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EUROPA. Civil Society Demands Balanced EU Funding for Drug Policies

Civil society organisations sent an open letter to the EU Commission to criticise the new call for drug policy grant proposals that almost only focuses on law enforcement and excludes harm reduction.

C-EHRN sent an open letter to Ilva Johanson, Commissioner of Home Affairs, and Fiona Sipala, the head of the Drug Unit of the EC, to address this issue. (Correlation – European Harm Reduction Network, 28.07.2022)

https://www.correlation-net.org/civil-society-demands-balanced-eu-funding-for-drug-policies

UK. Britain’s Shame: Drug Deaths Increase Again

This week saw the Office for National Statistics publish new figures on drug-related deaths in England and Wales for 2021, showing that 4,859 people died from drug poisoning last year compared to 4,561 people in 2020. Drug-related deaths have risen by 85% since 2012 and this marks the ninth consecutive year that drug related deaths have gone up. 

Just a week ago the same figures for Scotland were released, showing that 1,330 people lost their lives to drugs in 2021. 

These figures would put Great Britain, one of Europe’s largest economies, right at the top of a ‘list of shame’ when it comes to drug-related deaths. (politics.co.uk, UK, 07.08.2022)

https://www.politics.co.uk/comment/2022/08/07/britains-shame-drug-deaths-increase-again/

Kolumbien. Colombia: New left-wing leader wants global drugs rethink

Colombian President Gustavo Petro has called for a fresh global strategy to combat illegal drugs trafficking.

Speaking at his inauguration, the country's first ever left-wing leader declared the "war on drugs" a failure.

Hundreds of thousands of people died in Colombia's decades-long civil war, fuelled in part by the narcotics trade.

The 62-year-old former Bogota mayor and ex-rebel fighter was elected in June on a radical manifesto promising to fight inequality and ban new oil projects.

Mr Petro told a crowd of his supporters in Bogota that it is time for a new global convention that "accepts the war on drugs has failed." (BBC, UK, 08.08.2022)

https://www.bbc.com/news/world-latin-america-62460534

England und Wales. Deaths related to drug poisoning in England and Wales: 2021 registrations

Deaths related to drug poisoning in England and Wales from 1993 to 2021, by cause of death, sex, age and substances involved in the death.  (Office of National Statistics, UK, 03.08.2022)

https://www.ons.gov.uk/peoplepopulationandcommunity/birthsdeathsandmarriages/deaths/bulletins/deathsrelatedtodrugpoisoninginenglandandwales/2021registrations

Pain-relief shortage in poorer countries ‘due to stigma of US opioids crisis’

Palliative doctors call for relaxation of laws to redress huge unmet need for drugs among majority of world’s population. (The Guardian, UK, 04.08.2022)

https://www.theguardian.com/global-development/2022/aug/04/pain-relief-drugs-shortage-poorer-countries-us-opioids-crisis-acc

Portugal. Dokumentation Drogenkonsum ohne Strafe: Wie Portugal den Süchtigen helfen will (Video)

In Portugal werden Menschen, die drogenabhängig sind, nicht als Delinquenten betrachtet, sondern als Kranke, die behandelt werden müssen. Im Jahr 2001 beschloss das Land, den Konsum aller Drogen zu entkriminalisieren. Dies führte zu einem drastischen Rückgang der Zahl der Drogenabhängigen. (arte TV, Deutschkand/Franj´kreich, 25.01.2022, Video, 32:41)

https://www.arte.tv/de/videos/100834-005-A/re-drogenkonsum-ohne-strafe/

USA. Biden’s Drug Czar Is Leading the Charge for a ‘Harm Reduction’ Approach

Experts describe the president’s drug control strategy as the most progressive since Richard Nixon appointed the nation’s first drug czar in 1971. (New York Times, USA, 26.07.2022)

https://www.nytimes.com/2022/07/26/us/politics/biden-drug-czar-rahul-gupta.html

Schottland. In Europe’s drug death capital, politicians plead for new powers to stem the tide 

Scotland’s fatal overdose rate casts a dark cloud over the independence debate. (Politico, Europa, 28.07.2022)

https://www.politico.eu/article/europe-drug-death-capital-politicians-new-powers-heroin-edinburgh/

Effects of Drug Control Policies on Individual and Community Health for People of Color: Proceedings of a Workshop. 

