The Psychoactive Supper took place on Tuesday, 17 May 2016 at Carousel Restaurant in Marylebone.
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Psychoactive Supper Shines a Light on Blanket Substance Ban
Researchers at the University of Warwick hosted a ‘Psychoactive Supper’ to stimulate discussion about the concept of psychoactivity, central to The Psychoactive Substances Act (2016).
In January 2016, Parliament introduced the Psychoactive Substances Act, which plans to ban the use of all products which affect the central nervous system, except those which are explicitly exempt (i.e. prescription medication, alcohol, caffeine, and nicotine). For the most part, this law has been portrayed as a pragmatic solution to the growing menace of synthetic cannabinoids and other ‘legal highs’ which have evaded existing drug laws. In their haste to push through a solution to this serious problem, however, Parliament has failed to listen to a small but important group of voices opposing the ban on the basis of historical and scientific evidence, including their own advisors.
While the Act makes exceptions for substances normally consumed as food, along with traditionally and widely enjoyed psychoactive substances such as caffeine, alcohol and nicotine, the fact remains that from a psychopharmacological standpoint, many common foods activate the same pathways in the brain as illegal drugs. In that sense, where should the line be drawn between food and drugs? The dinner was curated by Crossmodal experience designers and culinary experts Daniel Ospina and Charles Michel, showcasing multisensory experiences by academics and artists. The tastings were presented alongside short talks by leading experts in psychopharmacology, the neuroscience of moral behaviour, activists, politicians and opinion-makers.
Dr. Susannah Wilson, project lead of Banning Pleasure: Psychoactivity and the Law at the University of Warwick said,
“This symposium aims to stimulate reflection about the scope of the concept of psychoactivity deployed in The Psychoactive Substances Act and about the controversial approach to drug policy it embodies.”
The Supper took place on Tuesday 17 May 2016 at Carousel in Marylebone, London, with an eye to open the mind without breaking the law.
*New Film Marks the Anniversary of the Passing of the Psychoactive Substances Act*
26 May 2017, a year on...
To launch our film of the original event, and to mark the anniversary of the passing of the Act, we asked two people to watch it and to give us their reactions. See the brand new film from Academic Ideas Lab here:
See the original short film from Academic Ideas Lab here: