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USA. Drug overdoses in the US slightly increased last year. But experts see hopeful signs

Drug overdose deaths in the U.S. rose slightly in 2022. (AP, USA, 17.05.2023)


One month to go! - 2023 #SupportDontPunish Global Day of Action

In one month, thousands of harm reductionists will mobilise once more in cross-border solidarity for a world beyond the 'war on drugs'. Are you ready? (supportdontpunish.org, UK, 24.05.2023)



The gender-sensitive drug policies respond to the needs and interests of women, men and gender-non-conforming people in their structures, programs and work, removing barriers to access and adherence to drug services and increasing the efficacy of drug policies.

The European Union is a strong advocate for gender-sensitive drug policies at the international level. It is a referent and a prominent actor in this regard. The Civil Society Forum on Drugs (CSFD), the expert committee of the European Commission in the field of drugs, has identified the enhancement of a gender perspective in EU drug policy as one of the emerging issues of drug policies. In its ambition to contribute to EU policymaking, the CSFD analysed the current EU Drug Strategy and Plan ofAction to identify ways in which to strengthen a gender perspective. (Civil Society Forum on Drugs (CSFD), April 2023)


USA. : A Rural County’s Choice: Use Opioid Funds to Pay Off Debt, or Pay Them Forward to Curb Crisis

Over the past two years, rural Greene County in northeastern Tennessee has collected more than $2.7 million from regional and national settlements with opioid manufacturers and distributors. But instead of helping people harmed by addiction, county officials are finding other ways to spend it. (KFF Health News, USA, 15.05.2023


USA. As fentanyl deaths rise, state legislatures resist 'harm reduction' method

The Biden administration is embracing healthcare efforts designed to reduce the deadly impact of fentanyl addiction — but many state legislatures are resisting the "harm reduction" approach. (NPR – National Public Radio, USA, 02.05.2023)


USA. Fentanyl-Related Substances: Don’t Make Trump’s Policy Permanent

The vast majority (83 percent) of voters agree that the “War on Drugs” has been an abject failure. It has resulted in unconscionable harm to Black, Latinx, Indigenous and low-income communities. Yet despite that, Congress seems intent on ramping it up once again with increased criminalization of fentanyl-related substances (FRS). 

In fact, as we reach National Fentanyl Awareness Day on May 9—when law enforcement and prevention-focused groups are likely to dominate coverage—Congress has introduced no fewer than seven bills this session that would permanently place FRS in Schedule I of the Controlled Substances Act. Doing so will subject people to the highest possible mandatory minimum sentences. (Filter, USA, 08.05.2023)


USA. New DEA requirements may limit access to buprenorphine, a popular drug for opioid recovery

Doctors and advocates are concerned a federal proposal to roll back a pandemic policy allowing remote prescribing of a common opioid substitute medicine could jeopardize those recovering from addiction. 

With the public health emergency set to end May 11, the Drug Enforcement Administration proposal would require people to visit a doctor or clinic within 30 days of getting a telehealth prescription for buprenorphine. (USA Today, USA, 02.05.2023)


State Policies Could Impede New Efforts to Increase Access to Medications for Opioid Use Disorder. 

Barsky BA, Mehrotra A, Huskamp HA. 

JAMA Health Forum. 2023;4(3):e230071. doi:10.1001/jamahealthforum.2023.0071


Modeling Opioid Abuse: A Case Study of the Opioid Crisis in New England. 

Butler C, Stechlinski P. 

Bull Math Biol. 2023 Apr 23;85(6):45. doi: 10.1007/s11538-023-01148-1. PMID: 37088864; PMCID: PMC10122875.


Beyond the X - Next Steps in Policy Reforms to Address the Overdose Crisis. 

Wakeman SE, Beletsky L. 

N Engl J Med. 2023 May 4;388(18):1639-1641. doi: 10.1056/NEJMp2301479. Epub 2023 Apr 29. PMID: 37125771.


Schweiz. «Der steigende Konsum von starken Opioiden sollte uns Sorgen machen» 

Opioide, starke und schnell süchtig machende Schmerzmittel, haben in den USA eine Krise ausgelöst. Auch in der Schweiz nimmt der Konsum stark zu. Eine Forscherin fordert mehr Daten und Aufklärung. (20min, Schweiz, 28.04.2023)


International Overdose Awareness Day: 31st August

The world’s annual campaign to end overdose, remember without stigma those who have died, and acknowledge the grief of the family and friends left behind. (overdoseday.com, APRIL 2023)


Syria: EU sanctions drug trade benefitting the regime 

The Council today decided to list 25 individuals and 8 entities in the framework of EU restrictive measures in view of the situation in Syria.

