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Commentary on Furr‐Holden et al. (2020): Drugs, class, and race—recent developments in the opioid epidemic call for urgent next steps. 

Caputi, T. L. (2020) 

Addiction, doi.org/10.1111/add.15339

https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/add.15339

The same fundamental drivers but differently expressed: what can we learn from comparing the recent experiences with synthetic opioids in the US and Europe?. 

Griffiths, P., Mounteney, J., and Sedefov, R. (2021) 

Addiction, doi.org/10.1111/add.15340

https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/full/10.1111/add.15340

Solidarity that cannot be confined – Support. Don’t Punish 2020 Global Day of Action – Summary report

The Support. Don’t Punish campaign documents global efforts to progress harm reduction and drug policy reform as part of the 2020 Global Day of Action. (Support. Don’t Punish, Januar 2021)

http://fileserver.idpc.net/library/GDAction_Report_2020.pdf

USA. Trump administration will let nearly all doctors prescribe addiction medicine buprenorphine

WASHINGTON — The Trump administration announced a major shift in addiction medicine policy Thursday, giving doctors dramatically more flexibility to prescribe a popular and effective drug used to treat opioid use disorder.

The change will allow almost all physicians to prescribe the addiction drug buprenorphine, regardless of whether they’ve obtained a government waiver. Previously, doctors had to undergo an eight-hour training and receive the license, known as the “X-waiver,” before they could prescribe buprenorphine. For years, addiction treatment advocates have argued that tight buprenorphine regulations prevent thousands of doctors from providing high-quality addiction care. (Stat News, USA, 14.01.2021)

https://www.statnews.com/2021/01/14/trump-admin-nearly-all-doctors-buprenorphine/

Interview with Corey Davis on the recent federal settlement with Purdue Pharma over its actions to increase prescriptions of its opioid medications. (podcast)

Supplement to the N Engl J Med 2021; 384:97-99

Corey Davis is the deputy director of the Network for Public Health Law’s Southeastern Region Office. Stephen Morrissey, the interviewer, is the Executive Managing Editor of the Journal. 

https://www.nejm.org/action/showMediaPlayer?doi=10.1056%2FNEJMdo005945

USA. Over 200 Drug Policy, Harm Reduction, Health Care, and Community Groups Call on Biden Administration to Prioritize Public Health Solutions to Curb Overdose Crisis and Dismantle Drug War 

Amid Spike in Overdose Deaths Exacerbated by Failed Response to Pandemic, Groups Send Letter Urging Biden Team to Focus on Harm Reduction and Abandon Criminalization. (Drug Policy Alliance, USA, 14.01.2021)

https://drugpolicy.org/press-release/2021/01/over-200-drug-policy-harm-reduction-health-care-and-community-groups-call

Niederlande. Foreign visitors face ban from Amsterdam's cannabis cafes

Proposals would allow only Dutch residents to enter city’s 166 marijuana-selling coffee shops. (The Guardian, UK, 11.01.2021)

https://www.theguardian.com/world/2021/jan/11/foreigners-face-ban-from-amsterdams-cannabis-cafes

Europa. Neue EU-Drogenstrategie stellt Schadensminimierung und Bedürfnisse vulnerabler Gruppen in den Fokus

Brüssel – Der Rat der Europäischen Union hat eine neue EU-Drogenstrategie für die Jahre 2021 bis 2025 beschlossen. Diese legt im Vergleich zur bisherigen Drogenstrategie einen deutlicheren Fokus auf Präven­tion, Behandlung und Schadensminderung sowie die besonderen Bedürfnisse vulnerabler Gruppen.

„Deutschland hat als Vorsitz der EU-Ratspräsidentschaft verdeutlicht, dass wir uns einiges mehr an Auf­merksamkeit für drogenbedingt besonders gefährdete Gruppen wünschen, etwa für Kinder suchtkranker Eltern. Sie brauchen früh und vernetzt Unterstützung“, betonte die Drogenbeauftragte der Bundesregie­rung, Daniela Ludwig (CSU).

