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Malaysia. Malaysia's Government looks to decriminalise drug use in bid to stem disadvantage

The non-descript white van parked at the mosque entrance went mostly unnoticed.

In conservative Malaysia, very few of the Muslim faithful on their way to afternoon prayers could ever have imagined its true purpose.

After a 40-year war on drugs that has seen two Australians hanged and countless thousands of drug users locked up, the van is a symbol of a dramatic shift in Malaysia's approach to narcotics.

It's a mobile methadone clinic, set up to provide support on the ground as the nation prepares to decriminalise drug use. (abc.net.au, Australien, 14.09.2019)


USA. Opioid crackdown forces pain patients to taper off drugs they say they need

(...) When researchers surveyed 194 primary care clinics in Michigan in 2018, they found that 79 of them would not accept new patients taking opioids, according to a study published last month in JAMA Network Open.

“We’ve entered a new era of opiophobia,” said Sally Satel, a psychiatrist and resident scholar at the American Enterprise Institute who is critical of the way some chronic pain patients are being treated. Some “have the kind of pain that’s unbearable. Every day of your life. Unbearable. And those are the people who are suffering. And their doctors are terrified.” (Washington Post, 10.09.2019)


Russland. Drogenabhängige in Russland: Leben mit der Sucht 

Russland zählt zu den größten Heroinmärkten der Welt, die Zahl der Abhängigen steigt. Der Fotograf Aleksandr Martynov hat Süchtige mit der Kamera begleitet. (Spiegel, 05.09.2019)



USA. DEA proposes to reduce the amount of five opioids manufactured in 2020, marijuana quota for research increases by almost a third 

WASHINGTON – The U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration is proposing to reduce the amount of five Schedule II opioid controlled substances that can be manufactured in the United States next year compared with 2019... (DEA – Drug Enforcement Administration, USA, 11.09.2019) 


Myanmar/Burma. Myanmar's deadly 'jade rush' (Video)

The world’s biggest jade mines are found in the restive Kachin state in Myanmar. 

BBC Burmese gained rare access to area where mountains have been turned into moonscapes.

The industry has been estimated to be valued at a staggering $31bn (£25bn) annually.

Hundreds of thousands of people have flocked to the area to scavenge among the rubble left over from the mine – hoping to get find fragments of the stone. 

It’s a dangerous job and heroin addiction among the miners and scavengers is endemic. (BBC, 13.09.2019, Video, 02:32)


USA. Lawsuits alone will not fix the US opioid overdose crisis

The Lancet, Volume 394, Issue 10201, 805 


USA/Kanada. In numbers: Sackler family, Purdue Pharma and the US opioid crisis

The Sacklers have become one of the world's most controversial families. (BBC, 16.09.2019)


USA. Purdue Pharma files for bankruptcy in the US

US drug-maker Purdue Pharma has filed for bankruptcy protection, as part of efforts to deal with thousands of lawsuits that accuse the firm of fuelling the US opioid crisis. (BBC, 16.09.2019)


USA/Kanada. Sackler family 'funnelled $1bn into different bank accounts'

The billionaire Sackler family "funnelled" at least $1bn (£800m) to different banks, including accounts in Switzerland, officials said. (BBC, 14.09.2019)


USA. Purdue: Opioidkonzern erreicht vorläufigen Vergleich 

Der Pharmakonzern gilt als einer der Hauptschuldigen für die Opioid-Krise in Amerika. Nun beantragt das Unternehmen Konkurs und verteilt Gewinne auf die Kläger. Doch einige Staatsanwälte wollen deutlich mehr Geld von der Eigentümerfamilie Sackler. (faz.net, 12.09.2019)


USA. Purdue Pharma Tentatively Settles Thousands of Opioid Cases

The company and its owners, members of the Sackler family, have tentatively reached the first comprehensive settlement in thousands of cases nationwide. (New York Times, 11.09.2019)


Afghanistan. The Empowering and Dangerous Work of Harm Reduction in Afghanistan

dris Azizi speaks softly when he relates how, as a person living with HIV, he was told to sit in the trunk of a car, with the door open, when traveling to a 2017 Global Fund committee meeting in Kabul, Afghanistan. The two doctors from the Ministry of Public Health with whom he was traveling sat in the car cabin. (Filter, USA, 10.09.2019)


USA. Mass. Jails Expand Use Of Medication To Treat Opioid Addiction

Massachusetts sheriffs are expanding use of opioid addiction medications in county jails to comply with a new state law. (WBUR: NPR – National Public Radio, Boston, 05.09.2019)


Österreich. 2018 in Innsbruck: Drogentherapien für Insassen kosteten 76.000 Euro

So manch ein Krimineller, der in der Justizanstalt Innsbruck eine Haftstrafe absitzen muss, wurde wegen des Dealens mit Drogen eingebuchtet. Einige von diesen Gaunern sind selbst drogenabhängig, im „Ziegelstadl“ gibt es daher Drogenersatztherapien. 2018 lagen die Kosten für diese Behandlungen dort bei mehr als 76.000 Euro. (Kronen Zeitung, Österreich, 15.09.2019)


USA. Johns Hopkins launches center for psychedelic research 

The center, believed to be the first and largest of its kind, will use psychedelics to study the mind and identify therapies for diseases such as addiction, PTSD, and Alzheimer's. 

