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Pint Of Science

Back Room

Highs & lows: understanding the effects of drugs


Drugs for good or for bad we hear about them all the time. But how much do you know about them? This event will give you an insight into the uses and effects of drugs from the risks and harms of psychoactive substances to research looking at how advances in technology and the use of big data are allowing researchers to identify drugs and repurpose them for the treatment of depression. Please note: this event has no step free access.

(Not so) legal highs: understanding Novel Psychoactive Substances

Derek Tracy (Associate Clinical Director)

In 2016, UK law banned all current and future novel psychoactive substances (NPS, but often - incorrectly - known as legal highs). There are currently over 560 NPS, and about 100 new compounds are synthesised per year. There is an enormous mismatch between the large number of press stories - often focusing on important but less common issues such as drug-induced prison riots and university deaths - and clear information on these substances. This talk will discuss why we have reached this situation, outline what we know about the major classes of NPS, and discuss their potential risks and harms.

Finding drugs for depression

Dr Timothy Powell (MRC Postdoctoral Research Fellow)

Depression is the predominant mental health problem worldwide. The charity Mind estimates that in England, approximately 2.6 people in 100 live with depression. With these scary statistics, it is increasingly important to find treatments that are effective. But what if these treatments already exist? Dr Powell will talk about new research finding and using existing drugs to treat depression, using lab studies of brain cells.



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