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The Real Harms of Abusive, Stigmatizing Language in Addiction Treatment

(Filter, USA, 11.03.2020)


The Death Penalty for Drug Offences 2019

Harm Reduction International (HRI) 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 ninth 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. (HRI – Harm Reduction International, März 2020)


Worldwide, Executions for Drug-Law Violations Are Increasing Again

(…) Executions for drug-law violations are increasing globally, says a new report from Harm Reduction International (HRI). Since 2007, the organization has tracked worldwide drug-related executions, which peaked at 755 in 2015. Though executions declined to a record-low 93 in 2018, last year they increased about 31 percent, to 122. At least 3,000 people sentenced to death for drug offenses remain on death row, many of whom have been there for more than 10 years. (Filter, USA, 05.02.2020)


Interaction effects in the association between methadone maintenance therapy and experiences of racial discrimination in U.S. healthcare settings.

Pro G, Zaller N (2020) 

PLoS ONE 15(2): e0228755. doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0228755


Recognizing Stigma Embedded in Diagnostic Criteria for Substance Use Disorders

Tanya Freedland

BASIS – The Brief Addiction Science Information Source, Harvard Medical School,USA, 19.02.2020


Afghanistan. Nine homeless drug users shot dead in Afghan capital: Police

Unidentified gunmen killed drug users while they were sleeping in an open area near Kabul's Qargha mountain. (Al Jazeera, Katar, 16.02.2020)


UK. The Jamaica Deportations Reveal the Racial Injustice of the UK's Drug Laws

Rhetorically, drug policy is objective and indiscriminate. Practically, it is quite the opposite. As the recent deportations over minor drug offences make clear, the drug war produces profoundly different outcomes depending on race.

Last week, 17 people were deported to Jamaica by the Government for being “serious foreign national offenders”. The Home Office has refused to release a breakdown of the crimes they committed, but at least four of those on board were condemned to a life away from their family and friends for minor drug convictions. (TalkingDrugs, UK, 24.02.2020)


Kanada. Anti-stigma campaign addresses addiction, teaches students mental-health literacy

The student-run campaign uses social media to break down the science behind addiction and share personal stories of people affected by it. (University Affairs, Kanada, 10.02.2020)


UNODC. Inclusion, not exclusion: UNODC addresses stigma around substance use

Vienna (Austria). The United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC), with the support of the Government of Canada, convened 50 experts from 25 countries and 5 international organisations from 14 to 16 January to contribute their expertise and experience to an initiative on how to address stigma around substance use. (UNODC, 20.02.2020)


Bahrain. Over 100 human rights groups urge the UN to intervene to stop executions of drug offenders in Bahrain

LONDON. Harm Reduction International, the International Drug Policy Consortium and the International Network of People Who Use Drugs published open letters today calling on the United Nations’ major human rights and drug control bodies to take all necessary actions to prevent the executions of two individuals convicted of drug trafficking in Bahrain. They were joined by 137 groups from 55 countries, including the International Commission of Jurists and the World Coalition Against the Death Penalty.

On 28 January 2020, Bahrain’s highest court upheld the death sentences of two Bahraini men convicted of drug trafficking and smuggling, who are now believed to be at imminent risk of execution. In July 2019, Bahrain executed three men who were sentenced in flawed proceedings, drawing widespread international condemnation. (IDPC - International Drug Policy Consortium, UK, 03.02.2020)


Just Say No to Shame

Many people know the story of the drunkard from Saint-Exupéry’s Little Prince, who drinks because he is ashamed, and is ashamed because he drinks. This article is about how ancient wisdom and modern science teach us to avoid shaming as a tool to change people. (Drug Reporter, Ungarn, 06.02.2020)


Opioid Addiction Stigma: The Intersection of Race, Social Class, and Gender.

Wood E, Elliott M.

Subst Use Misuse. 2019 Dec 23:1-10. doi: 10.1080/10826084.2019.1703750. 



Quality Of Life And Stigma Among People Living With HIV/AIDS In Iran.

