Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences

Drugscapes: Two years after the ban

This event has now finished. Please see our events website for details of upcoming events at Brookes.


Who this event is for

  • Everyone


Headington Campus, Gipsy Lane site


The introduction of the Psychoactive Substances Act 2016 was meant to provide a ‘blanket ban’ on new psychoactive substances (NPS) or (formerly) ‘legal highs’ in the United Kingdom. This one-day seminar seeks to capture research inputs and practitioner experiences that can provide insights into trends and dynamics of supply and use, public framings and policy debates around traditional and emerging recreational drug markets, in the aftermath of this legislative change. The event encourages interdisciplinary, research-informed ways of thinking critically about current drug policy but also of imagining more effective interventions and harm reduction programmes.

10:30 Arrival and Registration
10:55 Welcome
11:00 Session 1 – Chaired by Liviu Alexandrescu, Lecturer in Criminology, Oxford Brookes University
Dr Caroline Chatwin, Reader in Criminology, University of Kent
Not Particularly Special: Critiquing New Psychoactive Substances as a Category of Drugs.
Dr Lisa Lione, Senior Lecturer in Pharmacology, University of Hertfordshire
Novel Psychoactive Substances: Awareness, Use and Health Perception Following the UK Psychoactive Substances Act 2016.
Hardeep Matharu, Writer and Researcher, Volteface
The Law of Unintended Consequences: Spice after the Psychoactive Substances Act.
Dr Paolo DeLuca, Reader in Addiction Research, King’s College London
The Impact of the Psychoactive Substance Act to Online Markets Selling Novel Psychoactive Substances: Findings from the CASSANDRA study.
12:30 Coffee Break
12:50 Session 2 – Chaired by Kate West, Lecturer in Criminology, Oxford Brookes University
Beccy Rawnsley, Secretary and Policy Coordinator, LEAP UK
Psychoactive Substances Act 2016: Did It Lead to Effective Policing or Was It a Missed Opportunity for Reform?
Dr Emma Wincup, Senior Lecturer, School of Law, University of Leeds
Strategic Thinking on Novel Psychoactive Substances: Risk, Harm and Vulnerability.
DCI Darran Hill, Serious and Organised Crime, Thames Valley Police
County Lines in the Thames Valley.
14:00 Lunch
15:00 Session 3 – Workshop, Assessing the Impact of the PSA 2016, Identifying Future Directions for UK Drug Policy
15:50 Coffee Break
16:10 Session 4 – Chaired by Richard Huggins, Programme Lead Oxford Brookes Criminology
Dr Jacqueline Stair, Senior Lecturer in Analytical Chemistry, University of Hertfordshire
Chemical Identification of New Psychoactive Substances (NPS) Outside of the Lab Environment: Advances in the Use of Raman Spectroscopy.
Professor Shane Blackman, Professor of Cultural Studies, Canterbury Christ Church University
Intersections and Media Representations in New Drug Research.
Dr Liviu Alexandrescu, Lecturer in Criminology, Oxford Brookes University
Invasion of the ‘Spice Zombies’: Dependency and Underclass Abjection in Times of Austerity.
Blaine Stothard, Independent Consultant, Co-Editor of the Journal ‘Drugs and Alcohol Today’
NPS: Reflex or Reflection?
17:30 End of Seminar

This seminar is free to attend.

A limited number of travel stipends are available to support postgraduate and early career researchers to take part in the seminar.

Follow our Twitter account at @brookes_crime for info and updates.