River Thames boat trip following LTG June meeting

Following our last meeting in June, 50 LTG members, colleagues, sponsors and guests took to the river Thames on our own private hire river boat for our evening social event.  We enjoyed good food, lots of drinks and took in the sights of London on a lovely still summer evening. Whilst others had a good chat with colleagues and made some new friends, some of our younger scientists enjoyed a dance or two on the way back to our mooring!

Thank you to all who came and took part in this evening event, and a special thank you to our two supporting sponsors, Thermo Fisher and Sciex.

Psychoactive Substances Act 2016 - Forensic Strategy: "a useful document for our members'"

The Psychoactive Substances Act 2016 (the PS Act) differs from the established approach to drug control under the Misuse of Drugs Act 1971 (MDA). The PS Act covers substances by virtue of their psychoactive properties, rather than the identity of the drug or its chemical structure. Consequently, there is a requirement for a new forensic capability.

This strategy sets out guidance for Forensic Service Providers (FSPs), law enforcement agencies, prosecuting agencies and expert witnesses to support the operation of the PS Act. It provides guidance on the scientific principles for the new testing regime and the process and evidential considerations to support criminal and civil sanctions under the PS Act. The strategy has been developed by the Home Office with input from the Advisory Council on the Misuse of Drugs (ACMD).

This strategy does not relate to those drugs controlled under the MDA which remains the primary legislation for drug control in the UK.  For controlled drugs, the normal forensic and evidential processes and requirements apply.

Download here the full document in pdf.

Codes of Practice and Conduct for forensic science providers and practitioners in the Criminal Justice System

Issue 3 - February 2016

In this third version of the Codes, additional detail on the requirement for accreditation is provided, particularly for digital forensics, firearms classification, drugs and toxicology. Having been first published in 2011, the time is approaching when accreditation to the Codes becomes a requirement; for most disciplines, this is in October 2017. The Statement of Accreditation Requirements has been substantially revised and therefore requires careful note. References to the 2015 Criminal Procedure Rules, 2015 Criminal Practice Directions and relevant standards and guidance documents have also been updated, with changes highlighted in grey.

The Codes are intended to assist organisations with understanding and interpreting the requirements of the standards, particularly BS/EN ISO/IEC 17025. Later this year, there will be a more in-depth review of the Codes, to ensure the requirements of BS/EN ISO/IEC 17020 and ILAC G19:08/2014 are fully reflected. Ahead of that review, I would value feedback on the clarity and utility of the Codes and any improvements that could be made.

Codes of Practice and Conduct for forensic science providers and practitioners in the Criminal Justice System. Issue 3

Download here the full pdf.

Psychoactive Substances Act 2016

The UK legislature has just passed into law the Psychoactive Substances Act 2016, a bill that has been intensely debated over the past year.
A landmark Bill to end the trade in harmful psychoactive substances and protect young people in the UK from the risks posed by these drugs received Royal Assent today.
The Psychoactive Substances Act 2016 will prohibit the production, supply and importation of these potentially dangerous drugs.

Psychoactive Substances Act 2016

Download the text here.
More information from the UK Home Office here.

Award winners from last meeting

Congratulations to our two award winners from the LTG's Christmas lectures, that took place on Friday 11th December 2015. Lana Brockbals won the Brian Widdop prize for best oral presentation for her talk entitled 'Fast single-injection quantification of cocaine in street samples using multiple isotopically labelled internal standards'. She was presented her certificate on the day by our guest speaker Mike Power, and received £150 along with a copy of Mike's book.
Also congratulations to Vanessa Burnell and fellow writers, who won the John Jackson prize for best poster, entitled 'Advancing methodologies for the quantification of Tacrolimus: The use of low blood volumes and high-resolution mass spectrometry'. She received her prize of £100 and a copy of Mikes book also.

Congratulations and thank you to all those who presented oral and poster presentations. Merry Christmas and a peaceful new year to all

LTG Committee Elections 2015

There are several positions on the LTG committee which are up for election at the December meeting.
The positions up for election are secretary and three ordinary members. We would also like to invite interest in the positions of deputy chair and corporate liaison, as current officers will be coming to the end of their term soon. Being on the LTG committee is an excellent way to voice new opinions and meet new people in a relaxed and friendly manner. Have your say in how the LTG is run for 2016! It is important to keep new members coming into these positions, as you provide vital new ideas and enthusiasm, keeping the LTG alive and vibrant!
If you would like to know more about what these roles entail, or are interested in standing for election please complete and return the election form and/or e-mail: for further details. If more than 1 person stands for any position, then a balloted election will take place at the business meeting.

UK will be hosting TIAFT 2019

Dear Members, it gives me great pleasure to inform everyone that the UK bid for TIAFT 2019 I presented today in Florence was successful. As last year it was a challenging process and there were other great bids from Dubai, Cape Town and Turkey.

This is fantastic for UK toxicology and our chance to demonstrate our commitment to toxicology and TIAFT, especially with the history the UK shares with the organisation. I would like to thank everyone for their support, both the previous time at Buenos Aires and here in Florence, it really made a difference. Of course the real work starts now, only 4 years to go and as we know there's a lot to do. So everyone that notionally volunteered for things when I've previously presented the plans needs to get ready for some e-mails!

Thanks again. It's going to be good...

Simon Elliott

The UK's new Psychoactive Substance Bill

The UK’s Psychoactive Substances Bill is currently making its way through Parliament.  There will undoubtedly be further modifications made, but its sweeping recommendations are causing quite a flurry of media commentary.

Find links below to the current bill and to several online news stories.

Psychoactive Substances Bill: download the current Bill here.

Psychoactive substances ban will 'end brain research' in Britain, experts warn
Damien Gayle
The Guardian; May 29, 2015
Link to story here.

Psychoactive Substances Bill: What's banned and how are they checked?
BBC Newsbeat; May 29, 2015
Link to story here.

Queen's Speech 2015: 'Legal Highs' Banned Under New Bill Covering 'New Generation Of Psychoactive Drugs'
Louise Ridley
Huffington Post United Kingdom; May 27, 2015
Link to story here.

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