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Working in Drug Science

In this webinar, you will learn about the medicalisation of both psychedelics and cannabis, from two of the biggest experts in these respective fields; Prof Jo Neill, and Prof Mike Barnes. We expect these industries to grow to tremendous size and want to prepare the next generation for a new economy of medicine and psychiatry.

We will then move onto the recreational use of drugs, and what the evidence says about drug use in society. This is a complex issue that has been plagued by misinformation, but here you’ll get the facts from two of world’s the most respected experts on drugs; Prof Alex Stevens and Prof David Nutt.

Each section will include talk from one of our Honorary Research Assistants, who began as volunteers, and now work on some of the most exciting projects in Drug Science. They will explain the work that they have done, how they got involved, and how you too can be part of this exciting industry.

Medicalisation of Psychedelics – Prof Jo Neill (Featuring Anna Hogarth)

Research into psychedelic drugs such as LSD, Magic Mushrooms and MDMA flourished in the late 1960s/early 1970s. Psychiatry saw the potential in these substances to revolutionise mental health in a way that had not been possible before this time…and then, the UN banned research into these substances on the grounds of moral panic. Half a century passed with only a handful of studies being conducted until a few brave and revolutionary scientists started to break down these barriers to research and now, the psychedelic renaissance is upon us.

Professor Joanna Neill has been at the forefront of medical psychedelics and currently chairs the UK’s ‘Medical Psychedelic working Group’ which brings together the worlds leading psychedelics academics and industry leaders to help guide this fledgling industry based on evidence and the common good.

Professor Neill will be discussing depression, anxiety, PTSD, addiction and eating disorders are being treated with DMT, MDMA, LSD and Magic Mushrooms. As well as how students can participate in clinical research.

Anna Hogarth is currently studying medicine at Barts university, London, but she has been helping Drug Science support the next generation of psychedelic researchers. She will explain her work with psychedelic euro pharmaceutical company – ‘SmallPharma’ and how she single-handedly launched the Drug Science Student Society.

Medicalisation of Cannabis – Prof Mike Barnes (Featuring Rayyan Zafar & Mags Houston)

The medicalisation of cannabis in 2018 has led to a boom in cannabis research, services, manufacturing, pharmacy and more! As this sector continues to grow, the future of medical cannabis will be dictated by the students of today. Students that want to enter this profession will need to know about the endocannabinoid system, how medical cannabis is prescribed in the UK and the challenges that this burgeoning industry is facing.

Professor Mike Barnes has been at the epicenter of this space for two decades, and now leads the UK’s biggest medical cannabis study; Project Twenty21

Professor Barnes will be giving a presentation on medical cannabis. How it works, how it is prescribed, and what we’re learning from Project Twenty21, Europes largest medical cannabis study.

Rayyan Zafar is currently doing a PhD in neuropsychopharmacology at Imperial College London, but he has been working closely with Drug Science since 2019. He will explain his work in medical cannabis for epilepsy, and the problems caused by lack of access to medical cannabis.

Mags Houston is the Head of Communications for Project Twenty21. She will close out the section on medicalisation by explaining how you can get involved in a new student campaign to expand access to medical cannabis through Project Twenty21.

Different Approaches to Drugs in Society – Prof Alex Stevens (Featuring Alina Salmen)

It would be remiss to talk about psychoactive substances without mentioning the harms they can cause on individuals and society more generally. Drug Science is a staunch proponent of the idea that these harms are amplified by the criminalisation of drug use. To counter this, a movement is growing within this space called ‘harm reduction’ which acknowledges that people take drugs but addresses these harms by lessening the negative social and/or physical consequences associated with this very human behaviour in a non-stigmatising way.

Professor Alex Stevens has been championing this approach as Professor of Criminology at the University of Kent.

Professor Stevens will be discussing how you can begin volunteering in harm reduction advocacy projects around the UK to help the most vulnerable and reduce drug-related harms.

Alina Salmen is a research student at the University of Kent. She explains how she got involved with Drug Science to help gather evidence for communicating effective harm reduction strategies.

The Truth about Drugs – Professor David Nutt (Featuring Dr Hannah Thurgur)

Professor David Nutt founded Drug Science after he was fired as the Chair of the UK Government’s Advisory Council on the Misuse of Drugs in 2009. Professor Nutt was fired for making recommendations based on objective, evidence-based science, rather than political rhetoric. Since then, Drug Science has become the leading and most respected body in the UK for researching and understanding the actual harms and benefits of various drugs, and challenging the myths that surround drug classification and legislation in the UK.

Professor Nutt will give an overview of what drugs are the most ‘dangerous’ and dispel some common myths surrounding currently illegal drugs.

Dr Hannah Thurgur started volunteering with Drug Science after finishing her PhD in Neuroscience. She will explain how she helped produce evidence-based educational resources on drugs and harm reduction, before joining Drug Science as Study Co-Ordinator.

This webinar was recorded during a Drug Science Live Event which included a live Q&A session from the audience. If you want to ensure that you don’t miss any of our events, so that you can ask your questions live, all you need to do is join the Drug Science Mailing List.

Drug Science is the leading independent scientific body on drugs in the UK. We rely on donations to provide clear, evidence-based information without political or commercial interference. Drug Science webinars are free, and always will be, so if you’d like to support us then please consider joining the Drug Science Community

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