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Cincinnati/USA. Seven Days of Heroin - This is what an epidemic looks like (Pulitzer Prize 2018 in the local reporting category)

The Enquirer sent more than 60 reporters, photographers and videographers into their communities to chronicle an ordinary week in this extraordinary time. (Enquirer and Media Network of Central Ohio staff, 10.09.2018)

https://www.cincinnati.com/pages/interactives/seven-days-of-heroin-epidemic-cincinnati/

USA. Trump Backs State-Level Marijuana Regulation, Lifting Pot Stocks

President Donald Trump endorsed letting states decide how to regulate marijuana, in a major boost for the legal pot industry. (bloomberg.com, 13.04.2018)

https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2018-04-13/trump-to-give-states-latitude-on-legal-marijuana-senator-says

Honduras. Honduran coca raid signals shift to cocaine production, authorities say

TEGUCIGALPA. The second seizure of a coca plantation in Honduras within a year shows drug gangs are seeking to cut costs and turn the small Central American state into a producer rather than a transit hub for U.S.-bound cocaine, authorities said on Tuesday. (Reuters, 11.04.2018)

https://www.reuters.com/article/us-honduras-drugs/honduran-coca-raid-signals-shift-to-cocaine-production-authorities-say-idUSKBN1HH3JQ

USA. As Opioid Prescriptions Fall, Prescriptions for Drugs to Treat Addiction Rise

WASHINGTON — The number of new monthly prescriptions for medications that treat opioid addiction nearly doubled over the past two years, according to new data, while prescriptions for opioid painkillers continued to decline. (New York Times, 19.04.2018)

https://www.nytimes.com/2018/04/19/health/opioid-prescriptions-addiction.html

USA. Study: Despite decline in prescriptions, opioid deaths skyrocketing due to heroin and synthetic drugs

Fatalities from heroin and black-market synthetic opioids skyrocketed while the nation saw a decline in the number of opioid painkiller prescriptions and the overdose deaths attributed to them, according to a study.

The research from the American Action Forum shows that as authorities cracked down on the overprescribing of powerful painkillers, international cartels filled the void with cheap heroin and powerful synthetic opioids such as fentanyl. (Washington Post, 10.04.2018)

https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/post-nation/wp/2018/04/10/study-despite-decline-in-prescriptions-opioid-deaths-skyrocketing-due-to-heroin-and-synthetic-drugs

Schottland.  Parliament backs creation of UK’s first drug consumption room in Glasgow

The Scottish Parliament has backed plans to create the UK’s first heroin “shooting gallery” in Glasgow city centre, allowing drug addicts to inject themselves in a safer environment. (inews.co.uk, 19.04.2018)

https://inews.co.uk/news/scotland/scottish-parliament-backs-creation-of-uks-first-drug-consumption-room-in-glasgow/

USA. As the opioid epidemic rages, the fight against addiction moves to an Ohio courtroom

MCARTHUR, Ohio — The opioid epidemic has affected nearly every aspect of life in Vinton County. Teachers buy shoes for students whose addicted parents send them to school in footwear held together with tape. Overdose deaths have surged. Foster care is overwhelmed. The jail is bursting at the seams.

The expenses related to caring for the children of drug abusers and locking up drug offenders here eat up about 25 percent of the Ohio county’s $4 million annual budget, a hole that it can’t plug. Now, Vinton officials think someone should help foot the bill: Big Pharma.

“It almost feels like Vinton County was preyed upon,” said Lily Niple, who got addicted to prescription opioids here but managed to push through, having been clean for more than two years. “It’s like a huge exploitation of the people here. And it was negligent. Just complete disregard for the future.” (Washington Post, 07.04.2018)

https://www.washingtonpost.com/national/as-the-opioid-epidemic-rages-the-fight-against-addiction-moves-to-an-ohio-courtroom/2018/04/07/97b82b84-2636-11e8-874b-d517e912f125_story.html

Kolumbien. Rebel groups fight over coca-growing region in Colombia

The governor of a province in north-eastern Colombia has declared a state of emergency over fighting between rival rebel groups.

William Villamizar, governor of Norte de Santander, said the measure was necessary to assist people displaced by the clashes.

He said about 1,000 families had fled the fighting and 4,000 children were unable to go to school.

The EPL and the ELN are fighting for control of a coca-growing region. (BBC, 17.04.2018)

http://www.bbc.com/news/world-latin-america-43791760

Australien. Ice will be allowed in Melbourne safe injecting room

Drug users will be allowed to consume ice under medical supervision at Melbourne's new safe injecting room, despite previous state government assurances that it would be banned from the centre.

