The Drug Education Forum is hosted by drug education the Daniel Spargo-Mabbs Foundation, and led by a steering group of organisations working broadly across the drug education and harm reduction sector, with expert advisors: Prof Harry Sumnall, Jason Kew, Jamila Boughelaf and Prof Adam Winstock. Keep reading for more information about the team behind the DEF.

Steering group

Chair: Fiona Spargo-Mabbs, Director and Founder, Daniel Spargo-Mabbs Foundation

Fiona Spargo-MabbsFiona Spargo-Mabbs is Director and Founder of drug education charity the Daniel Spargo-Mabbs Foundation, and an award-winning author of books for parents. In 2023 she was awarded an OBE for services to young people. With over two decades’ experience working in education as a teacher, manager and national lead in her specialism working with vulnerable families, Fiona co-founded the DSM Foundation in 2014 in response to the death of her 16-year-old son Daniel having taken ecstasy. As well as working directly with young people, parents and professionals herself, Fiona is also regularly asked to speak on various national platforms and in the media, and her TEDx talk, ‘Why drugs education is vital’, can be seen online. She is closely involved in policy work with government, police, academics and other agencies, working closely in partnership to influence change nationally.

Fiona is author of ‘I Wish I’d Known: Young People, Drugs and Decisions – a guide for parents and carers’ (Sheldon Press, 2021) and ‘Talking the Tough Stuff with Teens: making conversations work when it matters most’ (Sheldon Press, 2022).

For more information about the DSM Foundation see

Nick Hickmott, Early Intervention Lead for We are With You

Nick Hickmott

Nick Hickmott is the Early Intervention Lead for We are With You, managing and delivering drug education, harm reduction and risk taking behaviour programmes across Kent. Having worked in the drug and alcohol sector for the past 14 years, Nick has specialised in the facilitation and delivery of drug education to groups of young people and has extensive experience working young adults and families in frontline, supervisor and management positions. Nick comes from a background of management in the residential care setting with Looked After Children and is a qualified Social Worker and is currently a co-opted member of the ACMD prevention group whilst occupying advisory positions in various research projects related to substance use and young people. 

For more information about We Are With You see

Charlotte Gordon, Founder and Creative Director, KIP Education

Charlotte Gordon

With over 30 years of experience working with vulnerable young people, Charlotte is a highly respected and nationally acclaimed youth worker & trainer. Her expertise lies in the areas of emotional distress, anxiety, and depression that many young people face, and she is dedicated to equipping professionals with practical tools to build emotional resilience using life skills approaches. Charlotte set up KIP Education, with her main objectives include developing self-awareness and mindfulness in young people; inculcating critical thinking; enhancing communications skills; encouraging greater empathy with others; and helping young people learn to deal with stress; and develop a greater sense of social awareness and human values. Charlotte works directly with young people in schools, provides INSET for teachers, school governors, and parent workshops, and delivers professional training.

For more information about KIP Education see

Dr Ivan Ezquerra-Romano, founder Substancy and co-founder Neurosight

Ivan is a neuroscientist with a PhD from University College London. During his undergraduate years, he co-founded Drugs and Me to provide young people with honest, non-judgemental, and evidence-based information about drug use. Currently, he is developing innovative tools with AI at Substancy for the harm reduction, cannabis and psychedelics sector. Through NeuroSight, a consultancy company he established alongside Arda and Paul, Ivan has also facilitated the adoption of harm reduction practices within various organizations.

For more information about Substancy see


Helena Conibear, CEO and Founder of The TALK ABOUT Trust (formerly Alcohol Education Trust)

Helena Conibear is CEO and Founder of The TALK ABOUT Trust, a charity which works across the UK to keep young people safe around alcohol ,vaping, cannabis and other substances. The early intervention charity enables young people age 11- 25 to make more informed, safer life choices through the provision of interactive evidenced resources and workshops for young people, training and cpd for professionals and parental support.

Helena is a member of The Institute for Health Promotion and Education, and of the European Society for Prevention Research and a Trustee of KDUK. She is also an accredited RSHE practitioner and lead author of the Talk About Alcohol programme, selected by The Early Intervention Foundation as one of the top 80 most effective early intervention programmes globally and awarded 3/3 for impact and 5/6 for quality of evaluation by the DfE appointed CAYT (Nat Cen and Institute for Fiscal Studies). She is a Fellow of the School for Social Entrepreneurs and Royal Society of Arts and a Deputy Lieutenant for Dorset. 

For more information about The Talk About Trust

Paul North, Director Volteface

Paul is a criminologist and addiction specialist with nine years experience working in the drug treatment sector. During this time he managed services, delivered bespoke addiction training programmes for the public sector and lectured at Universities. After joining Volteface in 2017, Paul wrote his first policy report ‘Street Lottery’, which received extensive media coverage across the UK. Paul regularly comments in the media on drug treatment, cannabis use among young people, mental health and drugs education. Alongside his Volteface work, Paul is a Director at Neurosight, a social enterprise providing drug education and awareness to organisations across Europe.

For more information about Volteface see

Emma Crawshaw, CEO Crew 2000

Emma leads the Crew team as Chief Executive Officer, developing non-judgmental drug harm reduction support and resources informed by people’s living and lived experience whilst influencing policy and public perceptions to reduce stigma.

