The Drug Enforcement Agency listens to psychedelic experts

By Professor David Nutt and James Bunn The Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) recently withdrew a proposal to ban five psychedelic substances: 4-Hydroxy-N,N-diisopropyltryptamine (4-OH-DiPT), 5-Methoxy-alphamethyltryptamine (5-MeO-AMT), N-Isopropyl-5-Methoxy-N-Methyltryptamine (5-MeO-MiPT), N,N-Diethyl-5-methoxytryptamine (5-MeO-DET), and N,N-Diisopropyltryptamine (DiPT). Earlier this year, the DEA proposed that these substances ought to be moved to schedule 1 (the most restrictive schedule in the Controlled  …


UK Drugs Inquiry: Drug Science Response

In 2019, Drug Science submitted evidence to the Drugs Policy Inquiry by the Health and Social Care Committee. In 2020, we prepared a detailed report in response to the Dame Carol Black Drugs Review. In 2021, we reacted to the government’s 10-year Drug Strategy. Our 2022 response to the UK government’s call for evidence of  …


The Unintended Consequences of Prohibitionist Policies - Mephedrone

Mephedrone is the common name for 4-methylmethcathinone. This is a synthetic derivative of cathinone, first synthesized in 1929, and largely forgotten until the early 2000s when Israeli scientists working for an insecticide company started experimenting with cathinones as octopamine analogues to disrupt the brain activity of aphids so make them less damaging to plants. Mephedrone  …


THC vs Alcohol Impaired Driving

By Dr. Shanna Marrinan   Since the 2nd of March 2015, it has been illegal to drive with predetermined amounts of particular drugs (including legal medications) in your blood. The limits for these legal and illegal drugs can be located in ‘The Drug Driving (Specified Limits) (England and Wales) Regulations 2014’ (hereafter the 2014 regulations’). However, a handy  …


The vaping crisis - Questions and answers by Clive Bates 

Foreword by Professor David Nutt Lies, damn lies and vaping statistics- To paraphrase Disraeli’s famous critique of statistics the so-called science of vaping now seems to have become even worse than dishonest. In the past 6 months we have seen across the world a deliberate attempt to mislead the public over the harms of vaping  …


UK General Election 2019 - Political party positions on drugs

With the 2019 general election fast approaching, a lot of media coverage will focus on each party’s Brexit policies. Drug Science would like to offer a different perspective, what do the six highest polling parties promise to do to address the UK’s failing drug policy. This is what each party has publicly announced relating to  …


The human rights of people who use drugs must be defended

The Lancet has recently published a series of articles about drug use. More specifically, the use of opioids, cannabinoids, stimulants, and new psychoactive substances (NPS). One of these articles highlights an increasingly relevant issue of international drug policy. This comment titled Change But Not Progression, emphasises that Governments around the world continue to pedal policies  …


New Zealand revises sentencing framework for methamphetamine offences

Dr James Foulds, Consultant forensic psychiatrist, Christchurch New Zealand Methamphetamine smoking is the commonest form of stimulant use in New Zealand. Asian importation has increased recently, and the drug has got much cheaper. However, despite harsh sanctions, dealing remains attractive for many people- including those who sell the drug to fund their own use. Until  …


Looking back on the establishment of Drug Science

I first came across David Nutt in July 2007, when he spoke at a conference called ‘Criminal Justice and Social Justice’, which the Centre for Crime and Justice Studies held at King’s College London. David spoke on the subject of ‘Why adopt a harm approach in relation to drugs?’. Here was someone, I thought at  …


NICE on cannabidiol for childhood epilepsy

At the end of last week, NICE released their initial appraisal on cannabidiol in the form of Epidiolex for childhood epilepsy.  As predicted by Drug Science experts they found against it on the grounds of cost-benefit. We don’t have the company submission regarding cost/benefit analysis, and consequently cannot comment on those, but we can reflect  …


Press Release: Government decision on cannabis-related medicinal products draws criticism from independent scientific body, Drug Science.