(…) Erstmalig gibt es ein eigenes Kapitel zur Schadensbegrenzung (Harm Reduction), also zu Substitution, Drogenkonsumräumen und Spritzentauschprogrammen. (aerzteblatt.de, 07.01.2021)

https://www.aerzteblatt.de/nachrichten/119927/Neue-EU-Drogenstrategie-stellt-Schadensminimierung-und-Beduerfnisse-vulnerabler-Gruppen-in-den-Fokus

Vereinte Nationen bewerten Cannabis neu

Es hat zwei Anläufe benötigt: Die Vereinten Nationen folgen einer Empfehlung der WHO und erkennen den medizinischen Nutzen von Cannabis indirekt an. Die Hanf-Industrie freut sich. (DW, 03.12.2020)

https://www.dw.com/de/vereinte-nationen-bewerten-cannabis-neu/a-55807237

Meilenstein in der europäischen Drogenpolitik: Mitgliedstaaten beschließen gemeinsam neue EU-Drogenstrategie 2021–2025 

Der Rat der Europäischen Union hat eine neue EU-Drogenstrategie für die Jahre 2021–2025 beschlossen. Damit hat die deutsche EU-Ratspräsidentschaft in der Drogenpolitik ihr zentrales Ziel erreicht.

(…) Die EU-Mitgliedstaaten haben eine Fortsetzung des sogenannten „ausgewogenen Ansatzes in der Drogenpolitik“ vereinbart. Diese Herangehensweise verbindet angebots- als auch nachfragereduzierende Elemente in der Drogenpolitik.

Die neue EU-Drogenstrategie deckt alle Säulen der europäischen Drogenpolitik ab: Starke sicherheitspolitische Maßnahmen zur Verringerung des Drogenangebots und gesundheitspolitische Maßnahmen zur Prävention, Behandlung und Schadensminimierung, die ergänzt werden durch die übergreifenden Themen Internationale Zusammenarbeit, Forschung und Koordinierung. (Bundesdrogenbeauftragte, 21.12.2020)

https://www.drogenbeauftragte.de/presse/detail/meilenstein-in-der-europaeischen-drogenpolitik-mitgliedstaaten-beschliessen-gemeinsam-neue-eu-drogenstrategie-2021-2025/

Europa. EU-Drogenstrategie 2021-2025

Rat der Europäischen Union, Generalsekretariat des Rates, Nr. Vordok.:13932/20, Brüssel, den18. Dezember 2020

https://data.consilium.europa.eu/doc/document/ST-14178-2020-INIT/de/pdf

Europa. Council approves the EU drugs strategy for 2021-2025 

The Council today approved the EU strategy setting out the political framework and priorities for the EU's drug policy in the period 2021-2025. The strategy aims to ensure a high level of health promotion, social stability and security and contribute to awareness raising. On the basis of this strategy, the Council will prepare an action plan which will set out concrete measures to achieve these priorities. (Rat der Europäischen Union, Generalsekretariat des Rates, Nr. Vordok.:13932/20, Brüssel, den18. Dezember 2020)

https://www.consilium.europa.eu/de/press/press-releases/2020/12/18/council-approves-the-eu-drugs-strategy-for-2021-2025/

Schottland. Drogensucht in Schottland »Heute werden drei Menschen sterben« 

In Schottland wütet eine Drogenkrise. Peter Krykant kommt in seinem umgebauten Van den Süchtigen zu Hilfe. Er sagt: Die Regierung instrumentalisiert das Problem im Streit für die Unabhängigkeit von London. (Spiegel online, 30.12.2020)

https://www.spiegel.de/politik/ausland/schottland-drogenkrise-heute-werden-drei-menschen-sterben-a-0128b28e-a277-43aa-a0db-c5a2e146cf10

Schottland. Drug deaths in Scotland: Minister Joe FitzPatrick loses job

Public Health Minister Joe FitzPatrick has lost his job in government after Scotland recorded its highest ever number of drug deaths. 

The first minister has appointed Angela Constance as a minister to take charge of the response to the drugs crisis. 

