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The rise of illicit fentanyls, stimulants and the fourth wave of the opioid overdose crisis, 

Ciccarone, Daniel 

Current Opinion in Psychiatry: July 2021 - Volume 34 - Issue 4 - p 344-350 doi: 10.1097/YCO.0000000000000717 

https://journals.lww.com/co-psychiatry/Fulltext/2021/07000/The_rise_of_illicit_fentanyls,_stimulants_and_the.4.aspx

Take-Home Naloxone: The Peoples’ Overdose Antidote

Given the high prevalence of opioid mortality rates around the globe, naloxone, an opioid antagonist, has become a crucial medication that can reverse an opioid overdose within minutes. In an attempt to bring naloxone into the community, take-home naloxone programmes provide naloxone kits together with training in overdose management and administration to members of the public. TalkingDrugs, UK, 15.06.2021)

https://www.talkingdrugs.org/ take-home-naloxone-the-peoples’-overdose-antidote

Irland. Mobile injecting centre could ‘get ball rolling’ amid continued delays to Dublin site, doctor says

Mobile injecting centres could "get the ball rolling" on a much-needed service while addressing locals' concerns about a planned permanent site, a specialist has said. (newstalk, Irland, 16.06.2021)

https://www.newstalk.com/news/mobile-injecting-centres-could-get-ball-rolling-amid-continued-delays-to-dublin-site-doctor-says-1211250

Irland. GP: Legislation is now four years old but Ireland is still without its first drug injecting centre

Dr Garrett McGovern says there’s no excuse not to have injecting centres by now. (The Journal, Irland, 15.06.2021)

https://www.thejournal.ie/readme/drug-use-in-ireland-5462976-Jun2021/

Australien. New heroin treatment option yielding positive results among patients at Melbourne injecting rooms

(…) The injectable is a slow-release version of buprenorphine available for patients to take once a week, once a month, or in Summer's case, once every six weeks.

(…)

It found 45 per cent of people weren't using opioids illicitly in the last week of the trial, week 24, compared to 2 per cent of those on placebo.

Dr Clark began prescribing and administering it to patients at the injecting room who were suitable and open to treatment at no cost. (abc.net, Australien, 15.06.2021)

https://www.abc.net.au/news/2021-06-15/new-heroin-treatment-helping-patients-in-melbourne/100197558

Drug Cryptomarkets in the 2020s: Policy, Enforcement, Harm, and Resilience

Martin Horton-Eddison, Patrick Shortis, Judith Aldridge, Fernando Caudevilla

University of Manchester, Policy Brief 16, June 2021

https://www.swansea.ac.uk/media/Drug-Crypto-Markets_FINAL_June_2021.pdf

UK. Drug Science Podcast - #38 - Drug Markets

This week’s episode features British Academy Global Professor Julia Buxton. Her research focuses on illicit drug markets and the impact of counter-narcotics policies on development, gender equality and security. In her career she’s led projects and worked with multiple universities around the world including the Central European University in Budapest. Outside of Europe, she has geographical expertise on Latin America and is a specialist on Venezuela. (Drug Science, UK, 09.06.2021, Podcast, 41:56)

https://www.drugscience.org.uk/podcast/38-drug-markets/

Syrien/Levante. Greek Captagon Bust Leads to a Criminal Gang and the Port at the Heart of Syria’s Booming New Drug Trade

In late 2018, Greek authorities busted a freighter carrying over $100 million worth of cannabis and the speed-like drug Captagon, evidence of a booming Mediterranean drug trade fueled by Syria’s civil war. An investigation into the vessel reveals a network of criminals associated with the shipment — with connections to the Assad family, a gang in Libya, and London-registered shell companies. (OCCRP - Organized Crime and Corruption Reporting Project, 17.06.2021) 

https://www.occrp.org/en/investigations/greek-captagon-bust-leads-to-a-criminal-gang-and-the-port-at-the-heart-of-syrias-booming-new-drug-trade

