find another doctor anywhere who can not think of a single intervention to stop drug related deaths. Welcome back to the dark ages.
The withdrawl of harm reduction mechanisms for problem drug users is an extremely dangerous element of Raabe’s belief system. This belief system has directly resulted in promoting the AIDS epidemic in Africa through the banning of contraception on moral grounds, allowing this highly containable blood born disease to reach our shores. If this belief system is ever to be imposed on the harm reduction practices that currently are in place to stop needle sharing amongst our tens of thousands of problem drug users we can expect an explosion of AIDS in this country overnight. The evidence for this is clearly presented in this BMJ paper describing how Russia’s zero tolerance drug law has directly resulted in the AIDS epidemic it is now experiencing. Ironically, as this paper describes, the imprisonment of problem users is another main cause of AIDS in the developed world. It is common practice for a needle on a sting to be passed from cell to cell in prisons turning them in to incubators for the HIV virus.
2009 Aids Map
It is all very well for Dr. Raabe and his fundamentalist companions to act on a moral code in which they believe drugs are wrong however it is time for them to realise that this code has devastating implications for the whole of the of society including the vast majority who have never even dreamt of going near heroin or crack cocaine.
In the words of Andy Lewis, “(last year) we were angry that government was ignoring the advice of its advisors. Now we find ourselves hoping they do.”
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