She will be a full-time drugs minister, reporting directly to Nicola Sturgeon. (BBC, UK, 18.12.2020)

https://www.bbc.com/news/uk-scotland-scotland-politics-55368574

Mexiko. Mexican lawmakers vote to restrict foreign agents despite U.S. pressure

The Chamber of Deputies of Mexico voted on Tuesday to approve a bill restricting the activities of foreign agents on national territory, despite the US voicing concerns that it could hamper cross-border drug investigations. The Senate already approved the measure last Wednesday. The bill came as a reaction to the arrest of former Defense Minister Salvador Cienfuegos by DEA agents in Los Angeles in October. Bowing to pressure from Mexico, US prosecutors dropped the charges, but it appears the Mexicans are still not mollified. (Reuters, 15.12.2020)

https://au.finance.yahoo.com/news/mexican-lawmakers-pass-law-restrict-192602397.html

USA. McKinsey statement on its past work with Purdue Pharma

December 5, 2020—As we look back at our client service during the opioid crisis, we recognize that we did not adequately acknowledge the epidemic unfolding in our communities or the terrible impact of opioid misuse and addiction on millions of families across the country. That is why last year we stopped doing any work on opioid-specific business, anywhere in the world. (McKinsey & Company)

https://www.mckinsey.com/about-us/media/mckinsey-statement-on-its-past-work-with-purdue-pharma#

USA. Senate Report: Opioid Industry Has Paid Advocacy Groups $65M

A bipartisan congressional investigation has found that key players in the nation’s opioid industry have spent $65 million since 1997 funding nonprofits that advocate treating pain with medications. (AP, 16.12.2020)

https://www.usnews.com/news/health-news/articles/2020-12-16/senate-report-opioid-industry-has-paid-advocacy-groups-65m

USA. The Sacklers’ Last Poison Pill

A trapdoor in the Justice Department deal with the family’s company might enable them to escape a full accounting of their part in the opioid epidemic. (NYT, 05.12.2020)

https://www.nytimes.com/2020/12/05/opinion/sackler-purdue-pharma-doj.html

USA. US sues Walmart for alleged role in opioid crisis

The US Department of Justice has accused Walmart of helping to fuel America's opioid crisis.

In a lawsuit, prosecutors said the retailer filled hundreds of thousands of questionable prescriptions and "knowingly" violating vetting rules.

Walmart claims the lawsuit is "riddled with factual inaccuracies". (BBC, UK, 23.12.2020)

https://www.bbc.com/news/business-55418874

USA. National Roadmap on State-Level Efforts to End the Nation’s Drug Overdose Epidemic

Leading-Edge Practices and Next Steps to Remove Barriers to Evidence-Based Patient Care. (AMA – American Medical Asociation, DECEMBER 2020)

https://end-overdose-epidemic.org/wp-content/uploads/2020/12/AMA-Manatt-Health-National-Roadmap-December-2020-FINAL.pdf

USA. US-Regierung verklagt Walmart wegen Rolle in Opioidkrise

Washington – Die US-Regierung verklagt den größten amerikanischen Einzelhändler wegen seiner Rolle in der Opioidkrise. Das US-Justizministerium teilte gestern in Washington mit, Walmart werde vorgeworfen, süchtig machende Schmerzmittel unrechtmäßig verkauft und damit zur verheerenden Opioidepidemie in den USA beigetragen zu haben. Dem Unternehmen könnten laut Justizressort Geldstrafen in Milliardenhöhe drohen. (aerzteblatt.de, 23.12.2020)

https://www.aerzteblatt.de/nachrichten/119697/US-Regierung-verklagt-Walmart-wegen-Rolle-in-Opioidkrise

USA. Top consulting firm McKinsey suggested Purdue Pharma give pharmacies rebates for OxyContin overdoses

One of the most prestigious consulting firms in the world, McKinsey & Company, advised Purdue Pharma to give pharmacy companies rebates for OxyContin overdoses in 2017, according to records released last week in a federal bankruptcy court in New York. (The Hill, USA, 28.11.2020)

https://thehill.com/policy/healthcare/legal-challenges/527839-top-consulting-firm-mckinsey-suggested-purdue-pharma-give

USA. House committee wants Purdue CEO and Sackler family members to testify at opioid crisis hearing

A congressional committee has asked the chief executive officer of Purdue Pharma and some members of the Sackler family that controls the company to testify at a hearing next month that will explore the role the drug maker played in fueling the opioid crisis in the U.S. (Stat, USA, 25.11.2020)

https://www.statnews.com/pharmalot/2020/11/25/purdue-opioids-oxycontin-sacklers-congress

Kanada. Vancouver pushes a radical idea for the overdose epidemic: Decriminalization

On Wednesday morning, the BC Coroners Service issued its latest grim news: Illicit drug toxicity killed 162 people in October in British Columbia.

