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Afghanistan. From Bad to Worse? Drug Use and Treatment in Afghanistan

Dave Bewley-Taylor, Ross Eventon, Mat Southwell

Policy Brief 19, March 2023, Swansea University, UK


Schottland. Peer Naloxone Supply Project

A new report published by SDF shows the evaluation of the peer-to-peer naloxone programme within three pilot areas: one prison, one rural, one urban. 

The project aimed to establish, embed, and support high quality peer supply of naloxone as a core service across Scotland and ensure those involved in peer supply have an active voice in delivery of naloxone and other harm reduction interventions, including the sharing and promotion of good practice. (SDF – Scottish Drugs Forum, UK, 10.03.2023)


USA. The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly of Good Samaritan Laws

Overdose deaths have skyrocketed in recent years. (See Figure 1.) People experiencing overdoses require immediate medical attention: any time wasted before reporting the emergency to 911 lowers their chances of survival. While as many as 85 percent of opioid overdoses occur in the presence of a bystander, fewer than half are reported. The purpose of 911 Good Samaritan Laws (GSLs, also called Overdose Bystander Laws), then, is to encourage bystanders to report overdoses as soon as possible by providing immunity for certain criminal consequences of substance use. (ATTC - Addiction Technology Transfer Center Network, USA, März 2023)


The Death Penalty for Drug Offences: Global Overview 2022

Harm Reduction International 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 twelfth 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 standards. (HRI – Harm Reduction International, UK, März 2023)


Hebrew University Prof. Raphael Mechoulam “Father of Cannabis Research” Dies at 92

March 10, 2023 — American Friends of the Hebrew University today announces the passing of the world pioneer in cannabis research, Prof. Raphael Mechoulam. Known as the “Father of Cannabis Research,” Mechoulam died in Israel at age 92. (afhu - American Friends of the Hebrew University, New York/USA, 10.03.2023)


IACM: Raphael Mechoulam im Alter von 92 Jahren verstorben

Am 9. März 2023 ist Raphael Mechoulam, emeritierter Professor für medizinische Chemie an der hebräischen Universität in Jerusalem, im Alter von 92 Jahren in seinem Haus in Jerusalem verstorben. Er wird aufgrund seiner bahnbrechenden Entdeckungen oft als Vater oder Großvater der Cannabinoidforschung genannt. Er hatte im Jahr 1964 zusammen mit Yehiel Gaoni erstmals die genaue chemische Struktur des Cannabiswirkstoffs Delta-9-THC ermittelt, und seine Arbeitsgruppe entdeckte 1992 das erste Endocannabinoid, das von ihm den Namen Anandamid erhielt.

Raphi, wie er von seinen Freunden genannt wurde, genoss international eine hohe Anerkennung nicht nur aufgrund seiner großartigen wissenschaftlichen Leistungen, sondern auch aufgrund seiner beeindruckenden Persönlichkeit, die ihn zum Vorbild und zur Inspiration für viele Wissenschaftler gemacht hat. Er hat erheblich dazu beigetragen, das Leben von Abertausenden Menschen mit schweren Erkrankungen durch eine Cannabistherapie zu verbessern. Wir hatten das Glück und die Ehre, dass er lange Jahre Mitglied des IACM-Vorstandes und von 2003-2005 Vorsitzender der IACM war. Neben vielen anderen Auszeichnungen, die ihm in seinem Leben verliehen wurden, erhielt er 2014 den IACM Spezialpreis für seine Verdienste um die Wiedereinführung von Cannabis und Cannabinoiden in die Medizin.

Wir werden ihn vermissen. Er wird in unseren Herzen weiterleben.

