Bristol: Take Drugs Seriously2020-01-15T12:56:03+00:00

New approaches to drug use, policy and harm reduction.


Thursday 23 January, from 5pm,
Colston Hall

From 5pm – Free exhibition
Your chance to see the latest research and insights into drug use, supply and harm reduction. Includes presentations and interactive exhibits on addiction, drug cultures, drug markets, psychedelics, opioid use and more. Speak to experts, see new perspectives, and view a mock-up safer drug consumption facility.

7:30pm – Public lecture **SOLD OUT**
Former government drug adviser and leading drugs researcher Professor David Nutt will talk about his experience in drug policy, and how it should change.

8pm – Panel debate **SOLD OUT**
Leading local politicians and practitioners including Councillor Asher Craig (Deputy Mayor of Bristol), Professor David Nutt (Imperial College, London) and Maggie Telfer (CEO of Bristol Drugs Project), will answer questions from the audience and discuss how Bristol can lead the way in innovative drug policy. 

*Tickets for the lecture and debate are SOLD OUT, but will be live-streamed from the exhibition. The exhibition is still open to attend for free.

**To be added to a ‘reserve list’ for tickets for the lecture and debate, please email with your request


Friday 24th January, 7.30pm,

Foyles, Cabot Circus

Dr Suzi Gage, psychologist and host of the popular ‘Say Why to Drugs’ podcast will be launching her new book Say Why to Drugs. 

Suzi will discuss what drugs are, how they are used, and the role of drug policy in discussion with James Nicholls, CEO of Transform Drug Policy Foundation. There will also be an opportunity to ask questions about the book, the podcast and the future of drug policy.

*This event has now sold out*


Saturday 25th January, 11am

College Green

Activist and memorial event led by campaigners Anyone’s Child: Families for Safer Drug Control.

We will be planting flowers in memory of those who have died as a result of drugs and showing how you can get involved in campaigning for change.

Memorial Event led by the families and activists involved with Anyone’s Child: Families for Safer Drug Control.

Join us to plant ‘forget-me-not’ flowers to remember those who have died as a result of our dangerous drug policies.


Drug Policy Exhibition

23rd January 2020, Colston Hall 17:00-19:30

A unique opportunity to discover more about drug cultures, treatment and policy. Over 20 interactive exhibitions will explore what drives drug consumption, how the global trade affects communities across the world, and how local services support those most in need. This is your chance to think differently about drugs, explore alternative approaches to regulating the market, and help Bristol lead the way in doing things better.

Mock-up Safer Drug Consumption Room – Transform Drug Policy Foundation and Bristol Drugs Project 

See what a Safe Drug Consumption Room  looks like and how it can save lives. There are over 150 similar facilities worldwide, but none in the UK yet.

Transform Drug Policy Foundation 

Bristol-based charity Transform will explain how drugs  could be legally regulated.

Anyone’s Child 

Anyone’s Child: Families for Safer Drug Control is an international network of families whose lives have been harmed  by current drug laws and are now campaigning to change them.

Anyone’s Child Mexico

Through this interactive documentary hear directly from Mexican families whose lives have been damaged by the War on Drugs.

The Loop

Presenting their work on drug safety testing, welfare and harm reduction at nightclubs and festivals.

Jack Spicer, University of the West of England and Matthew Bacon, University of Sheffield 

What are the challenges, innovations and reform in the policing of drugs? This stall examines recent innovations in drugs policing, including the use of ‘diversion schemes’ for people caught in possession. 

Olivia Maynard, Jasmine Khouja and Maddie Svenson, University of Bristol

What is the current UK policy position on e-cigarettes and the regulation of additives in e-cigarette liquids?

Lindsey Porter, University of Bristol

What are the ethics of drug use? Exploring questions such as ‘Is it wrong to get high?’; ‘Is intoxication a ‘false pleasure’”?’ and do; ‘Do people who are harmed by drug use ‘“get what they deserve’”?.’

Professor Matthew Hickman, University of Bristol and Deborah Hussey, Bristol Drugs Project

Why use low dead space needles and syringes? Presenting posters, booklets and a film designed with and for people who inject drugs, to promote the benefits of low dead space equipment alongside broader harm reduction approaches.

Bristol Drugs Project

Shining a light on harm reduction work and presenting “A Day in the Life of” – a photography project supporting work on skin and soft tissue infections.

Developing Health and Independence 

Showcasing work on DHI’s innovative Families Service and Peer Work and their work on drug treatment.

Alison Golden-Wright, University of Bristol Student Services and Jess Winkler, University of the West of England Student Services

Drug policy and the higher education system.

Joanna Mallinson, The Bespoke Education Project

Demonstrating Joanna’s work with schools who are committed to change-focused drug and alcohol education

The Conservative Drug Policy Reform Group

Promoting  debate on drug policy reform among conservatives through examining evidence for change.

The Labour Campaign for Drug Policy Reform Group 

A forum for Labour members and supporters to debate and shape Labour’s drug policy for the future.

Karina Garcia-Reyes, University of Bristol 

Real-life testimonies from young people caught up in Mexican narco gangs. How do they understand their jobs in drug trafficking? Is fiction portrayed in Hollywood movies and Netflix series similar to reality?

Matthew Brown, University of Bristol

Exploring memories from the margins of armed conflict in Colombia, including violence catalysed by illegal drug production and trafficking. 

Neil Carrier and Gernot Klantschnig, University of Bristol

Exploring Africa’s role in the global trade and control of drugs. How have foreign-inspired policies failed to help African drug users, but strengthened the role of corrupt and brutal law enforcement officers.

Emily Crick, University of Bristol 

‘Are drugs a threat to humankind and the state?’ Exploring some of the more absurd things politicians have said about drugs.

Vicky Carlisle, University of Bristol and Jon Shorrock, Avon and Wiltshire Mental Health Partnership NHS Trust

Tackling the stigma and busting the myths on Opioid Substitution.

Bristol Cannabis Social Club

A new approach to regulating the use of cannabis through membership clubs

Sally Adams and Tom Freeman, Addiction and Mental Health Group (AIM), University of Bath

An interactive stall including pouring out a unit of alcohol, demonstrating the testing of synthetic cannabis, CBD productions and breath carbon monoxide readings.

Jana Lutus and Laura Brocklebank, University of Bristol 

How important is our immediate environment for reducing alcohol consumption? Demonstrating the use of ‘choice architecture’ or  ‘nudging’ to reduce alcohol consumption through glass shape, the  availability of non-alcoholic drinks; and alcohol health warning labels.



  • 9-10 King Street, Bristol, BS1 4EQ
  • 0117 325 0295