Biz Bliss

Bizz Bliss

Lead Facilitator – Psychedelic Society Experience Retreats

Biz Bliss is a co-director and lead facilitator of the Psychedelic Society Experience Retreats, pioneering safe and legal psilocybin retreats since 2015. Guided by a desire to affect positive social change, Biz has worked in activist, corporate and social enterprise settings initiating a string of projects along the way. Through the process she’s found supporting people to do deep work is where her heart, skills and passion lie. Designing and guiding people through transformational processes feeds her soul, whilst growing the business satiates her mind. All in all, she has found a perfect job balancing the pragmatist and the mystic.

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Nadia Hutten

Nadia Hutten

PhD student – Department of Neuropsychology & Psychopharmacology at Maastricht University

Nadia Hutten is a PhD student at the Department of Neuropsychology & Psychopharmacology at Maastricht University, the Netherlands. Her main research topic is cognition enhancement with ‘illicit’ drug use.

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Mick Webb

Mick Webb

Project Coordinator – CDF Bristol UK

Mick has been working with the mobilisation and development of drug user networks since 2006. He is currently the coordinator of a new network in his home city of Bristol (CDF Bristol UK).

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Amira Guirguis

Amira Guirguis

MPharm Programme Director – Swansea University

Amira originally trained as an accountant before pursuing a career as a pharmacist. She gained her PhD in the in-field detection of New Psychoactive Substance (NPS) and led the first Home Office approved Drug Checking Service in the UK.

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Rui Coimbra Morais

Rui Coimbra Morais

President – CASO Drug Users Union

Rui used drugs since he was young and knows well about different contexts of drug use. He’s worked in a Roma social housing neighbourhood, in a foster care home, in a State National Program to end Child Labor. In 2011 he joined CASO and then EuroNPUD and has been working in Peer Involvement and Community based interventions, and advocating for full citizenship for drug users.

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Megan Jones

Megan Jones

Policy Manager for West Midlands Police and Crime Commissioner

Megan Jones is Policy Manager for the West Midlands Police and Crime Commissioner, leading on criminal justice and substance misuse. The West Midlands drug policy recommendations have been praised by Government Ministers, Cross-Party Parliamentary Groups, national treatment agencies and senior police officers.

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Pavel Bém

Pavel Bém

Commissioner – Global Commission on Drug Policy

Dr. Pavel Bém is psychiatrist, psychotherapist and family therapist and has almost 30 years of experience in area of drug policy. He spent 20 years in various policy roles and high management functions at international, national as well as local levels focusing mainly at developing of cost effective public health strategies and harm reduction services. He has served for various governmental as well as international bodies (EU, UN, WHO, Council of Europe, Group Pompidou, PHARE).

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Lizzie McCulloch

Lizzie McCulloch

Director – Volteface

Liz is a Director at Volteface, a not-for-profit with a strong track record of shifting the public debate around drugs. Liz was a coordinator on the Billy Caldwell campaign, widely acclaimed for changing the law on medical cannabis. Under her leadership alongside Paul North, Volteface has taken three MPs and a BBC film crew to Canada to see how the Canadian government have introduced a legally regulated cannabis market, partnered with the Evening Standard for their ongoing series ‘The Cannabis Debate’ and taken on the role of Secretariat for the Labour Campaign for Drug Policy Reform.

Liz has authored seminal reports on a range of drug-related issues, including drug consumption rooms, cannabis policy, drugs education and drug dealing on social media.

Liz has a background in mental health service provision and commissioning and was contracted to evaluate mental wellbeing services delivered in the aftermath of the fire at Grenfell Tower and at the Inquiry. She holds a B.A. in Politics from the University of Leeds and a MSc in Public Policy from UCL.

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Prun Bijral

Prun Bijral

Medical Director – CGL

Dr Prun Bijral is a consultant psychiatrist and Medical Director of change grow live (CGL), a health and social care charity in the UK. He trained as a medical doctor at both St. Andrews and Manchester Universities, then specialised in psychiatry and has worked in a medical leadership role for CGL since 2011, becoming Medical Director and Responsible Officer in 2015.

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Peter Blanken

Peter Blanken

Senior Researcher at the Parnassia Addiction Research Centre

Peter Blanken graduated as a social psychologist (MSc) and got his PhD at the medical faculty of the University of Amsterdam. He started his research at the Addiction Research Institute (IVO) in Rotterdam in 1987, doing multi-method (qualitative, ethnographic, and quantitative) field research in the natural context of drug users’ lives – mostly at drug dealing addresses and open drug scenes – on drug use patterns and their consequences.

In 1999 he moved to the University Medical Centre Utrecht (NL) and became a member of the research team of the Central Committee on the Treatment of Heroin Addicts (CCBH). The CCBH designed, conducted and reported the two Dutch ‘heroin trials’ on the efficacy of co-prescribed inhalable and injectable heroin-assisted treatment (HAT) for chronic, treatment-refractory heroin-dependent patients (who had not responded favourably to methadone maintenance treatment). Peter Blanken (co-)authored several peer-reviewed papers on the efficacy and long-term outcome of HAT. In addition, still in the context of the CCBH, he conducted a randomized controlled study on the efficacy of cocaine contingency management aimed at cocaine use in patients participating in heroin-assisted treatment, with ongoing regular (crack) cocaine use.

Since 2002 he is working as senior researcher at the Parnassia Addiction Research Centre of Brijder Addiction Treatment (PARC; The Hague, NL), where – among other studies – he is actively involved as a senior researcher in the multi¬disciplinary research projects “Prevalence, treatment needs and new pharmaco¬therapeutic treatment options for crack-cocaine dependent people in the Netherlands” and “Money for Medication (M4M): A randomized controlled study on the effectiveness of financial incentives to improve medication adherence in patients with a psychotic disorder and comorbid substance abuse”.
Currently he is working on the development of a project aimed at an evaluation of the treatment process offered by Brijder, thereby actively involving (recovering) drug users in the research team, and on the development of the Dutch “Multidisciplinary Guideline for treatment of patients with substance use disorder: Cannabis, cocaine, (meth)amphetamines, ecstasy, GHB, and benzodiazepines”. Furthermore, he is participating in a recently granted 4-year cohort study “Youth in transition: Addiction trajectories and profiles. A longitudinal study in a population cohort and a youth addiction treatment cohort”. Finally, he is preparing a replication study to investigate the efficacy of sustained-release dexamphetamine in the treatment of patients with (crack-)cocaine use disorder.

Topic

Agonist medications for the treatment of stimulant use disorder: Many people who use psychoactive substances do so without loosing control over their drug use. For those who do loose control and who develop what is nowadays called a ‘substance use disorder’ there are numerous treatment agencies that assist patients is pursuing diverse treatment goals. Pharmacotherapy with agonist medications (i.e., substitution treatment) is a proven effective treatment for opioid and nicotine/tobacco dependence. There is growing evidence that agonist pharmacotherapy for stimulant use disorder (i.e., cocaine, (meth)amphetamine) might be effective as well.

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