The Beckley Foundation is proud to present a collection of Proceedings Documents from its seminar series ‘Society and Drugs: A Rational Perspective’. The aim of the series is to achieve a rational overview of the scientific, medical, social and economic issues surrounding the use and misuse of social drugs, and use this information to improve policy-making in the future.
Drugs and the Brain The first seminar was organised in conjunction with Prof. Colin Blakemore FRS of Magdalen College, Oxford, and Prof. Leslie Iversen FRS of King’s College, London. It was held at Magdalen College on 22nd October 2002. This seminar was aimed at communicating some of the latest scientific understanding about how drugs work in the brain- and thus the nature of addiction- to a wider, and largely non-scientific, audience. The Role of Drugs in Society the Beckley Foundation hosted a discussion over dinner at The Royal Society on Wednesday 19th February 2003. This followed a public talk involving three speakers sponsored by The Royal Society and the Institute of Contemporary Arts, entitled “Narco-odysseys.”
An Interdisciplinary Perspective on Alcohol and Other Recreational Drugs It is often assumed the term “drugs” refers only to illegal substances but this seminar focused on the comparison between alcohol, a legal and acceptable drug in modern society, and other social drugs, both legal and illegal. The rationale was that a balanced and encompassing view of illicit drugs can only be established if set in a context of their legal counterparts. This gathering was welcomed as an occasion to bring a rational debate to a subject that often elicits more emotion than understanding.
This seminar brought together top scientists and academics, senior politicians, policy analysts and other experts in order to debate this most difficult area of social policy.
Beckley Foundation Drug Policy Seminar – UNGASS and the Contribution of Civil Society
This seminar was arranged to review the preparations for the forthcoming global review of the international drug control system. The review by national governments, under the auspices of the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC), is likely to consist of the collation of data and evidence that describe progress and problems since the last review in 1998, the consideration of that material by national governments, and a high-level political meeting to discuss lessons learned and map out the way forward. There are signs that the contribution of Civil Society – NGOs, professional bodies and academics – to this process, has the potential to be much more integrated than it has been in previous reviews.
This seminar saw the launch of the Beckley Foundation’s Global Cannabis Commission Report on the first day, and a high-level review of preparations for the UNGASS Review of Global Drug Policy in 2009 on the second. We have confirmed the attendance of a select group of experts, academics and policy-makers from around the world, including representatives from the UN, EU and WHO. With such a high-powered array of participants, chairs and speakers, we look forward to a well-informed and productive debate of the current drug policy dilemmas facing policy-makers.