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UNODC. Response to the Opioid Crisis

Unted Nations Office on Drugs and Crime, 2021/22


USA. San Francisco Declares State Of Emergency In Drug-Ridden Tenderloin

San Francisco Mayor London Breed on Friday declared a state of emergency in the city’s Tenderloin neighborhood, aiming to combat a rise in crime, drug use and homelessness there, days after she called for an increase in funding for police overtime to flood the area with officers. (FORBES, 17.12.2021)


Malta. Maltas Parlament billigt Cannabis für Eigenbedarf

Valletta – Malta hat als erstes EU-Land den Konsum von Cannabis und dessen Anbau für den Eigen­bedarf gebilligt. Das Parlament in Valletta stimmte gestern für ein Gesetz, das Erwachsenen den Besitz von bis zu sieben Gramm Cannabis sowie den Anbau von bis zu vier Pflanzen erlaubt. Das Gesetz, das mit 36 zu 27 Stimmen verabschiedet wurde, legalisiert jedoch nicht den Handel mit der Droge. (aerzteblatt.de, 15.12.2021)


Coordinating cannabis data collection globally: Policy implications. 

Weiss, SRB, Volkow, ND. 

Addiction. 2021; 1– 2. doi.org/10.1111/add.15751


Effectiveness of Policies for Addressing the US Opioid Epidemic: A Model-Based Analysis from the Stanford-Lancet Commission on the North American Opioid Crisis. 

Rao IJ, Humphreys K, Brandeau ML. 

Lancet Reg Health Am. 2021 Nov;3:100031. doi: 10.1016/j.lana.2021.100031. Epub 2021 Jul 31. PMID: 34790907; PMCID: PMC8592267.


UK.UK Government commits £780 million for drug treatment

Yesterday, the Department of Health and Social Care released a '10 year drug strategy' that committed to investing £780 million pounds into drug treatment services - the largest ever increase in spending in this area. This was a welcome surprise to us here at Drug Science and we are glad that these services are finally getting the support they need in order to deliver quality services to those in need. However, there is still more to be done... we propose three additional steps that the government should take to reduce the harms associated with addiction in our response here. (Drug Science, UK, 06.12.2021)


UK. Drugs plan aims to help 300,000 problem drug users

The government says it is to provide rehabilitation for 300,000 drug users who carry out half of all shop thefts, robberies and burglaries.

Ministers have announced that a 10-year drugs strategy will allocate £780m in funding for the drug treatment system in England. 

It also includes £300m for combating more than 2,000 county lines gangs. 

The government says that in some cases casual drug users may lose their driving licences or passports.

Labour said reforms were "long overdue" and cuts to police budgets had allowed gangs to grow. (BBC, UK, 06.12.2021)


UK. Policy paper overview: From harm to hope: A 10-year drugs plan to cut crime and save lives 

A 10-year plan to cut crime and save lives by reducing the supply and demand for drugs and delivering a high-quality treatment and recovery system. (gov.uk – Home Office, 06.12.2021)


Russland. The award winning animated documentary Kostya Proletarsky is now available online!

The animated documentary is based on the true story of Kostya Proletarsky, a drug user and HIV activist who died as a result of mistreatment and torture at a Russian prison. The animation features original audio interviews with Kostya and his mother Irina, and aims to commemorate Kostya and many others who have not survived prisons around the world. 

On 19 June 2009 Kostya Proletarsky, a drug user and HIV activist, died of tuberculosis meningitis at the Botkin Hospital in St. Petersburg, Russia. His death was the result of three years of mistreatment and torture at the prison facility No. 4 in Karelia, Russia. In the prison camp, Kostya was denied the right to continue his HIV medication. Inmates were regularly beaten and tortured. (Drug Reporter, Ungarn, 01.12.2021, Video, 30:01)


Russland. Russian Politician Threatens Harm Reduction Activists with Imprisonment

Vitaly Milonov, a Russian government politician notorious for anti-gay and antisemitic remarks, has found a new enemy: The Andrey Rylkov Foundation, a harm reduction organisation in Moscow. (Drog Reporter, Ungarn, 15.11.2021)


EMCDDA. Health and social responses to drug problems: a European guide 2021

The Health and social responses to drug problems: a European guide 2021 was developed to support practitioners and policymakers in tackling the negative consequences of drug use. The guide is composed of four sets of miniguides that look at responses to a range of drug problems in Europe. Framing the miniguides are two central resources: an action framework for developing responses and a set of strategies for successful implementation. Several spotlights frame issues cross-cutting the different components. (EMCDDA, Lissabon, Dezember 2021)


Kanada. Cannabis-Legalisierung: Von Kanada lernen?

