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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)


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)


USA. Mega-model predicts US opioid deaths will soon peak

The crisis is projected to claim more than half a million more lives from 2020 to 2032, although yearly deaths are on course to start falling before 2025. (Nature, USA, 02.06.2022)


USA. As Biden Fights Overdoses, Harm Reduction Groups Face Local Opposition

(KHN – Kaiser Health News, USA, 14.06.2022)


Aligning drug policies with human rights - Statement by the UNHCHR

(Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR), 07.06.2022)


What is the prevalence of and trend in opioid use disorder in the United States from 2010 to 2019? Using multiplier approaches to estimate prevalence for an unknown population size

Katherine M.Keyes, CarolineRutherford, AvaHamilton et al. 

Drug and Alcohol Dependence Reports, Volume 3, June 2022, 100052, doi.org/10.1016/j.dadr.2022.100052


Public health dimension of the world drug problem - Report by the WHO Director-General

With around 275 million people using psychoactive drugs during the year 2020 and an expected rise by 11% worldwide and 40% in Africa alone by the year 2030, and with an estimated 36 million people with drug use disorders,4 the scope of public health problems related to drug use, drug use disorders and related health conditions continues to be very high. However, this burden is to a large extent preventable. According to the latest WHO estimates, around 583 000 deaths were directly and indirectly attributable to drug use in the year 2019, with close to 450 000 deaths attributable to opioids, and around 14 000 to cannabis. Injecting drug use accounts for an estimated 20% of HIV infections outside sub-Saharan Africa5 and, according to WHO’s latest progress report on HIV, viral hepatitis and sexually transmitted infections, contributes significantly to the epidemics of hepatitis B and hepatitis C in all regions. Close to 600 000 people have died from opioid overdoses in the United States of America since 1999; the overdose mortality rate exceeds the mortality rate for HIV/AIDS at the height of the HIV/AIDS epidemic in the country. At the same time, opioid analgesics and psychotropic medicines under international control are indispensable for the provision of essential health care services, including for palliative care, pain management and treatment of mental, neurological and substance use disorders. (WHO, GENF, 25.04.2022)


The World Drug Report 2021: A critical assessment of projected increases in African drug use

The 2021 World Drug Report provides a comprehensive analysis of trends in global drug markets, including production, trafficking, consumption and health consequences within the context of COVID-19, and highlights current and future impacts of the pandemic on drug market dynamics. An interesting component of the 2021 Report is the projected increase in the population of people who use drugs by 2030, in particular as it relates to the African continent. As shown in the Report and the Methodological Annex, the projection is based on limited and uncertain data. In this critique, we analyse the limitations of the data and methodologies, and explore the implications of the estimate for drug policy in Africa. (IDPC – INTERNATIONAL DRUG POLICY CONSORTIUM, UK, 05.05.2022)


EU Drugs Agency: Council adopts negotiating mandate on strengthening the role of the agency 

To step up the fight against illegal drugs, the Council today adopted its negotiating mandate on the proposal on the EU Drugs Agency, meant to turn the existing European Monitoring Centre for Drugs and Drug Addiction into a fully fledged agency and strengthen its role. The new regulation will provide the agency with the means to respond to new health and security challenges posed by illegal drugs in a more efficient way, better support member states and contribute to improving the situation at the international level. (European Council, Brüssel, 09.06.2022)


Association of opioid use disorder with healthcare utilization and cost in a public health system. 

Miron, O, Barda, N, Balicer, R, Kor, A, Lev-Ran, S. 

Addiction. 2022. doi.org/10.1111/add.15963


Need for comprehensive and timely data to address the opioid overdose epidemic without a blindfold. 

Volkow, N.D., Chandler, R.K. and Villani, J. (2022), 

Addiction. doi.org/10.1111/add.15957


USA. Concern about drug addiction has declined in U.S., even in areas where fatal overdoses have risen the most

The share of Americans who see drug addiction as a “major problem” in their community has declined in recent years, even as drug overdose deaths in the United States have risen sharply. Public concern about addiction is down even in the parts of the U.S. where drug overdose death rates have increased the most. (Pew Research Center, USA, 31.05.2022)


EMCDDA. What are the lessons to be learnt from the European Drug Report 2022? 