She’s part of Scottish Government Cross Party Groups on Improving Scotland’s Health and Drug and Alcohol Use, the NEPTUNE Novel Psychoactive Treatment UK Network, a member of the Scottish GSK-funded IMPACT Award-winner’s Network and Cascading Leadership Programme, supported by the King’s Fund, a member of the European Society for Prevention Research’s Scientific Committee and European Nightlife Empowerment and Wellbeing Network (NEWNet).

For more information about Crew 2000 see

Arda Ozcubucku, co-founder and director, Neurosight

Arda is a policy researcher with a background in neuroscience, and former researcher in health systems and innovation ecosystems. She is a Communications Associate at Clerkenwell Health, and Business Development Executive at Drugs and Me.

For more information about Neurosight see

DEF Advisors

Professor Harry Sumnall, Professor in Substance Use in the School of Psychology, Liverpool John Moores University

Harry is a Professor in Substance Use in the School of Psychology at Liverpool John Moores University. He is affiliated with the Public Health Institute. He undertakes and collaborates on a wide range of research on drug related topics – from pre-clinical studies to policy analysis – but has particular specialism in young people’s drug use, and prevention interventions. Harry’s funded research programmes have primarily examined the evidence base for substance use prevention and the mechanisms for implementing evidence based practice and policy. Other current work includes research into public stigma towards people who use drugs, public support for drug policy, psychedelic microdosing, alcohol marketing, and the development and evaluation of interventions and support services for people at higher risk of drug related harm. Harry regularly discusses drug use topics with UK and international media, and regularly contributes to UK and international practice and policy development initiatives.

Harry was a Member of the UK Government Advisory Council on the Misuse of Drugs between 2011-2019, a Board Member and Past-President of the European Society for Prevention Research (2010-2019), and is a scientific advisor to the MIND Foundation (Germany). He is a founding Steering Committee Member of the UK Anti-Stigma Network. He is an Associate Editor of the journals Addictive Behaviors and Journal of Prevention.

Jason Kew, Senior Practice lead at The Centre for Justice Innovation and Senior Drug Policy, Awareness and Prevention Consultant

In Jason’s time as a police officer and Chief Inspector at Thames Valley Police, he came to understand the unintended consequences and subsequent damage caused by marginalisation and inequality within the justice system, and became a passionate advocate for challenging stigma and diverting people away from the criminal justice system. He helped to develop the Thames Valley drug diversion scheme, which enables everyone found with controlled drugs an assessment of their use and education/harm reduction without the need for arrest, interview nor admission of guilt. This scheme has been a catalyst for health-based drug interventions across the UK and further afield, also leading to policy changes within education to negate the need for exclusions. The diversion scheme harmonises with a whole system approach to engage all communities.

Jason regularly sits on panels of events where he shares his knowledge on evidence-based drug diversion, and on emerging schemes in the UK, such as at a recent side event held by the UN Commission on Narcotic Drugs. He was recently commended for his work by the International Association of Chiefs of Police. Notably, this award acknowledges Jason’s leadership in changing the culture of those in law enforcement to see that a health-based approach to those who use drugs is more effective than arrest to achieve a reduction in use.”

Professor Adam Winstock, Consultant Psychiatrist & Addiction Medicine Specialist; Honorary Clinical Professor, Institute of Epidemiology and Health Care, UCL Faculty of Population Health Sciences; Founder Global Drug Survey

Adam has been a Consultant Psychiatrist and Addiction Medicine Specialist for 20 years, and an Honorary Clinical Professor at University College London. He is an internationally recognised expert in his field and has a high level of expertise in the assessment and management of all substance-related problems and common associated mental health diagnoses. He is an accomplished educator, public speaker, and internationally recognized expert in the areas of young people, drugs and nightlife. He has published over 150 research papers and book chapters and has been delivering training to clinicians, law enforcement and hospitality staff for over 20 years. He is also a member of Drug Science Expert Committee.

He has spent most of his working life in public health systems in the UK and Australia, and has published over 130 academic papers and book chapters. In 2011 he founded the Global Drug Survey, which runs the world’s largest drug survey. He founded Staying Safer in 2022, a student safety and wellbeing course which is being used by a number of UK universities.

Jamila Boughelaf – Programme Manager, Education Endowment Fund

An accomplished senior manager with a passion for championing evidence-driven initiatives. Jamila currently leads the Education Endowment Foundation’s programme work on two themes: Learning Behaviours and Implementation. Jamila is also independent consultant in the fields of Substance Use and Gambling Education & Prevention, with focus on evidence-informed capacity building, impact & evaluation, and policy research. Prior to joining EEF, Jamila worked as Head of Programmes at the What Works Centre for Wellbeing and as Head of Programmes and Evidence at Mentor UK, where she managed the Alcohol and Drug Education and Prevention Information Service (ADEPIS) and the Centre for Analysis for Youth Transitions.

Jamila has led a variety of international programmes across the UK, Europe, the Middle East and North Africa and also spent time as a Research Assistant for Dr Maha Azzam, Associate Fellow at Chatham House and Dr Sara Silvestri at City University.