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USA. Medications to Treat Opioid Addiction Are Effective and Save Lives, But Barriers Prevent Broad Access and Use, Says New Report

WASHINGTON – Although three U.S. Food and Drug Administration-approved medications to treat opioid use disorder (OUD) are safe and effective, most people who could benefit from these treatments do not receive them, and access is inequitable, especially among certain subpopulations, says a new report from the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine.  Medications for Opioid Use Disorder Save Lives says that withholding or failing to have available these medications for the treatment of OUD in any care or criminal justice setting is denying appropriate medical treatment. (The National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine, USA, 20.03.2019)


Schottland. Frontline GP insists methadone is still best way to tackle drugs crisis

'Deep End' Edinburgh GP Carey Lunan says methadone has kept many people from heroin overdoses and allowed them to live a better life, even if the numbers who get off it remain low. (Daily Record, UK, 18.03.2019)


Supervised Drug Consumption Facilities Bill



USA. FDA Grants Purdue Pharma’s Nalmefene HCl Injection Fast Track Designation for the 
Emergency Treatment of Known or Suspected Opioid Overdose

Committed to advancing solutions to the opioid public health crisis, Purdue will not profit from nalmefene HCl. (Purdue Pharma L.P, USA, 13.03.2019)


EMCDDA. Programming document 2019-21


This is the first Programming Document fully grounded in the EMCDDA Strategy 2025 and it sets a milestone in the strategic and operational planning framework of the EMCDDA. Among the highlights for this period will be a follow up on the outcome of the fourth external evaluation of the EMCDDA. An ongoing priority will be the implementation of the EU Early Warning System on new psychoactive substances (EU EWS). A comprehensive overview of new, changing or emerging threats will be provided by the third strategic analysis EU Drug Markets Report that will be launched jointly with Europol in 2019. (EMCDDA,Lissabon,März 2019)


UNODC. What we have learned over the last ten years: A summary of knowledge acquired and produced by theUN system on drug-related matters

UN system coordination Task Team on the Implementation of the UN System Common 

Position on drug-related matters

Wien, März 2019


International guidelines on human rights and drug policy

International Centre on Human Rights and Drug Policy, UNAIDS, WHO, UNDP



International Centre on Human Rights and Drug Policy

Mission Statement:

The International Centre on Human Rights and Drug Policy is dedicated to the study of human rights law and drug policies and programmes in order to

- Promote and disseminate international legal scholarship and research on human rights and drug policy

- Highlight the obligations of all governments and international organisations to respect, protect and fulfil human rights in the context of drug policy

- Promote a human rights-based approach to drug policy

The International Centre on Human Rights and Drug Policy fulfills its mission through research, teaching, and policy development.


USA. Breaking the Cycle: Medication Assisted Treatment (MAT) in the Criminal Justice System 

For persons with an opioid use disorder who are in the criminal justice system, the process of transitioning from jail or prison back to the community can be overwhelming. Within three months of release from custody, 75 percent of people who were in prison or jail with an opioid use disorder experience a relapse to opioid use. It is also alarming that incarcerated persons who are released to the community are between 10 and 40 times more likely to die of an opioid overdose than the general American population—especially within a few weeks after reentering society. (SAMHSA, USA, 15.03.2019)


USA. Methadone Helped Her Quit Heroin. Now She’s Suing U.S. Prisons to Allow the Treatment.

About to enter a federal prison, a Massachusetts woman is not permitted to continue taking the opioid as a treatment to block cravings and withdrawal from heroin addiction. (New York Times, 15.03.2019)


The UN Chief Executives Board unanimously endorses decriminalisation of people who use drugs.

The Chief Executives Board of the UN, representing 31 UN agencies, has adopted a common position on drug policy that endorses decriminalisation of possession and use. This comes just days before a key meeting of the Commission on Narcotic Drugs in Vienna, which will review, the UN’s 10-year Global Drug Strategy, and plan for the next one. (Transform, UK/Mexiko, 14.03.2019)


Philippinen. “You Haven’t Died Yet?”: President Duterte Lists Politicians Allegedly Involved in Drugs, Ahead of Elections 

Philippines’ President Rodrigo Duterte has named 45 politicians who he claims to be involved with the illegal drug trade, ahead of the country’s general election. (Talking Drugs, UK, 14.03.2019)


USA. Opioid crisis: US schools prepare for student overdoses

The US state of Alabama is pioneering a project to train school staff - including teachers, coaches and administrators - how to treat pupils suffering from drug overdoses. (BBC, 11.03.2019)


Griechenland. Parliament approves creation of safe spaces for drug use

Greek Parliament on Thursday voted to open supervised drug consumption sites where people can use drugs with sterile injection equipment under the supervision of trained staff. (ekathimerini.com, Griechenland, 07.03.2019)


Kolumbien. Protesters clash with police in northern Colombia as farmers return to coca cultivation

Farmers have clashed with riot police in northern Colombia, with 400 demonstrating against government failures to help change farms from coca, the base ingredient for cocaine, to legal crops. (Colombia Reports, Kolumbien, 04.03.2019)


UK. Pregabalin and gabapentin to be reclassified as Class C controlled substances

Following a public consultation and advice from the Advisory Council on the Misuse of Drugs, gabapentinoids are to be reclassified following concerns over misuse. 

