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  …


The case of the Norwegian teen who died from synthetic cannabinoids

Author: Jon F Olsen Published: September 21, 2018 During the Easter holiday in 2015, 22-year-old Egil André Kvelstad Myhre was found dead in his apartment, after a cardiac arrest . Myhre was not a common drug user, as his family stated he had never done drugs before. Hours before his death, Myhre had attended a  …

The poppers ban is a veiled attack on pleasure

A version of this post was published in The Guardian The new psychoactive substances bill, when it comes into force in the UK in April, will ban the acquisition and sale of all psychoactive substances, whether existing now or to be discovered in the future, except for alcohol, tobacco/nicotine and caffeine. The driver for this  …


Briefing notes on the Psychoactive Substances Bill 2015

The DrugScience group met on Thursday 1 June, and the major item for discussion was the new Psychoactive Substances Bill. The Bill will have its second reading in the House of Commons on 9th June 2015. The following points were made and are presented here for public information and dissemination. 1 Issues of principle 1.1  …

New Psychoactive Substances - a minimum dataset

The collection of scientific evidence about novel psychoactive substances is essential for guiding appropriate responses and reducing harm. DrugScience has prepared the following list of fundamental pieces of information, a 'minimum dataset' that should be sought for each novel drug. We recommend that for political responses to concerns about novel drugs to be 'evidence-based', it  …

Figures for UK deaths from legal highs cannot be trusted

A version of this post was published in The Guardian At the last G8 summit, the prime minister said legal highs are a serious concern and claimed that the UK would lead the world in research into them. But at the same time David Cameron’s government has introduced temporary banning orders on several legal highs,  …


Ecstasy, legal highs and designer drug use: A Canadian perspective

Recreational drug use in Canada is not uncommon, but as with most societies, illegal drug use carries harsh penalties resulting in a criminal record when an individual is successfully prosecuted. Popular drugs of use in Canada include ecstasy, cannabis (including some synthetic cannabinoids sold as ‘Spice’ and ‘Incense’) and several emerging psychoactive ‘legal highs’. Surprisingly,  …