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USA. California Can’t Afford Its Free Narcan Program. Will It Embrace Generic?

A California naloxone delivery program is struggling to meet rising demand due to the expense of nasal spray Narcan. The situation highlights the the absurdity of state governments continuing to ignore the generic intramuscular version of naloxone—vastly more affordable, but demonized because it involves a syringe. (Filter, USA, 22.11.2022)

https://filtermag.org/california-naloxone-distribution-program

Griechenland. A Visit to the Drug Consumption Room in Athens

At the international meeting of the Corelation European Harm Reduction Network, participants had a chance to visit the Drug Consumption room of OKANA, the largest service provider in Greece. The Drug consumption room started as a pilot project back in 2011, to reduce needle sharing and infections, to end overdoses and to reduce public nuisance caused by the open drug scenes in Athens. The room could only operate for 9 months as a pilot project, before the prosecutor shut it down. Athenians had to wait ten years, to be able to finally open it again. (drugreporter, Ungarn, 23.11.2022, Video, 20:23)

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bZDhlwZoKqg

Niederlande. Niederlande setzen Lachgas auf die Drogenliste

Den Haag – Die Niederlande wollen den Besitz und den Verkauf von Lachgas verbieten. Ab dem 1. Januar 2023 solle das zur Gruppe der Stickoxide gehörende Gas auf die Liste der verbotenen Rauschmittel gesetzt, teilte das Gesundheitsministerium gestern Abend in Den Haag mit.

Ausnahmen gelten demnach dann für medizinische und technische Zwecke. So dürfen Ärzte das Gas als leichtes Betäubungsmittel einsetzen. Und Privatpersonen noch kleine mit Lachgas gefüllte Patronen kaufen etwa für Schlagsahnespender. (aerzteblatt.de, 15.11.2022)

https://www.aerzteblatt.de/nachrichten/138855/Niederlande-setzen-Lachgas-auf-die-Drogenliste

USA. DEA Laboratory Testing Reveals that 6 out of 10 Fentanyl-Laced Fake Prescription Pills Now Contain a Potentially Lethal Dose of Fentanyl

WASHINGTON – The U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration is alerting the public of a sharp nationwide increase in the lethality of fentanyl-laced fake prescription pills.  

The DEA Laboratory has found that, of the fentanyl-laced fake prescription pills analyzed in 2022, six out of ten now contain a potentially lethal dose of fentanyl. This is an increase from DEA’s previous announcement in 2021 that four out of ten fentanyl-laced fake prescription pills were found to contain a potentially lethal dose. (DEA – Drug Enforcement Administration, USA, 21.11.2022)

https://www.dea.gov/alert/dea-laboratory-testing-reveals-6-out-10-fentanyl-laced-fake-prescription-pills-now-contain

Fentanyl isn’t just causing overdoses. It’s making it harder to start addiction treatment

Doctors are reporting a troubling trend when it comes to fentanyl.

The powerful drug, they say, isn’t just causing overdoses — it’s also making it more difficult to begin addiction treatment. In particular, fentanyl appears more likely to cause severe withdrawal symptoms for patients put on buprenorphine, a key medication used to treat opioid use disorder. (STAT, USA, 16.11.2022)

https://www.statnews.com/2022/11/16/fentanyl-isnt-just-causing-overdoses-its-making-it-harder-to-start-addiction-treatment/

USA. Top U.S. addiction researcher calls for broad deregulation of methadone

BOSTON — The U.S. government’s top addiction researcher is calling for broad deregulation of methadone, a key drug used to treat opioid use disorder.

American doctors should “absolutely” be allowed to prescribe methadone directly to patients, Nora Volkow, the director of the National Institute on Drug Abuse, said Wednesday. 