The Pharmaceutical Journal, October 2018, Corrinne Burns, Vol 301, No 7918, online | DOI: 10.1211/PJ.2018.20205611 


ISLAND. HCV-Therapie als Prävention

In Island 80% weniger HCV-Neuinfektionen bei IV-Drogengebrauchern. (hepatitisandmore.de, 06.02.2019)


HIV-Diskriminierung und Datenschutz: HIV-Datenleck in Singapur - Der Skandal ist die Diskriminierung

In Singapur sind Daten von 14.200 Menschen mit HIV öffentlich geworden. Gedeihen konnte das Datendesaster vor allem, weil im Stadtstaat ein extrem konservatives Klima herrscht. (DAH, magazin.hiv, 25.02.2019)


UK. Police back ‘shooting galleries’ for drug users

Senior police officers are backing plans to create a national network of drug consumption rooms, known as “shooting galleries”, where addicts are provided with drugs such as heroin, paid for by the state. (The Times, UK, 03.03.2019)


Indien. The hidden opioid crisis - How the so-called 'war on drugs' leaves patients to die in pain

Across the world – and predominantly the Global South – people are dying in pain because they are denied access to pain relief. In 2015 the Lancet Commission on Global Access to Palliative Care and Pain Relief estimated that more than 61 million people experienced serious health-related suffering. (Health Poverty Action, UK, Briefing, Februar 2019)


USA. OxyContin maker Purdue Pharma exploring bankruptcy

Filing for Chapter 11 protection would halt the thousands of lawsuits alleging the drug manufacturer used deceptive practices to push addictive drugs that led to fatal overdoses. (NBC News, USA, 04.03.2019)


USA. F.D.A. Commissioner Scott Gottlieb, Who Fought Teenage Vaping, Resigns

WASHINGTON — Scott Gottlieb, the commissioner of the Food and Drug Administration, known for his aggressive efforts to regulate the tobacco and e-cigarette industries, said on Tuesday that he would resign at the end of the month. (New York Times, 05.03.2019)


Indien. Mehr als 150 Tote nach Konsum von gepanschtem Schnaps in Indien

Im Bundesstaat Assam sind mehr als 150 Menschen nach dem Konsum von illegal gebranntem Schnaps gestorben. (aerzteblatt.de, 25.02.2019)


The Death Penalty for Drug Offences: Global Overview 2018.

The death penalty for drug offences is a clear violation of international human rights law. Numerous international authorities and legal scholars have reaffirmed this point, including the UN Human Rights Committee as recently as 2018.

Since Harm Reduction International began monitoring the use of this abhorrent practice in 2007, annual implementation of the death penalty for drug offences has fluctuated markedly. Over 4,000 people were executed globally for these offences between 2008 and 2018, with executions hitting a peak above 750 in 2015 (excluding China and Vietnam, where these figures are a state secret). Notably, 2018 figures show a significant downward trend, with known executions falling below 100 globally. (HRI – Harm Reduction International, Februar 2019)


Schweiz. Bundesgericht: Tod durch Mischkonsum: Staatsanwaltschaft Limmattal/Albis muss gegen Ärzte ermitteln

Die Limmattaler Staatsanwaltschaft muss ein eingestelltes Verfahren neu aufrollen. Ein Witwer hat erfolgreich dafür gekämpft. (Limmattaler Zeitung, Schweiz, 26.02.2019)


WHO. Philip Morris-funded FSFW fails (again) to end pariah status

The Philip Morris-funded Foundation for a Smoke-Free World published an open letter to the Board of the WHO on 24 January 2019, urging it to ‘consider how best to work with the Foundation’. The letter was published to coincide with the WHO January Executive board meeting. The WHO stance since September 2017 has been that it will not partner with FSFW, governments should not partner with FSFW, and the public health community should follow this lead. (Hefler M, Worldwide news and comment, Tobacco Control 2019;28:123-126.)


As Expected The UN Delays Voting On Cannabis

Predictably, the United Nations Commission on Narcotic Drugs (CND) will not vote on the World Health Organization’s cannabis recommendations at its upcoming meeting on March 7, in Vienna. (Forbes, USA, 26.02.2019)


USA. The Opioid Crisis Isn’t White 

Contrary to media portrayals, overdose deaths are ravaging communities of color. (New York Times, Opinion, 26.02.2019)