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Kolumbien. ‘Without drug traffickers, we’d have peace’: Colombian villagers flee new killings 

Two years after the end of the guerrilla war that killed 220,000, other players have moved in on the drugs trade, with poor local children now being bribed to take up arms. (BBC, UK, 22.09.2018)


China/USA. Fentanyl crisis: Is China a major source of illegal drugs?

Amid tension between China and the US over trade, there's also friction over another issue - the illegal trade in synthetic drugs. (BBC, UK, 24.09.2018)


USA. The Federal Agency That Fuels the Opioid Crisis - Opinion

The Drug Enforcement Administration has proved itself incompetent for decades. 

By Leo Beletsky and Jeremiah Goulka

Professor Beletsky is the faculty director of Northeastern University’s Health in Justice Action Lab, where Jeremiah Goulka is a senior fellow. (New York Times, 17.09.2018)


КОСТЯ ПРОЛЕТАРСКИЙ - Анимационный фильм - TRAILER 

19 июня 2009 года Костя Пролетарский, наркопотребитель и ВИЧ-активист, умер от туберкулезного менингита в Боткинской больнице Санкт-Петербурга, в России. Его смерть - результат трехлетнего жестокого обращения и пыток в исправительном учреждении №4 в Карелии. В России, где медикаментозное лечение наркозависимости почти недоступно, тюремное заключение является основным “решением” этой проблемы. Но, к сожалению, подобные учреждения никого не излечивают. Наоборот, тюрьма убивает. Этот анимационный документальный фильм, с оригинальным аудио-интервью с Костей и его матерью Ириной, мы делаем для того, чтобы почтить память Кости Пролетарского и всех тех, кто не выжил в тюрьмах по всему миру. Этот фильм создается организацией Rights Reporter Foundation, историю Кости рассказала Аня Саранг, режиссер фильма Иштван Габор Такач, а нарисовала все это - Лили Ронто. (Drugreporter, Ungarn, 24.09.2018, Trailer, 03:25)


Kanada. ‘The crisis is not abating’: Opioids killing more than 11 Canadians daily

More than 11 Canadians are dying every day on average because of opioids, according to new data from the federal government.

“The crisis is not abating,” Theresa Tam, Canada’s chief public health officer, said in an interview on Tuesday.

Canada is the world’s second highest per-capita consumer of opioids, after the United States, which has led to widespread misuse, dependence and addiction. (The Globe and Mail, Kanada, 18.09.2018)


Russland. Kostya Proletarsky - The Animated Movie – TRAILER 

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 Russia, where drug treatment is barely available, imprisonment becomes the main “solution” to the problem of drug addiction. But unfortunately, these institutions don’t cure. Instead, prisons kill. The animated hand drawn documentary, featuring the original audio interview with Kostya and his mother, Irina, aims to commemorate Kostya Proletarsky and many others who have not survived prison systems around the world. The animated movie is produced by the Rights Reporter Foundation, narrated by Anya Sarang, directed by István Gábor Takács, and is hand drawn frame by frame by Lili Rontó. (Drugreporter, Ungarn, 24.09.2018, Trailer, 03:24)



Süd Afrika. South Africa's highest court legalises cannabis use

South Africa's highest court has legalised the use of cannabis by adults in private places.

Pro-marijuana activists cheered in the public gallery and chanted "Weed are free now" when the Constitutional Court gave its landmark ruling. 

In a unanimous ruling, judges also legalised the growing of marijuana for private consumption. (BBC, 18.09.2018)


USA. As opioid crisis rages, cost of overdose antidote spikes

As the opioid epidemic continues to kill tens of thousands of Americans each year, the drug naloxone has proved invaluable in preventing overdose-related deaths. Yet a spike in its cost in recent years has constrained access to naloxone, potentially depriving health care professionals, emergency responders and families of a critical treatment than can save lives. (CBS-News, Money Watch, USA, 14.08.2018)


Cola mit Cannabis? Aurora-Aktionäre im Rausch - Coca-Cola signalisiert Interesse 

Ein Medienbericht über das mögliche Interesse von Coca-Cola hat Anleger des kanadischen Marihuana-Herstellers Aurora Cannabis in einen Kaufrausch versetzt. (Manager Magazin, 18.09.2018)


USA. OxyContin maker gets patent for drug to treat opioid addiction

Purdue Pharma, the maker of OxyContin, has received a patent designed to treat opioid addiction.

