The EMCDDA Scientific Committee, meeting in Lisbon this week, elected its new Chair and Vice Chair for the next three years. Prof. Dr Gerhard Bühringer (Germany) was elected to the position of Chair and Dr Anne Line Breteville-Jensen (Norway) to the position of Vice Chair.
The Scientific Committee plays a major role in the EMCDDA’s efforts to attain scientific excellence. It is composed of 15 high-level scientists from the EU Member States, selected through a public selection process based on scientific merit and independence. The EMCDDA Director and Management Board consult the Committee on the agency’s work programmes or on any scientific matter concerning its activity. The Committee also plays a pivotal role in the agency’s risk assessment of new psychoactive substances (see below).
Since members of the Committee are appointed in a personal capacity, they are required to provide opinions independently of their country and of the Community institutions.
Prof. Dr Gerhard Bühringer, a psychologist, held the position of Vice Chair of the Scientific Committee from May 2011 to April 2014. He is Managing Director of the German Institut für Therapieforschung (IFT) and Professor for Addiction Research at the Technische Universitaet, Dresden. His research focuses on a range of issues, including: aetiology and the course of substance use disorders and pathological gambling, including vulnerability and risk factors. In addition, Prof. Dr Bühringer sits on a number of national and international scientific committees and advisory boards, including: the German Centre for Addiction Issues (DHS) and the International Society of Addiction Journal Editors (ISAJE).
Dr Anne Line Breteville-Jensen is an economist. She is the Research Director at the Norwegian Institute of Alcohol and Drug Research, Chair of the editorial board of Nordic Studies on Alcohol and Drugs and serves on a number of scientific committees and advisory boards. Her research focuses mainly on illicit drug markets, influences of drug uptake, methodological issues, drug policy and choice theoretical perspectives on addiction.
The EMCDDA wishes the Chair and Vice Chair well in their new functions. It also pays tribute to outgoing Chair Dr Marina Davoli for her valuable contribution in steering the Committee over the last three years.
For more on the Scientific Committee and its work, see: www.emcdda.europa.eu/about/sc
Four new drugs go under the microscope
This week the Scientific Committee — with the participation of additional experts from the EU Member States, European Commission, Europol and the European Medicines Agency — carried out formal risk assessments of four new psychoactive substances: 25I-NBOMe, AH-7921, MDPV and methoxetamine. This was after harmful effects related to the drugs were reported by the Member States and picked up by the EU Early Warning System.
Four risk assessment reports will be submitted to the European Commission and the Council of the EU, on the basis of which the Commission may recommend to the Council that the drugs be submitted to control measures across the EU.
For more, see news release 1/2014.