The majority of today’s designations target individuals and entities responsible for the production and trafficking of narcotics, notably Captagon. The trade in amphetamine has become a regime-led business model, enriching the inner circle of the regime and providing it with revenue that contributes to its ability to maintain its policies of repression against the civilian population. For this reason the Council designated various members of the Assad family - including multiple cousins of Bashar al-Assad, leaders and members of regime-affiliated militias and businesspeople with close ties to the Assad family, as well as persons associated with the Syrian army and the Syrian military intelligence. (Council of the EU, 24.04.2023)


USA. Fentanyl-Epidemie in den USA: »Es will dich tot sehen« Video

Jedes Jahr sterben 70.000 US-Bürger an einer Überdosis. Besonders drastisch zeigt sich das Drogenproblem in Philadelphia: Abhängige konsumieren ihren Stoff offen auf der Straße. Eindrücke von Korrespondent Roland Nelles. (Spiegel online, 22.04.2023, 05:25)


China/USA. China strongly condemns US’ sanctions on Chinese companies over ‘fantanyl precursors’ undermining bilateral narcotics control cooperation

China strongly condemns US' latest sanctions on Chinese companies for allegedly supplying precursor chemicals for the production of illicit fentanyl, which only create obstacles for China-US cooperation in narcotics control, a Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson said on Monday. (Global Times, China, 17.04.2023)


Brasilien. Lula Reinstates “Civil Society” to Brazil’s Drug Policy Council

In 2019, then-President Jair Bolsonaro signed a decree that barred civil society representatives from participating in Brazil’s National Council on Drug Policy (CONAD). Now, President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva is bringing them back. Whether the representatives themselves will be those who advocate change, or are more interested in maintaining the status quo, is another matter. (Filter, USA, 19.04.2023)


USA. Biden's drug czar declares fentanyl laced with animal tranquilizer an 'emerging threat' facing U.S.

Fentanyl mixed with the veterinary sedative xylazine has been linked to a sharp increase of overdose deaths across the country. NBC-News, USA, 12.04.2023)


Die Killerdroge Fentanyl tötet in den USA jedes Jahr Zehntausende. Könnte es auch in Europa so eine fatale Epidemie geben?

Fentanyl kursiert auch in Europa. Mehr Sorge bereitet jedoch der grassierende Konsum von zwei anderen Opioiden bei Jugendlichen. (NZZ – Neue Zürcher Zeitung, Schweiz, 02.04.2023)


Evaluating the impact of alcohol minimum unit pricing on deaths and hospitalisations in Scotland: a controlled interrupted time series study

Wyper, Grant M A et al.

The Lancet, Volume 401, Issue 10385, 1361 - 1370 


Europäische Union will Suchtbekämpfung voranbringen

Brüssel – Die Europäische Union (EU) will mit einer Drogenagentur den Kampf gegen illegale Suchtmittel stärken. Ziel sei es, effizienter auf neue Gesundheits- und Sicherheitsherausforderungen durch illegale Drogen zu reagieren, teilte die derzeitige schwedische EU-Ratspräsidentschaft gestern Abend mit.

Über einen EU-Gesetzestext für die Agentur sei gestern bei Verhandlungen zwischen Vertretern des Parlaments und der Regierungen der Mitgliedstaaten eine Einigung erzielt worden. (aerzteblatt.de, 29.03.2023)


EU. EU Drugs Agency: Commission welcomes political agreement on new fully-fledged Agency 

The Commission welcomes today's political agreement between the European Parliament and the Council on a stronger mandate which establishes a new EU Drugs Agency. The new Agency builds on the achievements of the European Monitoring Centre for Drugs and Drug Addiction. (European Commission, Brüssel, 28.03.2023)


Österreich. Drogenbericht 2022: Anstieg bei drogenbezogenen Todesfällen

Am 2. März 2023 hat die Gesundheit Österreich GmbH (GÖG) ihren jährlichen „Epidemiologiebericht Sucht“ veröffentlicht. Demnach ist die Drogensituation in Österreich weitgehend stabil.

