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Estland. Estonian harm reduction programme brilliantly reverses its overdose epidemic

Previously a stark example of the harms of synthetic opioids, Estonia successfully implemented a range of harm-reduction programmes that reversed its bleak opioid public health crisis.

A recent European study taking stock of the Estonian response to  the rise drug-related deaths since the turn of the century demonstrates how harm reduction is an essential part of any public health programme. (TalkingDrugs, UK, 17.09.2021)

https://www.talkingdrugs.org/estonian-harm-reduction-programme-brilliantly-reverses-its-overdose-epidemic

USA. What happens when police participate in a public health approach to substance use disorder? Views of an innovative police facilitated referral program in Massachusetts

Drug overdose deaths are at an all-time high, having increased to over 93,000 in 2020, and over 1.5 million arrests are made for drug violations annually. Given the ineffectiveness of criminal justice approaches to substance use disorder, public safety and public health stakeholders are partnering with criminal justice stakeholders to develop innovative programs designed to limit harms and link people with treatment. In this study, researchers examined how five police departments in Massachusetts are implementing police-assisted referral programs for substance use. (Recovery Research Institute, USA, 30.08.2021)

https://www.recoveryanswers.org/research-post/police-participate-public-health-approach-substance-use-disorder-police-faciliated-referral-program-massachusetts/

Drug use, homelessness and health: responding to the opioid overdose crisis with housing and harm reduction services. 

Milaney, K., Passi, J., Zaretsky, L. et al.

Harm Reduct J 18, 92 (2021). doi.org/10.1186/s12954-021-00539-8

https://harmreductionjournal.biomedcentral.com/articles/10.1186/s12954-021-00539-8

Municipal police support for harm reduction services in officer-led referrals of people who inject drugs in Tijuana, Mexico. 

Baker P, Arredondo J, Borquez A, Clairgue E, Mittal ML, Morales M, Rocha-Jimenez T, Garfein R, Oren E, Pitpitan E, Strathdee SA, Beletsky L, Cepeda JA. 

Harm Reduct J. 2021 Jul 26;18(1):76. doi: 10.1186/s12954-021-00513-4. PMID: 34311765; PMCID: PMC8313001.

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8313001/

Kanada. Vancouver councillor, advocacy groups distribute drugs to highlight toxic drug supply concerns

VANCOUVER— In hopes to highlight the deadly toxic drug supply in B.C., a Vancouver city councillor helped hand out a free safe supply of meth, heroin and cocaine to users Wednesday on the Downtown Eastside. (NEWS 1130, Kanada, 15.07.2021)

https://www.citynews1130.com/2021/07/14/vancouver-councillor-advocacy-groups-distribute-drugs-to-highlight-toxic-drug-supply-concerns/

Kanada. British Columbia’s “Safe Supply” Program A Tacit Admission That Drug Prohibition Kills and Legalization Saves Lives

The Wall Street Journal reported today that British Columbia has decided to address its growing drug overdose rate (largely fueled by fentanyl‐tainted drugs) with a program called “Safe Supply.” Under this new policy, health care practitioners are permitted to prescribe legal, pharmaceutical‐​grade substitutes for drugs obtained on the black market, so that users of illicit drugs can get something approaching their preferred drug experience and avoid withdrawal, without having to turn to the dangerous black market that is powered by drug prohibition. Of course, not all the people who take advantage of the program are addicted to these drugs. Many are chemically dependent and are using the drugs to avoid the misery of withdrawal. (CATO Institute, USA, 26.07.2021)

https://www.cato.org/blog/british-columbias-safe-supply-program-tacit-admission-drug-prohibition-kills-legalization

Long-acting reversible contraceptives (LARCs) as harm reduction: a qualitative study exploring views of women with histories of opioid misuse. 

Stancil, S.L., Miller, M.K., Duello, A. et al.

Harm Reduct J 18, 83 (2021). doi.org/10.1186/s12954-021-00532-1

https://harmreductionjournal.biomedcentral.com/articles/10.1186/s12954-021-00532-1

Hidden populations: risk behaviours in drug-using populations in the Republic of Georgia through subsequent peer-driven interventions. 

Lawlor, C., Gogia, M., Kirtadze, I. et al. 

