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USA. Tackle Fentanyl like a Poisoning Outbreak, Not a Drug Epidemic

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recently released drug overdose statistics for 2018, and they are shocking. Of the estimated 47,000 deaths from opioids last year, roughly two-thirds involved potent synthetic opioids, most of them fentanyl.

For most victims, fentanyl was not their drug of choice. Rather, they were poisoned by dealers who mixed it into baggies of heroin or pressed into fake-opioid tablets. (RAND Drug Policy Research Center, USA, 01.09.2019)

https://www.rand.org/blog/2019/09/tackle-fentanyl-like-a-poisoning-outbreak-not-a-drug.html

Niederlande. Städte für das Marihuana-Experiment stehen fest

Die Gemeinden Groningen, Tilburg, Breda, Maastricht, Almere, Arnhem, Nimwegen, Zaanstad, Heerlen und Hellevoetsluis wurden als die niederländischen Gemeinden ausgewählt, in denen bald nur noch staatlich gezüchtetes Marihuana in Coffeeshops gekauft werden kann. Insgesamt hatten sich 26 Gemeinden für die Teilnahem am Experiment beworben, die vier großen Städte (Amsterdam, Den Haag, Rotterdam und Utrecht) hatten allerdings bekannt gegeben, dass sie aufgrund der Bedingungen des Experiments nicht teilnehmen werden. Sie fanden es nicht akzeptabel, dass alle Coffeeshops einer ausgewählten Gemeinde am Experiment teilnehmen müssen. (niederlande.net, Müster/Westf., 28.08.2019)

https://www.uni-muenster.de/NiederlandeNet/aktuelles/archiv/2019/0829wietexperiment.html

UNODC convenes national experts to re-design global drug information system and improve countries' reporting on drug matters

Vienna. The United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) gathered around 100 drug statistics experts from 60 countries in Vienna from 28 to 30 August to discuss the update of a key international drug-data collection tool, the Annual Report Questionnaire (ARQ), as well as priorities for related capacity building. (UNODC, 03.09.2019)

https://www.unodc.org/unodc/en/frontpage/2019/September/unodc-convenes-national-experts-to-re-design-global-drug-information-system-and-improve-countries-reporting-on-drug-matters.html

Niederlande. No joke: Amsterdam bans laughing gas sellers from the city’s streets

People selling balloons filled with laughing gas on the street in Amsterdam are to be fined under local bylaws on street trading, mayor Femke Halsema told councillors on Tuesday evening. (DutchNews.nl, 04.09.2019)

https://www.dutchnews.nl/news/2019/09/no-joke-amsterdam-bans-laughing-gas-sellers-from-the-citys-streets/

USA. The Opioid Files: Follow The Post’s investigation of the opioid epidemic

Since 2016, The Washington Post has been investigating the opioid epidemic that has ravaged communities and claimed the lives of more than 200,000 people nationwide since 1996. (Washington Post, 02.08.2019)

https://www.washingtonpost.com/national/2019/07/20/opioid-files/

USA. A Nun, a Doctor and a Lawyer — and Deep Regret Over the Nation’s Handling of Opioids

In an Appalachian town, an unlikely group of activists recognized the early stages of the deadly drug epidemic, and fought in vain to stem its rise. (New York Times, 18.08.2019)

https://www.nytimes.com/2019/08/18/health/opioids-purdue-pennington-gap.html

Strengthening the role of the World Health Organization in global drug policy

Health should be at the centre of the global drug policy debate. After all, the primary reason for the creation of the UN drug control regime is the protection of the ‘health and welfare of mankind’, as the preambles of the 1961, 1971 and 1988 UN drug conventions put it. As the lead entity on health matters within the UN system, the World Health Organization (WHO) is uniquely placed to fulfil a broad mandate in articulating a more progressive approach that truly puts people’s health, wellbeing and human rights at the centre of drug policies. (idpc - International Drug Policy Consortium, UK, 19.06.2019)

https://idpc.net/publications/2019/06/strengthening-the-role-of-the-world-health-organization-in-global-drug-policy

Niederlande. Cannabis trial: Dutch cities picked for cafe supply experiment

Cannabis cafes in the Netherlands are to be supplied legally with drugs from regulated producers as part of a trial aimed at tackling the black market. (BBC, UK, 30.08.2019)

https://www.bbc.com/news/world-europe-49508526

USA. A Secret Opioid Memo That Could Have Slowed an Epidemic

A confidential government document containing evidence so critical it had the potential to change the course of an American tragedy was kept in the dark for more than a decade. (New York Times, 16.08.2019)

https://www.nytimes.com/2019/08/16/the-weekly/opioid-crisis-epidemic.html

Kolumbien. Race to save the rainforest - Why replacing cocaine barons with cattle ranchers is destroying the Amazon 

Colombia’s great Amazon rainforest – a ‘vital lung’ of the planet – is being cleared for grazing cattle by an area bigger than Los Angeles every year.Joe Shutemeets the locals trying to halt the damage. (The Telegraph, UK, August 2019)

https://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/amazon-deforestation-in-colombia/

Luxemburg. 'Time to try something else': Luxembourg official tells Euronews on cannabis legalisation

As Luxembourg steps up preparations for new legislation to fully legalise recreational cannabis, the country's Health Minister Étienne Schneider spoke to Euronews.