(…) For me, the take-home message that stands out from our analysis of drug trends in 2022 can be summarised as ‘Everywhere, Everything, Everyone’. Today, we face a situation where we can observe the impact of drug problems almost everywhere. Within the European Union, drug problems complicate other important issues such as homelessness, the management of psychiatric disorders and reducing youth criminality. We are also observing greater levels of violence and corruption driven by the drug market in some countries. Internationally, events also have the potential to impact on the drug problems we see in Europe. In this report, we consider how developments in Afghanistan could change drug flows in ways that may have important future implications, and how the humanitarian crisis arising from the war on Ukraine could create new challenges for European drug services. (EMCDDA, Lissabon, 14.06.2022, 14.06.2022 (Message from the Director 2/2022))


EMCDDA. Europäischer Drogenbericht – Trends und Entwicklungen

(…) Die durchschnittliche Reinheit von Heroin lag auf Kleinhandelsebene im Jahr 2020 zwischen 13 % und 55 %, wobei die Hälfte der Länder eine durchschnittliche Reinheit
zwischen 17 % und 26 % meldete. Die indexierten Trends deuten darauf hin, dass der durchschnittliche Reinheitsgrad von Heroin zwischen 2010 und 2020 um 9 % gestiegen ist, während der Preis um 8 % gesunken ist.


Nationale Daten aus 18 EU-Mitgliedstaaten zeigen, dass im Jahr 2020 schätzungsweise 173 000 Klient:innen mit Opioid-Agonisten behandelt wurden (2019: 170 000 Klient:innen). (EMCDDA, Lissabon, Juni 2022)


How to regulate cannabis, 3rd edition

This is the third edition of our guide to regulating legal markets for the non-medical use of cannabis. It is for policy makers, reform advocates and affected communities all over the world who are seeing the legal regulation of cannabis move move from the margins devisively into the political mainstream. The question is no longer just ‘Should we maintain cannabis prohibition?’ or ‘How will legal regulation work in practice?’, but also ‘What can we learn from legalisation efforts so far?’ (Transform, UK, 2022)


The Opioid Crisis—Not Just Opioids Anymore. 

Brent J, Weiss ST. 

JAMA Netw Open. 2022;5(6):e2215432. doi:10.1001/jamanetworkopen.2022.15432


Modeling the Dynamics of Heroin and Illicit Opioid Use Disorder, Treatment, and Recovery. 

Cole S, Wirkus S. 

Bull Math Biol. 2022 Mar 2;84(4):48. doi: 10.1007/s11538-022-01002-w. PMID: 35237877; PMCID: PMC8891131.


Implementation of Interventions and Policies on Opioids and Awareness of Opioid-Related Harms in Canada: A Multistage Mixed Methods Descriptive Study. 

Goyer C, Castillon G, Moride Y. 

Int J Environ Res Public Health. 2022 Apr 22;19(9):5122. doi: 10.3390/ijerph19095122. PMID: 35564515; PMCID: PMC9099533.


Modeling the evolution of the US opioid crisis for national policy development. 

Lim TY, Stringfellow EJ, Stafford CA, DiGennaro C, Homer JB, Wakeland W, Eggers SL, Kazemi R, Glos L, Ewing EG, Bannister CB, Humphreys K, Throckmorton DC, Jalali MS. 

Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2022 Jun 7;119(23):e2115714119. doi: 10.1073/pnas.2115714119. Epub 2022 May 31. PMID: 35639699.


Kanada. Canada to decriminalize some drugs in British Columbia for three years

Policy aims to stem record number of overdose deaths by easing a fear of arrest by those who need help. (The Guardian, UK, 31.05.2022)


Australien. Five drug-induced deaths per day among Australians in 2020, report finds

The latest Drug Trends report from UNSW’s National Drug and Alcohol Research Centre shows more than 1800 drug-induced deaths in Australia in 2020.