It had been another brutal month, and one that again saw a spike in deaths involving “extreme fentanyl concentrations.” The death toll this year in B.C. is now 1,386, and likely to exceed the record deaths of 1,549 in 2018. The ravages of Canada’s other epidemic, too often invisible to most people, are especially stark when measured against COVID-19, the disease that has killed 384 people in the province.

On Wednesday night, Vancouver City Council voted to back Mayor Kennedy Stewart’s plan to seek a special exemption from the federal government to decriminalize the possession of small amounts of drugs for personal use. (Globe and Mail, Kanada, 26.11.2020)

https://www.theglobeandmail.com/opinion/editorials/article-vancouver-pushes-a-radical-idea-for-the-overdose-epidemic

In shock move, U.S. abandons drugs case against ex-Mexican defense minister

MEXICO CITY/WASHINGTON (Reuters) - U.S. prosecutors will drop drug charges against ex-Mexican Defense Minister Salvador Cienfuegos and turn over the investigation to Mexico, saying “sensitive” foreign policy considerations outweighed the interest in pressing the case. (Reuters, 17.11.2020)

https://uk.reuters.com/article/uk-mexico-corruption-usa/in-shock-move-u-s-abandons-drugs-case-against-ex-mexican-defense-minister-idUKKBN27X318

The Impact of Global Drug Policy on Women: Shifting the Needle 

The ebook edition of this title is Open Access and freely available to read online. Examining the impact of drug criminalisation on a previously overlooked demographic, this book argues that women are disproportionately affected by a flawed policy approach. (e-book, Emerald, UK, open access, 19.11.2020)

https://www.emerald.com/insight/publication/doi/10.1108/9781839828829

Kanada. Vancouver mayor introduces motion to decriminalize illicit drug possession

Mayor Kennedy Stewart is introducing a motion, that if passed, would decriminalize the simple possession of illicit drugs in Vancouver.

Stewart made the announcement on Wednesday morning, alongside Dr. Patricia Daly, Vancouver Coastal Health’s (VCH) Chief Medical Health Officer.

“It’s not a criminal issue, it’s a health issue,” he told reporters, adding that the initiative is “long overdue.” (DH News, Kanada, 18.11.2020)

https://dailyhive.com/vancouver/vancouver-kennedy-stewart-decriminalize-illicit-drugs

USA. $26 Billion Settlement Offer in Opioid Lawsuits Gains Wide Support

Three distributors and a drug manufacturer have proposed a deal that a majority of states and negotiators for small governments finally seem to like. (New York Times, USA, 05.11.2020)

https://www.nytimes.com/2020/11/05/health/opioids-settlement-distributors.html

USA, Oregon becomes the first state to decriminalize hard drugs like cocaine and heroin

A nationwide push to relax drug laws took a significant step forward Tuesday as voters made Oregon the first state to decriminalize the possession of small amounts of street drugs such as cocaine, heroin and methamphetamine. Meanwhile, five more states legalized marijuana for adults. (CBS, USA, 04.11.2020)

https://www.cbsnews.com/news/oregon-first-state-decriminalize-cocaine-heroin-measure-109/

Drugs Won Big During the U.S. Election

Arizona, Montana, New Jersey, Mississippi, and South Dakota all voted for legal weed, while Oregon voted to decriminalize drugs like cocaine and meth. It's a big blow to the War on Drugs, which has disproportionately harmed people of color. (VICE, USA, 04.11.2002)

https://www.vice.com/en/article/pkdd99/drugs-won-big-during-the-us-election