Alcohol is deadlier than the drug ecstasy according to Professor David Nutt, who advises the Government on drug safety. Nutt, a senior member of the panel which recommended the downgrading of cannabis, claims 22,000 premature deaths a year can be blamed on drinking. It is also the cause of around 10,000 assaults. Ecstasy, on the other hand, is not linked with violence and is only responsible for around 10 deaths. Nutt, chairman of the Advisory Council on the Misuse of Drugs, asks why ecstasy is illegal when alcohol, "a considerably more harmful drug", is not. But his comments have enraged drugs prevention charities, which insist he is wrong to compare the two. The Independent on Sunday 07/05/06 page 13