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USA. Allegheny County Jail to use inmate funds to supply overdose reversal kits

The Allegheny County Jail Oversight Board has approved a $75,000 disbursement from the Inmate Welfare Fund to buy 1,000 Narcan nasal spray kits to be provided to inmates as they are released from the jail. (triblive.com, USA, 05.12.2019)

https://triblive.com/local/pittsburgh-allegheny/allegheny-county-jail-board-oks-using-inmate-money-to-pay-for-overdoserecovery-kits

USA. Major drugstore chains sue doctors in sprawling federal opioid case

Major drugstore chains — which face an October trial in the mammoth federal opioid litigation — have sued doctors across northeast Ohio, claiming that physicians are the real culprits in the nation’s deadly drug epidemic. (Washington Post, 08.01.2020)

https://www.washingtonpost.com/health/major-drugstore-chains-sue-doctors-in-sprawling-federal-opioid-case/2020/01/07/3ac9cd70-317d-11ea-9313-6cba89b1b9fb_story.html

Schweiz. «Eine bessere Drogenpolitik hätte viel Elend verhindert»

André Seidenberg kämpfte vor 30 Jahren mit Methadon und sauberen Spritzen gegen die Verwahrlosung der Heroinsüchtigen. Heute fordert er die ärztliche Abgabe aller Drogen. (Beobachter, Schweiz, 16.01.2020)

https://www.beobachter.ch/gesundheit/pravention/platzspitzbaby-eine-bessere-drogenpolitik-hatte-viel-elend-verhindert

Kanada. Why Overdose Deaths Have Fallen Here—Despite More Overdoses

Roughly 66 times every single day in British Columbia, someone calls 911 for a suspected drug overdose.

And 66 times every day, an operator answers one of those calls, assesses the situation, and dispatches firefighters or paramedics (not police). (Filter, USA, 14.01.2020)

https://filtermag.org/overdose-harm-reduction-vancouver/

Schweden. Drug gang violence in Sweden linked to 60% increase in bomb blasts 

Last year 257 bomb attacks were reported to police, up from 162 in 2018. (The Guardian, UK, 16.01.2020)

https://www.theguardian.com/world/2020/jan/16/drug-gang-violence-in-sweden-linked-to-60-bomb-blasts-increase

Neuseeland. NZ government green-lights pill testing study with $59k grant 

In sheer contrast to the official stance of most of Australia’s national, state and territory governments, the New Zealand government is giving NZ$59,000 (about A$62,000) to research into pill-testing at music festivals as a means of increasing safety for fans.

The study will be conducted by a criminology team from the Victoria University of Wellington. (The Music Network, 20.12.2019)

https://themusicnetwork.com/new-zealand-pill-testing/

Rethinking the “drug dealer”

Policymakers in the United States increasingly recognize that drug use should be treated as a public health issue instead of a criminal issue. Most, however, continue to support harsh criminal sentences for people who are involved with drug selling or distribution.

With more than 68,000 people in the United States dying from accidental drug overdoses in 2018 alone, many people are searching for someone to blame and pointing the finger at people who sell drugs. This is also consistent with decades of drug policies based on the assumption that people who sell or distribute drugs are responsible for causing drug use. 

Politicians of all stripes have argued that long sentences for drug sellers will reduce drug availability and make remaining drugs more expensive, driving down demand. But this is not how drug markets actually work. Research and history have shown that the vilification and criminalization of people who sell drugs does not reduce problematic drug use, reduce the availability of drugs, or keep people who use drugs safer.

 (DPA – Drug Policy Alliance, USA, 17.12.2019)

http://www.drugpolicy.org/drugsellers

USA. “An Abstinence-Based State”—Utah Harm Reduction Faces Unique Challenges

Deaths involving opioids, methamphetamine and other drugs have reached record highs in Utah. The state government passed legislation in 2016 to create syringe exchanges, but harm reduction advocates still battle against stigma from conservatives and liberals alike to implement programs in a unique cultural context. (Filter, USA, 09.01.2020)

https://filtermag.org/harm-reduction-utah/

USA. Opioide: So manipulierte Pharmakonzern die öffentliche Meinung

Der Schmerzmittelhersteller Purdue finanzierte Ärzte, Patientenorganisation und «Think Tanks». Viele Medien fielen darauf herein. (infosperber.ch, Schweiz, 05.12.2019)

https://www.infosperber.ch/Artikel/Wirtschaft/Opioide-So-manipulierte-Pharmakonzern-die-offentliche-Meinung

Mexiko. Mexico's war on drugs: More than 60,000 people 'disappeared'

More than 60,000 people have disappeared in Mexico since the start of the country's war on drugs in 2006, according to authorities. 

The number is far higher than previous estimates of around 40,000.