“There’s absolutely no reason why not,” Volkow said. “There are countries where physicians are providing methadone, and the outcomes are actually as good as those they get [at] methadone clinics.” (Stat, 16.11.2022)

https://www.statnews.com/2022/11/16/nora-volkow-nida-broad-deregulation-methadone/

INTOXICATING SPACES – The Impact of new Intoxicants on Urban Spaces in Europe (1600 – 1850)

Between the seventeenth and nineteenth centuries, emerging imperial and trading networks and flows of people, knowledge, and goods from across the world introduced European consumers to a wide variety of ‘new intoxicants’: cocoa, coffee, opium, sugar, tea, and tobacco. In what has been termed a ‘psychoactive revolution’, these mind- and body-altering substances transformed dietary and social habits, and became mainstays of modern global economies and nation states. (Intoxicating Spaces is a collaboration between Carl von Ossietzky Universität Oldenburg (Germany), the University of Sheffield (UK), Stockholm University (Sweden), and Utrecht University (Netherlands).

https://www.intoxicatingspaces.org/

Kolumbien. After Coca: How The Drug War Colonises the Colombian Forest

One of the first and consistent targets of the global War on Drugs has been the coca plant. Even after the Colombian peace agreements, American-sponsored international efforts to control drug supply will always focus on suppressing coca crops in their producing nations, no matter the cost.

While coca is a stable and profitable crop in local campesino (peasant farmer) cultivation, nationally and internationally, it is a target for eradication. While the dogged pursuit to eradicate all cocaine directly contributes to the systematic destruction of tropical forests across the Andean and Amazon region, the subsequent occupation of land by commercial agriculture businesses irrevocably transforms areas of high biodiversity and conservation importance into privatised pastures. (Talking Drugs, UK, 15.11.2022)

https://www.talkingdrugs.org/after-coca-how-the-drug-war-colonises-the-colombian-forest

Belgien. Belgium needs more incinerators to burn seized cocaine

Authorities fear depots used to store drugs could become targets for robberies by gangs. (The Guardian, UK, 21.11.2022)

https://www.theguardian.com/world/2022/nov/21/belgium-needs-more-incinerators-to-burn-seized-cocaine

Philippinen. Philippines Undercounts Recent ‘Drug War’ Deaths

Police Claim of 46 Killed Far Below Independent Monitor’s Figure. (HRW – Human Rights Watch, USA, 17.11.2022)

https://www.hrw.org/news/2022/11/17/philippines-undercounts-recent-drug-war-deaths

Niederlande. Netherlands to ban laughing gas from January

The Dutch government is banning the use of nitrous oxide, commonly known as laughing gas, amid concerns over the health risks for the growing number of young people using it. (BBC, UK, 15.11.2022)

https://www.bbc.com/news/world-europe-63634557

USA. Researchers find 2.8% of pregnancies were exposed to opioids

Opioid use during pregnancy may lead to adverse long-term infant and child outcomes. Targeted public health strategies have been employed to reduce opioid use in reproductive-aged persons, but there has been a lack of research that adequately describes the individuals in the United States who actually use opioids during pregnancy. The first nationwide, geographically diverse study of pregnant people to describe the epidemiology of opioid use, including the demographic and medical characteristics of these people, helps to fill this gap. (University of Minnesota, USA, 21.11.2022)

https://medicalxpress.com/news/2022-11-pregnancies-exposed-opioids.html

UK. Bristol drug-checking service gains charity status

The UK's first Home Office licensed drug-checking service has been granted charity status.

The Loop, which run pop-up sites, including at music festivals, plans to launch a regular testing site in Bristol in January.

Its new chief executive, Katy Porter, said the recognition as a charity would help more people reach its services and "important" information.

That will "greatly assist in reducing drug-related harm", she added. (BBC, 18.11.2022)

https://www.bbc.com/news/uk-england-bristol-63674893

Nigeria. ‘HIV can kill faster than the drug abuse’: Nigeria opens first needle exchange to tackle infection

The programme, seen as a shift in attitudes in a zero-tolerance country, is aimed at curbing the spread of blood-borne disease. (The Guardian, UK, 14.11.2022)

https://www.theguardian.com/global-development/2022/nov/14/nigeria-hiv-first-needle-exchange

USA. FDA Announces Preliminary Assessment that Certain Naloxone Products Have the Potential to be Safe and Effective for Over-the-Counter Use

Agency Continues to Encourage Sponsor Applications for Over-the-Counter Naloxone Products. (FDA – US Food&Drug Administration, USA, 15.11.2022)

https://www.fda.gov/news-events/press-announcements/fda-announces-preliminary-assessment-certain-naloxone-products-have-potential-be-safe-and-effective

EMCDDA. EMCDDA releases new findings on drug markets in the eastern and southern European Neighbourhood Policy regions

The emergence of new drug trafficking routes, the expansion of online markets, and the availability of a broader spectrum of substances, are among the findings highlighted in two new reports published today by the EU drugs agency (EMCDDA). Released in the framework of the EU-funded EU4Monitoring Drugs project (EU4MD), the reports provide a picture of the drug market in the eastern and southern European Neighbourhood Policy regions (ENP-East and ENP-South). (EMCDDA, Lissabon 21.11.2022 (News release No 9/2022))

https://www.emcdda.europa.eu/news/2022/9/emcdda-releases-new-findings-drug-markets-eastern-and-southern-european-neighbourhood-policy-regions_en

Afghanistan. Can the Taliban detox from Afghanistan's opium economy?