Harm Reduct J 18, 78 (2021). doi.org/10.1186/s12954-021-00527-y

https://harmreductionjournal.biomedcentral.com/articles/10.1186/s12954-021-00527-y

Europa. MONITORING VON HARM REDUCTION AUS DEM GESICHTSPUNKT DER ZIVILGESELLSCHAFT IN EUROPA 2020

Correlation, European Harm ReductionNetwork, 2021

https://www.correlation-net.org/wp-content/uploads/2021/05/CEHRN_ex_summary_ger2020.pdf

The state of harm reduction in prisons in 30 European countries with a focus on people who inject drugs and infectious diseases. 

Stöver, H., Tarján, A., Horváth, G. et al.

Harm Reduct J 18, 67 (2021). doi.org/10.1186/s12954-021-00506-3

https://harmreductionjournal.biomedcentral.com/articles/10.1186/s12954-021-00506-3

ARUD/Schweiz. ES BRAUCHT MEHR SCHADENSMINDERUNG! (Poster)

Angebote zur Schadensminderung wurden seit den 1990er-Jahren kaum mehr weiterentwickelt. Dabei liesse sich das Prinzip der Schadensminderung auch auf andere Bereiche ausweiten, um den Konsum von psychoaktiven Substanzen sicherer zu gestalten. (Arud Zentrum für Suchtmedizin, Zürich/Schweiz, Juli 2021)

https://arud.ch/docs/Jahresberichte_und_Jahresrechnungen/Arud_Jahresrueckblick_2020_Poster_Schadensminderung.pdf

High levels of used syringe use and unsafe sex among people who inject drugs in Kumasi, Ghana: an urgent call for a comprehensive harm reduction approach. 

Messersmith, L.J., Adjei, R., Beard, J. et al. 

Harm Reduct J 18, 62 (2021). doi.org/10.1186/s12954-021-00510-7

https://harmreductionjournal.biomedcentral.com/articles/10.1186/s12954-021-00510-7

Public support for harm reduction: A population survey of Canadian adults. 

Wild TC, Koziel J, Anderson-Baron J, Asbridge M, Belle-Isle L, Dell C, et al. (2021) 

PLoS ONE 16(5): e0251860. doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0251860

https://journals.plos.org/plosone/article?id=10.1371/journal.pone.0251860

The best of harm reduction 

Rob Calder writes about this important, and sometimes hotly debated, issue. (SSA – Society fort he Study of Addiction, UK, 07.05.2021)

https://www.addiction-ssa.org/the-best-of-harm-reduction/

Europa. Summary National Harm Reduction Survey

We approached C-EHRN members in Q4 of 2020 to provide us with contact information of national harm reduction groups or networks in 34 European countries. 50% of approached countries have such a network (17), whilst 50% does not. This investigation aims to learn more about the structure, the objectives, activities, and funding resources. Last but not least, we intend to investigate ways for how to improve our collaboration with these national counterparts for mutual exchange and advocacy. (CCorrelation – European Harm ReductionNetwork, Niederlande, April 2021)

https://www.correlation-net.org/wp-content/uploads/2021/04/NationalHRNetworkSurvey_final02.pdf

Kanada. Virtual 'spotting' could help keep drug users safe during COVID-19, U of T researchers say

A group of researchers at the University of Toronto and the Canadian Association of People Who Use Drugs are studying a remote supervised-consumption model known as “spotting” to understand its benefits among people who use drugs during the pandemic.

The research team coined the term because the model involves a “spottee” consuming drugs in a safe location such as their home while a friend, family member or an acquaintance – the spotter –monitors them virtually. (University of Toronto, Kanada, 26.04.2021)

https://www.utoronto.ca/news/virtual-spotting-could-help-keep-drug-users-safe-during-covid-19-u-t-researchers-say

Ethical and legal issues in psychedelic harm reduction and integration therapy. 

Pilecki, B., Luoma, J.B., Bathje, G.J. et al. 

Harm Reduct J 18, 40 (2021). doi.org/10.1186/s12954-021-00489-1

https://harmreductionjournal.biomedcentral.com/articles/10.1186/s12954-021-00489-1

Kanada. Students' innovative idea could help prevent fentanyl overdoses

A group of University of Alberta science students won $100,000 to help turn a brainstorming session about what could have helped family members avoid a fentanyl overdose into a street-ready solution that will ultimately be a lifeline for those who struggle with addiction. (University of Alberta, Kanada, 19.04.2021)

https://educationnewscanada.com/article/education/level/university/1/893300/students-innovative-idea-could-help-prevent-fentanyl-overdoses.html

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)

https://filtermag.org/harm-reduction-fishing-communities/

Shifting the paradigm: physician-authorized, student-led efforts to provide harm reduction services amidst legislative opposition. 

