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Countdown to delirium.

  • Nutt, David J., 1951-
  • Videos

About this work


This BBC TV programme is about science and the medical effect of drugs. The programme looks at the 20 most harmful drugs from alcohol to heroin, GHB to LSD and asks which one is the most dangerous? The scientists used 3 criteria; whether it caused a life threatening reaction (the example used is stopping breathing), then dependency and finally, impact on society. At the bottom of the list is khatt, alkyl nitrate and ecstasy. The history of drugs classification is reviewed. The inventor of LSD, Dr Ronnie Sandison is interviewed, followed by archival clips of experiments such as Portman Down, where UK army recruits were given doses of LSD and were then filmed on manouvres. The relationship between cannabis, psychosis and schizophrenia is studied. Clips of illicit drug use are intercut throughout the programme. Recent research has suggested that alcohol, solvents and tobacco (all unclassified drugs) currently rate as more dangerous than ecstasy, 4-MTA and LSD (all class A drugs).


UK : BBC 2, 2008.

Physical description

1 DVD (60 min.) : sound, color, PAL.



Broadcast on 2 May, 2008.
This programme was made as a result of an article published in the medical journal, The Lancet, "Development of a rational scale to assess the harm of drugs of potential misuse", Volume 369, Issue 9566, pages 10476 - 1053, 24th March 2007 by Professor David Nutt FMedSci (who appears in this programme), Leslie A King PhD, William Saulsbury MA and Professor Colin Blakemore FRS.

Creator/production credits

Written and directed by Sophie Robinson.

Copyright note




  • English

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