The patent, first reported by The Financial Times, is for a new and faster-acting form of buprenorphine. (CBS-News, Money Watch, USA, 07.08.2018)


USA. Inside America’s Opioid Crisis

Getty photographer Spencer Platt spent years on assignment documenting the crisis, and spoke to Newsweekabout the worrying reach of addiction, and the humanity he encountered while photographing the people affected. (Newsweek, Photogallerie, 2018)


USA. L'Oréal urged to rebrand 'breathtakingly insensitive' Black Opium fragrance by anti-drug group 

The National Council Against Drug Abuse accuses the beauty giant of "the height of cruelty" by attempting to profit while people are losing their lives to real opium. (Cosmetic Business, USA, 21.09.2018)


USA. Law And Order: How the Smallest State is Defeating America’s Biggest Addiction Crisis 

Rhode Island inmates get opioid replacements while they’re locked up and it seems to be keeping them from overdosing when they get out. (Politico Magazine, USA, 25.08.2018)


Regulation - The Responsible Control of Drugs

The Global Commission on Drug Policy will release its new report, Regulation: The Responsible Control of Drugs. This report examines in detail how governments can take control of currently illegal drug markets through responsible regulation, thereby weakening criminal organizations that now profit from them.

This new report provides a practical roadmap that tackles the real implications and recognizes the difficulties of transitioning from illegal to legally regulated drug markets. It offers concrete answers regarding the organizational capacity of state institutions to regulate and control a legal market of potentially dangerous products. It highlights the challenges facing impoverished populations that constitute the “working class” of the illegal drug markets. It offers possible ways forward to deal with the risks inherent to the resilience of organized crime. Finally, this report calls for a reform of the prohibition-based international drug control system, which is compromising a universal and holistic approach to the “drug problem.” (The Global Commission on Drug Policy, 24.09.2018)


USA/Kanada. Joint venture: Coca-Cola considers cannabis-infused range 

Soft drink maker in talks with Canadian marijuana producer about beverages to ease pain. (The Guardian, UK, 17.09.201)


Weltkommission für Drogenpolitik: Staaten müssen Handel regulieren

Mexiko-Stadt – Die Weltkommission für Drogenpolitik sieht eine Regulierung der Drogenmärkte als den effektivsten Weg, um die Probleme in den Griff zu bekommen. Die Politik müsse alle Aspekte des Handels mit Rauschgift kontrollieren und nicht teilweise in kriminellen Händen lassen, sagte die Präsidentin der internationalen Vereinigung, Ruth Dreifuss, anlässlich der Vorstellung des neuen Berichts der Kommission in Mexiko-Stadt. (aerzteblatt.de, 24.09.2018)


USA. Insurer To Purdue Pharma: We Won’t Pay For OxyContin Anymore

The largest insurer in Tennessee has announced it will no longer cover prescriptions for what was once a blockbuster pain reliever. It’s the latest insurance company to turn against OxyContin, whose maker, Purdue Pharma, faces dozens of lawsuits related to its high-pressure sales tactics around the country and contribution to the opioid crisis. (Kaiser Health News, USA, 13.09.2018)


USA. AMA urges Congress not to loosen restrictions on privacy for patients with addiction history

WASHINGTON — The American Medical Association is opposing a change to patient privacy laws that would allow doctors to more freely share information about a patient’s history of substance use, a proposal that has divided the health care community and highlighted some of the challenges of addressing the opioid epidemic. (statnews.com, USA, 21.09.2018)


USA. Court rejects murder conviction for dealer in overdose death

A Mississippi appeals court has rejected a test case of whether drug dealers can be prosecuted for murder under state law when a drug user dies. (The State, USA, 08.09.2018)


USA. FDA Expands Strategies for Safer Opioid Prescribing

The US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) unveiled a new strategy today that will be added to its broader efforts in addressing the current opioid crisis.

The agency has approved the final Opioid Analgesic Risk Evaluation and Mitigation Strategy (REMS), which for the first time requires that all healthcare providers involved in pain management be able to receive voluntary training, and it should not be limited to prescribers. REMS training, therefore, must be made available to nurses and pharmacists. (Medscape, 18.09.2018)


USA. Trump Identifies 22 “Major Drug Producing” Countries

US President Donald Trump has listed the nations identified by his administration as being “major drug transit or major illicit drug producing countries”.

In a presidential memorandum for the Secretary of State, published on September 11, Trump announced that 22 countries were failing to prevent illegal drug production and trafficking: Afghanistan, The Bahamas, Belize, Bolivia, Colombia, Costa Rica, Dominican Republic, Ecuador, El Salvador, Guatemala, Haiti, Honduras, India, Jamaica, Laos, Mexico, Myanmar (Burma), Nicaragua, Pakistan, Panama, Peru, and Venezuela. (Talking Drugs, UK, 13.09.2018)



Responding to Addiction: Public Policy Do’s and Don’ts provides a menu of options for policymakers to implement a comprehensive response to addiction. (Addiction Policy Forum, USA, 2018)


USA. Presidential Proclamation on Prescription Opioid and Heroin Epidemic Awareness Week, 2018

(...) Drug overdoses are now the leading cause of deaths resulting from injury in the United States.  In 2017, approximately 134 Americans died every day from an opioid overdose, and more than two million Americans suffered from addiction to prescription or illicit opioids.  Between 1999 and 2017, more than 400,000 Americans, including so many of our young people, have died from overdoses involving opioids.  We must aggressively combat this epidemic affecting our communities. (The White House, 14.09.2018)


