Beckley Foundation Seminars


Proceedings Documents for the Seminar Series: ‘Society and Drugs: A Rational Perspective’

The aim of this series of seminars is to encourage a rational overview of the scientific, medical, social and economic issues surrounding the use and abuse of drugs, illicit and legal. Everyone agrees that more informed debate is required as the basis of any further change in attitude and policy. These seminars will therefore bring together leading experts from a wide range of disciplines to examine the latest scientific and professional evidence on the effects of drugs, we we might best educate people about drugs, and the likely consequences and effectiveness of possible drug policy solutions.

1. Drugs and the Brain (2002)

Magdalen College, Oxford, 22 October 2002.

Prof. Trevor Robbins – Brain Mechanisms of Reward and Addiction
Prof. Les Iversen – Cannabis and Ecstasy – Soft Drugs?
Prof. Barry Everitt – Amphetamine and Cocaine – Mechanisms and Hazards
Prof. David Nutt – Heroin and Related Opiates
Prof. Mark Geyer – Psychedelics
Dr. Mike Farrell – How Can We Translate Science into Policy and Action?

2. The Role of Drugs in Society (2003)

Royal Society, London, 19 February 2003

Dr. Kary Mullis – The Role of Drugs in Society
Prof. Les Iversen – Is it possible to have recreational drugs that are relatively safe?
Prof. Ciaran Regan – Are drugs here to stay?
Sir Simon Jenkins – How can society best deal with drugs?
Prof. Gustav Born – Future Drugs- Designing Safer Drugs

3. An Interdisciplinary Perspective on Alcohol and Other Recreational Drugs  (2003)

Organised in association with the Cabinet Office Strategy Unit, Admiralty Arch, London, 15 July 2003

Prof. David Nutt – Alcohol and the Brain
Prof. Leslie Iversen – Comparing Cannabis and Alcohol
Prof. Ian Gilmore – Alcohol and Physical Health – A Complex Equation
Prof. Colin Drummond – The Dangers of Alcohol and the Costs to the NHS
Prof. Jonathan Chick – Treatment Strategies and Individual Differences
Prof. Christine Godfrey – Economics of Alcohol Compared with Other Drugs
Prof. Virginia Berridge – Historical and Cultural Perspective: Why is Alcohol Legal and Other Drugs Not?
Hazel Blears MP – Towards a Pragmatic Policy
Mike Trace – Costs and Benefits of Alcohol and Drugs Policies
Professor Colin Blakemore – A Scientifically Based Scale of Harm for all Social Drugs

4. Global Drug Policy: Future Directions (2004)

House of Lords, London, 25 October 2004.

Chair: Jan Wiarda
Mike Trace – Introduction & Overview
Prof. Peter Reuter – How Can Evidence Inform Drug Policy?
Prof. Colin Blakemore – Assessing the Harm of All Social Drugs
Prof. Mark Kleiman – Drug Policies to Minimise Aggregate Harm
Prof. Margaret Hamilton – Responding to Drugs – How? Experience from Australia
Chairman Viktor Cherkesov – Prospective Drug Policies – Experience from Russia

Chair: Michael Portillo M.P. 
Jan Wiarda – The Truth has Sometimes to be Suspended
Franz Trautmann – How to Create a Meaningful European Policy Framework
Josef Radimecky – No Reason to Make the Same Mistake Twice
Mike Trace – Summing Up

5.Global Drug Policy (2005)

Organised in association with Foresight (UK Home Office), House of Lords and IME, London, 21–23 November 2005

Day 1

Chair: Viscountess Ruth Runciman
Lady Amanda Neidpath – Introduction
Dr. Marcus Roberts & Dr. Francisco Thoumi – Law Enforcement and Supply Reduction
Alex Stevens & Prof. Mark Kleiman – Reducing Drug-Related Crime: An Overview of the Global Evidence
Prof. Gerry Stimson & Dr. Anindya Chatterjee – Reducing Drug-Related Harm to Health
Chair Prof. Colin Blakemore –  Chair’s Introduction

Prof. Leslie Iversen – The Medical Potential of Cannabis
Rob Kampia – The Effects of Medical Regulation of Cannabis in the USA
Prof. David Nichols – The Scientific and Therapeutic Potential of Psychedelics
Dr. John Marsden – Cognitive Enhancers – Blurring the Boundaries

Day 2

Dr. Andrew Jackson – Introduction and Strategic Challenges
Prof. David Nutt – The Science Behind the Future of Recreational Drugs
Prof. Gerry Stimson and discussant Prof Peter Reuter – Harm Reduction and the Wider Social Context: Social, Ethical and Regulatory Implications
Prof. Robert MacCoun – Why do People Use Drugs?
Prof. Mark Kleiman  – Is evidenced-based dugs policy possible?
Prof. Trevor Robbins and discussant Prof. Barbara Sahakian – Blurring the Boundaries – the Future of Cognitive Enhancers
Dr. Harald Schmidt and discussant Prof. Alastair Campbell – Rights and Responsibilities
Prof. Colin Blakemore and Prof. Charles Schuster – Closing Discussion

6. UNGASS and the Contribution of Civil Society (2006)

House of Lords, London, 4 December 2006.

Amanda Neidpath – Welcome and Introduction
Alison Crockett – Current Status of Plans for The UNGASS UK Mission to the UNODC
Michel Perron – The Work of the Vienna NGO Forum
Mike Trace – The Work of The International Drug Policy Consortium
Fabrice Poithier – New Approaches to Source Country Control
Martin Jelsma – Rescheduling of Substances Within the Conventions: Coca Leaf
Katy Swain – Scales of Harm
Daniel Wolfe – A Clear Position on Harm Reduction
Dave Bewley-Taylor – The Role of the UNODC and INCB

7. The Global Cannabis Commission Report Launch & Assessing International Drug Control- Preparations for UNGASS (2008)

(Launch of the Report of the Beckley Foundation’s Global Cannabis Commission)
 House of Lords, London, 2 October 2008.

Wayne Hall – Faculty of Health Sciences, Simon Fraser University, Vancouver

Simon Lenton – University of Queensland
Peter Reuter – National Drug Research Institute, Curtin University of Technology, Perth
Robin Room – University of Maryland
Amanda Feilding – The Beckley Foundation, Convenor 

Chapter I. Introduction
Chapter II. The health and psychological effects of cannabis use
Chapter III. The cannabis prohibition regime: markets, policies, patterns of use and of social handling
Chapter IV. The range of reforms within the system: softening the prohibition
Chapter V. The impacts of cannabis policy reforms within the current drug control regime
Chapter VI. Beyond the current drug conventions
Chapter VII. Paths forward from the impasse




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