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USA. Joe Biden’s new plan to end the opioid epidemic is the most ambitious in the field

The plan emphasizes more addiction treatment and prevention — and less war on drugs. (Vox, 06.03.2020)

https://www.vox.com/policy-and-politics/2020/3/6/21167803/joe-biden-opioid-epidemic-plan-drug-overdoses

How Former Soviet Countries Are Suppressing Harm Reduction “Propaganda”

Lawmakers in the former Soviet Union are seeking to impose harsher criminal penalties for drug-related “propaganda,” especially online. Their efforts are ostensibly supposed to keep people from promoting drug use. But local advocates fear that this approach will persecute those doing harm reduction work for people using drugs or living with HIV/AIDS. (Filter, USA, 05.03.2020)

https://filtermag.org/soviet-drug-propaganda/

Schweiz. "Der Staat soll alle Drogen regulieren"

Die ärztlich kontrollierte Heroinabgabe war ein entscheidender Faktor, dass die Schliessung der offenen Drogenszene am Letten 1995 klappte. Thilo Beck begann zwei Jahre nach der Schliessung im Zentrum für Suchtmedizin, Arud, zu arbeiten. Warum braucht es die ärztlich kontrollierte Heroinabgabe auch heute noch? Wie hat sich der Drogenkonsum geändert und wo steht heute die Drogenpolitik? Thilo Beck gibt Antworten als «Regionaljournal»-Wochengast. (SRF – Schweizerischer Rundfunk, 16.02.2020)

https://www.srf.ch/news/regional/zuerich-schaffhausen/wochengast-thilo-beck-der-staat-soll-alle-drogen-regulieren

Europa. EU-Tabakbesteuerung sollte Zigarettenkonsum stärker eindämmen 

Die derzeitigen Vorschriften zur Tabakbesteuerung funktionieren zwar gut hinsichtlich Vorhersehbarkeit und Stabilität der Steuereinnahmen der Mitgliedstaaten, verhindern den hohen Tabakkonsum in der EU aber nicht mehr ausreichend. Notwendig ist ein umfassenderer Ansatz, der alle Aspekte der Tabakkontrolle einschließlich der öffentlichen Gesundheit, der Besteuerung, der Bekämpfung des illegalen Handels und der Umweltbelange berücksichtigt. Dies geht aus der Bewertung der EU-Vorschriften zur Besteuerung von Tabakwaren hervor, die die Europäische Kommission heute (Montag) veröffentlicht hat. (Europäische Union, 10.02.2020)

https://ec.europa.eu/germany/news/20200210-eu-tabakbesteuerung_de

Umweltschäden durch Tabakanbau: Studie Ruinierte Natur

Diese Studie beschreibt die Umweltschäden durch Tabakanbau, Zigarettenherstellung und Zigarettenkippen. Neben einem Überblick über den ökologischen Fußabdruck des globalen Tabaksektors, zeigen Beispiele aus drei Kontinenten konkrete Folgen.

Mwita M. Mangora stellt dar, wie stark der Tabakanbau in Tansania zur Abholzung des Miombo-Trockenwaldes beiträgt. Farida Akhter beschreibt den massiven Einsatz von Agrochemikalien und die Vergiftung der Flussufer und des Matamuhuri-Flusses in Bangladesch. Susanna Knotz zeigt auf, dass in Deutschland die Umwelt unter dem Tabakmüll, den Zigarettenkippen leidet, konkret am Eintrag von Giftstoffen und Plastik in die Ostsee.

Sonja von Eichborn (Hrsg.); Mwita M. Mangora; Farida Akhter; Susanna Knotz.

Ruinierte Natur. Entwaldung, Pestizide und Nikotin, November 2018

https://www.unfairtobacco.org/material/studie-ruinierte-natur/

Österreich. Drogensituation in Österreich weitgehend stabil

Im jüngsten Jahresbericht der Gesundheit Österreich GmbH wird von 184 Todesfällen aufgrund von Drogenüberdosierung ausgegangen. Bei fast allen Todesfällen waren Opiate im Spiel (93%). Die Zahl ist im Vergleich zu 2017 leicht gestiegen. Die gute Nachricht: Die Zahl der Einsteiger/innen in den risikoreichen Opioidkonsum ist weiterhin rückläufig. Auch bei den legalen Substanzen gibt es positive Entwicklungen. (Institut Sucht Prävention, Österreich, 07.02.2020)