Roger Pertwee über Raphael Mechoulam

Raphael Mechoulam auf Wikipedia

(IACM - Internationale Allianz für Cannabinoid-Medikamente (IACM), 11.03.2023)


USA. FDA Approves Amphastar Pharma's Nasal Spray for Opioid Overdose

Amphastar Pharmaceuticals Inc said on Wednesday the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) had approved its nasal spray for emergency treatment of known or suspected opioid overdose. (Reuters, USA, 09.03.2023)


Kanada. Alberta Revokes Pharmacy Access for “High-Potency” Safe Supply Opioids

People with opioid use disorder in Alberta can no longer pick up safe supply medications like hydromorphone from pharmacies, following the March 4 implementation of a new policy that severely restricts access to “high-potency opioid narcotics.” Providers can no longer prescribe such medications in outpatient settings. (Filter, USA, 07.03.2023)


Kanada. Alberta Revokes Pharmacy Access for “High-Potency” Safe Supply Opioids

People with opioid use disorder in Alberta can no longer pick up safe supply medications like hydromorphone from pharmacies, following the March 4 implementation of a new policy that severely restricts access to “high-potency opioid narcotics.” Providers can no longer prescribe such medications in outpatient settings. (Filter, USA, 07.03.2023)



INCB. INCB Annual Report 2022

The INCB annual report, prepared in accordance with the international drug control treaties, examines the global drug control situation, and makes recommendations to governments and regional and international organizations. (INCB – International Narcotics Control Board, Wien, 09.03.2023)



Legalizing cannabis seems to result in higher consumption especially among young people and a lower perception of the risk involved and does not reduce criminal activity, according to the INCB annual report. (INCB – International Narcotics Control Board, Wien, 09.03.2023)


INCB. UN-Drogenkontrollrat warnt Deutschland vor Legalisierung von Cannabis

Wien – Die geplante Legalisierung von Cannabis in Deutschland birgt nach Ansicht des UN-Drogenkontrollrats (INCB) das Risiko von erhöhtem Konsum unter Jugendlichen und eines wachsenden Schwarzmarkts für diese Droge.

Das Gremium, das die Einhaltung der internationalen Drogenkonventionen überwacht, wies heute in seinem Jahresbericht außerdem darauf hin, dass die Freigabe von Cannabis als Genussmittel „unvereinbar“ mit diesen Abkommen sei. Nur der medizinische und wissenschaftliche Gebrauch sei erlaubt. (aerzteblatt.de, 09.03.2023)


Trade Secrets: Inside Africa's illicit drug markets

Drug markets in Eastern and Southern Africa are growing rapidly. Resilient and quick to evolve, their impact is felt in cities, towns and rural villages in almost every corner of the region. Few escape the toxic effects of transnational organized crime linked to drugs. The harms are immense. The drug trade fuels violent inter-gang competition, murder and state corruption. It drives the spread of transmissible diseases. It destroys communities. The United Nations estimates that by 2030, the number of people who use drugs in Africa will have nearly doubled. Despite this, it remains a largely silent crisis. Through the lives of drug users and streetwise dealers, activists and survivors, this film tells the story of Africa’s drug crisis. (Global Initiative Against Transnational Organized Crime, Genf, 12.02.2023, Video, 15:10)


Afghanistan. The Taliban, terrorism and transnational organized crime

The international community’s withdrawal of support for Afghanistan rests on the false hope that a Taliban-led state will not pose any major threat to the world. Yet the assumption that the Taliban has changed for the better is misguided. Indeed, the Taliban is now even more dangerous, interconnected with criminal actors and deeply embroiled in illicit economic activities. These threats have transnational implications. (Global Initiative Against Transnational Organized Crime, Genf, 20.02.2023)


USA. U.S. deploys powerful scanners at border to fight fentanyl smuggling

NOGALES, Ariz. — The trucks packed with cucumbers, green beans and bananas inched forward in a long, looping line, waiting to come into the United States at the Mariposa port of entry, one of the border’s busiest crossings for Mexican-grown produce.

U.S. inspectors used to refer only a handful of drivers for cargo screening with powerful scanning equipment to check for illegal drugs.