"After decades of repressive policies, we have acknowledged that this policy does not work, that it did not meet expectations. So it's time to change mindsets, change our concepts and try something else," said Schneider, who is also Luxembourg's vice prime minister. (euronews, 10.08.2019)

https://www.euronews.com/2019/08/10/time-to-try-something-else-luxembourg-official-tells-euronews-on-cannabis-legalisation

USA. How Race Made the Opioid Crisis

The success of OxyContin hinged on racially bifurcated understandings of addiction. The fundamental division between “dope” and medicine, after all, has always been the race and class of users. (Boston Review Net, 27.08.2019)

https://bostonreview.net/forum/donna-murch-how-race-made-opioid-crisis

USA. Drug Policy Alliance Proposes Bold Solutions on International Overdose Awareness Day 

Harm Reduction, Drug Education, Evidence-based Treatment and Policy Changes Necessary to Curb Overdose Deaths. (DPA - Drug Policy Alliance, USA, 28.08.2019)

http://www.drugpolicy.org/press-release/2019/08/drug-policy-alliance-proposes-bold-solutions-international-overdose-0

Mexiko. Mexico court allows recreational cocaine in landmark decision

The ruling, which does not allow for the sale of the drug, is now under review by a higher court at the government's request. The organization backing the case told DW it is a step toward ending the "war on drugs." (Deutsche Welle, 21.08.2019)

https://www.dw.com/en/mexico-court-allows-recreational-cocaine-in-landmark-decision/a-50104286

China/USA. China's Ban on Fentanyl Drugs Won't Likely Stem America's Opioid Crisis

(RAND blog, USA, 22.05.2019)

https://www.rand.org/blog/2019/05/chinas-ban-on-fentanyl-drugs-wont-likely-stem-americas.html

USA. Your Methadone History Could Soon Be Shared Without Your Consent

The federal government wants to weaken confidentiality rules for patients with addictions. This means people who have been in any kind of treatment—even years ago—but will mainly affect methadone patients. (Filter, USA, 31.07.2019)

https://filtermag.org/methadone-information-consent/

Frankreich. Opioidkrise: Schmerzmittelgegner protestieren vor Pariser Louvre 

Aktivisten um die Fotografin Nan Goldin haben vor dem Pariser Louvre gegen die Pharmafamilie Sackler protestiert. Sie fordern vom Museum, den Namen des Sponsors aus dem Haus zu verbannen. (spiegel.de, 02.07.2019)

https://www.spiegel.de/kultur/gesellschaft/paris-schmerzmittel-gegner-protestieren-vor-louvre-a-1275394.html

USA. Opioid-Krise: Katastrophe mit Ansage

Die Zunahme an Drogentoten durch Überdosierung hat in den USA dramatische Ausmaße angenommen. Suchtmediziner Professor Dr. Michael Krausz findet das wenig überraschend. Als dringend geboten sieht er eine restriktivere Verordnung sowie ein gut ausgebautes Suchthilfesystem. (Pharmazeutische Zeitung, 16.07.2019)

https://www.pharmazeutische-zeitung.de/katastrophe-mit-ansage/

USA. Five takeaways from the DEA’s pain pill database

For the first time ever, a database maintained by the Drug Enforcement Administration that tracks the path of every single pain pill sold in the United States — from manufacturers and distributors to pharmacies in every town and city — is being made public. (Washington Post, 16.07.2019)

https://www.washingtonpost.com/investigations/six-takeaways-from-the-deas-pain-pill-database/2019/07/16/1d82643c-a7e6-11e9-a3a6-ab670962db05_story.html

USA. Q&A: Newly public data maps opioid crisis across US

The release of a massive trove of data from lawsuits over the nation's opioid crisis provides the most detailed accounting to date of the role played by the major pharmaceutical companies and distributors. (MedicalXpress, USA, 19.07.2019)

https://medicalxpress.com/news/2019-07-qa-newly-opioid-crisis_1.html

USA. Key Facts about Uninsured Adults with Opioid Use Disorder

The opioid epidemic continues to devastate many parts of the country, with thousands dying each year from opioid overdoses. The number of deaths is increasing, driven by a spike in overdoses from fentanyl and other synthetic opioids.1 Of the roughly two million nonelderly adults with opioid use disorder (OUD), about a fifth are uninsured. Uninsured adults with OUD are particularly vulnerable because of limited access to treatment and care. Based on data from the 2016 and 2017 National Survey on Drug Use and Health (NSDUH), this data note describes uninsured nonelderly adults with OUD, including their demographic characteristics and treatment utilization. (Kaiser Family Foundation – Kaiser Health News, USA, 15.07.2019)

https://www.kff.org/uninsured/issue-brief/key-facts-about-uninsured-adults-with-opioid-use-disorder

USA. Reefer Madness or Pot Paradise? The Surprising Legacy of the Place Where Legal Weed Began

Colorado’s first-in-the-nation experiment with legalized marijuana has infused the drug into almost every corner of life. (New York Times, 30.06.2019)

https://www.nytimes.com/2019/06/30/us/marijuana-colorado-legalization.html

USA. Will Nearly 2,000 Pending Opioid Lawsuits End In A Master Settlement? 

