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Kolumbien/Europa. Colombia’s cartels target Europe with cocaine, corruption and torture

Armed Belgian police raids have lifted the lid on a sinister new front in the drugs war. (The Guardian, UK, 11.04.2021)


USA. Harm Reduction at Sea: Tight-Knit Fishing Communities Navigate Drugs

The setting sun shines a crown of pink light through the windows of a loud bar on the Massachusetts coast, packed with fishermen. It’s 3:30 pm—the end of a long day that began well before dawn. The weight of wear and tear on exhausted muscles and minds is as palpable as the bursts of deep belly laughter and the smell of sweat. Johnnie*, a salt-and-pepper fisherman in his late 50s, is smiling as he tells me what happened one dark night last year.

“It was like a movie star, dropping down from the sky off the helicopter to get to my crewmate, pitch of night,” he says. “The Coast Guard—this handsome guy, my wife would’ve loved him, like Rock Hudson—dropped down from the moon. Felt like hours after we had given him all the Narcan we had. The Coast Guard still didn’t carry it back then, did you know that? So they pulled him up into the clouds and we all were left below at sea.”

“It’s not the first time that’s happened on our boat,” Johnnie says. “If we didn’t have that Narcan on board though, kid probably wouldn’t have made it.” (Filter Mag, USA. 08.04.2021)


 Neuseeland. Festival drug testing law to be made permanent, Health Minister Andrew Little says

The Government has given a permanent all-clear for pill testing at summer festivals, allowing partygoers to check whether their illicit drugs have been laced. (NZ Herald. Neuseeland, 09.04.2021)


USA. Exclusive: ACLU Sues NY County Over Methadone Access in Prison

The New York Civil Liberties Union (NYCLU) and American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) filed a lawsuit against Jefferson County in Upstate New York on April 5. It seeks to compel the Jefferson County Correctional Facility to provide access to methadone treatment for opioid use disorder (OUD). (Filter, USA, 05.04.2021)


Commentary - Heroin purity and adulteration: an updated snapshot from the Italian Early Warning System. 

Tittarelli R, di Luca NM, Pacifici R, Pichini S, Del Rio A, Busardò FP. 

Eur Rev Med Pharmacol Sci. 2020 Apr;24(8):4461-4466. doi: 10.26355/eurrev_202004_21028. PMID: 32374014.


A guide to Plan S: the open-access initiative shaking up science publishing

The push to remove journal paywalls officially started this year. Here’s how it works. (Nature News Explainer, USA, 08.04.2021)


Adopting a child in the age of opioids (Video)

Carrie Brady had no idea the impact that opioids had on birth mothers and their children, but at age 40 she decided to start a family and open her heart to adopting a child in need. 

Find out how that decision reshaped her and her family’s life forever. (BBC, 05.04.2021, Video, 07:37)


Dr. Mary Jeanne Kreek: Mourning the Loss of a Great Addiction Pioneer 

We are profoundly saddened at the passing of Dr. Mary Jeanne Kreek last week, at age 84. A longtime NIH grantee, Mary Jeanne contributed enormously to the study of addiction, and her work has been crucial in eroding the stigma that still surrounds this disease and its treatment. She also served as a towering role model for women in science, busily breaking glass ceilings (as she put it in this oral history interview) through her tireless scientific work and leadership.

Although she made many contributions to our science, Mary Jeanne is best known for her work developing the first medication for opioid use disorder, methadone. During her medical residency in 1964, she joined the laboratory of Vincent Dole at The Rockefeller Institute for Medical Research, which was studying the neurobiology of heroin addiction with an aim to develop a medication to treat it. They identified methadone—a long-acting oral opioid analgesic—as potentially able to quell the cravings felt by patients without producing the destructive intense highs and lows produced by heroin, which both enters and leaves the brain much more quickly.