https://www.praevention.at/news/news-detail/bericht-zur-drogensituation-goeg

EU-Kommission bemängelt Unterschiede bei der Tabaksteuer

Brüssel – Ein Päckchen Zigaretten für 2,57 Euro in Bulgarien – oder für 11,37 Euro in Irland: Der Unterschied bei Tabaksteuern in den EU-Staaten schadet aus Sicht der EU-Kommission dem Kampf gegen Krebs und sollte überarbeitet werden. (aerzteblatt.de, 10.02.2020)

https://www.aerzteblatt.de/nachrichten/109278/EU-Kommission-bemaengelt-Unterschiede-bei-der-Tabaksteuer

Opioid Epidemic Weighs Financially On Black Community 

For the past several years, American attention has been fixated on fighting opioid overdoses, revealing communities in economic and social distress. This crisis has cost the U.S. economy $696 billion through 2018, and the government bears less than one-third of the financial costs, with the rest falling on individuals and the private sector. Unfortunately, the related plagues of drug abuse and death have stalked African-American communities for decades, garnering little to no attention leaving one to question just how vulnerable are they economically? (Forbes, USA, 20.02.2020)

https://www.forbes.com/sites/korihale/2020/02/20/opioid-epidemic-weighs-financially-on-black-community

EMCDDA. New EMCDDA programme 2020–22

This month, the EMCDDA has published its Programming Document for the period 2020–22. The document, which includes the 2020 annual work programme, comes at the mid-point of the EMCDDA Strategy 2025 (Roadmap 2020) and coincides with the final year of the EU Drugs Strategy (2013–20). Key activities in this period include the continuation of two projects aimed at partnership with third countries, the release of a reshaped European Drug Report, as well as the ongoing delivery of value to our stakeholders. We are also celebrating ‘25 years of monitoring’ and consolidating our position as the leading European source of information on drugs.

http://www.emcdda.europa.eu/system/files/publications/12794/20200273_TDAX20001ENN_PDF.pdf

In major shift, UN drug chief questions whether control treaties involving cannabis are out of date

The president of the narcotics enforcement agency of the United Nations is questioning whether the agency’s decades-old drug conventions are outdated given global policy developments in recent years involving drugs such as cannabis. (Marihuana Business Daily, 27.02.2020)

https://mjbizdaily.com/in-major-shift-un-drug-chief-questions-whether-control-treaties-involving-cannabis-are-out-of-date/

Niederlande. Amsterdam will Cannabis für Touristen verbieten

Die niederländische Hauptstadt wird von Touristen überrannt. Weil viele angeben, wegen der Coffeeshops zu kommen, fordert die Bürgermeisterin, den Besuchern Cannabis zu verbieten. (faz.net, 18.02.2020)

https://www.faz.net/aktuell/gesellschaft/amsterdam-will-cannabis-fuer-touristen-verbieten-16640008.html

Amsterdam looks to bar foreign visitors from buying cannabis 

Mayor cites survey of tourists in the Wallen and Singel as she looks to clean up overcrowded red-light areas. (The Guardian, UK, 13.02.2020)

https://www.theguardian.com/world/2020/feb/13/amsterdam-looks-to-bar-foreign-visitors-from-buying-cannabis-mayor-tourists-red-light-district

Malaysia. PH aims to decriminalise drug possession for personal use before end of 1st term

KUALA LUMPUR: The Pakatan Harapan (PH) government aims to decriminalise drug possession for personal use before the end of its first term. (New Straits Times, Malaysia, 30.01.2020)

https://www.nst.com.my/news/nation/2020/01/560979/ph-aims-decriminalise-drug-possession-personal-use-end-1st-term

Can the migration process influence the clinical expression of heroin use disorder in migrants to Italy?

Maremmani I, Carbone MG, Tagliarini C, Ricci M, Lupi AM, Sarandrea L, Ceban A, Maremmani AGI, Casella P.

CNS Spectr. 2020 Jan 23:1-9. doi: 10.1017/S1092852919001846.

Abstract

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/31969204

Kolumbien. Farmers prepare mass protests as Colombia abandons counternarcotics strategy

Colombia’s coca growers demand the resignation of the director of the government program to voluntarily eradicate coca, as the country’s counternarcotics strategy is collapsing.