On top of this, more than 31,000 people were murdered in the country last year alone. (BBC, UK, 07.01.2020)

https://www.bbc.com/news/world-latin-america-51015791

Philippinen. Robredo flunks Duterte admin in drug war, says less than 1 percent shabu seized by authorities in the last three years 

Manila. Vice President Maria Leonor "Leni" Robredo has finally spoken up about her findings and recommendations on the Duterte administration's drug war, baring that authorities have seized less than one percent of shabu since 2016. (CNN Philippines, 06.01.2020)

https://cnnphilippines.com/news/2020/1/6/Robredo-flunks-PH-admin-in-drug-war,-says-less-than-1-percent-shabu-seized-by-authorities-in-the-last-three-years.html

Europa. Civil Society Forum on Drugs

The Civil Society Forum on Drugs (CSFD) is an expert group of the European Commission that was created in 2007 on the basis of the Commission Green Paper on the role of civil society in drugs policy in the EU. Its purpose is to provide a broad platform for a structured dialogue between the Commission and the European civil society which supports drug policy formulation and implementation through practical advice. 

http://www.civilsocietyforumondrugs.eu/

Marokko. The Moroccan government agrees to discuss draft laws on cannabis cultivation 

Six years ago, MPs from the parties of Authenticity and Modernity (PAM) and Istiqlal submitted draft laws on cannabis cultivation in Morocco. The debate on these proposals is back on track as the government agreed to discuss it. (yabiladi.com, Marokko, 03.01.2020)

https://en.yabiladi.com/articles/details/87428/moroccan-government-agrees-discuss-draft.html

USA. US-Regierung verbietet Verkauf aromatisierter E-Zigaretten mit einigen Ausnahmen

Washington – Die US-Regierung verbietet eine Vielzahl aromatisierter E-Zigaretten, verzichtet unter dem Druck der Zigarettenlobby aber auf ein Komplettverbot. (aerzteblatt.de, 03.01.2020)

https://www.aerzteblatt.de/nachrichten/108462/US-Regierung-verbietet-Verkauf-aromatisierter-E-Zigaretten-mit-einigen-Ausnahmen

USA. Protests as Cuomo Blocks Addiction Meds Access for Poor New Yorkers

Late on January 1, Governor Andrew Cuomo issued a last-minute veto on a bill that would have ended barriers for low-income New Yorkers to access Medicaid-insured medication-assisted treatment (MAT)—with the potential to save hundreds of lives and millions of dollars every year. At the same time, he signed into law a version of the bill that ended MAT’s pre-authorization for private insurance. (Filter, USA, 06.01.2020)

https://filtermag.org/cuomo-prior-authorization-veto/

"Die Knochen schmerzen. Ich schwitze Bäche" - Aus dem Alltag eines Schweizer Heroinabhängigen 

Die progressive Schweizer Drogenpolitik brachte nicht nur die offene Drogenszene zum Verschwinden, sondern rettete zahlreichen Süchtigen das Leben. Inzwischen sind Heroinabhängige aus der öffentlichen Wahrnehmung verschwunden. Wie leben sie heute? Ein Buch gibt Einblick in den Alltag eines Drogensüchtigen. (swissinfo.ch, Schweiz, 13.12.2019)

http://www.swissinfo.ch/ger/-die-knochen-schmerzen--ich-schwitze-baeche-_aus-dem-alltag-eines-schweizer-heroinabhaengigen-/45397486

USA. Deal will let more companies make overdose antidote spray

More companies could begin making an easy-to-use version of an opioid overdose antidote under a deal announced Thursday by New York's attorney general. (MedicalXpress, USA, 02.01.2020)

https://medicalxpress.com/news/2020-01-companies-overdose-antidote.html

UK. Levels of child criminal exploitation 'almost back to Victorian times' 

Exclusive: police chief says problem is at a high for modern era amid lack of youth facilities. (The Guardian, UK, 02.01.2020)

https://www.theguardian.com/society/2020/jan/02/levels-child-criminal-exploitation-almost-back-to-victorian-times

China. Want OxyContin in China? Pain pill addicts get drugs online

China has some of the strictest regulation of opioids in the world, but OxyContin and other pain pills are sold illegally online by vendors that take advantage of China's major e-commerce and social media sites, including platforms run by tech giants Alibaba, Tencent and Baidu, the Associated Press found. (MedicalXpress, USA, 31.12.2019)

https://medicalxpress.com/news/2019-12-oxycontin-china-pain-pill-addicts.html

USA. American Pot Is The Gold Standard. But Canada Leads The Export Game — For Now.

(…) After 20 years of experience, legal marijuana growers in the U.S. have the reputation of creating the best product in the world, scientifically grown and tightly regulated for quality and safety.