Nora D. Volkow, Director, NIDA, and George F. Koob, Director, NIAAA, 06.04.2021


Death Penalty For Drug Offences: Global Overview 2020

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 tenth 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. (Harm Reduction International, UK, 2021)


USA. Federal Grantees May Now Use Funds to Purchase Fentanyl Test Strips

New Guidance Aims to Reduce Drug Overdose Deaths

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) announced today that federal funding may now be used to purchase rapid fentanyl test strips (FTS) in an effort to help curb the dramatic spike in drug overdose deaths largely driven by the use of strong synthetic opioids, including illicitly manufactured fentanyl. (Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), USA, 07.04.2021)


Read “The Young Injectables,” a Harm Reduction Comic Book

(Filter, USA, 23.03.2021)


A Synthetic Age - The Evolution of Methamphetamine Markets in Eastern and Southern Africa

The purpose of this report is to examine the existing retail markets for meth across several countries in eastern and southern Africa. This will be achieved through an analysis of meth availability, retail meth prices, distribution systems and domestic marketplaces. (Global Initiative Against Transnational Organized Crime, 11, 24.03.2021)


The global illicit economy: Trajectories of organized crime

Through stark images and charts, this report gives a graphic illustration of how the global illicit economy has boomed in the past 20 years and how it poses a serious threat to security, development and justice. (Global Initiative Against Transnational Organized Crime, 11.03.2021)


Webinar. The cocaine pipeline to Europe (English)

Over the past few years, the cocaine trade has enjoyed an unprecedented boom, fuelled by soaring production. In 2018, the combined production for Colombia, Bolivia and Peru – the three main producers of cocaine – was more than double that of 2013. While the rate of growth has slowed of late, there is still no sign of it hitting a peak. The new report "The cocaine pipeline to Europe" has been jointly produced by InSight Crime and the Global Initiative Against Transnational Organized crime. This report is the product of field investigations over two years in more than 10 countries in Latin America, the Caribbean and Europe, as well as interviews with officials, investigators and experts in numerous countries across both continents, and the collection and analysis of open source data and reporting. We discuss the key findings of the report.

(Global Initiative Against Transnational Organized Crime, 04.03.2021, Video, 01:28:51)


Report on good practices of synthetic opioid preparedness, and needs and challenges in EU Member States. 

Viskari, I; Tammi, T 

SO-PREP, 2021. ISBN: 978-952-343-017-4

SO-PREP is a project funded by the EU and composed of the following partners: Trimbos Institute (The Netherlands), Frankfurt University of Applied Science (FRA-UAS, Germany), Finnish Institute for Health and Welfare (THL, Finland), The National Institute for Health Development (TAI, Estonia), University Ghent (Belgium) and Correlation-European Harm Reduction Network (C-EHRN, The Netherlands).


Report on EU Good Practices on generic health emergency preparedness protocols. 

Viskari, I; Tammi, T. 

SO-PREP, 2021. ISBN: 978-952-343-017-4

SO-PREP is a project funded by the EU and composed of the following partners: Trimbos Institute (The Netherlands), Frankfurt University of Applied Science (FRA-UAS, Germany), Finnish Institute for Health and Welfare (THL, Finland), The National Institute for Health Development (TAI, Estonia), University Ghent (Belgium) and Correlation-European Harm Reduction Network (C-EHRN, The Netherlands).


Europa. How can EU countries be prepared and equipped for a continued rise in Synthetic Opioids (SO, Anm.) prevalence, use and incidents?

The SO-PREP project wants to contribute to

  • a better understanding of the current context around SO in Europe
  • better informed prepared and equipped national health systems to tackle SO in Europe
  • timely and adequate implementation of tailored responses to SO to mitigate related problems of dependence and (fatal and non-fatal) overdoses across Europe

TRIMBOS INSTITUUT, Niederlande, April 2021


Civil Society Monitoring of Harm Reduction in Europe, 2020. Executive Summary.

Rigoni, R, Tammi, T, van der Gouwe, D, Oberzil, V,; Csak R, Schatz, E. (2021) 

Amsterdam, Correlation – European Harm Reduction Network.


Considering the harms of our habits: The reflexive urine drug screen in opioid use disorder treatment

Khatri, Utsha G. et al.

Journal of Substance Abuse Treatment, Volume 123, 108258 



USA. Illinois Methadone Patients Could Be First to Have Privacy Rolled Back After SAMHSA Rule-Change

An Illinois Senator appears to be the first state lawmaker to push for a bill that would make a controversial federal rollback of opioid use disorder patients’ privacy rights mandatory at the state level. (Filter, USA, 29.03.2021)


USA. The Biden-Harris Administration’s Statement of Drug Policy Priorities for Year One 

(…) The priorities are: 

  • Expanding access to evidence-based treatment; 
  • Advancing racial equity issues in our approach to drug policy; 
  • Enhancing evidence-based harm reduction efforts; 
  • Supporting evidence-based prevention efforts to reduce youth substance use; 
  • Reducing the supply of illicit substances; 
  • Advancing recovery-ready workplaces and expanding the addiction workforce; and
  • Expanding access to recovery support services. 