The claim of Hernando Londoño, the director of crop substitution program PNIS, that “coca substitution leaders have not been assassinated” was the straw that broke the camel’s back for the coca farmers, who claim government betrayal left people starving.

In a press release, coca growers federation COCCAM said that at least 56 community leaders promoting and facilitating the removal of coca have been assassinated since the program took force in May 2017.

An additional 29 coca farmers who took part in the removal of coca have additionally been assassinated, COCCAM said.

In an interview with several media, coca growers said they were fed up with the bullshit of the administration of President Ivan Duque and said they would join national strikes that are being organized for March. (Colombia Reports, 29.01.2020)

https://colombiareports.com/farmers-prepare-mass-protests-as-colombia-abandoning-counternarcotics-strategy/

USA. The Wrong Way to Fight the Opioid Crisis

People struggling with addiction who share a lethal dose of drugs are being prosecuted as killers. (The New Yorker, 03.02.2020)

https://www.newyorker.com/magazine/2020/02/10/the-wrong-way-to-fight-the-opioid-crisis

USA. White House Releases 2020 National Drug Control Strategy

Today, White House Office of National Drug Control Policy (ONDCP) Director Jim Carroll released the Trump Administration’s National Drug Control Strategy, which establishes the President’s priorities for addressing the challenge of drug trafficking and use. (White House Office of National Drug Control Policy (ONDCP), USA, 03.02.2020)

https://www.whitehouse.gov/briefings-statements/white-house-releases-2020-national-drug-control-strategy

Drug Decriminalisation Across the World

The criminalisation of people who use drugs compounds drug-related challenges and worsens health and welfare outcomes. Across the world, there is a growing number of jurisdictions where the possession of scheduled drugs for personal use has been decriminalised. In some countries and federal states, this has been extended to the cultivation of cannabis for personal use or the sharing of substances where there is no financial gain (also known as ‘social sharing’).

In the context of drug policy, ‘decriminalisation’ refers to the removal of criminal penalties for activities related to drug use. In some legal systems criminal penalties are replaced by civil sanctions, while in other systems no penalties are applied – please see our glossary for more detailed definitions.

Some form of decriminalisation has been adopted in 30 countries – with significant differences and levels of effectiveness. This interactive map provides an overview of these models, offering insights into decriminalisation laws, their implementation and impact.

The inclusion of a jurisdiction in the map is not an endorsement. For example, countries like Mexico and Russia are highlighted below, despite the fact both countries have ineffectual frameworks as detailed in their country profiles. The gold standard of decriminalisation is the removal of all punishment for drug use, and the availability and accessibility of evidence- and human rights-based harm reduction, health and social services on a voluntary basis.

This map has been developed in partnership with Release, the International Drug Policy Consortium, and Accountability International, thanks to the financial support of the Robert Carr Fund and Open Society Foundations. This map will be updated regularly – if you do have any comments or feedback please contact us. This map will be updated regularly – if you do have any comments or feedback please contact us. (Talking Drugs, UK, Januar 2020)

https://www.talkingdrugs.org/drug-decriminalisation

Niederlande. MPs, health experts and lawyers call for new approach to drugs

MPs, television celebrities, lawyers, leading lights from the dance scene and health experts are among the 79 people who have signed a new manifesto calling for major reform in official Dutch drugs policy. ‘The need for a new and realistic drugs policy is greater than ever. The international drug trade has taken root in the Netherlands and with serious consequences,’ the online manifesto states. ‘Mayors are receiving death threats, a lawyer was murdered and ecstasy waste dumping is threatening the environment. But the manifest powerlessness in the face of drug-related crime is making for ever greater repression.’ The signatories, including D66 MP Vera Bergkamp, former VVD minister Frits Bolkestein and dance pioneer Duncan Stutterheim, say the aim is to reduce the risk of drugs to health and boost public safety – firstly by tackling the revenue model. ‘A regulated – not a free – drugs market the starting point of a new drugs policy,’ the manifesto states. ‘lllegality fuels crime. That is why we must tackle the revenue model of the criminals and make a regulated- not a free – drug market the starting point of a new drugs policy.’ (DutchNews.nl, Niederlande, 20.01.2020)

https://www.dutchnews.nl/news/2020/01/mps-health-experts-and-lawyers-call-for-new-approach-to-drugs/