Einen Anstieg gab es bei den drogenbezogenen Todesfällen im Berichtsjahr 2021. Insgesamt waren 235 drogenbezogene Todesfälle (tödliche Überdosierungen) zu verzeichnen. In den Vorjahren waren es deutlich weniger (2020: 191, 2019: 196). Laut Martin Busch, Leiter des Kompetenzzentrums Sucht an der GÖG, könnte der Anstieg ein erstes Anzeichen einer Verschärfung der Drogensituation sein. Er hält es aber auch für realistisch, dass es sich bei dieser Entwicklung um eine vorübergehende Folge der COVID-19-Pandemie handeln könnte beziehungsweise beides zutrifft: „Endgültig werden wir die Ursachen für den Anstieg erst in einigen Jahren beantworten können. Klar ist aber, dass suchtkranke Menschen in vielerlei Hinsicht eine sehr vulnerable Gruppe sind, deren Situation sich in der Pandemie großteils massiv verschlechtert hat. Die zusätzlichen Belastungen und Ängste dürften zu einer Erhöhung der psychiatrischen Komorbidität geführt haben. Das wurde uns von drogenspezifischen Einrichtungen auch bereits mitgeteilt“, so der GÖG-Experte. (Institut Sucht Prävention, Österreich, 07.03.2023)


Surveillance of injecting drug use as a global health imperative

Strathdee, Steffanie A et al.

The Lancet Global Health, Volume 0, Issue 0 


The future of drug monitoring in Europe until 2030: A report summarising the findings and lessons learnt from the EMCDDA’s ‘futures study’ 


Patterns of drug use and developments in the drug market in Europe are becoming more complex and dynamic, with major implications for drug monitoring and research. This observation prompted the European Monitoring Centre for Drugs and Drg Addiction (EMCDDA) to conduct a futures exercise 2030 to inform the agency’s strategic reflection on how to improve its activities in the context of both ongoing rapid changes in the information environment and the new information needs likely to emerge over the next decade. A summary of this work is provided here. (EMCDDA, Lissabon, 31.03.2023)


From punishment to help? Continuity and change in the Norwegian decriminalization reform proposal. 

Kammersgaard T. 

Int J Drug Policy. 2023 Feb 8;113:103963. doi: 10.1016/j.drugpo.2023.103963. Epub ahead of print. PMID: 36764027.


Kanada. Alberta Revokes Pharmacy Access for “High-Potency” Safe Supply Opioids

People with opioid use disorder in Alberta can no longer pick up safe supply medications like hydromorphone from pharmacies, following the March 4 implementation of a new policy that severely restricts access to “high-potency opioid narcotics.” Providers can no longer prescribe such medications in outpatient settings. (Filter, USA, 07.03.2023)



INCB. INCB Annual Report 2022

The INCB annual report, prepared in accordance with the international drug control treaties, examines the global drug control situation, and makes recommendations to governments and regional and international organizations. (INCB – International Narcotics Control Board, Wien, 09.03.2023)



Legalizing cannabis seems to result in higher consumption especially among young people and a lower perception of the risk involved and does not reduce criminal activity, according to the INCB annual report. (INCB – International Narcotics Control Board, Wien, 09.03.2023)


INCB. UN-Drogenkontrollrat warnt Deutschland vor Legalisierung von Cannabis

Wien – Die geplante Legalisierung von Cannabis in Deutschland birgt nach Ansicht des UN-Drogenkontrollrats (INCB) das Risiko von erhöhtem Konsum unter Jugendlichen und eines wachsenden Schwarzmarkts für diese Droge.

Das Gremium, das die Einhaltung der internationalen Drogenkonventionen überwacht, wies heute in seinem Jahresbericht außerdem darauf hin, dass die Freigabe von Cannabis als Genussmittel „unvereinbar“ mit diesen Abkommen sei. Nur der medizinische und wissenschaftliche Gebrauch sei erlaubt. (aerzteblatt.de, 09.03.2023)


Kanada. Modellprojekt in Kanada British Columbia legalisiert Besitz harter Drogen 

Helfen statt kriminalisieren: Der Besitz von bis zu zwei Gramm harter Drogen soll in der kanadischen Provinz British Columbia künftig straffrei bleiben. Mit dem Modellprojekt will die Politik der Drogenkrise Herr werden. (tagesschau.de, 08.02.2023)