Users will be able to take up to three grams of drugs such as heroin or ice into the injecting centre without penalty.

The government released regulations for the North Richmond Centre late on Tuesday afternoon that revealed there will be no restriction on the drugs of dependence that can be used in the injecting room. (The Age, Australien, 10.04.2018)

https://www.theage.com.au/national/victoria/ice-will-be-allowed-in-melbourne-safe-injecting-room-20180410-p4z8th.html

Bangla Desh. Bangladesh seeks death penalty for drug traffickers

Bangladesh wants to punish methamphetamine traffickers with the death penalty, officials said Thursday, as authorities confront the growing popularity of the dangerous and addictive drug.

The proposal to crackdown on the spread of methamphetamine, known locally as "yaba", comes after Bangladesh seized more than 40 million pills of the narcotic in 2017 -- double the previous year. 

Authorities want to elevate yaba to a Class A banned substance, meaning traffickers would face the death penalty instead of life behind bars. (abs-cbn.com, 06.04.2018)

http://news.abs-cbn.com/overseas/04/06/18/bangladesh-seeks-death-penalty-for-drug-traffickers

‘Worth the test?’ Pragmatism, pill testing and drug policy in Australia

Andrew Groves

Harm Reduction Journal 2018, 15:12, doi.org/10.1186/s12954-018-0216-z

https://harmreductionjournal.biomedcentral.com/articles/10.1186/s12954-018-0216-z

UK. Thousands of children potentially lured through social media into 'county lines' drugs dealing

Thousands of children could be being lured through social media sites such as Instagram into selling drugs in seaside towns, the police have warned as they secured their first modern slavery conviction against those responsible.

A complex web of more than 900 "county lines" have been discovered across the UK, where organised crime groups based in urban areas use violence and intimidation to force young and vulnerable people to sell drugs remotely in rural or seaside areas. (The Telegraph, UK, 13.04.2018)

https://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/2018/04/13/thousands-children-potentially-lured-social-media-county-lines/

USA. Counterfeit Prescription Pills Containing Fentanyls: A Global Threat

Executive Summary

Hundreds of thousands of counterfeit prescription pills, some containing deadly amounts of fentanyls have been introduced into U.S. drug markets, exacerbating the fentanyl and opioid crisis. The sudden arrival of wholesale amounts of counterfeit prescription drugs containing fentanyls will result in an increase in overdoses, deaths, and opiate-dependent individuals. Motivated by enormous profit potential, traffickers exploit high consumer demand for prescription medications by producing inexpensive, fraudulent prescription pills containing fentanyls. The equipment and materials necessary to produce these counterfeit drugs are widely available online for a small initial investment, greatly reducing the barrier of entry into production for small-scale drug trafficking organizations (DTOs) and individual players.

In addition, small-scale fentanyl production laboratories have been identified in the United States and Canada, and fentanyl production and milling laboratories are believed to be operating in Mexico, indicating a vast expansion of the traditional illicit fentanyl market. (DEA – Drug Enforcement Administration, USA, DEA-DCT-DIB-021-16, JULY 2016)

https://www.dea.gov/docs/Counterfeit%20Prescription%20Pills.pdf

Philippinen. 'I will arrest you': Duterte threatens ICC lawyer over 'war on drugs'

The Philippines leader has hit out at what he calls an international effort to paint him as a "ruthless and heartless violator of human rights". (sbs.com.au, Australien, 13.04.2018)

https://www.sbs.com.au/news/i-will-arrest-you-duterte-threatens-icc-lawyer-over-war-on-drugs

USA. Hospitals are confronting a new opioid crisis: an alarming shortage of pain meds

The incident command system kicked in at Brigham and Women’s Hospital about a week ago. A large team of doctors, pharmacists, and nurses began assembling every morning to confront an emerging crisis with the potential to severely undermine care for patients.