National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2022. The 

Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. https://doi.org/10.17226/26401.

https://nap.nationalacademies.org/catalog/26401/the-effects-of-drug-control-policies-on-individual-and-community-health-for-people-of-color

U.S. Drug Policy Disconnect: Starting Harm Reduction at Home, Deep Into ‘Drug War’ Abroad

U.S. President Joe Biden’s national drug strategy, which includes a focus on harm reduction to respond to an overdose crisis at home, is at odds with the country’s ongoing “Drug War” in Latin America, which has perennially failed to curb drug supplies, at a huge cost in human lives.

A new report by the Washington Office on Latin America (WOLA) argues that the global drug prohibition regime and the 50-year-long U.S.-led “war on drugs” has not only had disastrous results across the world but are increasingly exacerbating other serious problems. These include violence, corruption, organized crime, forced displacement and migration as well as forest loss and climate change. (WOLA - Washington Office on Latin America, Juli 2022)

https://www.wola.org/analysis/us-drug-policy-disconnect-starting-harm-reduction-home-drug-war-abroad/

Prohibited Plants - Environmental Justice in Drug Policy

Across the world, the state of environmental stress is unprecedented. As scholarship and activism on ‘environmental justice’ points out, poorer and marginalised communities face particular exposure to environmental harms. This holds particularly true for populations in the global South. The role of illicit drugs in relation to these environmental stresses is an underexplored terrain. Yet, as this report will argue, drugs, as well as the policy responses to them, are an environmental issue. (Transnational Institute (TNI), Niederlande, 28.06.2022

https://www.tni.org/en/publication/prohibited-plants

USA. Methadone Clinics Step Up Their Backlash Against Reform

The members of the American Association for the Treatment of Opioid Dependence (AATOD) are outraged. This national organization represents the interests of over 1,200 opioid treatment programs (OTPs), also known as methadone clinics. The group’s anger was triggered by two bills: the Opioid Treatment Access Act (OTAA), which the group labels as “dangerous,” and the Mainstreaming Addiction Treatment (MAT) Act. Each bill recommends a few modest changes to loosen restrictions on access to methadone and buprenorphine.

To kill the bills, the group created fact sheets that are full of misleading statements, exaggerations and lies of omission, as well as being condescending to people who take methadone. (Filter, USA, 02.08.2022)

https://filtermag.org/methadone-clinic-reform-backlash/

The effects of opioid policy changes on transitions from prescription opioids to heroin, fentanyl and injection drug use: a qualitative analysis. 

Dickson-Gomez J, Krechel S, Spector A, Weeks M, Ohlrich J, Green Montaque HD, Li J. 

Subst Abuse Treat Prev Policy. 2022 Jul 21;17(1):55. doi: 10.1186/s13011-022-00480-4. PMID: 35864522; PMCID: PMC9306091.

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC9306091/

Afghanistan. Photos: Despair and poverty fuel drug use in Afghanistan

Drug addiction has long been a problem in Afghanistan, the world’s biggest producer of opium and now a chief source of methamphetamines. (Al Jazeera, Katar, 25.07.2022)

https://www.aljazeera.com/gallery/2022/7/25/photos-despair-and-poverty-fuel-drug-use-in-afghanistan

Afghanistan. From battlefields to CBD: can hemp pioneer wean Afghanistan off opium?