USA. Major drugstore chains sue doctors in sprawling federal opioid case

Major drugstore chains — which face an October trial in the mammoth federal opioid litigation — have sued doctors across northeast Ohio, claiming that physicians are the real culprits in the nation’s deadly drug epidemic. (Washington Post, 08.01.2020)

https://www.washingtonpost.com/health/major-drugstore-chains-sue-doctors-in-sprawling-federal-opioid-case/2020/01/07/3ac9cd70-317d-11ea-9313-6cba89b1b9fb_story.html

Schweiz. «Eine bessere Drogenpolitik hätte viel Elend verhindert»

André Seidenberg kämpfte vor 30 Jahren mit Methadon und sauberen Spritzen gegen die Verwahrlosung der Heroinsüchtigen. Heute fordert er die ärztliche Abgabe aller Drogen. (Beobachter, Schweiz, 16.01.2020)

https://www.beobachter.ch/gesundheit/pravention/platzspitzbaby-eine-bessere-drogenpolitik-hatte-viel-elend-verhindert

Europa. Civil Society Forum on Drugs

The Civil Society Forum on Drugs (CSFD) is an expert group of the European Commission that was created in 2007 on the basis of the Commission Green Paper on the role of civil society in drugs policy in the EU. Its purpose is to provide a broad platform for a structured dialogue between the Commission and the European civil society which supports drug policy formulation and implementation through practical advice. 

http://www.civilsocietyforumondrugs.eu/

Marokko. The Moroccan government agrees to discuss draft laws on cannabis cultivation 

Six years ago, MPs from the parties of Authenticity and Modernity (PAM) and Istiqlal submitted draft laws on cannabis cultivation in Morocco. The debate on these proposals is back on track as the government agreed to discuss it. (yabiladi.com, Marokko, 03.01.2020)

https://en.yabiladi.com/articles/details/87428/moroccan-government-agrees-discuss-draft.html

USA. US-Regierung verbietet Verkauf aromatisierter E-Zigaretten mit einigen Ausnahmen

Washington – Die US-Regierung verbietet eine Vielzahl aromatisierter E-Zigaretten, verzichtet unter dem Druck der Zigarettenlobby aber auf ein Komplettverbot. (aerzteblatt.de, 03.01.2020)

https://www.aerzteblatt.de/nachrichten/108462/US-Regierung-verbietet-Verkauf-aromatisierter-E-Zigaretten-mit-einigen-Ausnahmen

China. The China Drug, Crime and Detention Database - 中国毒品、犯罪和拘留数据库

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. (LSE - London School of Economics and Political Science, UK, Dezember 2019)

http://www.lse.ac.uk/united-states/international-drug-policy/IDPU-China-drug-database

Addressing the context and consequences of substance use, misuse, and dependence: A global imperative.

Tsai AC, Alegría M, Strathdee SA (2019) 

PLoS Med 16(11): e1003000. doi.org/10.1371/journal.pmed.1003000

https://journals.plos.org/plosmedicine/article?id=10.1371/journal.pmed.1003000

USA. House Committee Passes Landmark Bill To End Federal Marijuana Ban
WASHINGTON (dpa-AFX) - The House Judiciary Committee passed a landmark bill Wednesday that will legalize marijuana at the federal level by removing it from the Controlled Substances Act. (finanznachrichte.de, 21.11.2019)

https://www.finanznachrichten.de/nachrichten-2019-11/48235467-house-committee-passes-landmark-bill-to-end-federal-marijuana-ban-020.htm

EMCDDA. Europäischer Drogenbericht 2019: Trends und Entwicklungen 

Europäische Beobachtungsstelle für Drogen und Drogensucht, Lissabon (2019), Amt für Veröffentlichungen der Europäischen Union, Luxemburg

http://www.emcdda.europa.eu/system/files/publications/11364/20191724_TDAT19001DEN_PDF.pdf

European Drug Report 2019: Trends and Developments

EMCDDA, Lisbon, June 2019 

http://www.emcdda.europa.eu/publications/edr/trends-developments/2019

U.S. Opioid Epidemic: Impact on Public Health and Review of Prescription Drug Monitoring Programs (PDMPs).

Boté SH.

Online J Public Health Inform. 2019 Sep 19;11(2):e18. doi: 10.5210/ojphi.v11i2.10113.

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6788897/