Home Secretary appoints Reading academic to drug council
Release Date 28 August 2014
The University of Reading is delighted to announce Professor Ben Whalley has been appointed to the Advisory Council for the Misuse of Drugs (ACMD).
Professor Whalley is one of nine new members recruited by the Home Secretary, Theresa May, to the ACMD - an independent body which makes recommendations to government on the control of dangerous or otherwise harmful drugs, including classification and scheduling under the Misuse of Drugs Act 1971 and its regulations.
Professor Whalley is a leading pharmacologist from the University's School of Pharmacy. He specialises in the development of new drugs for hard to treat neurological disorders. Professor Whalley has conducted cutting-edge research showing that a non-psychoactive chemical in cannabis could lead to more effective treatments for people with epilepsy. Human trials of a new drug containing the chemical begin in the United States later this year.
Professor Ben Whalley, Professor of Neuropharmacology and School Director of Research at the University of Reading, said: "I am delighted to have been appointed to the ACMD and look forward to making a positive contribution to the Council's very challenging work. I hope that my established track record in the study of the pharmacology of cannabinoids and other drugs with potential for misuse, combined with my experience as a pharmacist, will be of benefit to the Council, particularly in the area of regulation of novel psychoactive substances."
Sir David Bell, University of Reading Vice-Chancellor, said: "This is excellent news for Ben and for Reading. It shows yet again that our academics' outstanding work is being recognised nationally. The Committee is vital in giving ministers the latest scientific assessment of drugs and their impact - I have no doubt that Ben will play a crucial role in its work."
The ACMD's remit includes work on the misuse of medicines, recovery from alcohol and substance abuse and new psychoactive substances, or so-called legal highs'.
Joining the Council are experts in healthcare, social science, criminal law, chemistry, education and drug prevention.
The new appointees are:
- Dr Steve Pleasance, a chartered chemist with 20 years experience in pharmaceutical research and development. Currently Head of Industry with the Royal Society of Chemistry.
- Professor Ben Whalley, Professor of Neuropharmacology and School Director of Research at the University of Reading.
- Fiona Bauermeister, Assistant Chief Officer with London Community Rehabilitation Company.
- Rob Phipps, who recently retired from the Department of Health, Social Services and Public Safety in Northern Ireland. He was head of Health Development Policy Branch responsible for the government's alcohol and drug policy for Northern Ireland.
- Dr Tim Millar, a Senior Research Fellow and the Addiction Research Strategy Lead at the University of Manchester.
- Dr Kostas Agath, an addictions consultant psychiatrist, currently working in both the NHS and voluntary sector.
- Dr Emily Finch, clinical director of the Addictions Clinical Academic Group and a consultant psychiatrist for South London and Maudsley NHS Trust.
- Dr Marcus Roberts, chief executive of DrugScope.
- Professor Alex Stevens, Professor of Criminal Justice and Deputy Head of the School of Social Policy, Sociology and Social Research at the University of Kent.
The Home Secretary, Theresa May, said:
"I welcome the new members to the Advisory Council on the Misuse of Drugs and look forward to working with them.
"The ACMD provides a vital service to the government and the addition of new members will further strengthen its expertise, knowledge and skills."
The three-year appointments attract no remuneration and have been made in accordance with the code of practice of the Commissioner for Public Appointments (OCPA).
Chairman of the Advisory Council on the Misuse of Drugs, Professor Les Iversen said: "I am pleased to welcome nine new members: their considerable experience and expertise will further strengthen our council."