Kanada hat 2018 den Weg beschritten, den die Ampel nun auch in Deutschland gehen will. Anfänglicher Euphorie folgte Ernüchterung. Aber inzwischen decken sich mehr Freizeitkonsumenten bei den legalen Cannabis-Shops ein als auf dem Schwarzmarkt. (Capital, 27.11.2021)


Video news on drug policy and harm reduction in Eastern Europe and Central Asia. Episode #1

DUNews, together with Talking Drugs, presents the first episode of Drug Policy and Harm Reduction News from Eastern Europe and Central Asia. In it, we bring you up to date on important developments in our countries and give the floor to experts for comment. We will be publishing these video newsletters on a regular basis. (Drug Reporter/Talking Drugs, Ungarn/UK, 26.10.2021)


Decolonizing drug policy. 

Daniels C, Aluso A, Burke-Shyne N, Koram K, Rajagopalan S, Robinson I, Shelly S, Shirley-Beavan S, Tandon T. 

Harm Reduct J. 2021 Nov 27;18(1):120. doi: 10.1186/s12954-021-00564-7. PMID: 34838050; PMCID: PMC8626718.


Schweiz. In der Schweiz wird Cannabis ab 2022 legal verkauft

Bern (dpa) - Die Schweiz ist bei der möglichen Legalisierung von Cannabis schon einen Schritt weiter als Deutschland. Vor einem Jahr wurde das Betäubungsmittelgesetz angepasst. Nun beginnen 2022 in mehreren Großstädten Pilotprojekte, bei denen Cannabis zu Genusszwecken verkauft wird. (Süddeutsche Zeitung, 19.11.2021)


UNODC. Synthetic Drug Strategy 2021-2025

Synthetic drug manufacture can occur anywhere depending on human creativity and the availability of a few strategic chemicals.

The dynamic nature of synthetic drug markets necessitates nimble and adaptable solutions.

The UNODC Synthetic Drug Strategy presents a framework for action to address this global problem. (UNODC, 2021)


USA. AMA adopts new public health policies to improve health of nation

CHICAGO - The American Medical Association (AMA), the premier national physician organization in the country, announced policies adopted by physician and medical student leaders aimed at improving the health of the nation. The new policies, which include protecting workers from heat-related illness, ensuring equitable representation of skin tones in medical education, increasing the availability of feminine hygiene products in schools and workplaces, and bolstering efforts to promote safe use and recovery for people who inject drugs, were approved during the voting session of the Special Meeting of the AMA House of Delegates. (AMA - American Medical Association, USA, 16.11.2021)


USA. More Action Needed to Curb Overdose Deaths, Administration Says

More than 100,000 people died from drug overdoses in the 12 months ending in April. 

WASHINGTON -- The Biden administration on Wednesday released model legislation to help states improve access to naloxone treatment for opioid overdoses as the U.S. reached a grim milestone in drug overdose deaths. (Medpage today, USA, 17.11.2021)


OSF – Open Society Foundations. Three Decades of Drug Policy Reform Work

Over the past three decades, the Open Society Foundations have been the largest philanthropic supporter of efforts to reform drug policy and promote harm reduction around the world, investing more than $300 million. George Soros, the Foundations’ founder and chair, recognized early on that a just approach to drugs was critical to building an open society. Together with grantees and partners, the Foundations have supported front-line work to promote an alternative approach to drug policy—one focusing on access to health care and social support, rather than on punishment and prohibition. (OSF, USA, 16.11.2021)


USA. Biden's drug czar wants to expand use of addiction medication

As the opioid crisis mounts, Rahul Gupta wants to ease treatment restrictions. (Washington Post, USA, 18.11.2021)


Drug Policy and City Government

As cities and urban settlements grow and are home to increasing numbers of people, the problems related to drug policies are becoming more visible and dire in cities around the world. Mayors and municipal councilors, the closest policymakers to their constituencies, increasingly have to respond to the presence of the illegal drug market and to the negative outcomes of national repressive drug policies. While they are not mandated with drug control policies, cities have been able to provide the most innovative and protective drug policies, policies that have inspired the adoption by the national institutions of policies such as harm reduction, effective prevention and peaceful law-enforcement.