USA. Suboxone Manufacturer Indivior's Former Chief Executive Officer Sentenced to Jail Time in Connection with Drug Safety Claims 

ABINGDON, VIRGINIA – Shaun Thaxter, the former chief executive officer of Indivior PLC, was sentenced today in U.S. District Court in Abingdon to 6 months in federal prison. He was also ordered to pay a fine of $100,000 and forfeit $500,000.  Thaxter pleaded guilty to a one-count misdemeanor information on June 30, 2020 for his role in causing the introduction into interstate commerce of misbranded shipments of the opioid drug Suboxone Film, a violation of the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act. Acting United States Attorney Daniel P. Bubar announced the sentence today. (Department of Justice
U.S. Attorney’s Office, Western District of Virginia, USA, 22.10.2020)

https://www.fda.gov/inspections-compliance-enforcement-and-criminal-investigations/press-releases/suboxone-manufacturer-indiviors-former-chief-executive-officer-sentenced-jail-time-connection-drug

40 years of HIV/AIDS: an interview with Peter Piot

Samarasekera, Udani

The Lancet, Volume 397, Issue 10290, 2138 - 2139 

https://www.thelancet.com/journals/lancet/article/PIIS0140-6736(21)01212-5/fulltext

USA. Vermont becomes first state to legalize limited possession of buprenorphine

On Tuesday, Vermont became the first state in the nation to legalize possession of buprenorphine, a prescription drug used to treat opioid use disorder. 

This week, Gov. Phil Scott signed H.225, a bill that will allow people to possess up to 224 milligrams of the drug — roughly a two-week prescription of the substance — even if they don’t have permission from a doctor. Previously, that qualified as a misdemeanor. (VTDigger, USA, 03.06.2021)

https://vtdigger.org/2021/06/03/vermont-becomes-first-state-to-legalize-limited-possession-of-buprenorphine/

USA. On 50th Anniversary of “War on Drugs,” New Poll Shows Majority of Voters Support Ending Criminal Penalties for Drug Possession, Think Drug War is a Failure 

ACLU and Drug Policy Alliance Call on Biden to Begin Ending Failed War by Commuting Sentences of People Incarcerated for Drugs. (DPA – Drug Policy Alliance, USA, 09.06.2021)

https://drugpolicy.org/press-release/2021/06/50th-anniversary-war-drugs-new-poll-shows-majority-voters-support-ending

Vereinte Nationen verabschieden Erklärung zur Bekämpfung von Aids

New York – Die Vollversammlung der Vereinten Nationen hat nach schwierigen Verhandlungen eine politische Erklärung zur Bekämpfung der Immunschwächekrankheit Aids verabschiedet. (aerzteblatt.de, 09.06.2021)

https://www.aerzteblatt.de/nachrichten/124503/Vereinte-Nationen-verabschieden-Erklaerung-zur-Bekaempfung-von-Aids

Submission to the UN Special Rapporteur on Torture On the ‘accountability gap’ for torture and ill-treatment in private drug treatment centres

(…) Across the world, thousands of people who use drugs are detained against their will in private drug treatment centres. From India to Guatemala to Brazil, a range of horrifying abuses are routinely inflicted on people who use drugs, including inappropriate medical treatment, protracted solitary confinement, forced labour, sexual violence, and beatings, sometimes leading to death. The Committee Against Torture had made clear that statesbear responsibility for prohibiting, preventing, and providing redressfor torture and ill-treatmentin ‘all contexts of custodyor control’1, as it is the case in drug treatment centres. (IDPC – International Drug Policy Consortium, 15.05.2021)

http://fileserver.idpc.net/library/FINAL_SubmissionUNSRTorture_AccoutnabilityGap_14.5.21.pdf

How Switzerland defeated its heroin epidemic (Audio)