Norwegen. Neue Drogenpolitik in Norwegen: Gesundheit statt Bestrafung und Ächtung.

Nahezu unbeachtet von der deutschen Fachöffentlichkeit beginnt in Norwegen eine neue Epoche der Drogenpolitik, so dass der Satz: Norwegen ist aus dem Dornröschenschlaf erwacht – oder auch: besser spät als nie – durchaus berechtigt erscheint. Das Land etabliert eine neue, smarte Drogenpolitik, bei der die Gesundheit der Konsumenten und Abhängigen ganz im Vordergrund steht und auf die schädlichen Strategien der Bestrafung und Ächtung verzichtet wird. Drogenabhängige sind Kranke und keine Kriminellen, heißt die Kernbotschaft. Sie werden kriminell durch das System der punitiven, bestrafenden Drogenpolitik. (M.Klein in addiction.de, 26.03.2021)


USA. We Know How George Floyd Died.

The idea that drugs played a role is just a new version of an old racist myth.

By Carl L. Hart (Dr. Hart is a neuroscientist who specializes in how humans respond to psychoactive drug. New York Times, 25.06.2020


Mary Jeanne Kreek, M.D. - Oral History Excerpts (Video)

The Rockefeller University Oral History Project, 2019, Video, 09:58


Dr. Mary Jeanne Kreek – 1937-2021

Dear colleagues, It is with great sadness that I share the news that Mary Jeanne Kreek, a beloved colleague and pioneering physician-scientist, passed away last night. Mary Jeanne was the Patrick E. and Beatrice M. Haggerty Professor and Head of the Laboratory of the Biology of Additive Diseases, as well as Senior Physician at the Rockefeller University Hospital. Mary Jeanne was a pioneer in the biology of addiction research and made seminal contributions that led to methadone’s successful use as a treatment for heroin addiction. Beyond her scientific endeavors, she was a champion for her patients, often speaking out against the societal stigma they faced. (The Rockefeller University, New York, USA, Office of the President, 28.03.2021)


Mary Jeanne Kreek, pioneer in studies of addiction, has died

Physician-scientist Mary Jeanne Kreek, the Patrick E. and Beatrice M. Haggerty Professor and a senior attending physician at The Rockefeller University, died March 27 at the age of 84. Kreek was best known for her research into the biology of drug and alcohol addiction. Her work not only yielded new treatments for these disorders, but also influenced societal attitudes toward them.

Kreek conducted landmark studies that led to the establishment of methadone as a treatment for heroin addiction. The drug, which Kreek and her colleagues developed more than 50 years ago, has been widely used in treatment programs across the globe. It has saved countless lives and allowed millions of heroin users to transition into normal lives. (The Rockefeller University, New York, USA, 29.03.2021)


USA. Bold Steps Needed to Correct Course in US Drug Policies

The accelerating trajectory of the overdose crisis is an indictment of the legal and policy interventions deployed to address it. Indeed, at the same time as the U.S. has pursued some of the most draconian drug policies in the world, it has experienced one of the worst drug crises in its history. (Harvard Law School, USA, 22.03.2021)


Kanada. British Columbia: Free street drug testing site opens in Victoria storefront

Strip tests for fentanyl and benzodiazepines can yield results in minutes. (CBC News Canada, 23.03.2021)


Australien. Australia gathers data about testing drugs at music festivals

According to a new research study carried out by researchers at Edith Cowan University (ECU) in Australia, pill-testing services at Western Australian (WA) music festivals do not increase the likelihood of festival-goers taking drugs. The results of the study, published in Drug and Alcohol Review, demonstrate that the availability of pill testing services would not change festival participants’ intention to take ecstasy if they had not used the drug before, contrary to the common argument used by opponents of pill testing services. (DATAC - Drug and Alcohol Testing Association of Canada, Kanada, 23.03.2021)


USA. AMA, State Medical Associations, Oppose Bills Pushing Coprescription of Opioids and Naloxone

North and South Carolina lawmakers are considering bills that would require clinicians to coprescribe naloxone for patients who are prescribed opioids. However, the American Medical Association (AMA) and both states' medical associations oppose the legislation. (Medscape, 22.03.2021)