Preliminary estimates indicate there were 1842 drug-induced deaths among Australians in 2020, equivalent to 1.1 percent of all reported deaths in Australia. This equates to 7.2 deaths per 100,000 Australians. (NDARC – University of New South Wales, Australien, 26.05.2022)


USA. Nearly 108,000 overdose deaths in 2021 bear out a prediction from five years ago forecasting the devastating toll

A grim prediction made half a decade ago by University of Pittsburgh School of Public Health epidemiologists and modelers has come true: More than 100,000 people are now dying from drug overdoses annually in the U.S. The milestone comes as the International Journal of Drug Policy publishes a special section of the June issue reflecting on the exponential growth in drug-related deaths the Pitt team uncovered in 2017. (University of Pittsburgh, USA, 25.05.2022)


2022 Support. Don't Punish: A global advocacy campaign calling for drug policies based on health and human rights - Next global day of action: June 26, 2022

The 2022 Support. Don't Punish Global Day of Action marks the tenth anniversary of our shared, global effort to build sustainable alternatives to the harmful 'war on drugs'. Growing far beyond the dreams that saw it come to be in 2012, the campaign has mobilised thousands of people through over 1,600 activities in more than 100 countries worldwide!

Each one of these experiences is a source of pride. Which is why, as we organise for the upcoming 26 June, we invite you to reflect on the road travelled, take stock of your impact so far, and consider how we can leverage our achievements and learning to build on the momentum that we have produced over the past decade.

If you have not yet shared your plans for the Global Day of Action, please add them via the 'Call for Expressions of Interest’ —while financial support is no longer available, this form allows us to know what your plans are and share widely. (International Drugs Policy Consortium, UK, 26.05.2022)


USA. Biden Administration Announces $1.5 Billion Funding Opportunity for State Opioid Response Grant Program

Funding for States and Territories Will Help Address the Nation’s Overdose Epidemic. (SAMHSA - Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, USA, 19.05.2022)


A cultural and political difference: comparing the racial and social framing of population crack cocaine use between the United States and France. 

Goulian, A., Jauffret-Roustide, M., Dambélé, S. et al.

Harm Reduct J 19, 44 (2022). https://doi.org/10.1186/s12954-022-00625-5



Lela Serebryakova, Catherine Cook and Charlotte Davies
Harm Reduction International, 2021


USA. USA verzeichnen mehr Drogentote

Washington – Inmitten der Coronapandemie ist die Zahl der Drogentoten in den USA im vergangenen Jahr auf mehr als 100.000 gestiegen. Es seien 107.622 Menschen durch eine Drogenüberdosis gestorben, heißt es in einer gestern vorgelegten Statistik der Behörden. Die Zahl der Drogentoten nahm im Vergleich zum Vorjahr (2020) demnach um 15 Prozent zu. (aerzteblatt.de, 12.05.2022)


State-Level Prevalence and Associates of Opioid Dependence in the USA. 

Leung J, Chan GCK, Tan SX, McClure-Thomas C, Degenhardt L, Hall W. 

Int J Environ Res Public Health. 2022 Mar 23;19(7):3825. doi: 10.3390/ijerph19073825. PMID: 35409508; PMCID: PMC8997413.


USA. Regulatory Reform and Policy - Initiatives for OTPs in a Post Covid-19 World 

American Association for the Treatment of Opioid Dependence (AATOD)

Originally released on September 30, 2021; Updated: March 2, 2022


USA. How the Crackdown on Methadone Set Back Treatment for Addiction

On June 17, 1971, in the midst of another heroin epidemic, Nixon formally declared his “war on drugs.” That year, Americans listed heroin addiction as the nation’s third‑most‑pressing problem, behind only the seemingly endless war in Vietnam and the stagnating economy. 


However, the amazing thing about Nixon’s war, from today’s perspective, is how much it was oriented toward a therapeutic response to addiction: When Nixon made his declaration, it was the only time in the history of the war on drugs that the majority of funding went toward treatment rather than law enforcement. (Slate, USA, 05.05.2022)