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‘Treatment in Liberty’ - Human Rights and Compulsory Detention for Drug Use

Rick Lines, Julie Hannah, Giada Girelli, 

Human Rights Law Review, 2021;, ngab022, doi.org/10.1093/hrlr/ngab022


US national randomized study to guide how best to reduce stigma when describing drug-related impairment in practice and policy. 

Kelly, J. F., Greene, M. C., and Abry, A. (2021) A 

Addiction, 116: 1757– 1767. doi.org/10.1111/add.15333


"Don't Label Them as Addicts!" Student Pharmacists' Views on the Stigma Associated with Opioid use Disorder. 

Cernasev A, Frederick KD, Hall EA, Veve MP, Hohmeier KC. 

Innov Pharm. 2021 Jun 10;12(2):10.24926/iip.v12i2.3388. doi: 10.24926/iip.v12i2.3388. PMID: 34345523; PMCID: PMC8326708.


Exploring impaired insight in opioid addiction: the role of self-stigma

Eidenmueller K., Grimm F., Hermann D., Frischknecht U., Kiefer F., Dziobek I., and Bekier N. K.

Heroin Addiction and Related Clinical Problems, Published Ahead of Print, August 15, 2021


Physician Use of Stigmatizing Language in Patient Medical Records. 

Park J, Saha S, Chee B, Taylor J, Beach MC. 

JAMA Netw Open. 2021;4(7):e2117052. doi:10.1001/jamanetworkopen.2021.17052


Choosing appropriate language to reduce the stigma around mental illness and substance use disorders. 

Volkow, N.D., Gordon, J.A. & Koob, G.F. 

Neuropsychopharmacol. (2021). doi.org/10.1038/s41386-021-01069-4


Psychometric performance of the perceived stigma of substance abuse scale (PSAS) among patients on methadone maintenance therapy in Vietnam. 

Stockton MA, Mughal AY, Bui Q, Greene MC, Pence BW, Go V, Gaynes BN. 

Drug Alcohol Depend. 2021 Jun 24;226:108831. doi: 10.1016/j.drugalcdep.2021.108831. Epub ahead of print. PMID: 34225222.


The relationship between level of education and moral judgment toward who abuse drugs.

Donatti Gallassi A, Oliveira KD, Silva MNRMO, Machado IA, Wagner GA. 

Cien Saude Colet. 2021 Jul 2;26(6):2335-2343. doi: 10.1590/1413-81232021266.26392018. PMID: 34231743.


Using Positive Empathy Interventions to Reduce Stigma Toward People Who Inject Drugs. 

Clinton AJ, Pollini RA. 

Front Psychol. 2021 Jul 9;12:616729. doi: 10.3389/fpsyg.2021.616729. PMID: 34305698; PMCID: PMC8298892.


USA. Punishing drug use heightens the stigma of addiction

Our understanding of substance use disorders as chronic but treatable health conditions has come a long way since the dark days when they were thought of as character flaws — or worse. Yet societal norms surrounding drug use and addiction continue to be informed by myths and misconceptions. (Nora D. Volkow, Stat News, USA, 03.08.2021)


Submission to the UN Special Rapporteur on Torture On the ‘accountability gap’ for torture and ill-treatment in private drug treatment centres

(…) Across the world, thousands of people who use drugs are detained against their will in private drug treatment centres. From India to Guatemala to Brazil, a range of horrifying abuses are routinely inflicted on people who use drugs, including inappropriate medical treatment, protracted solitary confinement, forced labour, sexual violence, and beatings, sometimes leading to death. The Committee Against Torture had made clear that statesbear responsibility for prohibiting, preventing, and providing redressfor torture and ill-treatmentin ‘all contexts of custodyor control’1, as it is the case in drug treatment centres. (IDPC – International Drug Policy Consortium, 15.05.2021)


Intersecting Stigmas among HIV-Positive People Who Inject Drugs in Vietnam. 

Do M, Ho HT, Dinh HT, Le HH, Truong TQ, Dang TV, Nguyen DD, Andrinopoulos K. 

Health Serv Insights. 2021 Apr 30;14:11786329211013552. doi: 10.1177/11786329211013552. PMID: 33994794; PMCID: PMC8107921.


A US national randomized study to guide how best to reduce stigma when describing drug-related impairment in practice and policy. 

Kelly, J. F., Greene, M. C., and Abry, A. (2021) 

Addiction, 116: 1757– 1767. doi.org/10.1111/add.15333


Public Stigma Toward Female and Male Opium and Heroin Users. An Experimental Test of Attribution Theory and the Familiarity Hypothesis. 

Sattler S, Zolala F, Baneshi MR, Ghasemi J, Amirzadeh Googhari S. 

Front Public Health. 2021 Apr 20;9:652876. doi: 10.3389/fpubh.2021.652876. PMID: 33959582; PMCID: PMC8096178.


Kanada. Overcoming Stigma: Online Learning 

CCSA is using online learning to address the stigma surrounding substance use.

We have developed three learning modules on the topic of stigma associated with substance use. These modules have been made with both the general public and professional audiences in mind.