McMullen TP, Naeim M, Newark C, Oliphant H, Suchard J, Banimahd F. 

Subst Abuse Treat Prev Policy. 2021 Mar 24;16(1):27. doi: 10.1186/s13011-021-00362-1. PMID: 33761954; PMCID: PMC7992799.

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7992799/

Harm Reduction, By Mail: the Next Step in Promoting the Health of People Who Use Drugs. 

Hayes BT, Favaro J, Davis CS, Gonsalves GS, Beletsky L, Vlahov D, Heimer R, Fox AD. 

J Urban Health. 2021 Mar 12:1–6. doi: 10.1007/s11524-021-00534-1. Epub ahead of print. PMID: 33710493; PMCID: PMC7953942.

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7953942/

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

(Filter, USA, 23.03.2021)

https://filtermag.org/the-young-injectables-comic-book/

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.

https://www.correlation-net.org/wp-content/uploads/2021/03/monitoring_report2020.pdf

A study protocol for a quasi-experimental community trial evaluating the integration of indigenous healing practices and a harm reduction approach with principles of seeking safety in an indigenous residential treatment program in Northern Ontario. 

Marsh, T.N., Eshakakogan, C., Eibl, J.K. et al. 

Harm Reduct J 18, 35 (2021). doi.org/10.1186/s12954-021-00483-7

https://harmreductionjournal.biomedcentral.com/articles/10.1186/s12954-021-00483-7

Does the preparation for intravenous administration affect the composition of heroin injections? A controlled laboratory study. 

Andersen, J. M., Bogen, I. L., Karinen, R., Brochmann, G. W., Mørland, J., Vindenes, V., and Boix, F. (2021) 

Addiction, doi.org/10.1111/add.15492. 

Abstract

https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/abs/10.1111/add.15492

UK. Essex Police use drug dealers' phone contacts used to help addicts

A police force is using data found on drug dealers' phones to identify and support potential addicts.

Essex Police said SMS text messages would be sent to numbers found on devices owned by known county lines drug dealers.

The messages will offer those trying to overcome substance abuse a way to seek help from a charity.

Det Ch Insp Lewis Basford said the force hoped to reach "thousands" of people through the scheme. (BBC, UK, 16.03.2021)

https://www.bbc.com/news/uk-england-essex-56405172

Kanada. Doctor on London's frontlines weighs in on opioid dispensing machine 

The doctor leading London's safer drug supply program says a new machine that dispenses hydromorphone tablets to those with prescriptions for the opioid could help people manage and better access their supply. (London Free Prees, Kanada, 09.03.2021)

https://lfpress.com/news/local-news/opioid-dispensing-machine-another-tool-for-londons-safer-drug-supply-program

Slowenien. Ljubljana authorities destroy community hub housing harm reduction initiative

First came the Police, then the bulldozers. The ruins of the Autonomous Factory ROG speak volumes of the progressively increasing ease with which Slovenian authorities are deploying violence to curtail rights and freedoms.

Amidst the ruins lies the office space of društvo AREAL, the only community-led harm reduction initiative in Slovenia. (IDPC, UK, 25.01.2021)

https://idpc.net/blog/2021/01/ljubljana-authorities-destroy-community-hub-that-housed-harm-reduction-initiative

Hoots and harm reduction: a qualitative study identifying gaps in overdose prevention among women who smoke drugs. 

Bardwell, G., Austin, T., Maher, L. et al. 

Harm Reduct J 18, 29 (2021). doi.org/10.1186/s12954-021-00479-3

https://harmreductionjournal.biomedcentral.com/articles/10.1186/s12954-021-00479-3

Kanada. $3.5M in funding for 'vending machines' that dispense safer drugs to prevent ODs

Darren Fisher, parliamentary secretary to Health Minister Patty Hajdu, said two machines are located in Vancouver and one each are in Victoria; London, Ont.; and Dartmouth, N.S. (Halifax Today, Kanada, 02.03.2021)

https://www.halifaxtoday.ca/local-news/35m-in-funding-for-vending-machines-that-dispense-safer-drugs-to-prevent-ods-3473089