In the 1990s, Switzerland decided to tackle one of Europe's worst drugs epidemics by trying radical new policy ideas including providing safe-injection rooms for addicts and even prescribing pure heroin. The new strategy dramatically cut overdoses, HIV infections and the number of new users, and in 2008 the Swiss voted in a referendum to enshrine the changes permanently in law. Zak Brophy talks to Andre Seidenberg, a Swiss doctor who worked with addicts for decades, and to former Swiss president Ruth Dreifuss, who campaigned for the change in policy. (BBC, UK, Audio, 08:59)

https://www.bbc.co.uk/sounds/play/w3ct1wyl

UK. London’s first dedicated detox unit for homeless people set to open 

Service, led by PHE London, was set up in partnership with the Greater London Authority, Guy's and St Thomas' NHS Foundation Trust, borough councils and the City of London Corporation. (Public Health England, UK, 09.06.2021)

https://www.gov.uk/government/news/london-s-first-dedicated-detox-unit-for-homeless-people-set-to-open

EMCDDA. What are the lessons to be learnt from the European Drug Report 2021?

The new EU Drugs Strategy 2021–25 makes explicit that the European response to drugs should be evidence-based and delivered through a balanced and integrated approach, which ultimately must be judged on its impact on the health, safety and wellbeing of our citizens. The European Monitoring Centre for Drugs and Drug Addiction (EMCDDA) is tasked with helping to provide the evidence needed to ensure that European policies and actions on drugs are effective, well-targeted and responsive to new threats and challenges. (EMCDDA, Lissabon 09.06.2021)

https://www.emcdda.europa.eu/news/2021/2/lessons-to-be-learnt-from-the-european-drug-report-2021_en

Australien. After furious debate, Melbourne council votes to support safe-injecting room in CBD

A motion by councillor Roshena Campbell – a senior Liberal party figure – opposing a safe-injecting room anywhere in the city was narrowly defeated, while a second vote on a council management report that recommended supporting a Victorian government service was successful. (SMH – Sydney Morning Herald, Australien, 25.05.2021)

https://www.smh.com.au/national/victoria/after-furious-debate-melbourne-council-votes-to-support-safe-injecting-room-in-cbd-20210525-p57v46.html

Irland. Our life, our voice, our say: applying a public sector equality and human rights duty approach to the human rights and equality issues identified by service users of opioid treatment services. 

Community Action Network. (2018), Dublin: Community Action Network. 

https://www.drugsandalcohol.ie/28876/1/our_life_our_voice_our_say_report_final.pdf

The war on drugs (Audio)

The 'war on drugs' was launched by US President Richard Nixon in 1971. He said drug abuse was a 'national emergency'. (BBC, UK, 01.06.2021, Audio, 09:00)

https://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/w3ct1x0v

Afghanistan's poppy problem (Audio)

Laila Haidari set up Kabul's first independent drug rehabilitation centre in 2010. Having helped her own brother to quit his heroin addiction she wanted to help others. (BBC, UK, 04.06.2021, Audio, 09:00)

https://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/w3ct1x33

USA. Respectful and Equitable Access to Comprehensive Healthcare (REACH) Program

The Respectful and Equitable Access to Comprehensive Healthcare (REACH) Program provides a patient-centered, harm reduction approach to primary care for persons who use alcohol and other drugs, and for individuals living with hepatitis C virus (HCV) infection. (Mount Sinai Hospitals, NY/USA, 2021)

https://www.mountsinai.org/care/primary-care/upper-east-side/ima/reach

Changing tides - The evolving illicit drug trade in the western Indian Ocean

The islands of the western Indian Ocean have been drastically impacted by illicit drug markets. Mauritius and the Seychelles report some of the highest rates of heroin consumption in the world. Growing volumes of heroin are being trafficked via Madagascar, which also operates as a significant cannabis exporter in the inter-island drugs economy. (globalinitiative.net, Juni 2021)

https://globalinitiative.net/analysis/drug-trade-indian-ocean/

USA. We’re Overlooking a Major Culprit in the Opioid Crisis

Pharmaceutical companies and drug dealers have been part of the problem—but so have policy makers. (Scientific American, USA, 28.05.2021)

https://www.scientificamerican.com/article/were-overlooking-a-major-culprit-in-the-opioid-crisis/