After completing the modules, you will understand that substance use disorder is a treatable, medically diagnosed, health condition, and that by using person-first language you can begin to change the way you think about and treat people with substance use disorder. The goal of the modules is to increase your understanding of stigma and equip you with the tools and knowledge you need to address stigma at home, in the workplace and in your communities. (CCSA - Canadian Centre on Substance Use and Addiction, Kanada, Mai 2021)


HIV-Related Stigma Research as a Priority at the National Institutes of Health. 

Greenwood GL, Wilson A, Bansal GP, Barnhart C, Barr E, Berzon R, Boyce CA, Elwood W, Gamble-George J, Glenshaw M, Henry R, Iida H, Jenkins RA, Lee S, Malekzadeh A, Morris K, Perrin P, Rice E, Sufian M, Weatherspoon D, Whitaker M, Williams M, Zwerski S, Gaist P. 

AIDS Behav. 2021 Apr 22:1–22. doi: 10.1007/s10461-021-03260-6. Epub ahead of print. PMID: 33886010; PMCID: PMC8060687.


Do people stigmatize individuals with opioid use disorder even when their addiction arose from opioids prescribed for pain?

There is growing public awareness around the problem of opioid use disorder and greater knowledge of the role that opioids prescribed for pain management initially played in the opioid overdose crisis. Studies examining public attitudes specific to opioid use disorder associated with the initial medical use of opioids can help to inform public health policy and messaging. The authors of this study explored societal perceptions of individuals who developed opioid use disorder following physician-prescribed opioids for pain. (Recovery Research Institute, USA, 2021)


Describing addiction as a “chronically relapsing brain disease” is intended to decrease stigma, but may actually increase it

Biomedical terminology has been deployed purposely to describe addiction in an effort to reduce stigma. However, using these terms may have unintended consequences. While intensely debated, there were no rigorous scientific studies to empirically inform practice and policy regarding which specific terms may be most helpful in reducing stigma. In this study, the researchers used a rigorous study design to examine if exposure to a variety of commonly used medical and nonmedical terms describing opioid-related impairment makes a difference in people’s attitudes toward those with opioid use disorder.  (Recovery Research Institute, USA, April 2021)


Indivior launches rethink opioid addiction - a new public website to help challenge the stigma and raise awareness of opioid use disorder

Indivior has recently launched a new website which encourages people to rethink their perceptions of addiction, recovery, and treatment. The website will present scientific evidence, easy to understand explanations and links to public health resources. (Indivior, UK, April 2021)


Language and stigma: terms used in the area of alcohol and other drugs. 

Chagas C, Paula TCS, Galduróz JCF. 

Epidemiol Serv Saude. 2021 Mar 19;30(1):e2020921. Portuguese, English. doi: 10.1590/S1679-49742021000100024. PMID: 33759908.


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. 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)


Avoiding the stigma. A qualitative study of socially included women's experiences of drug use and dealing, health services and the police in France. 

Perrin S, Bertrand K, Langlois E. 

Int J Drug Policy. 2021 Jan;87:102850. doi: 10.1016/j.drugpo.2020.102850. Epub 2020 Jul 19. PMID: 32665146.


Irland. Growing older and more stigmatised on methadone

In a compelling study from Dublin, Paula Mayock and Shane Butler (Trinity College) make the point that little is known about the stigma experienced by individuals attending drug treatment services over prolonged periods.  They explored this through the lived-experience narratives of 25 people prescribed long-term methadone. Their findings ‘reveal the intersection of stigma with age as profoundly shaping methadone patients’ perspectives on their lives’. (Recovery Review, 17.02.2021)


Saudi-Arabien. Saudi Arabia curbs death penalty in move to soften image

Saudi Arabia said Monday it had imposed a moratorium on capital punishment for drug-related offenses that led to an 85% reduction in executions, as the conservative Muslim kingdom seeks to soften its image to attract Western tourists and foreign investment. (IDPC, 28.01.2021)


Studying harm from others’ illicit drug use—can stigma really be avoided?. 

Ramstedt, M. (2021) 

Addiction, doi.org/10.1111/add.15332. 


COVID-19 During the Opioid Epidemic - Exacerbation of Stigma and Vulnerabilities. 

Jenkins WD, Bolinski R, Bresett J, Van Ham B, Fletcher S, Walters S, Friedman SR, Ezell JM, Pho M, Schneider J, Ouellet L. 

J Rural Health. 2021 Jan;37(1):172-174. doi: 10.1111/jrh.12442. Epub 2020 Jun 1. PMID: 32277731; PMCID: PMC7262104.


Kanada. Toronto doctor creates blueprint for reducing addiction stigma in the Muslim community

Series of seminars held inside GTA mosques tackle misconceptions, religious issues. (CBC, Kanada, 17.01.2021)



Human Rights Watch, Januar 2021


INCB. President of the International Narcotics Control Board Cornelis P. de Joncheere: 

Message on Human Rights Day 2020 

VIENNA, 10 December (United Nations Information Service) - The International Narcotics Control Board (INCB) has repeatedly expressed its concern over reports of grave human rights violations purportedly in furtherance of national drug control policies.

The Board reminds all States that the primary objective of the international drug control conventions is to safeguard the health and welfare of humankind, including respect for human rights. (INCB, Wien, UNIS/NAR/1427, 10.12.2020)