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Beckley Foundation

The Beckley Foundation
Motto Consciousness and Drug Policy Research
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Type Ecosoc Accredited NGO
Legal status Charitable Trust
Purpose Drug policy reform and scientific research
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Director and Founder
Amanda Feilding
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Formerly called
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The Beckley Foundation is a charitable trust that promotes health-oriented, cost-effective, harm-reductive drug policy reform. It also investigates consciousness and its modulation from a multidisciplinary perspective working in collaboration with scientists. The Foundation is based at Beckley Park near Oxford, United Kingdom. The Beckley Foundation was founded in 1998, and is directed, by Amanda Feilding, Countess of Wemyss.


Founded by Amanda Feilding in 1998, the foundation supports research into both science and policy of drugs.

The Beckley Foundation scientific programme initiates, designs and conducts research into the effects of psychoactive substances on the brain, in order to minimise their potential harms, learn more about consciousness and brain function, and discover and explore their therapeutic potential. Current research includes collaborations with Professor David Nutt at Imperial College on the effects of psychedelics on cerebral blood flow, Professor Valerie Curran at University College London on the effects of cannabis on the brain with a view to possible therapeutic applications and with Professor Roland Griffiths at Johns Hopkins University studying the effects of psilocybin at combating addiction.

The Beckley Foundation policy programme is dedicated to improving national and global drug policies, through research that increases understanding of the health, social and fiscal implications of drug policy, and the development of new evidence-based and rational approaches. It brings together country representatives, science and policy experts at international seminars in order to discuss alternative drug policy, and commissions and disseminates reports to open up and facilitate debate among policy-makers and the public.


Beckley Foundation Guatemala 2012–13

On 3 July 2012 Beckley Foundation Guatemala was launched after the organisation had been asked to convene an international Board of Experts to write reports which would:

  1. analyse the impact of the current drug prohibitionist policies;
  2. propose a sophisticated range of alternative policy solutions for Guatemala.

The alternative drug policy solutions were presented to President Otto Pérez Molina by Amanda Feilding in January 2013 in this 'Paths for Reform' report. The suggestions include a proposal to investigate legalising the illicit opium poppy crop in order to produce pain-relieving medications for the Guatemalan people,[1] a initiative that has been mentioned by President Pérez Molina during Davos 2013 and other official appearances[2]

Public Letter 2011–12

In 2011 an open letter from the Foundation was published in The Times and The Guardian calling for a new approach to drug policy. The letter opened by emphatically stating that the war on drugs has failed and calling for a new approach. Signatories of the letter now include the current Presidents of Colombia (Juan Manuel Santos) and Guatemala (Otto Pérez Molina), and former Presidents of the United States (Jimmy Carter), Mexico, Colombia and Switzerland, as well as Nobel Prize winners and numerous other world figures.[3]

Global Initiative for Drug Policy Reform 2011–12

The Global Initiative is a collaboration between the All Party Parliamentary Group on Drug Policy, the Global Commission on Drug Policy and the Beckley Foundation. It was held at the House of Lords in November 2011, bringing together representatives from countries interested in reform, and countries that have successfully implemented alternative drug policies, along with the Global Commission on Drug Policy.


The Beckley Foundation Scientific Programme aims to:

  • explore the processes that underpin conscious states.
  • characterise the attributes of 'normal' human consciousness and determine the changes that occur in pathologically, naturally or chemically altered states.
  • evaluate the potential of techniques currently employed in the alteration of conscious states to provide therapeutic and medicinal benefits.

Current projects include:

  • The Beckley Foundation/Imperial College London Psychedelic Research Programme, investigating the effects of psilocybin and other psychedelic drugs on cerebral blood flow, and linking this with cognitive effects (for example, improved episodic memory recall and increased vividness of subjective experience under the influence of psilocybin).
  • A Beckley Foundation/Johns Hopkins University collaboration investigating the potential use of psychedelic drugs to treat addiction. A pilot study is underway using psilocybin to treat nicotine addiction.
  • A Beckley Foundation/King's College London collaboration with Dr Paul Morrison at the Institute of Psychiatry is investigating the differing effects of delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) and cannabidiol (CBD), two of the main cannabinoids found in cannabis that determine its subjective and cognitive effects. Cannabidiol is showing promise in inhibiting the psychosis-like effects of THC, and indicating great therapeutic potential.
  • A Beckley Foundation/University College London collaboration with Professor Valerie Curran is investigating medicinal uses of cannabis (in tandem with Harborside Health Centre in Oakland), as well as various research projects looking at the effects of cannabis on various cognitive or neural measures.

Recent Scientific Journal Publications:

Beckley Foundation Press Publications

The Beckley Foundation Press was created to allow the publication of Drug Policy and Scientific material that was not being picked up by mainstream publishing houses due to the controversial nature of the material.

Authors: Albert Hofmann. Translated by Jonathan Ott and Edited by Amanda Feilding - Publisher: The Beckley Foundation Press and Oxford University Press (2013). ISBN 978-0-19-963941-0, 248 pages

Authors: Robin Room, Benedikt Fischer, Wayne Hall, Simon Lenton and Peter Reuter, Convened by Amanda Feilding - Publisher: The Beckley Foundation Press and Oxford University Press (2010). ISBN 978–0–19–958148–1

Authors: Annelie Hintzen M.D. and Torsten Passie M.D., M.A. Paperback: App 200 pages - Publisher: The Beckley Foundation Press and Oxford University Press (June 2010) ISBN 978-0-19-958982-1

Edited by Amanda Feilding - Publisher: Beckley Foundation Press (2010) ISBN 978-0-9548054-9-4

Authors: Yuri Moskalenko, Amanda Feilding and Peter Halvorson - Publisher: Beckley Foundation Press (2010) ISBN 978-1-907072-01-7

Major Seminars

External links

See also