About Us2019-01-16T14:58:12+00:00

About Us.

Our purpose is to protect people by bringing about the legal regulation of drug products, producers, suppliers and users.

Transform is an independent UK-based charity, thinking about policy and how to use it to protect people better. We are a dedicated team of researchers, writers, broadcasters and advocates who are passionate about improving the lives of some of the most impoverished and marginalised people on the planet.

We have offices in Bristol and London in the UK, and in Mexico City via our partnership with the Mexican human rights organisation Mexico Unido Contra la Delincuencia (MUCD).

Transform has ECOSOC special consultative status at the UN, where our team participates alongside member states, NGOs and UN agencies in reviews and  drug policy reform and regulation. In collaboration with other charities and pressure groups, we persuade those in power to listen to and act on the evidence.

“I think Transform is a necessary voice of sanity in the debate about drugs. Supporting Transform will help end the drug war and promote a society at peace with itself.”

Iain Banks, author

“Transform have played a key role in raising this issue on the UK political agenda and I look forward to them continuing this work with the same dynamism and integrity.”

Sir Keith Morris, former UK Ambassador to Colombia

Alongside our global advocacy, consultancy and publishing work on regulation, we run two specific campaigns focused on the real costs of the status quo.

Anyone’s Child.

Families for Safer Drug Control is an international network of families whose lives have been wrecked by current drug laws and are now campaigning to legalise and regulate drugs.

Find out more

Count the Costs.

Count the Costs, which shows the often devastating effects of current drug policy around the world. An impressive list of organisations have signed up in support of reform.

Find out more

Transform’s achievements.



“The Task Force would also like to extend its appreciation to Beau Kilmer and Steve Rolles [Transform] for their counsel and advice.”

Canadian Task Force on Cannabis Legalization and Regulation


“Uruguay has become the first country in the world to legally sell marijuana for recreational use.”

BBC News, 19/07/2017


“I am grateful for the professional support that Transform Drugs provides both ad hoc and more through more formal commissioning. If Transform were not available I would struggle to continue to be an influential advocate for drug policy reform.

I am therefore happy to commend them to potential donors as a professional and knowledgeable advocacy.”

Arfon Jones, Police and Crime Commissioner for North Wales

Annual Reports.

Our annual reports are available here

Registered charity number: 1100518
Limited company number: 4862177

The Team.

James Nicholls

James Nicholls
Chief Executive Officer

James has over fifteen years’ experience working in substance use research and policy, most recently as Director of Research and Policy at Alcohol Change UK. where he sat on the PHE Alcohol Leadership Board and oversaw the APPG on Alcohol Harm.  He has received research fellowships on substance use policy from the Arts and Humanities Research Council and the British Academy, is a trustee of Adfam National, and an Honorary Associate Professor at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine.  


Emma Caldwell
Executive Assistant

Emma has worked within the private and charitable sectors using her Business and HR skills for the last 25 years in London and Bristol. She has post graduate qualifications in Business and in Personnel Management and been a member of the CIPD for 20 years. She has also volunteered in several organisations and currently is Chair of trustees for Noah’s Ark preschool and Cairns road Baptist Church. She has a strong pastoral heart born out of her Christian faith and firmly believes, ‘Faith without works is dead’, which has lead her to work in soup kitchens, drop-in advice centres and support other charitable organisations. She is a part qualified counsellor and this helps her to work well with people at different levels.


Danny Kushlick
Head of External Affairs

Danny is the founder of Transform Drug Policy Foundation, which he started in 1996, after working in a variety of jobs in the drugs field. It was his clients’ experience that led him to the understanding that prohibition is a social policy catastrophe. He worked for Bristol Drugs Project, the Big Issue Foundation, Bath Area Drugs Advisory Service and the National Association for the Care and Resettlement of Offenders (NACRO). He is now an internationally recognised commentator on drug and drug policy issues, with a unique combination of personal experience and a broad, global view.