But on a recent morning they routed every truck through a new drive-through machine the size of a carwash. Known as a “multi-energy portal,” the equipment has allowed U.S. Customs and Border Protection to scan nearly six times as much cargo per day. (The Washington Post, USA, 09.03.2023)


Seychelles: The island paradise held prisoner by heroin

Some 10% of the local population in the tropical island nation of Seychelles is dependent on heroin in what is now an epidemic, according to the country's government. Even being locked away offers no protection for those dependent on the drug. BBC Africa Eye gained rare access to the main jail to witness the sharp end of a problem threatening to overwhelm the country. (BBC, UK, 06.03.2023)


Kap Verde. Drogenumschlagplatz Kap Verde »Selbst die Fischverkäuferinnen dealen mit Kokain« 

Fünf US-Dollar kostet ein halbes Gramm Kokain auf den Kapverden, das Land liegt auf der Schmuggelroute von Südamerika nach Europa. Besuch auf einer Insel, wo der Stoff so viel kostet wie ein Mittagessen. (Spiegel online, 26.02.2023)


Kanada. Modellprojekt in Kanada British Columbia legalisiert Besitz harter Drogen 

Helfen statt kriminalisieren: Der Besitz von bis zu zwei Gramm harter Drogen soll in der kanadischen Provinz British Columbia künftig straffrei bleiben. Mit dem Modellprojekt will die Politik der Drogenkrise Herr werden. (tagesschau.de, 08.02.2023)


Kanada. Modellprojekt in Kanada British Columbia legalisiert Besitz harter Drogen 

Helfen statt kriminalisieren: Der Besitz von bis zu zwei Gramm harter Drogen soll in der kanadischen Provinz British Columbia künftig straffrei bleiben. Mit dem Modellprojekt will die Politik der Drogenkrise Herr werden. (tagesschau.de, 08.02.2023)


USA. Facing overdose crisis, Mayor Adams says NYC will seek to lower drug deaths by 15%

In response to a record surge in drug overdose fatalities, New York City Mayor Eric Adams announced Thursday a plan to expand intervention services in neighborhoods hit hardest by the crisis.

Along with distributing free overdose kits using the medication naloxone and offering a wide array of services to drug users, city health officials will seek to expand the number of overdose prevention centers — which offer supervised injection as well as counseling — from two to five by 2025. The city did not specify where the new sites would be, but cited the South Bronx as a community in need of more overdose intervention services.

The mayor said the goal would be to reduce overdose deaths by 15% over the next three years. (The Gothamist, USA, 02.03.2023)


Overdose Alert and Response Technologies: State-of-the-art Review. 

Oteo A, Daneshvar H, Baldacchino A, Matheson C. 

J Med Internet Res. 2023 Feb 15;25:e40389. doi: 10.2196/40389. PMID: 36790860; PMCID: PMC9978985.


Afrika. The critical frontlines of drug policy in Africa

“Do not repeat our mistakes, do not militarize your response to drug supply, do not try to police your way out of drug demand and consumption,” warned the Guatemalan government’s representative, José Briz Guttierez, at the launch of the West Africa Commission on Drugs by Kofi Annan (kofiannanfoundation.org/changingdrug-policy/west-africa-has-a-drug-problem-2776/) and Olusegun Obasanjo in Dakar in 2014. Back then, he was reminding that West Africa and the Eastern Coast of the continent including South African points of entry, respectively hailed as the new cocaine and heroin trafficking routes (globalcommissionondrugs.org/wp-content/uploads/2017/02/WACD_Fr_Report_WEB_051114.pdf), face the same drug-related problems Central America experienced in the 1980s. He insisted that rather than a repressive response that fueled violence, corruption and other illicit economies, African countries are the new forefront to design and adopt drug policies that are both respectful of human rights and more effective in reducing the illegal drug market. Where every other continent failed, Africa has the opportunity to design the 21 century drug control. (Modern Ghana, Ghana, 26.02.2023)