As the world continues to watch heartbreaking scenes from Kabul, many are bracing for the far-reaching ramifications of its fall.

The impact of the Taliban takeover on the global heroin trade is one such concern.

Resin from Afghanistan's opium fields is used to produce the majority of the world's heroin. Some analysts are already predicting that the Taliban will increase its control of Afghanistan's opium trade.

It may seem unlikely, however this could well be one of the few positive results arising from the Taliban's return to power. (ABC-News, 24.08.2021)

https://www.abc.net.au/news/2021-08-25/taliban-afghanistan-heroin-opium-poppy-production/100402010

USA. Walmart zahlt wegen Opioidkrise in den USA Milliarden

New York – Wegen der Opioidkrise in den USA zahlt der Supermarktriese Walmart 3,1 Milliarden Dollar (rund drei Milliarden Euro) Schadenersatz. Im Zuge eines Vergleichs sollen dafür von Bundesstaaten, Landkreisen, Gemeinden und Indigenenstämme angestrengte Justizverfahren gegen Walmart eingestellt werden, wie der Konzern, der in seinen Märkten auch Apotheken betreibt, gestern mitteilte. (aerzteblatt.de, 16.11.2022)

https://www.aerzteblatt.de/nachrichten/138874/Walmart-zahlt-wegen-Opioidkrise-in-den-USA-Milliarden

USA. Schmerzmittelsucht in den USA - Walmart zahlt mehr als drei Milliarden Dollar wegen Opioidkrise 

In den USA wird Unternehmen vorgeworfen, mitverantwortlich für die Medikamentensucht von Millionen Menschen zu sein. Walmart wurde bereits zu einer hohen Geldstrafe verurteilt – und hat nun einen teuren Vergleich geschlossen. (Spiegel online, 16.11.2022)

https://www.spiegel.de/wirtschaft/unternehmen/usa-walmart-zahlt-mehr-als-drei-milliarden-dollar-wegen-opioid-krise-a-a514b809-febd-4aa1-b771-49ef4cff252a

USA. People Harmed by Drug War Get NY’s First Cannabis Retail Licenses

New York regulators have approved the state’s first-ever licenses for recreational marijuana retailers. Most of the businesses are owned by people who’ve been impacted by the drug war, while others are run by nonprofit organizations that have a history of helping people reenter society after incarceration. (Filter, USA, 21.11.2022)

https://filtermag.org/new-york-cannabis-retail-justice-licences

USA. Continuing Crisis - Drug Overdose Deaths in New York

Report prepared by the Office of Budget Policy and Analysis, November 2022

https://www.osc.state.ny.us/reports/continuing-crisis-drug-overdose-deaths-new-york

FDA alerts health care professionals of risks to patients exposed to xylazine in illicit drugs

Health care professionals should be cautious of possible xylazine inclusion in fentanyl, heroin, and other illicit drug overdoses, as naloxone may not be able to reverse its effects. FDA is aware of increasing reports of serious side effects from individuals exposed to fentanyl, heroin, and other illicit drugs contaminated with xylazine. (FDA – US Food&Drug Administration, USA, 08.11.2022)

https://www.fda.gov/drugs/drug-safety-and-availability/fda-alerts-health-care-professionals-risks-patients-exposed-xylazine-illicit-drugs

Kanada. Can drug users’ lives be saved by giving them uncontaminated heroin and cocaine?

A Vancouver “compassion club” is buying illicit drugs and testing for impurities before distributing them to users at risk of overdose. (The Hamilton Spectator, Kanada, 23.10.2022)

https://www.thespec.com/ts/politics/federal/2022/10/23/can-drug-users-lives-be-saved-by-giving-them-uncontaminated-heroin-and-cocaine.html

UK. Stigma Kills - See the person. Hear their story.