Jane Slater

Deputy Chief Executive Officer and Campaign Manager for Anyone’s Child

Jane leads the groundbreaking Anyone’s Child: Families for Safer Drug Control’ campaign and engineered the international campaign in advance of the UNGASS 2016. Before joining Transform in 2007, Jane worked for various charities and public sector bodies, including Gemini.org and the British Red Cross. She graduated with a degree in Geography from the University of Manchester and has subsequently completed an MSc in International Development at Bath University. Her masters focused on the urgent need for the international development community to engage with drug policy reform.


Martin Powell
Head of Campaigns and Communications

Martin leads our integrated programme of work on local reform across the UK. He brings to this his enormous experience from environmental and international development campaign groups, including Friends of the Earth, the World Development Movement and as Co-Chair of the Jubilee Debt Campaign. He previously worked for the French nuclear industry and as a social support worker for a homeless charity. He has a degree in Applied Chemistry, and a post-graduate diploma in Environmental Science, Policy and Planning.


Ben Campbell
Communications Officer

Ben’s background in political communications and campaigns working for the UK Parliament and the European Parliament brought new skills to Transform when he joined in 2016. He has an undergraduate degree in History and International Relations from Royal Holloway University of London, and an MSc in International Security from the University of Bristol. In 2017 he joined the official NGO blogging team at the UN Commission Narcotic Drugs in Vienna.



Mary Ryder
Anyone’s Child Coordinator

Mary supports Jane Slater on the fast-growing Anyone’s Child campaign and leads the development of our activist network. Her Spanish language skills together with her policy interest have enabled her to lead on the Anyone’s Child Mexico i-documentary project, working in a conjunction with the University of Bristol. Mary originally joined Transform in 2016 as an intern, having finished her degree in Philosophy and Spanish at the University of Bristol. Mary is now doing an MPhil at the University of Bristol focusing on Colombia, the drug war and memory.


Steve Rolles
Senior Policy Analyst

Steve has been instrumental in Tranform’s development since he joined the nascent organisation in 1998, alongside Danny Kushlick. As well as writing a range of journal articles, periodicals and book chapters, Steve was lead author on many of Transform’s publications, including 2009’s ‘After the War on Drugs: Blueprint for Regulation’. He is a regular contributor to the public debate on drug policy and law in print and broadcast media, and has been a speaker at various events, conferences and inquiries held by, among others, the UK government, the UN, and many other high-level international bodies. Before joining Transform, Steve worked for the Medical Research Council and Oxfam. He has a degree in Geography from the University of Bristol and an MA in Development Studies from the University of Manchester.




Jane Hickman
Chair of Trustees

Jane Hickman is a solicitor and campaigner on justice issues. In 1991 she founded the London criminal justice and human rights firm Hickman & Rose, and chaired its partnership group till retiring in 2016. She served as an advisor to Lord Justice Auld on his Criminal Courts review in 2000 and was a Commissioner on the Legal Services Commission 2007 – 2010. Having observed the wasteful and destructive nature of the war on drugs throughout her career she is a keen supporter of replacing criminal penalties with careful regulation.

Ros Kennedy

Dr Ros Kennedy worked till recently as a GP in Bristol, where she has live for over 35 years. She is Chair of Governors at Bristol Cathedral Choir School and is a trustee for Bristol Drugs Project, Bristol Charities and Arnos Vale Cemetery Trust. She served as High Sheriff of Bristol for a year until March 2016 and was able to meet and support a wide range of individuals in the statutory and charity sectors. Since leaving office, she continues to meet and support several of these organisations, including Bristol Music Trust, Changing Tunes and Borderlands. She is married with three sons and two granddaughters.

Howard Jacobs

Howard Jacobs is a solicitor and formerly a partner in a major London law firm specialising in pension law. He has pursued a number of charitable and non-charitable interests in recent years, and currently serves as chair of the trustees one of Cambridge University’s pension schemes, member of the Aviva With Profits Committee and trustee of the River and Rowing Museum, Henley-on-Thames. His interest in drugs reform stems from realising that the unarguable failure of UK drug policy is not of itself a catalyst for change.

Claire Wilcox

Claire Wilcox is a chartered management accountant, and an experienced executive director. She has worked with both small owner managed & FT100/SEC regulated businesses and has gained strong international/European experience whilst working within manufacturing environments.

