52. Drug Laws with Niamh Eastwood

Drug and the law Are drug laws just a political tool? Should we embrace the fact that drugs bring pleasure? In this week’s episode, we speak to Niamh Eastwood – CEO of the legal charity ‘Release‘ about the UK’s drug laws. Niamh Eastwood is the executive director of Release, the national centre offering legal services  …


Drug Science submission to the WHO enquiry on vaping

Fifteen years ago, the World Health Organization developed the Framework Convention on Tobacco Control (FCTC), which aims to provide governments with guidelines for reducing tobacco use. Every two years, representatives meet at the Conference of the Parties (COP) to discuss ways in which the FCTC might be improved. The ninth Conference of the Parties (COP9)  …


The United Nations Commission on Narcotic Drugs 2020

Drug Science was invited to give expert commentary on: Thematic session 3:The availability of internationally controlled substances for medical and scientific purposes, including for the relief of pain and palliative care, remains low to non-existent in many parts of the world; (21 October 2020) After earlier speakers focused on the availability, or lack thereof, of  …


New Zealand Cannabis Referendum 2020

By Dr. Meg Spriggs and Professor David Nutt  On October 17th 2020, New Zealanders will be given the opportunity to change the way recreational cannabis use is viewed and treated. At present, recreational cannabis use¹ is illegal under the Misuse of Drugs Act 1975 (either class B or C depending on its form). Despite this,  …


#29 - International Drug Policy

In 1971, the war on drugs went international when the UN Convention on Psychotropic Substances was signed into international law. This Convention broadened the scope of previous UN drug legislation, facilitating the prohibition of almost any drug imaginable at the time. However, in the past 50 years, various countries across the world have been rejecting  …


#24 - The War on Drugs

This week, Professor Nutt speaks to journalist Johann Hari about the ‘war on drugs’. It is now widely accepted that the ‘war on drugs’ has failed, with many people believing it can never succeed. Despite this, politicians from around the world continue to follow this mantra as an effective strategy to reduce drug-related harms. The  …


#7 - Ethnopharmacology

Professor David Nutt begins season two of the Drug Science Podcast by taking a deep dive into entheogenic plants with a legend of the psychedelic renaissance – Dennis McKenna. Dennis deliberates on his life’s work, ethnobotany, innovation within psychedelic industry, the therapeutic potential of DMT and the indigenous use of ayahuasca. Dennis McKenna’s research has  …


Society’s inconsistent moral judgements of potentially harmful activities

What do horse riding, motorsports, base jumping, mountain climbing, storm chasing, and drug use have in common? They are of all course all potentially dangerous activities pursued for a thrill, a rush, and often a great deal of enjoyment. But in our modern-day prohibitionist culture, one of those things is not seen as being like  …


Doctor or drug dealer? International legal provisions for the legitimate handling of drugs of abuse

Authors: Cathal T Gallagher, Sanaa K Atik, Libin Isse, Sanpreet K Mann Published: February 3, 2020 In this article, we compare how five jurisdictions (the USA; UK; Canada; New Zealand; and Australia) balance the disparate objectives of preventing the misuse of drugs and allowing their legal use for medical purposes. The statutory law underpinning each  …

Groundhog decade not brave new world

Author: David J Nutt Published: January 6, 2020 Foreword by Professor David Nutt - "I was removed from my position as Chief Advisor of the Advisory Council on the Misuse of Drugs (ACMD) in October 2009. A decade later, UK drug policy has done nothing but go backwards. We are currently in a worse position  …

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  …


Response to the Nature article: Moving from prison to PhD

There are fewer than ten empirical studies on the transition from prison to university so the article “Moving from Prison to PhD” is a step in the right direction to highlight this neglected and important topic. Globally, millions of individuals are arrested and charged with drug offences every year. Most of them will be scarred  …


State policies in the United States impacting drug-related convictions and their consequences in 2015

Authors: Ryan Cramer, Sarah Hexem, Kelly Thompson, Archana Bodas LaPollo, Harrell W Chesson, Jami S Leichliter Published: July 30, 2019 Background: Criminal justice system involvement has been associated with health issues, including sexually transmitted disease. Both incarceration and sexually transmitted disease share associations with various social conditions, including poverty, stigma, and drug use. Methods: United  …

The Global Commission on Drug Policy misses the mark

Author: Willem Scholten Published: November 22, 2018 The Global Commission on Drug Policy launched a report on the world drug (perception) problem, countering prejudices about people who use drugs, which includes remarks on the avoidance of stigmatizing terminology. Although many aspects of the report are helpful in moving the field forward, the report itself is  …

Conceptualising a policy framework for the implementation of medical marijuana in the Caribbean territory of Barbados

Authors: Alana DD Griffith, Damian H Cohall Published: September 5, 2018 Unlike the recent global trend of a decline in the prohibition of the use of Cannabis sativa for recreational and medical uses, Barbados and other small island states in the Caribbean have maintained their prohibitive legislation and policies on the use of the herb.  …