The members of the Global Commission on Drug Policy, many having been mayors and municipal councilors, provide their analysis and recommendations on drug policy at the municipal level, and how pragmatic reforms on the ground can effectively address a top-down policy such as drug control. (Global Commission on Drug Policy, 2021)


USA. As Overdose Deaths Soar, DEA-Wary Pharmacies Shy From Dispensing Addiction Medication

(…) Across the country, when a pharmacy stops providing buprenorphine, the ripple effects can be far-reaching. (KHN – Kaiser Health News, USA, 08.11.2021)


The Lancet. A time of crisis for the opioid epidemic in the USA. 

Lancet. 2021;398(10297):277. doi:10.1016/S0140-6736(21)01653-6


GlobalDrugPolicy Index - A unique tool that documents, measures and compares national drug policies

The Global Drug Policy Index provides each country with a score and ranking that shows how much their drug policies and their implementation align with the UN principles of human rights, health and development. It offers an essential accountability and evaluation mechanism in the field of drug policy. The Index is composed of 75 indicators running across 5 broad dimensions of drug policy: the absence of extreme responses, the proportionality of the criminal justice response, health and harm reduction, access to controlled medicines and development. (globaldrugpolicyindex.net, UK, November 2021)


UNAIDS. On International Drug Users’ Day, UNAIDS calls for action against the criminalization of people who use drugs and for community-led harm reduction programmes

On International Drug Users’ Day, UNAIDS is calling for urgent action against the criminalization of people who use drugs, for the redress of criminalization’s negative effects on HIV, viral hepatitis and other health issues, for the respect of human rights and for more funding for community-led harm reduction programmes. (UNAIDS, Genf, 01.11.2021)


Schweiz. Schweizer Drogenpolitik: Anbau und der Handel von Cannabis sollen reguliert werden

Die Cannabis-Legalisierung in der Schweiz ist einen Schritt weiter. Anbau, Produktion, Handel und Konsum sollen gesetzlich neu geregelt werden. (Tagesanzeiger, Schweiz, 19.10.1021)


USA. Overdose deaths are so high that the Biden team is embracing ideas once seen as taboo

The Biden administration is rolling out a new coordinated strategy it hopes will slow the menacing rise in drug overdose deaths.

Many of the core ideas are still viewed as controversial in many parts of the U.S., including efforts to provide active drug users with clean syringes. (npr – National Public Radio, USA, 27.10.2021)


Luxemburg: Doch keine Cannabis-Legalisierung

(…) Von der Absicht, Handel und Besitz von Cannabis generell freizustellen, um so den Schwarzmarkt zu bekämpfen, ist keine Rede mehr. Wie die Regierung bekannt gab, soll es stattdessen künftig jedem Haushalt erlaubt sein, bis zu vier Hanf-Pflanzen für den Eigenbedarf anzubauen. 

(…) Die Strafbarkeit von Konsum und Besitz bleibt, allerdings nur im öffentlichen Raum. Wer mehr als drei Gramm Gras mit sich führt, wird wie ein Drogenhändler behandelt. Ist es weniger, gilt dies künftig nicht mehr als Straftat, sondern als Ordnungswidrigkeit. 

(…) Aus der Legalisierung ist also eine teilweise Entkriminalisierung geworden. E(…) Offenbar unterblieb aber eine Prüfung der rechtlichen Möglichkeiten in Europa, denn als Grund für den Rückzug nennt die Regierung nun eine Unvereinbarkeit mit EU-Recht. Man habe den Plan der vollständigen Legalisierung aber nicht aufgegeben und arbeite weiter daran, sagte Justizministerin Sam Tanson. (Süddeutsche Zeitung, 24.10.2021)


Niederlande. Narco-State Netherlands - The Slippery Dutch Slope from Drug Tolerance to Drug Terror 

Drug gangs in the Netherlands have long since graduated from hashish to cocaine - and from dealing on the streets to a spree of contract killings. Police, lawyers, journalists: All are at risk of falling victim to the drug violence that has gripped the country. (Spiegel International, 20.10.2021)


DIVEST. REDIRECT. INVEST. The case for redirecting funds from ineffective drug law enforcement to harm reduction – spotlight on six countries in Asia

Each year more than USD 100 billion is estimated to be spent on global drug law enforcement. This is over 750 times the amount allocated to harm reduction services for people who use drugs. Despite overwhelming evidence in favour of following a health and human rights-based approach to drug control, governments around the world, including many in Asia, continue to prioritise punitive responses to drugs. (HRI – Harm Reduction International, UK / HR Asia, September 2021)