Advisory Panel

Alex Wilks

Alex is a Campaign Director at Avaaz, a worldwide movement of 38 million citizens bringing their voices to key decisions – from climate change to drugs policy. Previously he directed the European Network on Debt and Development in Brussels and the Bretton Woods Project to keep tabs on the World Bank and IMF. He’s also worked for The Ecologist magazine and has a degree from Oxford University.

David Seymour

Former political editor of the Mirror Group, he has also worked for the Daily Mail. David still writes political commentary. Three years ago he produced a guide for journalists on reporting poverty in the UK, funded by the Joseph Rowntree Foundation. He has edited a report produced by UKDPC entitled ‘Dealing with the stigma of Drugs: A guide for journalists’.

Mike Jay

Mike Jay is an author and curator who has written widely on the history of science and medicine, specialising in the mind, drugs and mental health. He has written several books on the history of drugs including Emperors of Dreams: drugs in the nineteenth century and High Society: mind-altering drugs in history and culture, which accompanied the exhibition he curated with Wellcome Collection in London. He writes regularly for the London Review of Books and the Wall Street Journal, and sits on the editorial board of Drugs and Alcohol Today.

Henry Warren

Henry is a social entrepreneur who specialises in using IT and innovation to tackle social problems. He was previously the founder of Rafi.ki (now part of Taking It Global) and the Head of Innovation at GEMS. He currently owns a charity fundraising company (Foolish Fundraising), an education technology company (Cribbd.com) and is a consultant to a variety of companies on innovation and product development.

Paul Birch

Paul is an internet entrepreneur with both commercial (Bebo) and not-for-profit ventures. He co-founded the UK cannabis thinktank Volteface.

Julia Buxton

Julia is Professor of Comparative Politics in the School of Public Policy at the Central European University, Budapest. She researches on narcotic drug markets, with a specific focus on the inter-relationship between illicit drug economies, conflict, peacebuilding, and economic and democratic transitions. She has a particular interest in the impacts of counter narcotics strategies on gender, social justice and development. Her drug related publications include The Political Economy of Narcotics (Zed, 2006), the edited collection The Politics of Narcotic Drugs (Europa 2010), ‘Opportunity Lost: Alternative Development in Drug Control’ in J. Tokatlian (ed) Old Wars: New Thinking, (Libros Zorazal, 2010); ‘A History of Drug Control’ in P. Keefer and N. Loayza (eds) Innocent Bystanders, (World Bank Publications, 2010) and ‘The UK drug problem in global perspective’, Soundings, Issue 42, Summer 2009.

James Varty

James has worked in the substance misuse treatment field for both statutory and non-statutory agencies over the past 15 years. When working with service users early on in his career, James recognised that drugs themselves were not the cause of drug harms; rather it was the lack of regulation and irrational drug legislation that was responsible for ruining countless lives. James has a BHSc (Hons) in Addictions from Leeds University. Currently residing in rural Wales, James is Head of Development and Quality for Kaleidoscope, a substance misuse treatment agency providing residential and community services to people with substance misuse problems across the UK.

Sir Keith Morris

Keith became a public campaigner for the reform of the UN drugs conventions as a result of his experience as British Ambassador to Colombia from 1990 to 1994. His mission’s top priority was cooperation with the Colombian government on counternarcotics and he saw the dramatic impact of Pablo Escobar’s narcoterrorism close up. He concluded that the War on Drugs was failing and at an intolerable cost. Everything that has happened since in Afghanistan and Mexico, to name just the two hottest spots, has strengthened his conviction. He has made his views known in articles, letters to the editor and talks since 2000.

Our Funders.

We would like to express our gratitude to all the individual donors and charitable trusts that support our work. We are particularly grateful to our long-term supporters, who had the vision to see so far ahead and the belief in Transform to deliver. We can only do this work with all your support.

Current donors include:

Where Our Funds Go.

How Transform Drug Policy Foundation use resources



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  • 0117 325 0295
  • info@tdpf.org.uk