Trump Administration Plans U.N. Meeting to Ramp Up the International Drug War

The Trump administration will open a week of high-level meetings at the United Nations General Assembly in New York with a drug policy event featuring President Donald Trump. Invites to the event are being doled out only to those countries that have signed on to a controversial, nonnegotiable action plan, according to documents obtained by The Intercept — among them the countries with the world’s most draconian drug laws. (The Intercept, USA, 18.09.2018)


USA. Fentanyl: The Opioid Epidemic That's Killing America | Opinion

The number of bodies piling up in Florida’s 4th District morgue was so large last year, the medical examiner’s office ran out of room. In Cook County Illinois, medical officials responded to 74 overdoses in 72 hours.

(..) According to preliminary estimates recently released from the Centers for Disease Control, drug overdoses killed more than 72,000 Americans last year, the highest number on record.

(...) While opioid overdoses are driving the increase in deaths, prescription drugs are no longer the primary cause. Instead “synthetic” opioids like fentanyl and its chemical siblings, so-called fentanyl “analogues,” are fueling the death spiral. It was fentanyl that filled the Florida morgue to capacity and fentanyl-laced heroin that overwhelmed Cook County’s first responders. (Newsweek, 12.09.2018)


USA. The Health 202: Obscure provision in House opioids' bill could restart war on drugs

(...) The issue in question is a change that has been mostly under the radar as lawmakers move a package of dozens of bills to address the public-health crisis. In the House version of a package to address the opioid crisis, but not the Senate one, is a provision that gives the attorney general power to create a special category for synthetic drugs, like the highly toxic fentanyl, and set penalties for those who make or sell them, giving the nation's chief law enforcement new authority to enact harsh penalties.

What critics hear is: War on Drugs redux. (Washington Post, Power Post, 19.09.2018)


USA. Florida ‘Pill Mill’ Doctor, Staff Sentenced After 1.2 Million Doses

A South Florida doctor was sentenced to six and a half years in prison for conspiring to prescribe more than a million doses of addictive opioid-based painkillers such as Percocet and OxyContin in exchange for cash. (Organized Crime and Corruption Reporting Project (OCCRP), USA, 07.09.2018)


USA. Health officials are sounding an alarm on the drug gabapentin. And it's not even an opioid.

People are using the prescription painkiller gabapentin to boost their highs, doctors say. (...) Kentucky last year became the first state to classify gabapentin as a controlled substance after the drug showed up in a third of the state’s fatal overdoses in 2016. (NBC News, 01.04.2018)


Afghanistan. U.S. Bombing of Drug Labs in Afghanistan Is Counterproductive to Fighting the Taliban

(...) The bombing campaign, however, is an ineffective counter-narcotics approach and won’t advance a counterterrorism strategy. Not only is it based on misguided notions of how much the Taliban benefits from or depends on poppy cultivation to fund its insurgency, the operations also do not address the underlying problems that fuel the opium trade. Instead, the U.S. is likely to undermine the fight against the Taliban. The strikes against drug labs eliminate the only source of income for many local residents without providing a replacement, and they foster even greater resentment of the foreign military presence and the already unpopular central government. (justsecurity.org, USA, 06.09.2018)


USA. Senate passes sweeping legislation to combat opioid epidemic

Lawmakers in both chambers have responded public pressure to find solutions to a deadly crisis that has affected every state in the nation. (NBC, USA, 18.09.2018)


USA. OxyContin Billionaire Patents New Drug for Opioid Treatment

In recent years, America’s pharmaceutical industry has taken it on the chin. Populist demagogues have savaged drug companies for “jacking up” the price of life-saving substances like insulin (a.k.a. honoring their fiduciary duty to maximize shareholder value). These boisterous neo-Bolsheviks will point to the fact that pharmaceuticals are several times more expensive in the U.S. than in other countries, and conclude that our government’s exceptionally strong patent laws — and aberrant refusal to push down drug prices through direct negotiation — are meant to enrich Big Pharma at the working American’s expense. (Daily Intelligencer, USA, 07.09.2018)


USA. Special Response: Over 100 Researchers and Practitioners Respond to Rod Rosenstein on Safe Injection Sites

In response to the current opioid crisis a number of cities in the United States are considering establishing safe injection sites for users of heroin and other illegal drugs. This is not a new idea. Cities in Canada and Europe currently have them, including a successful program in Vancouver. Safe injection sites provide a place for people to inject illicit drugs under medical supervision. In addition to a clean and warm space, they typically offer sterile injecting equipment and basic healthcare. Many also provide referrals to treatment, housing and other services. Critically, all safe injection sites include trained staff to respond to overdose, leading many experts to refer to them as “overdose prevention sites,” to better reflect this core aim. (Alcohol and Drugs History Society, USA, 20.09.2018)