The Spice Response

Friday 14th July was a big day for UK’s drug policy strategists. Many of our best and brightest, including treatment service providers, mental health practitioners, police and probation officers, gathered at Manchester Metropolitan University (MMU) for a conference called “Responding to ‘Spice’: Developing an Integrated Response.” The cross-sector discussion was led by Dr Rob Ralphs, … Continued

Wasted: Violence, Addiction… and Hope

“I was eleven and I’d been chasing the dragon.” Wasted (2007) is a slick, brutal, beautifully psychoanalysed ragbag of smack, shooting up and second-guessing which reads in equal parts like a thriller and a coming-of-age story. But it’s User Voice founder Mark Johnson’s true-life memoir. Dad’s a bruiser and Mum’s weapons of choice are a … Continued

The Deadliest Place To Deal

In the past eight months, over 7,000 people have been murdered in the Philippines, stupefying the rest of the human-rights conscious world. “If Germany had Hitler, The Philippines would have…” Roderigo Duterte declared last September, pointing at himself. “Hitler massacred three million Jews … there’s three million drug addicts. There are. I’d be happy to … Continued

Splitting The Kratom

“People who use drugs are as different to one another as coffee drinkers are.” (Dr James Rowe, specialist in the sociology of drug use) The term “coffee drinkers” is cleverly chosen to feel incongruous. You’ve almost certainly accepted, refused, made or purchased coffee today, but no one self identifies primarily as a “coffee drinker,” and … Continued

What’s happening in the UK, DrugWise?

  There’s no such thing as a current overview of drug trends: “By the time they’re published, most official reports are way out of date,” says freelance journalist and celebrated Narcomania author and columnist Max Daly, explaining the impetus for “Highways and Buyways.” Providing insights about “the myriad patchwork nature of the UK drug market” … Continued

Tastier than a Taser: Drug Policies Beyond the War on Drugs

Moments before we go live, a make-up technician leans towards a large expanse of orange flesh, and, for the third time that day, daubs away the crummy residue of a hastily-gobbled Twinkie. As she leaves (with a swish of her skirt but premeditated swiftness), the owner of the visage compulsively flexes his fingers. Old habits … Continued

Acid Flashbacks

“I first met Nick [Sands] when I was about 15. I was revising for my GCSE Chemistry and he visited; he’d recently got out of prison. He was an old friend of mum’s. I actually remember him trying to teach me Chemistry, mostly… Luckily, I didn’t listen! Nick’s a real teenager, young at heart.” We’re … Continued

Legitimising MDMA, ‘The Love Drug’, For Couples Therapy

In the low ethereal glow of a hotel bathroom, the dopamine flows. Two pairs of eyes meet across the bubbles, and serotonin streams like sunlight into the 5-HT receptors of the brains behind them. Oxytocin, and a shared sense of elation spreads through both bodies. Monika and Lars are more in love than ever, and … Continued

Breaking Barriers: Prohibition Doesn’t Save Anyone’s Child

Three perspectives, one conclusion: whilst drugs are illegal, no one is safe. We heard from Neil Woods, former undercover agent and chairman of LEAP UK (Law Enforcement Against Prohibition), writer and activist Anne-Marie Cockburn, whose daughter Martha tragically died of an overdose at 15, and veteran drug policy reformer Jane Slater of Transform Drug Policy about why prohibition isn’t working, and how UK drug policy needs to change.