A group of private donors has given $17 million to start the Center for Psychedelic and Consciousness Research at Johns Hopkins Medicine, making it what's believed to be the first such research center in the U.S. and the largest research center of its kind in the world. (Johns Hopkins Universitiy, 04.09.2019)


Kanada. Vancouver’s new overdose response team aims to deliver services to hard-to-reach victims

(...) The Combined Overdose Response Team, a new outreach initiative launching Friday, aims to deliver services to those who would otherwise be hard to reach, at a time when they’re likely more receptive to help. (Globe and Mail, Kanada, 05.09.2019)


Schottland. Taskforce to tackle drug deaths emergency

£20m to support expert group to reduce drug harms. (Scottish Government, 05.09.2019)


Schottland. Catriona Matheson: 'I support decriminalisation of illegal drugs for personal use'

Having spent her entire career researching pharmacy services for drug users, Catriona Matheson is well placed as head of Scotland’s Drug Deaths Taskforce. Here, she explains what the group will do to tackle rising drug deaths in Scotland. (The Pharmaceutical Journal – A Royal Pharmaceutical Society publication, 04.09.2019)


USA. Fate of Philly Safe Consumption Site Now Hinges on Judge’s Ruling

Nearly two years after Philadelphia Mayor Jim Kenney said his office would not stand in the way of a safe consumption site (SCS) to help cut the city’s record overdose levels, the fate of Safehouse, which would be America’s first officially sanctioned SCS, is now in the hands of a federal judge. (Filter, USA, 06.09.2019)


USA. Public Health: Trump Administration Is In Court To Block Nation's 1st Supervised Injection Site

Philadelphia could become the first U.S. city to offer opioid users a place to inject drugs under medical supervision. But lawyers for the Trump administration are trying to block the effort, citing a 1980s-era law known as "the crack house statute." (NPR – national public radio, USA, 06.09.2019)


China/USA. China says has only ‘limited’ cooperation with U.S. on fentanyl

China and the United States have only “limited” cooperation in stopping fentanyl smuggling, a Chinese narcotics official was quoted as saying on Tuesday, after complaints China isn’t doing enough to help fight an opioid crisis in the United States. (Physician’s Weekly, USA, 03.09.2019)


Indivior (US): Our Commitment - Updates on the Department of Justice’s Action

We are extremely disappointed in this action by the Justice Department, which is wholly unsupported by either the facts or the law. Key allegations made by the Justice Department are contradicted by the government’s own scientific agencies, they are almost exclusively based on years-old events from before Indivior became an independent company in 2014, and they are wrong. As we fight these allegations aggressively, we are committed to remaining focused on our mission of helping patients and communities struggling with opioid addiction. (indivior.com, Stand 05.09.2019)


USA. Sacklers vs. States: Settlement Talks Stumble Over Foreign Business

The Sackler family is willing to give up Purdue Pharma to settle all claims related to the opioid crisis, but is resisting a quick sale of its overseas drug company.(...) The Sacklers are deep in negotiations that, if finalized, would force them to give up ownership of Purdue, the company widely blamed for the onset of the opioid epidemic with its aggressive marketing of the prescription painkiller OxyContin. But they want to keep selling OxyContin and other drugs abroad for as many as seven more years, through another company they own, Mundipharma, based in Cambridge, England. (New York Times, 30.08.2019)


USA. Tackle Fentanyl like a Poisoning Outbreak, Not a Drug Epidemic

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recently released drug overdose statistics for 2018, and they are shocking. Of the estimated 47,000 deaths from opioids last year, roughly two-thirds involved potent synthetic opioids, most of them fentanyl.

For most victims, fentanyl was not their drug of choice. Rather, they were poisoned by dealers who mixed it into baggies of heroin or pressed into fake-opioid tablets. (RAND Drug Policy Research Center, USA, 01.09.2019)


Niederlande. Städte für das Marihuana-Experiment stehen fest

Die Gemeinden Groningen, Tilburg, Breda, Maastricht, Almere, Arnhem, Nimwegen, Zaanstad, Heerlen und Hellevoetsluis wurden als die niederländischen Gemeinden ausgewählt, in denen bald nur noch staatlich gezüchtetes Marihuana in Coffeeshops gekauft werden kann. Insgesamt hatten sich 26 Gemeinden für die Teilnahem am Experiment beworben, die vier großen Städte (Amsterdam, Den Haag, Rotterdam und Utrecht) hatten allerdings bekannt gegeben, dass sie aufgrund der Bedingungen des Experiments nicht teilnehmen werden. Sie fanden es nicht akzeptabel, dass alle Coffeeshops einer ausgewählten Gemeinde am Experiment teilnehmen müssen. (niederlande.net, Müster/Westf., 28.08.2019)


Indien. How Britain's opium trade impoverished Indians

(...) By the end of the 19th Century poppy farming had an impact on the lives of some 10 million people in what is now the states of Uttar Pradesh and Bihar. A few thousand workers - in two opium factories located on the Ganges river - dried and mixed the milky fluid from the seed, made it into cakes and packed the opium balls in wooden chests. (...) ... the price peasants received for their opium did not even cover the cost of growing it. (BBC, 05.09.2019)


Nepal. Harm reduction in Nepal

For many years, Youth Vision (Nepal) and Mainline worked together to support people who inject drugs in Nepal. Under the Bridging the Gaps programme, Youth Vision grew into a true harm reduction expert. (MAINline, Niederlande, 23.08.2019)


Südafrika. Needle and Syringe Programmes under pressure in South Africa

With the needles and syringe programme in Durban closed by the local authorities since May 2018, the services in Port Elisabeth are also facing difficulties now. (MAINline, Niederlande, 05.09.2019)


Schottland. Scottish methadone prescription numbers 'not accurate'

The NHS does not have accurate data for the number of people being prescribed methadone and other opioid substitutes in Scotland, the BBC has learned. (BBC, 05.09.2019)


USA. SAMHSA Ushers in Law Enforcement “Fishing Expeditions” for MAT Patients

The federal government’s move to ditch confidentiality regulations for substance use disorder treatment will increase patients’ exposure to law enforcement investigations, despite claims to the contrary. (Filter, USA, 28.08.2019)