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Lockdowns around the world bring rise in domestic violence

Activists say pattern of increasing abuse is repeated in countries from Brazil to Germany, China to Greece. (The Guardian, UK, 28.03.2020)


Kanada. COVID-19 pandemic pushes B.C. to move forward on safe take-home drug supply strategy 

(…)  While opioids are the main driver of B.C.’s overdose crisis, the new guidelines extend to other substances, such as stimulants, benzodiazepines, tobacco and alcohol.

Prescribed stimulants include dextroamphetamine (trade name Dexedrine), while benzodiazepines include clonazepam. Those with tobacco-use disorder can be provided with nicotine replacement therapies such as the patch or gum, while medications used to manage alcohol withdrawal include gabapentin and clonidine.

Donald MacPherson, executive director of the Canadian Drug Policy Coalition, said Thursday he was simultaneously delighted and astounded by the development. (Globe and Mail, Kanada, 26.03.2020)


Italien. COVID-19: Elenco dei Medici caduti nel corso dell’epidemia di Covid-19

(FNOMCeO - Federazione Nazionale degli Ordini dei Medici Chirurghi e degli Odontoiatri, 02.02.2020)


Todesliste italienischer Gesundheitsarbeiter und Ärzte 

In Italien, dem von der Coronavirus-Pandemie derzeit am stärksten betroffenen Land, macht derweil der Präsident der FNOMCeO (Federazione Nazionale degli Ordini dei Medici Chirurghi e degli Odontoiatri) Dr. Filippo Anelli den Mangel an persönlichen Schutzmaterialien (im englischen PPE für personal protective equipment) dafür verantwortlich, dass in Italien inzwischen auch 61 Ärzte oder im Gesundheitswesen Beschäftigte an COVID-19 gestorben sind. 38% davon waren niedergelassene Hausärzte – vor allem in der Region Bergamo oder der Umgebung. Die Mehrzahl war zudem über 60 Jahre alt, aber auch ein 49 und ein 55 Jahre alter Arzt sind unter den Todesopfern. (Medscape, 31.03.2020)


Schweiz/Basel. Social Distancing beim Drogenkonsum

Mehr Schutz für Drogenabhängige vor dem Coronavirus: Die Suchthilfe Basel baut die Kontakt- und Anlaufstelle beim Wiesenkreisel mit einem Zelt-Provisorium aus. (Telebasel, Schweiz, 30.03.2020, Text und Video, 01:58)


USA. Baltimore Harm Reduction Grapples With the Crisis 

Last week, Baltimore City Councilmember Leon Pinkett saw the usual scene surrounding West Baltimore’s Pennsylvania Ave. and North Ave. The underground economy was functioning as usual, with dealing out in the open, the way it has been for decades. (Filter Magazine, USA, 30.03.2020)


USA/New York. Estimated 15,000 NYC Methadone Patients to Be Isolated. How Will They Get Meds? 

There are about 30,000 methadone patients in New York City, all taking methadone on a daily basis for opioid use disorder. About 15,000 of them are going to be isolated because of suspected exposure to or contracting of coronavirus, according to a New York City Department of Health estimate given to the top private-sector opioid treatment program official in the state. (Filter Magazine, USA, 26.03.2020)


When a Pandemic Strikes Americans Who Are Already Suffering

For the homeless, drug addicts, miners with black lung and people crammed in apartments, Covid-19 will hit hard. (NYT, 20.03.2020)


Kanada. Calls for safer opioid supply grow as COVID-19 pandemic compounds overdose crisis

Physicians and harm reduction workers say the need for a safer opioid supply as a way to curb overdose deaths is even more urgent now in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic. (Globalnews, 21.03.2020)




Schweiz. Wie die Pizza wird nun auch das Heroin nach Hause geliefert

Zürich/ARUD. Das grösste Schweizer Suchtzentrum begeht neue Wege: Es bringt wegen der Coronakrise den Süchtigen den Stoff nach Hause. (SRF – Schweizerischer Rundfunk, Test und Audio, 04:34, 26.03.2020)


USA It Took a Pandemic to Improve Some People’s Access to Opioid Addiction Meds

(…) Prescribing laws around such medications are stringent, particularly for opioid-based therapies like buprenorphine and methadone, but the federal government recently relaxed many regulations as part of the attempt to slow the spread of the novel coronavirus. (…)

