PLENARY PANEL: Psychedelics and Policy

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PLENARY PANEL: Psychedelics and Policy
Benjamin De Loenen, M.A., Ethan Nadelmann, Ph.D., David Nutt, Ph.D., and Kenneth Tupper, Ph.D.
Moderator: Natalie Lyla Ginsberg, Ph.D.
Friday, April 21, 2017 • 5:30 PM - 6:15 PM • East Hall

Benjamin De Loenen, M.A., studied audiovisual media and communication in The Netherlands, where he graduated with honors in his Masters with his documentary “Ibogaine-Rite of Passage” (2004), a film that would become a world reference about this subject matter until today. Benjamin worked as a film director and editor in the field of television, documentary, publicity and fiction from 2004-2010 while he traveled the world as public speaker about iboga and ayahuasca. He organized the International Ibogaine conference at the Catalan Health Ministry, gave courses about ibogaine for health professionals and government agencies such as the Portuguese Governmental institution SICAD and served the Board of Directors of the Global Ibogaine Therapist Alliance. Since the production of his film he has been very dedicated to the advancement of ibogaine and ayahuasca as therapeutic and personal development tools in contemporary society. He is the Founder and Executive Director of the International Center for Ethnobotanical Education, Research & Service.

 

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Ethan Nadelmann, Ph.D., described by Rolling Stone as "the point man" for drug policy reform efforts and “the real drug czar,” is widely regarded as the outstanding proponent of drug policy reform both in the United States and abroad.

Ethan is the founder and executive director of the Drug Policy Alliance, the leading organization in the United States promoting alternatives to the war on drugs. He received his B.A., J.D., and Ph.D. from Harvard and taught at Princeton University for seven years. He has authored two books on the internationalization of criminal law enforcement and written extensively for academic, policy and media publications. His many media appearances include The Colbert Report, The O’Reilly Factor, and Real Time with Bill Maher.

Ethan and his colleagues have played pivotal roles in most major drug policy reforms in the US on issues including marijuana policy, sentencing, asset forfeiture, drug treatment, access to sterile syringes to reduce HIV/AIDS, and prevention of overdose fatalities – and also assisted with similar reforms abroad. Ethan plays a key role as drug policy advisor to George Soros and other prominent philanthropists as well as elected officials ranging from mayors, governors and state and federal legislators in the U.S. to presidents and cabinet ministers outside the U.S.

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David Nutt, Ph.D., is currently the Edmund J Safra Professor of Neuropsychopharmacology and Head of the Centre for Neuropsychopharmacology in the Division of Brain Science, Dept of Medicine, Hammersmith Hospital, Imperial College London. He is also visiting professor at the Open University in the UK and Maastricht University in the Netherlands.

After 11+ entry to Bristol Grammar he won an Open Scholarship to Downing College Cambridge, then completed his clinical training at Guy's Hospital London. After a period in neurology to MRCP he moved to Oxford to a research position in psychiatry at the MRC Clinical Pharmacology Unit where he obtained his MD. On completing his psychiatric training in Oxford, he continued there as a lecturer and then later as a Wellcome Senior Fellow in psychiatry. He then spent two years as Chief of the Section of Clinical Science in the National Institute of Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism in NIH, Bethesda, USA. He returned to England in 1988 to set up the Psychopharmacology Unit in Bristol University, an interdisciplinary research grouping spanning the departments of Psychiatry and Pharmacology, before moving to Imperial College London in December 2008 where he leads a similar group with a particular focus on brain imaging, especially Positron Emission Topography.

He is currently President of the European Brain Council and Chair of the Independent Scientific Committee on Drugs (ISCD) and has previously been President of the British Neuroscience Association, the British Association of Psychopharmacology and the European College of Neuropsychopharmacology as well as Chair of the UK Advisory Council on the Misuse of Drugs. He is a Fellow of the Royal Colleges of Physicians, of Psychiatrists and of the Academy of Medical Sciences. He is also the UK Director of the European Certificate and Masters in Affective Disorders courses and a member of the International Centre for Science in Drug Policy. He has edited the Journal of Psychopharmacology for over twenty years and acts as the psychiatry drugs advisor to the British National Formulary. He has published over 450 original research papers, over 500 reviews and books chapters, eight government reports on drugs and 31 books, including one for the general public, ‘Drugs Without the Hot Air’, which won the Transmission book prize in 2014 for Communication of Ideas.

David broadcasts widely to the general public both on radio and television; highlights include being a subject for The Life Scientific on BBC radio 4, several BBC Horizon programs and the Channel 4 documentaries Ecstasy and Cannabis Live. David is much in demand for public affairs programs on therapeutic as well as illicit drugs, their harms and their classification. In 2016 he was advisor to the BBC Religious affairs dept on their groundbreaking programme on psychedelics in religion http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/p0438553 . He also lecturers widely to the scientific and medical communities as well as to the public e.g. at the Cheltenham Science and Hay How the Light Gets In Festivals, Glastonbury and other music festivals as well as many Café Scientifiques and Skeptics in the Pub. He also speaks regularly to schools.

In 2010 The Times Eureka science magazine voted him one of the 100 most important figures in British Science, and the only psychiatrist in the list. In 2013 he was awarded the Nature/Sense about Science John Maddox prize for Standing up for Science and in 2016 an Honorary Doctor of Laws from the University of Bath for contributions to science and policy.

 

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Kenneth Tupper, Ph.D., is an Adjunct Professor in the School of Population and Public Health at the University of British Columbia. His scholarly interests include: psychedelic studies; the cross-cultural and historical uses of psychoactive substances; public, professional and school-based drug education; and creating healthy public policy for currently illegal drugs. Kenneth’s doctoral research developed the concept of “entheogenic education,” a theoretical frame for understanding how psychedelic plants and substances can function as cognitive tools for learning.

 

natalie ginsberg


Natalie Lyla Ginsberg, M.A., earned her Master's in Social Work from Columbia University in 2014, and her Bachelor's in History from Yale University in 2011. At Columbia, Natalie served as a Policy Fellow at the Drug Policy Alliance, where she helped legalize medical marijuana in her home state of New York, and worked to end New York's racist marijuana arrests. Natalie has also worked as a court-mandated therapist for individuals arrested for prostitution and drug-related offenses, and as a middle school guidance counselor at an NYC public school. Natalie's clinical work with trauma survivors spurred her interest in psychedelic-assisted therapy, which she believes can ease a wide variety of both mental and physical ailments by addressing the root cause of individuals' difficulties, rather than their symptoms. Through her work at MAPS, Natalie advocates for research to provide evidence-based alternatives to both the war on drugs and the current mental health paradigm.

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