Australien. My Choice – the importance of choice in drug treatment

There is no one-size-fits-all solution when it comes to Opioid Agonist Treatment (OAT). What works for one person, may not work for another. The My Choice project highlights the importance of personal choice in drug treatment and shares the diverse experiences of people from around Australia. (Arud Centres for Addiction Medicine, Zurich/Switzerland and Australasian Society for HIV, Viral Hepatitis and Sexual Health Medicine (ASHM), Australien, Februar 2023)


Kanada. Health Canada defends decision to issue cocaine production licence to Langley company 

Premier David Eby has slammed Health Canada for not consulting with B.C. before granting the Langley company approval to produce cocaine. (Vancouver Sun, Kanada, 02.03.2023)


Schweiz. Sexualität in der ärztlichen und psychologischen Arbeit – Fortbildung - 1. – 3. Juni 2023 - Arud Zentrum für Suchtmedizin, Zürich

Sexualität stellt sowohl eine salutogene Ressource als auch eine pathogene Quelle dar. Im Gesundheitssystem wird dies jedoch selten angesprochen. Die Gründe hierfür sind vielfältig. Zum einen fehlt es oft an Basiswissen und zum anderen sind Ärzt:innen und Psycholog:innen teils mit Scham konfrontiert. 

Diese Fortbildung soll einen Überblick über das gesamte sexualmedizinische Indikationsgebiet geben sowie den Teilnehmenden Ängste und Scham nehmen, damit sie dieses Thema adäquat ansprechen können.

Organisiert wird die Fortbildung gemeinsam mit dem Checkpoint Zürich und der Charité – Universitätsmedizin Berlin.


USA/Mexiko. Trial of Mexico’s Former Top Cop Neglected U.S. Role in War on Drugs

Genaro García Luna was convicted on Tuesday of accepting millions in cartel bribes. But the information U.S. officials had went mostly unexplored. (The Intercept, USA, 22.02.2023)


How harsh drug laws undermine health and human rights in Asia Pacific

A 38-country legal and policy analysis by UNAIDS and UNDP found that 14 countries in the region have corporal or capital punishment penalties for the use or possession of drugs. Some states have condoned extrajudicial killings for drug offences.  In 2021 an estimated 12% of new HIV infections in Asia and the Pacific were among people who inject drugs. (UNAIDS and UNDP, New York, 01-03-2023)


Pablo Escobar’s ‘cocaine hippos’ spark conservation row

Researchers worry Colombian environment ministry will side with animal-rights activists rather than curb the invasive animals’ spread. (Nature News, USA, 02.03.2023)


UK. Hundreds of trafficking victims in UK missing after referral to support scheme

Home Office data shows 566 people were categorised as missing between 2020 and 2022. (The Guardian, UK, 02.03.2023)


USA. MySafeRx

MySafeRx uses a mobile application (app) and electronic pill dispensers to deliver motivational coaching and medication adherence monitoring through text messaging and video conferencing.

MySafeRX delivers motivational interviewing and an adherence monitoring intervention to people with opioid use disorder receiving office-delivered buprenorphine treatment. The app includes functions for scheduling, video conferencing, text messaging, and transmitting access codes for the pill dispenser that manages buprenorphine access. Patients complete daily video calls with Mobile Recovery Coaches (MRCs) who address concerns, deliver the motivational intervention, provide daily access codes for the pill dispenser, and supervise user-administration of buprenorphine. Patients use the MySafeRx app to receive reminders for treatment adherence (e.g. weekly urine tests), message MRCs, schedule daily calls, and view pill dispenser access codes. MRCs use the MySafeRx app to message users, initiate video conference calls, release access codes, record daily adherence and substance use reports, and communicate with clinicians. MRC daily reports are color-coded by patient risk level (no concern, moderate concern, severe concern). Clinicians for each patient (e.g., prescriber, nurse, counselor) can view MRC daily reports and alerts from MRCs concerning their patients using a MySafeRx web interface. (Center for Technology and Behavioral Health - Geisel School of Medicine at Dartmouth College, USA, 2023)