The challenge was different than it was during the Boston Marathon bombing, another event that triggered the command response. This one wasn’t rushing toward caregivers as fast. But it was similarly daunting and logistically demanding: Amid a nationwide crisis caused by too-easy access to medical painkillers, hospitals are now struggling to find enough of that same class of drugs to keep their patients’ pain controlled. (statnews.com, usa, 15.03.2018)

https://www.statnews.com/2018/03/15/hospitals-opioid-shortage/

Kombination heilt Hepatitis C für weniger als 300 US-Dollar

Paris – Eine erfolgreiche Behandlung der Hepatitis C muss kein Vermögen kosten. Die Kombination aus Ravidasvir und Sofosbuvir erzielte nach den jetzt auf der International Liver Conference in Paris vorgestellten Studienergebnissen in Malaysia und Thailand eine Heilungsrate von 97 %. Die 12-wöchige Therapie kostete etwa 300 US-Dollar. Das ist weniger als die hiesigen Krankenkassen für eine einzige Tablette ausgeben müssten. (aerzteblatt.de, 13.04.2018)

https://www.aerzteblatt.de/nachrichten/93456/Kombination-heilt-Hepatitis-C-fuer-weniger-als-300-US-Dollar

USA. NIDA Director: Opioid Overdose ED Patients Need Access to Tx

Discharging opioid or heroin overdose patients from the emergency department (ED) without connecting them to treatment options “should be considered malpractice,” according to the director of the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA).

Research has shown that one in 10 people who come to an ED because of an opioid or heroin overdose die within a year, said Nora Volkow, MD, Wednesday at the National Rx Drug Abuse and Heroin Summit in Atlanta. (ATForum, USA, 06.04.2018)

http://atforum.com/2018/04/nida-director-opioid-overdose-ed-patients-access-tx/

2017: 993 Hinrichtungen weltweit dokumentiert

Berlin – Die Zahl der Hinrichtungen ist im vergangenen Jahr laut Amnesty International weiter zurückgegangen. Weltweit seien mindestens 993 Menschen hingerichtet worden, mehr als die Hälfte davon im Iran, hieß es in dem heute veröffentlichten Jahresbericht der Menschenrechtsorganisation. Damit gab es 39 dokumentierte Fälle weniger als noch 2016.

Allerdings enthält der Bericht keine Angaben zu China, das keine offiziellen Zahlen herausgibt. In der Volksrepublik werden Schätzungen zufolge mehr Menschen als im Rest der Welt zusammengenommen hingerichtet. (...)

Laut Amnesty wird die Todesstrafe vermehrt im Anti-Drogenkampf angewendet. 15 Länder verhängten oder vollstreckten demnach 2017 Todesurteile wegen Drogendelikten, die meisten davon in Nordafrika und dem Nahen Osten. (aerzteblatt.de, 12.04.2018)

https://www.aerzteblatt.de/nachrichten/93398/993-Hinrichtungen-weltweit-dokumentiert

UK. Campaign for legal drug-taking rooms in London as figures reveal worst areas for heroin and morphine deaths

Campaigners have called for radical new policies to tackle drug abuse in London as new figures revealed the worst boroughs for heroin and morphine overdoses. (Evening Standard, UK, 07.04.2018)

https://www.standard.co.uk/news/london/campaign-for-legal-drugtaking-rooms-in-london-as-new-figures-reveal-worst-boroughs-for-heroin-and-a3807746.html

Afghanistan. U.S., Afghan forces expand air strikes on Taliban drug labs

KABUL (Reuters) - American and Afghan forces have expanded their air strikes against drug labs into western Afghanistan, aiming to choke Taliban revenue. (Reuters, 08.04.2018)

https://www.reuters.com/article/us-afghanistan-drugs/u-s-afghan-forces-expand-air-strikes-on-taliban-drug-labs-idUSKBN1HF0HQ

USA. Trump Opioid Plan Writes in Favoritism to Single Company’s Addiction Medication

The White House’s national strategy to combat the opioid crisis, unveiled last week, would expand a particular kind of addiction treatment in federal criminal justice settings: a single drug, manufactured by a single company, with mixed views on the evidence regarding its use.

Federal prisons should “facilitate naltrexone treatment and access to treatment” to inmates as they transition out of incarceration, according to a fact sheet circulated by the administration. A White House spokesman later confirmed to STAT that the document referred specifically to naltrexone in its injectable form.

Only one manufacturer makes a drug fitting that description: Alkermes, a Massachusetts pharmaceutical company that makes Vivitrol, a monthly injectable drug that blocks the effects of opioids and reduces cravings. (ATForum, USA, 06.04.2018)

http://atforum.com/2018/04/trump-opioid-plan-writes-favoritism-single-companys-addiction-medication/

Kolumbien. Colombia arrests key negotiator in FARC peace deal on drug trafficking charge

Colombia's former rebel group FARC has reacted angrily to the arrest of one of its prominent members on drug charges, warning the move is an obstacle to peace. (CNN, USA, 10.04.2018)

https://edition.cnn.com/2018/04/10/americas/colombia-farc-santrich-arrest/