Today (13th August 2019), the independent scientific body Drug Science has responded with disappointment to a decision by the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE), relating to cannabis-related medical products. In November 2018, the then Home Secretary Sajid Javid introduced regulations so that cannabis-derived medicinal products would be available on prescription. This change  …


Drug Science's 10th birthday at the House of Lords: past achievements and a bright future

Drug Science Patron Lord Nic Rea, hosted Drug Science committee members, trustees, and community supporters at House of Lords on Wednesday, celebrating ten years of achievements, and new initiatives in medical cannabis and psychedelic research. In the beautiful Cholmondeley Room of Westminster Palace, 150 of Drug Science’s supporters heard CEO David Badcock welcome guests and  …


Cannabis health information labels: why it’s time to have mandatory warnings as part of any legal cannabis market

Prof. Adam Winstock – Global Drug Survey 2019 As the tide of cannabis regulatory reform wafts through North America and beyond, it strikes me that the cannabis legalisation lobby started from a strong position. The weight of evidence and cogent arguments at their disposal to counter the totally unhelpful criminalisation of cannabis users was enormous.  …


Controversies in substance misuse in the older person

There are a range of issues facing us in relation to substance misuse in the older person: some are ongoing controversies and uncertainties; some are myths; and others certainties. Much of these issues are covered in depth in a new report published by the Royal College of Psychiatrists this year – Our Invisible Addicts. There  …

Letter to The Times: Legalise medicinal cannabis

A letter to The Times from coalition of world-leading clinicians and academics, many of whom are DrugScience members, urging the government to legalise medical cannabis. Related Content UK Drugs Inquiry: Drug Science ResponseApril 25 2022 Legalising Cannabis in Germany - High AmbitionsNovember 29 2021 “We're asking for quality of life for our children” - Medical  …

My dead daughter's shoes

This blog piece was originally a speech delivered by Anne-Marie Cockburn at the Nordic Reform Conference 2017 Hello, I am Martha’s mum. I don’t hear that very much these days, so I say it very proudly in these moments when I can. I am here to represent an incredible group of families from all over  …

A fentanyl future?

Today’s report of over 60 deaths last year in which fentanyl was implicated raises major alarm bells in the opioid treatment community. It could be the prelude to a wave of deaths from this synthetic opioid (as is now being seen in the USA), where now most street “heroin” is boosted with fentanyl. So what  …

Recreational MDMA testing - a European perspective

As the United States experiences an overwhelming opioid crisis; as the world’s press is flooded with extra-judicial killings targeting drug “offenders” in the Philippines; as young Australians overdose on novel psychoactive substances and teenagers in the UK on ecstasy, there can be only one certainty: drugs are here to stay. Despite some countries reaffirming farcical  …

THCv - an abject cop-out from the ACMD, another research opportunity for the UK lost

The cannabis plant produces over 100 compounds with therapeutic potential. Most of these have never been properly studied because of the complications of researching any cannabis plant extract that might contain d9THC, the “stoning” element of the “herb”. D9THC and many related compounds are controlled under the 1971 Misuse of Drugs Act [MDAct1971]. Here they  …

Psilocybin for anxiety and depression in cancer care? Lessons from the past and prospects for the future

This special issue of the Journal of Psychopharmacology contains two landmark studies – the most rigorous controlled trials to date using the psychedelic drug psilocybin, the active ingredient of magic mushrooms (Griffiths et al., 2016; Ross et al., 2016). These were conducted in patients with anxiety and depression and existential distress in the context of  …

‘Scotch mist’: the ongoing saga of Alcohol Minimum Unit Pricing

‘Scotch mist’ may be taken to refer to a whisky-based beverage (Scotch whisky, crushed ice and lemon peel). More traditionally, the term refers to the drizzle, neither full-on rain nor proper mist, that frequently descends on many areas of Scotland. According to my Yahoo search, the expression, ‘What’s this, Scotch Mist?’, is a jokey, sarcastic  …

Better late than never? After 82 years the WHO reviews cannabis!

The WHO is the world’s leading health organisation guiding governments around the world. So we expect their advice to be up to date and evidence-based, particularly on controversial topics. One of the most controversial topics of our time is the international community’s approach to drug policy, particularly that relating to the most popular so-called “illegal”  …