The crop would be in high demand internationally — perhaps the centerpiece of a new U.S. industry — if not for the regulatory conundrum in which growers operate:

Because marijuana is legal in many states but still illegal federally, marijuana growers are unable to ship their products to other countries or even other American states that have legalized the drug. So while U.S. cannabis firms have driven product innovation and mastered the science of large-scale grow operations, they restlessly wait for the export curtain to lift. (Califormia Health Line, USA, 03.01.2020)

https://californiahealthline.org/news/grade-a-all-american-pot-the-next-big-export

Expertinnen kritisieren Kinderrechtsverletzungen im Tabakanbau

Heidelberg/Berlin – Der Konsum von Tabakerzeugnissen ist vor allem für junge Menschen gesundheitsschädlich – aber auch unter der Produktion können Kinder und Jugendliche enorm leiden. Auf die gefährliche Kinderarbeit im globalen Süden machen das Deutsche Krebsforschungszentrum (DKFZ) und das Projekt Unfairtobacco aufmerksam. (aerzteblatt.de, 02.01.2020)

https://www.aerzteblatt.de/nachrichten/108447/Expertinnen-kritisieren-Kinderrechtsverletzungen-im-Tabakanbau

Malaysia. Malaysia urges neighbours to review execution of drug mules, says users need hospitals, not prisons

KUALA LUMPUR, Dec 10 — Having halted the mandatory death sentence on drug-related convictions, the Malaysian government is asking other countries to do the same.

De facto Law Minister Datuk Liew Vui Keong said governments needed to review their laws that provide for the execution of drug traffickers to discern between the masterminds and those being used to deliver the illicit substances.

“There are far-reaching implications of this, and mainly, if you are a drug addict or abuser, you need medical treatment and not imprisonment,” Liew told reporters after attending the Malaysian Human Rights Commission’s commemoration of the International Human Rights Day at the Sheraton Hotel here. (malaymail.com, Malaysia, 10.12.2019)

https://www.malaymail.com/news/malaysia/2019/12/10/malaysia-urges-neighbours-to-review-execution-of-drug-mules-says-users-need/1817818

Italien. Gerichtsurteil in Rom: In Italien darf Cannabis jetzt zuhause angebaut werden

Italiens Oberstes Gericht erlaubt erstmalig den Cannabisanbau in Kleinstmengen. Linke Politiker begrüßen das Urteil, die Lega Nord kündigt Widerstand an. (Tagesspiegel, 27.12.2019)

https://www.tagesspiegel.de/politik/gerichtsurteil-in-rom-in-italien-darf-cannabis-jetzt-zuhause-angebaut-werden/25370534.html

USA. Study: Prior Authorization Requirement for Addiction Meds Is Killing NY Drug Users

Harm reduction activists in New York state are demanding increased access to lifesaving opioid use disorder medications, saying that regulatory barriers to accessing drugs like methadone and buprenorphine are deadly for drug users and financially wasteful for the state. (Filter, USA. 10.12.2019)

https://filtermag.org/mat-medicaid-preauthorization/

USA. Regional trends in overdose deaths reveal multiple opioid epidemics, according to new study

The United States is suffering from several different simultaneous opioid epidemics, rather than just a single crisis, according to an academic study of deaths caused by drug overdoses. 

David Peters, an associate professor of sociology at Iowa State University, co-authored the study, which appeared in the academic journal Rural Sociology. Peters and his co-authors conducted a county-level analysis of death certificates from across the country that noted opioid overdoses as the cause of death. The study found regional differences in the kind of opioids that cause the most overdose deaths, and these differences should lead to policymakers considering varying strategies to address the epidemics, Peters said. (MedicalXpress, USA, 09.12.2019)

https://medicalxpress.com/news/2019-12-regional-trends-overdose-deaths-reveal.html

USA/Mexiko. Trump halts plan to designate Mexican drug cartels as terrorists

US President Donald Trump has delayed plans to legally designate Mexican drug cartels as terrorist groups.

Mr Trump had vowed to label the gangs as terrorists after the killing last month of nine American citizens from a Mormon community in Mexico. (BBC, UK, 07.12.2019)

https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-us-canada-50697635

UK. Five drop out of 'free heroin' trial but early success could mean scheme rolled out to Stockton

Efforts to bring Middlesbrough's Heroin Assisted Treatment (HAT) scheme to Stockton have received early backing. (Teessidelive, UK, 21.12.2019)

https://www.gazettelive.co.uk/news/teesside-news/five-drop-out-free-heroin-17444846

Tramadol. 'Safer opioid' has sparked a crisis in vulnerable countries

Reports rolled in with escalating urgency—pills seized by the truckload, pills swallowed by schoolchildren, pills in the pockets of dead terrorists. 

These pills, the world has been told, are safer than the OxyContins, the Vicodins, the fentanyls that have wreaked so much devastation. But now they are the root of what the United Nations named "the other opioid crisis"—an epidemic featured in fewer headlines than the American one, as it rages through the planet's most vulnerable countries. (MedicalXpress, USA, 13.12.2019)

https://medicalxpress.com/news/2019-12-safer-opioid-crisis-vulnerable-countries.html

Niederlande. A visit to the AMOC Drug Consumption Room in Amsterdam (Video)

(Drugreporter, Ungarn, 19.12.2019, Video, 18:37)

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cCq_n6jrP-0&feature=em-lsp

Philippinnen/USA. S.Res.142 - A resolution condemning the Government of the Philippines for its continued detention of Senator Leila De Lima, calling for her immediate release, and for other purposes.

(USA, 116th Congress (2019-2020), 12./17.12.2019)

https://www.congress.gov/bill/116th-congress/senate-resolution/142