Oil from the versatile plant makes cannabis medicine CBD and its fibre has a range of uses but the Taliban need convincing. (The Guardian, UK, 22.07.2022)

https://www.theguardian.com/world/2022/jul/22/every-part-is-useful-the-man-who-wants-afghanistan-to-swap-opium-for-hemp

UK. Government plans to criminalise all drug users - Swift, Certain, Tough

The Home Office has just published a white paper dedicated to the one issue in the new 10 year drug strategy which has generated the most media interest – reducing demand for drugs by introducing new “consequences” for the possession of recreational drugs. The title of the white paper: “Swift, Certain, Tough” makes the government’s intentions pretty clear although whether the current Home Secretary Priti Patel will be in place to see it through obviously depends on the outcome of the current elections for Conservative leader and Prime Minister. (russellwebster.com, UK, 21.07.2022)

https://www.russellwebster.com/government-plans-to-criminalise-all-drug-users/

Schottland. Changing Lives - Final Report

Over the last three years, we in the Scottish Drug Deaths Taskforce have listened to the voices of people from across Scotland and beyond with lived and living experience of using drugs, families, service providers in the public, private and voluntary sectors, community representatives, those in our justice and emergency services, academics and many more. We have heard their stories and learned from their experience. Combined with findings from our examination of the evidence base, these stories and experiences are at the heart of our recommendations and actions. (Scottish Drug Deaths Taskforce, UK, 21.07.2022)

https://drugdeathstaskforce.scot/news-information/publications/reports/final-report/

EMCDDA becomes official partner of COPOLAD III 

Today, the EMCDDA becomes an official partner of COPOLAD III (1), a programme promoting dialogue and bi-regional cooperation on drug policy between the European Union and Latin American and Caribbean countries (LAC). Funded by the EU, the programme is led by the International Ibero-American Foundation for Public Policies and Administrations (FIIAPP), in consortium with the Italian-Latin American International Organization (IILA). Collaborating in the programme are the Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit GmbH (GIZ) (2) and the EMCDDA. (EMCDDA, Lissabon, 21.07.2022)

https://www.emcdda.europa.eu/news/2022/emcdda-becomes-official-partner-copolad-iii_en

UK. British drugs policy is punitive and contradictory. And now it’ll go backwards

While other countries are abandoning a failed ‘war on drugs’, in its final days the Johnson administration is doubling down. (The Guardian, UK, 21.07.2022)

https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2022/jul/21/british-drugs-policy-failed-war-on-drugs-boris-johnson

USA. Süchtig nach Schmerzmitteln - Die Opioid-Krise in den USA (Video)

Mittlerweile lässt sich die Opioid-Krise - der knapp 200.000 Todesfälle in den USA zugerechnet werden - nicht mehr als rein amerikanisches Phänomen verdrängen. Auch in Deutschland und Frankreich hat der Einsatz dieser Schmerzstiller in den letzten zehn Jahren zugenommen. Der Film zeigt, wie es zu der Krise in den USA kommen konnte und welche Gefahren in Europa drohen. (arte TV, Deutschland/Frankreich, 2018, 54:00, verfügbar: vom 20/06/2022 bis 30/08/2022)

https://www.arte.tv/de/videos/083585-000-A/suechtig-nach-schmerzmitteln/

Kolumbien. Colombia truth panel calls for move toward ‘legal regulation’ of drugs

BOGOTÁ, Colombia — Colombia’s truth commission on Tuesday called on the government to stop focusing on prohibiting illicit drugs — a cause of violence, it said, in the country’s decades-long civil conflict — and instead become a global leader in “strict legal regulation.”(Washington Post, USA, 28.06.2022)

https://www.washingtonpost.com/world/2022/06/28/colombia-conflict-truth-commission/

World mental health report: Transforming mental health for all

Mental health is critically important to everyone, everywhere. All over the world, mental health needs are high but responses are insufficient and inadequate. The World mental health report: transforming mental health for all is designed to inspire and inform better mental health for everyone everywhere. Drawing on the latest evidence available, showcasing examples of good practice from around the world, and voicing people’s lived experience, it highlights why and where change is most needed and how it can best be achieved. It calls on all stakeholders to work together to deepen the value and commitment given to mental health, reshape the environments that influence mental health, and strengthen the systems that care for mental health. (WHO, Genf, 16.06.2022)

https://www.who.int/publications/i/item/9789240049338

UNODC. World Drug Report 2022

Consisting of five separate booklets, the World Drug Report 2022 provides an in-depth analysis of global drug markets and examines the nexus between drugs and the environment within the bigger picture of the Sustainable Development Goals, climate change and environmental sustainability.