Everyone knows someone who experiences addiction.

We all know someone who has experienced addiction at some point in their lives, from substance misuse to gambling or gaming addiction.

Although addiction is a common health issue that requires medical intervention and support, people suffering from this illness are some of the most stigmatised in society, often seen as not even unwell and in some way deserving of their experiences. (NHS – National Health Service, Addictions Provider Alliance, UK, November 2022)

https://www.stigmakills.org.uk/

Ecuador. Headless bodies and deadly bombs: cartel violence escalates in Ecuador

On Tuesday, President Guillermo Lasso announced a curfew under a new state of emergency in Guayas and Esmeraldas regions. (The Guardian, UK, 02.11.2022)

https://www.theguardian.com/world/2022/nov/02/ecuador-violence-deadly-attacks-gangs-cartels

The Missing Guests at COP27? Drug Barons - Politicians don’t control the Amazon, cartels do.

As global leaders meet at COP27, they could do worse than offer members of Transnational Organised Crime a seat at the table.

Because when it comes to the pledges that will be made in Sharm El Sheikh – whether that’s stopping deforestation, protecting indigenous land rights, financing community responses to wildfires or implementing climate resilient development – it’s unlikely the people in the room will have the power to fulfil them.

Organised crime controls some of our planet’s most environmentally critical landscapes. The jungles of south-east Asia, forests of west Africa and the rainforests of central and south America are some of the planet’s largest carbon sinks and key to our climate future. This equatorial line also correlates to the world’s major drug trafficking routes. Where the illicit drug trade thrives so does corruption, because prohibition is the mother of organised crime. (Novara Media, UK, 07.11.2022)

https://novaramedia.com/2022/11/07/the-missing-guests-at-cop27-drug-barons/

USA. Teva to pay $523 mln to New York as it looks to move past opioid lawsuits

JERUSALEM, Nov 3 (Reuters) - Teva Pharmaceutical Industries Ltd (TEVA.TA) will pay up to $523 million to New York State as part of a nationwide settlement of lawsuits alleging the company helped fuel the U.S. opioid epidemic. (Reuters, 03.11.2022)

https://www.reuters.com/business/healthcare-pharmaceuticals/teva-pharmaceutical-lowers-guidance-after-profit-miss-2022-11-03/

Brasilien. THE BLACK INITIATIVE: Fighting Brazil’s Racist Drug War (Video)

The war on drugs is an instrument of racism, which incites violence and hinders democratic development in Brazil. Watch our new short documentary to find out how a black civil society organization in Brazil, Iniciativa Negra, takes up the fight against this war on people. (Drug Reporter, Ungarn, 09.11.2022, Video 25:00) 

https://drogriporter.hu/en/iniciativa-negra/

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

GENEVA, 1 November 2021—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 is committed to supporting countries in their journey towards the decriminalization of drug possession and to full-scale implementation of harm reduction programmes,” said UNAIDS Executive Director, Winnie Byanyima. “UNAIDS calls for the full involvement of communities of people who use drugs in achieving legal reform aimed at decriminalization and in the organization of harm reduction programmes at the country level. This will help us to end inequalities and end AIDS.” (UNAIDS, Genf, 01.11.2022)

https://www.unaids.org/en/resources/presscentre/pressreleaseandstatementarchive/2021/november/20211101_international-drug-users-day

USA. State Opioid Treatment Program Regulations Put Evidence-Based Care Out of Reach for Many 

Opioid treatment programs (OTPs) are the only health care facilities that can offer patients all three forms of medication for opioid use disorder: methadone, buprenorphine, and injectable extended-release naltrexone. No other setting is permitted to provide methadone. These facilities are critical to reducing overdose deaths and providing lifesaving addiction treatment.

But too often, access to high quality OTP care is curtailed by federal and state rules that are not based in evidence. Although debate over the future of federal methadone regulation is ongoing, state policymakers have the opportunity to act now to improve access to this medication and the quality of OTP services by removing rules that go beyond federal restrictions and limit access to care. (PEW Charitable Trusts, USA, 31.10.2022)

https://www.pewtrusts.org/en/research-and-analysis/data-visualizations/2022/state-opioid-treatment-program-regulations-put-evidence-based-care-out-of-reach-for-many