When those changes took effect, Kinkle (…) hit the streets. Armed with a smartphone, he began offering people the chance to engage with a doctor right then and there—and walk away with a buprenorphine script. He obviously wasn’t happy about the pandemic, he was just excited to finally have the ability to offer people truly low-barrier, evidence-based treatment—the way it should always be.  (Filter Magazine, USA, 25.03.2020)


USA. Epidemics at Odds: Preventing the Next Wave of the Opioid Crisis During COVID-19

Addiction expert Miriam Komaromy offers a frank look at the opioid epidemic and shares how efforts are underway to keep crucial care accessible. (BMC – Boston Medical Center, USA, 23.03.2020)


Kanada. Safe supply of opioids needed ‘right away’ to avoid overwhelming hospitals in COVID-19 pandemic: Vancouver Mayor 

British Columbia is under pressure to ensure that opioid addicts have a safe supply of the drug to prevent the province’s hospitals from being overwhelmed with victims of two simultaneous health crises: overdoses and the COVID-19 pandemic. (The Globe and Mail, Kanada, 25.03.2020)


COVID-19 battle during the toughest sanctions against Iran

Takian, Amirhossein et al.

The Lancet, Volume 395, Issue 10229, 1035 - 1036 


UK. Coronavirus: 'Safe spaces' needed for homeless to self-isolate

Safe spaces must be provided for the homeless and other vulnerable people to self-isolate, ministers are being told. (BBC, UK, 15.03.2020)


USA. Covid-19 will worsen the opioid overdose crisis if we don’t prepare now

In cities across the country, morning is peak time at almost any opioid treatment program. The line stretches from the front counter to the back door as patients wait to get their daily dose of methadone. It’s an absolutely essential gathering, but one that runs counter to containing the Covid-19 outbreak.

Efforts by health systems and governments to contain the spread of SARS-CoV-2, the novel coronavirus that causes the disease, have revealed gaping cracks in our nation’s public health and safety net infrastructure. The virus appears to have an outsized effect on vulnerable Americans. We have already seen in a Seattle nursing home how quickly the virus travels in close quarters. It is likely to do the same among the homeless and those who are incarcerated. Missing from the national discussion has been another vulnerable group: patients like ours with opioid use disorder. (Stat News, USA, 17.03.2020)


Schweiz. Über 700 Aargauer in Drogen-Programm, doch wer kümmert sich um alte Süchtige?

(…) Heute wird davon ausgegangen, dass Heroinabhängige im Normalfall dauerhaft substituiert bleiben. Das stellt die Gesellschaft vor neue Herausforderungen. Wer soll sich um die alternden Süchtigen kümmern, wenn sie auf Pflege angewiesen sind und nicht mehr täglich ihr Medikament oder das Heroin in einer Abgabestelle beziehen können? Im Aargau waren 2018 acht Männer im Substitutionsprogramm älter als 65 Jahre – in den nächsten Jahren dürften es mehr werden. Viel Zeit, eine Lösung zu finden, bleibt also nicht. «Wer jahrelang abhängig war, ist körperlich 10 bis 15 Jahre älter», sagt Martin Ooms, Teamleiter des Ambulatoriums für Substitutionsbehandlung der PDAG. Er geht deshalb davon aus, dass in rund fünf bis zehn Jahren Bedarf für solche Angebote besteht. Im Kanton Aargau gebe derzeit keine entsprechenden Betreuungsangebote, sagt er. (Aargauer Zeitung, Schweiz, 06.03.2020)


USA. Joe Biden’s new plan to end the opioid epidemic is the most ambitious in the field

The plan emphasizes more addiction treatment and prevention — and less war on drugs. (Vox, 06.03.2020)


Big Tobacco: Without a Trace

Last century, tobacco was one of the world’s most successful industries. This century, if current trends continue, it is expected to kill one billion people.

Ten years ago, OCCRP and its partners published an investigation into the booming underworld of illicit tobacco. Our stories exposed how the largest manufacturers were diverting billions of cigarettes onto the $40 billion-a-year black market, fuelling organized crime and corruption.