The World Drug Report 2022 is aimed not only at fostering greater international cooperation to counter the impact of the world drug problem on health, governance and security, but also, with its special insights, at assisting Member States in anticipating and address-ing threats from drug markets and mitigating their consequences. (UNODC, Wien, Juni2022)

https://www.unodc.org/unodc/en/data-and-analysis/world-drug-report-2022.html

EMCDDA. Statistical Bulletin 2022

The annual Statistical Bulletin contains the most recent available data on the drug situation in Europe provided by the Member States. These datasets underpin the analysis presented in the European Drug Report. All data may be viewed interactively on screen and downloaded in Excel format. (EMCDDA, Lissabon, Juni 2022)

https://www.emcdda.europa.eu/data/stats2022_en

21.07.2022: International Drug Users Remembrance Day 2020

On International Drug Users’ Remembrance Day, we take time to remember the family, friends, peers, and loved ones whose lives have been unjustly and tragically cut short. The criminalisation and stigmatisation of people who use drugs continue to desensitise our society to the callous injustice carried out in the name of the so-called War on Drugs. In a world where the deaths of people who use drugs are treated more like statistics than avoidable casualties of misguided policy, it is imperative for our community to honour those who the rest of the world will not. (INPUD - International Network of People who Use Drugs, UK, 2022)

https://inpud.net/international-drug-users-remembrance-day-2020/

USA. US-Behörde verbietet Verkauf von E-Zigaretten der Marke Juul

New York – Die US-Arzneimittelbehörde FDA hat den Verkauf sämtlicher E-Zigaretten der Marke Juul verboten. Der Hersteller Juul Labs habe Sicherheitsstandards nicht erfüllt, teilte die FDA gestern mit. (aerzteblatt.de, 24.06.2022)

https://www.aerzteblatt.de/nachrichten/135406/US-Behoerde-verbietet-Verkauf-von-E-Zigaretten-der-Marke-Juul

From drug prohibition to regulation: a public health imperative

Malinowska-Sempruch, Kasia et al.

The Lancet, Volume 0, Issue 0 

https://www.thelancet.com/journals/lancet/article/PIIS0140-6736(22)01060-1/fulltext

Mindestpreise für Alkohol können starke Trinker schützen

Kopenhagen – Die Weltgesundheitsorganisation (WHO) macht sich für Mindestpreise für alkoholische Getränke in Europa stark. Die WHO-Region Europa sei diejenige mit dem höchsten Anteil an durch Alkoholkonsum verursachten Todesfällen weltweit – etwa zwölf Prozent bei Männern und acht Prozent bei Frauen, erklärte das in Kopenhagen sitzende Regionalbüro der Organisation in einem heute veröffentlichten Bericht. (aerzteblatt.de, 21.06.2022)

https://www.aerzteblatt.de/nachrichten/135304/Mindestpreise-fuer-Alkohol-koennen-starke-Trinker-schuetzen

Kanada. British Columbia launches ‘healthcare over handcuffs’ decriminalisation experiment

The Canadian province of British Columbia (B.C.) has announced a three-year exemption under the country’s Controlled Drugs and Substances Act to remove criminal penalties for possession of drugs for personal use. British Columbia, which includes the city of Vancouver, is the first Canadian province to receive the exemption, with the aim of reducing ‘the shame and fear associated with substance use’. DDN – Drink and Drugs News, UK 06.06.2022)

https://www.drinkanddrugsnews.com/british-columbia-launches-healthcare-over-handcuffs-decriminalisation-experiment/

EMCDDA. EMCDDA launches foresight toolkit for the drugs field 

Analysing potential futures to support decision-making today is increasingly used in a world characterised by rapid, volatile and complex change. More and more organisations, including EU bodies (1), are integrating foresight approaches into their activities. Against this backdrop, the EMCDDA is launching a new online toolkit today to help stakeholders in the drugs field implement their own foresight exercise. (EMCDDA, Lissabon, 23.06.2022)

https://www.emcdda.europa.eu/news/2022/emcdda-launches-foresight-toolkit-drugs-field_en