By Nicola Davison for Financial Times. We have been in professor David Nutt’s house for two minutes when he asks if I would like a cup of tea, a coffee, or perhaps a glass of alcosynth? The psychopharmacologist, widely known in the UK as the former government drugs adviser who was sacked for saying that ecstasy was safer than horse riding, opens the fridge and pours a peach-coloured liquid into two wine glasses. The kitchen is warm. A pot of butternut squash soup bubbles on the Aga. “This could be, arguably, the greatest contribution to health since the vaccine,” says Nutt, offering a glass. As we walk through to the sitting room I take a sip. It tastes like tropical squash.

Nutt, 64, is the director of the Centre for Neuropsychopharmacology at Imperial College in London, but he lives in an ironstone country house on the outskirts of Keynsham, a town between Bristol and Bath, with his wife, one of his four adult children and two labradors — Boris and Sonny. From the window is a view through trees over fields.

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