Now, as international efforts to clamp down on the industry gather pace, we are launching a new series exposing how those same companies, collectively known as Big Tobacco, are still trying to subvert worldwide efforts to curb cigarette smuggling. (Organized Crime and Corruption Reporting Project (OCCRP), März 2020)


UK. Glasgow activist risks arrest to set up drug consumption room in a van 

Peter Krykant raises £2,000 for project by crowdfunding despite it being illegal to facilitate drug use in UK. (The Guardian, UK, 09.03.2020)


Guinea-Bissau: Political chaos could boost cocaine trade

(…) Guinea-Bissau has for many years been used as a staging post in the trafficking of cocaine from Latin America to Europe. (BBC, 12.03.2020)


The Real Harms of Abusive, Stigmatizing Language in Addiction Treatment

(Filter, USA, 11.03.2020)


UN. United Nations Pushes Crucial Cannabis Vote Back to December

The United Nations is poised to delay a vote on the World Health Organization’s cannabis scheduling recommendations for a second time.

Cannabis is currently classified as Schedule IV. It is the most restrictive schedule, reserved for substances of negligible medical value. Last year, the WHO recommended that it be moved to Schedule I, the least restrictive schedule, which includes substances with a medical value. It also recommended descheduling cannabis that is high in CBD but low in THC. (grizzle.com, USA, 04.03.2020)


Indien/Afghanistan. Indian companies’ supply of heroin chemical helping fund Afghan Taliban: Narco body

NEW DELHI: In a severe indictment of lax drug enforcement laws in India, the International Narcotics Control Board (INCB) has underlined the continued largescale illicit supply of acetic anhydride — a precursor chemical used for the manufacture of heroin — to Afghanistan drug lords. (Times of India, 29.02.2020)


Kanada. VANDU - Vancouver Area Network of Drug Users

Mission Statement

VANDU is a group of users and former users who work to improve the lives of people who use drugs through user-based peer support and education. VANDU is committed to increasing the capacity of people who use drugs to live healthy, productive lives. VANDU is also committed to ensuring that drug users have a real voice in their community and in the creation of programs and policies designed to serve them. (Homepage)


USA. Why the Real Victims of the Opioid Crisis—Like Drug-Dependent Babies—May Not Get Much of the Settlement Money

Every 15 minutes, a child is born dependent on opioids — a condition known as neonatal abstinence syndrome (NAS). (…)

The opioid manufacturers that fueled this ongoing epidemic, including OxyContin maker Purdue Pharma, will soon pay billions of dollars to settle the claims of parents, grandparents and guardians who either lost loved ones or care for children with NAS. It’s critical to direct most of these funds to victims, including innocent newborns. Unfortunately, if recent opioid and tobacco settlements are any indication, victims and their loved ones may never see a dime. (Time, USA, 28.02.2020)


The Death Penalty for Drug Offences 2019

Harm Reduction International (HRI) has monitored the use of the death penalty for drug offences worldwide since our first ground-breaking publication on this issue in 2007. This report, our ninth on the subject, continues our work of providing regular updates on legislative, policy and practical developments related to the use of capital punishment for drug offences, a practice which is a clear violation of international law. (HRI – Harm Reduction International, März 2020)


Worldwide, Executions for Drug-Law Violations Are Increasing Again

(…) Executions for drug-law violations are increasing globally, says a new report from Harm Reduction International (HRI). Since 2007, the organization has tracked worldwide drug-related executions, which peaked at 755 in 2015. Though executions declined to a record-low 93 in 2018, last year they increased about 31 percent, to 122. At least 3,000 people sentenced to death for drug offenses remain on death row, many of whom have been there for more than 10 years. (Filter, USA, 05.02.2020)


How Former Soviet Countries Are Suppressing Harm Reduction “Propaganda”

Lawmakers in the former Soviet Union are seeking to impose harsher criminal penalties for drug-related “propaganda,” especially online. Their efforts are ostensibly supposed to keep people from promoting drug use. But local advocates fear that this approach will persecute those doing harm reduction work for people using drugs or living with HIV/AIDS. (Filter, USA, 05.03.2020)


Schweiz. „Der Drogenkonsum war nicht das Schlimmste“ – Jasmin über ihr Leben bei süchtigen Eltern

Der Kinohit «Platzspitzbaby» rückt Kinder von suchtkranken Eltern in den Fokus. Auch die 34-jährige Jasmin ist bei drogensüchtigen Eltern aufgewachsen. Nun will sie das erste Mal über ihr Leben erzählen. (watson.ch, Schweiz, 17.02.2020)