UK Government

Home Office: Appointment of a new interim chair of the Advisory Council on the Misuse of Drugs

Press Release   •   Jan 13, 2010 10:52 GMT

Home Secretary Alan Johnson today announced the new interim chair of the Advisory Council on the Misuse of Drugs (ACMD).

Professor Les Iversen's role as interim chair starts immediately and will run for 12 months. He was previously the chair of the ACMD technical committee and has been a member of the Council since 2004.

Home Secretary, Alan Johnson said:

"The ACMD makes a valued and important contribution to our understanding of drugs and their harms. I'm pleased Professor Iversen will be bringing his experience to the role of interim chair.

"The council's work continues, including a forthcoming assessment on the harms of the so-called 'legal high' mephedrone, following on from our control of GBL, BZP and others late last year."

Professor Les Iversen said:

"I am honoured to take up this position and look forward to ensuring the ACMD provides government with continued expert advice on drugs issues in the UK.

"The ACMD is committed to continuing the work on the harms of 'legal highs' such as mephedrone."

The ACMD is established under the Misuse of Drugs Act 1971. The Council is required to keep under review drug misuse in the United Kingdom and advise the Government on those drugs which appear likely to be misused and of which the misuse is having, or appears to them capable of having, harmful effects sufficient to constitute a social problem.


1. The Home Office will commence the recruitment of a permanent ACMD chair and other members through an open competitive process according to Office of the Commissioner for Public Appointments guidelines.

2. Members, including the chair, are unpaid although members can claim reasonable expenses that they may incur.

3. The appointment of the interim chair has been made with the agreement of the Office of the Commissioner for Public Appointments.

4. More information about ACMD can be found on the Home Office website at

5. The current list of ACMD members can be found online at

6. For further information on ACMD members' and interview requests, please contact Nick Logan on 020 7035 3535

Biography: Professor Leslie Iversen

Professor Iversen is a retired Professor of Pharmacology, University of Oxford. A neuropharmacologist who has worked in academia and in industry, his research focuses on the actions of drugs on the brain. Professor Iversen acted as Specialist Advisor to the House of Lords "Cannabis" enquiry (1998) and a member of the Royal College of Physicians enquiry into medical uses of cannabis (2006). He is the author of two books on psychoactive drugs: "The Science of Marijuana", OUP, 2000 & 2008, and "Speed, Ecstasy and Ritalin: the Science of Amphetamines", OUP, 2006.



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