MPs to recommend ecstasy downgrade


An influential group of British MPs will recommend the legal downgrading of the clubbers' drug ecstasy in a report to the Home Office this week, according to weekend newspapers.

The suggested reclassification of ecstasy from Class A to Class B would reduce the maximum penalty for supplying the drug to 14 years' jail from life imprisonment.

Police chiefs said in a policy review earlier this month they were opposed to downgrading ecstasy and Home Office officials have previously ruled out such a move.

The MPs of the Home Affairs Select Committee are due to issue their drugs report on Wednesday. The Home Office has said it will respond to the key recommendations next month.

Ecstasy is believed to kill up to 50 young people in Britain every year, usually by causing dehydration or overheating.

In March the British government issued "safe clubbing" guidelines to night club owners - including such measures as supplies of free water and chill-out rooms - in an effort to cut the death toll.

Sunday newspapers also said the MPs would back British Home Secretary Mr David Blunkett's call for more addicts to be prescribed heroin at doctors' surgeries to avoid their dependence on dealers.