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Watch > Episode > Professor David Nutt - Drink? Why Alcohol Is The Most Damaging Drug In The World

Professor David Nutt - Drink? Why Alcohol Is The Most Damaging Drug In The World


The New Science of Alcohol and Your Health

David Nutt is an English neuropsychopharmacologist who specialises in the research of drugs that affect the brain and conditions such as addiction, anxiety, and sleep. Until 2009, he was a professor at the University of Bristol heading their Psychopharmacology Unit. Since then he has been the Edmond J Safra chair in Neuropsychopharmacology at Imperial College London and director of the Neuropsychopharmacology Unit in the Division of Brain Sciences there.

Ecstasy is “no more dangerous than horse riding”

Professor David Nutt returns to London Real to talk about alcohol and drugs. As the Deputy Head for the Centre of Psychedelic Research at Imperial College in London, he certainly knows the science behind the damaging effects of alcohol on the body.

An English neuro-psycho-pharmacologist who specialises in the research of drugs that affect the brain, you might also know David Nutt as the man who was fired by the government when he said ecstasy is “no more dangerous than horse riding”.

What I love about David, is that he runs the numbers. And statistically, he’s found that alcohol is the most dangerous drug in the world. It causes more harm, death and cost in the U.K. to the National Health Service than anything else out there and yet it’s so deeply intertwined into our culture and so we don’t think of it as a drug. This, among other things, deeply disturbs David and he’s on a mission to change it.

David has a great new book out called “Drink”, where he goes through a lot of our assumptions about alcohol and how we can really look at this drug and try to manage it in our lives. It’s something that I’ve struggled with for over thirty but for the past two years I’ve been sober and it’s been a massive game-changer for me.

Minimising the Harms of Legal and Illegal Drugs​

David also discusses the groundbreaking research he’s doing alongside Dr. Robin Carhart-Harris and Dr. Rosalind Watts, into LSD, psilocybin and DMT. Their research works towards helping people with depression, addiction and anorexia.

We also went deep on the decriminalisation of certain drugs and the propaganda and war on drugs in the United States and Britain.

David Nutt is incredibly knowledgeable when it comes to this stuff and he is an extreme pioneer in this space. This is a fascinating episode, and I know you’re going to love what he has to say.

Join us as we discuss:

  • Terence McKenna, heroin, and MDMA research
  • Ecstasy, DMT, psilocybin, and CBD
  • Dr. Robin Carhart-Harris, Imperial College, and Dr. Rosalind Watts
  • Small beer of the 18th century, Jack Daniels, and nitrous oxide
  • Keith Richards, Russian beer laws, and state made vodka
  • Serotonin, endorphins, and the effects of alcohol on the brain
  • David’s wine bar, Brad Pitt, and hangovers
  • The Wire, decriminalisation, and drug laws in Amsterdam and Portugal


00:00 | Trailer.
02:30 | Brian’s thoughts on the episode.
03:55 | Brian’s introduction.
05:03 | Understanding alcohol and your relation to it.
09:51 | The history and culture of Great Britain are very interwoven.
11:10 | Reluctance to acknowledge that LSD, Crack and MDMA are less harmful than alcohol.
13:19 | Fear of facing up to the most damaging drug to western society.
15:12 | Minimum price alcohol would result in lower taxes for all.
18:49 | The sophisticated advertising of the alcohol marketing industry.
20:38 | The shocking hard facts of the effects of drinking.
28:04 | The psychoactive drug nearly everyone has experienced.
31:55 | How the alcohol problem builds up.
41:02 | Researching hangovers.
44:37 | Are young people really drinking less?
46:20 | Drinking habits in Europe.
47:47 | What to do if you want to examine your drinking habits.
51:36 | If you drink in the morning to overcome your hangovers – stop.
52:17 | Think about drink. Every drink you take should be thought about before you take it.
57:29 | How to talk to your kids about drugs.
1:00:43 | David Nutt’s thoughts on the drug issues portrayed in The Wire.
1:08:24 | Decriminalisation and legalisation of drugs.
1:17:35 | David Nutt’s work in psychedelic research.
1:31:30 | Investigating how psychedelics can affect addiction, depression, anorexia and OCD.
1:35:28 | Heroin addiction study possibility
1:36:32 | The story behind the Fentanyl crisis.
1:44:37 | The politics behind the war on drugs.
1:49:44 | The other studies David Nutt is doing.
1:52:05 | David Nutt’s frustration at lack of medical prescribing of drugs now legalised for treatment.
1:59:09 | What he thinks of CBD.
1:59:58 | Another thing being trialled.
2:01:00 | Getting the Centre for Psychedelic research within Imperial College was significant.
2:01:30 | The gradual legalisation of drugs.
2:02:45 | David Nutt is pleased with his present quality of life.
2:03:49 | Is he worried about the use of SSRIs for depression?
2:04:36 | David Nutt’s views on nitrous oxide.
2:08:42 | What is David’s superpower.
2:09:57 | His leadership style.
2:10:42 | How he felt when he was sacked by the Government.
2:13:04 | The story behind equasy.
2:21:34 | What scares him.
2:23:06 | What gives him hope.
2:23:39 | The dream project he would like to work on.
2:27:00 | How he feels about vaping.
2:36:57 | Success secrets.
2:38:25 | Brian’s summing up.


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