Attorneys are attempting to put together a settlement that would make a "meaningful impact on the deeply tragic opioid crisis." (The Fix, USA, 11.07.2019)

https://www.thefix.com/opioid-lawsuits

Comparing alcohol taxation throughout the European Union.

Angus, C., Holmes, J., and Meier, P. S. ( 2019) 

Addiction, 114: 1489– 1494. doi.org/10.1111/add.14631.

https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/add.14631

GCDP. Classification of Psychoactive Substances: when science was left behind

In Classification of Drugs: when science was left behind, the Global Commission on Drug Policy explains how the biased historical classification of psychoactive substances has contributed to the "world drug problem". It is the first-ever comprehensive report providing a political reading of the current evaluation and classification, or "scheduling" of drugs according to their harms.

Psychoactive substances should be classified with regard to their potential for dependence and other harms. This is not the case today, where some substances are legally available because they are considered beneficial (medicines) or culturally important (alcohol), while others are seen as destructive, and are strictly prohibited. The classification of drugs is at the core of the international drug control system. As such, governments must ensure that such a classification is pragmatic and based on science and evidence, makes clear the benefits and harms of drugs, and allows for responsible legal regulatory models to control drugs. (The Global Commission on Drug Policy, Schweiz, Juni 2019)

http://www.globalcommissionondrugs.org/reports/classification-psychoactive-substances

UNODC. World Drug Report 2019
The World Drug Report 2019is again presented in five separate parts that divide the wealth of information and analysis contained in the report into individual reader-friendly booklets in which drugs are grouped by their psychopharmacological effect for the first time in the report’s history.

Booklet 1 provides a summary of the four subsequent booklets by reviewing their key findings and highlighting policy implications based on their conclusions. Booklet 2 contains a global overview of the latest estimates of and trends in the supply, use and health consequences of drugs. Booklet 3 looks at recent trends in the market for depressants (including opioids, sedatives, tranquillizers and hypnotics), while Booklet 4 deals with recent trends in the market for stimulants (including cocaine, amphetamine-type stimulants and new psychoactive substances). Booklet 5 contains a review of recent trends in the market for cannabis and for hallucinogens. The section on cannabis also includes a review of the latest developments in the jurisdictions that have adopted measures allowing the non-medical use of cannabis.

As in previous years, the World Drug Report 2019is aimed at improving the understanding of the world drug problem and contributing towards fostering greater international cooperation for countering its impact on health, governance and security. (UNODC, 26.06.2019)

https://wdr.unodc.org/wdr2019/

The Drugreporter Video Database

Welcome to the Drugreporter Video Database! The database features hundreds of drug policy reform and harm reduction advocacy videos from all around the world. The videos produced by the Drugreporter – Rights Reporter Foundation team Péter Sárosi and István Gábor Takács (former HCLU Drug Policy Program) since 2008 are marked with blue. The videos produced by members of our Russian speaking blog   DUNEWS , Igor Kuzmenko, Alexander Levin and Alexey Kurmanaevskii, are marked with yellow. The videos produced by our Drugreporter Video Advocacy Network are marked with green. You can navigate the map and click on the markers to see the films. You can also use the filters below to find films by author, topic or country. (Drugreporter, Ungarn, 24.06.2019)

https://drogriporter.hu/en/video-database/

China. Beijing says US legalization of marijuana is a 'threat to China'

Beijing. Beijing's leading drug enforcement body has blamed the legalization of marijuana in Canada and parts of the United States for a spike in the amount of drugs smuggled into the country, describing it as a "new threat to China." (CNN, 17.06.2019)

https://edition.cnn.com/2019/06/17/asia/china-us-marijuana-smuggling-intl-hnk/index.html

The China Drug, Crime and Detention Database

The China Drug, Crime and Detention Database Project is the first open access quantitative database focused on Chinese government drug policy and the country's justice system. It is an open access resource for researchers, advocates, journalists and organisations engaged in the study of drug policy, criminal justice, policing and detention in China. (London School of Economics and Political Science, 2019)
http://www.lse.ac.uk/united-states/international-drug-policy/IDPU-China-drug-database

Eine fortschrittliche Drogenpolitik ist ganz im Sinne von Kofi Annan

Der verstorbene UNO-Generalsekretär hat sich für eine Drogenpolitik eingesetzt, die Konsumenten entkriminalisiert und ihnen Zugang zu Medikamenten verschafft. Seine Arbeit wird fortgesetzt.

(Ruth Dreifuss in Tagesanzeiger, Schweiz, 18.05.2019)

https://www.tagesanzeiger.ch/schweiz/standard/eine-fortschrittliche-drogenpolitik-ist-ganz-im-sinne-von-kofi-annan/story/30572641