USA. Opinion: Politics and Science Are Both Catching up With Big Marijuana

As Congress readies a few doomed federal marijuana legalization bills, top Democrats in Colorado— the first state to legalize marijuana—are staking out a surprisingly different path. (Newsweek, USA, 02.06.2021)

https://www.newsweek.com/politics-science-are-both-catching-big-marijuana-opinion-1596664

USA. Stanford Team Reveals Cost-Effective and Life-Saving Treatment for Nation's Opioid Disorder Epidemic

A Stanford team of decision scientists with colleagues at the VA Palo Alto Health Care System developed a mathematical model to assess the cost-effectiveness of various interventions to treat opioid use disorder. They looked at the cost-effectiveness from two perspectives: the health-care sector and the criminal justice system. (Stanford Health Policy, USA, 31.03.2021)

https://healthpolicy.fsi.stanford.edu/news/stanford-team-reveals-cost-effective-and-life-saving-treatment-opioid-disorder

UK. Cleveland's new Police and Crime Commissioner says he won't continue funding Middlesbrough's Heroin Assisted Treatment

Cleveland's new Police and Crime Commissioner Steve Turner has been told he is "making a mistake" by ending funding from his office for a trailblazing heroin addiction treatment (HAT) scheme. (ITV, 18.05.2021)

https://www.itv.com/news/tyne-tees/2021-05-18/clevelands-new-police-and-crime-commissioner-says-he-wont-continue-funding-middlesbroughs-heroin-assisted-treatment

Kanada. Let’s Talk Overdose: The Hidden Pandemic and How to Stop It - 23.06.2021, 8:00am-4:00pm PST = 17-21 Uhr MESZ

In March 2020, Canada declared COVID- 19 a public health emergency. Since then, Canadians have fervently been doing their part to reduce the spread of the virus. Amid the chaos of COVID- 19, the opioid overdose crisis is still on- going, yet efforts to address this devastating situation is often overshadowed. We want to raise awareness to the overdose crisis and to generate a consensus on the necessary initiatives to ensure that no more lives are needlessly lost to this hidden pandemic. This virtual event will host clinicians, researchers, people with lived/living experience, youth and many others to have important discussions surrounding the opioid crisis.

Michael Krausz MD, PhD, FRCPC
Leadership Chair, UBC Addiction Research
Chair, World Psychiatric Association Section on Addiction Psychiatry
President and Chair, InnerChange Foundation

(Centre for Health Evaluation and Outcome Sciences/UBC Dept. of Psychiatry, Vancouver, B.C., Kanada, Mai 2021)

https://acdresearch.med.ubc.ca/events/

Open-access publisher PLOS pushes to extend clout beyond biomedicine

The publisher will launch five new journals, and has introduced a new business model that aims to spread the cost of publishing more fairly. (Nature, USA, 13.05.2021)

https://www.nature.com/articles/d41586-020-01907-3

Schottland. Overdose awareness and naloxone posters go live in Scotland

This month a new overdose awareness and naloxone poster campaign launched in various cities throughout the UK.

Naloxone is a life-saving medication used to reverse the effects of opioids. It can save a person’s life if it is used quickly after an overdose is taken.

The posters feature the faces of real community naloxone carriers and their stories of why they carry naloxone, and have gone up in locations around Glasgow, Edinburgh, and Dundee, including Argyle Street in Glasgow, and Calton Road in Edinburgh. (sdf – Scottish Drugs Forum, UK, 04.05.2021)

http://www.sdf.org.uk/overdose-awareness-and-naloxone-posters-go-live-in-scotland/