Ebrahimi Kalan M, Han J, Ben Taleb Z, Fennie KP, Asghari Jafarabadi M, Dastoorpoor M, Hajhashemi N, Naseh M, Rimaz S.

HIV AIDS (Auckl). 2019 Nov 12;11:287-298. doi: 10.2147/HIV.S221512. 


Iran. Iran executes 'Crocodile of the Gulf' drug kingpin

Iran has executed a drug kingpin nicknamed the "Crocodile of the Persian Gulf" and dismantled his smuggling ring, state media report. (BBC, 25.01.2020)


Psychological distress mediated the effects of self-stigma on quality of life in opioid-dependent individuals: A cross-sectional study.

Chang K-C, Lin C-Y, Chang C-C, Ting S-Y, Cheng C-M, Wang J-D (2019) 

PLoS ONE 14(2): e0211033. doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0211033


Malaysia. Malaysia urges neighbours to review execution of drug mules, says users need hospitals, not prisons

KUALA LUMPUR, Dec 10 — Having halted the mandatory death sentence on drug-related convictions, the Malaysian government is asking other countries to do the same.

De facto Law Minister Datuk Liew Vui Keong said governments needed to review their laws that provide for the execution of drug traffickers to discern between the masterminds and those being used to deliver the illicit substances.

“There are far-reaching implications of this, and mainly, if you are a drug addict or abuser, you need medical treatment and not imprisonment,” Liew told reporters after attending the Malaysian Human Rights Commission’s commemoration of the International Human Rights Day at the Sheraton Hotel here. (malaymail.com, Malaysia, 10.12.2019)


China. The China Drug, Crime and Detention Database - 中国毒品、犯罪和拘留数据库

The China Drug, Crime and Detention Database Project is the first open access quantitative database focused on Chinese government drug policy and the country's justice system. It is an open access resource for researchers, advocates, journalists and organisations engaged in the study of drug policy, criminal justice, policing and detention in China. (LSE - London School of Economics and Political Science, UK, Dezember 2019)


Stigma, politics, and an epidemic: HIV in the Philippines

Devi, Sharmila

The Lancet, Volume 394, Issue 10215, 2139 - 2140 


Prevalence of self-stigma and its association with self-esteem among psychiatric patients in a Nepalese teaching hospital: a cross-sectional study.

Maharjan S, Panthee B.

BMC Psychiatry. 2019 Nov 7;19(1):347. doi: 10.1186/s12888-019-2344-8.


Moving into an urban drug scene among people who use drugs in Vancouver, Canada: Latent class growth analysis.

Hayashi K, Ti L, Dong H, Bingham B, Day A, Joe R, Barrios R, DeBeck K, Milloy MJ, Kerr T.

PLoS One. 2019 Nov 14;14(11):e0224993. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0224993. 


Human Rights. UN Common Position on drug policy - Consolidating system-wide coherence

In November 2018, the UN System CEB adopted the ‘UN system common position supporting the implementation of the international drug control policy through effective inter-agency collaboration’, expressing the shared drug policy principles of all UN organisations and committing them to speak with one voice. (IDCP - International Drug Policy Consortium, UK, 03.12.2019)


Ambiguous identities of drugs and people: A scoping review of opioid-related stigma.

McCradden MD, Vasileva D, Orchanian-Cheff A, Buchman DZ.

Int J Drug Policy. 2019 Dec;74:205-215. doi: 10.1016/j.drugpo.2019.10.005. 



Stigma reduction interventions in people living with HIV to improve health-related quality of life.

Andersson GZ, Reinius M, Eriksson LE, Svedhem V, Esfahani FM, Deuba K, Rao D, Lyatuu GW, Giovenco D, Ekström AM.

Lancet HIV. 2019 Nov 22. pii: S2352-3018(19)30343-1. doi: 10.1016/S2352-3018(19)30343-1. 


Underutilization of medications to treat opioid use disorder: What role does stigma play?

Allen B, Nolan ML, Paone D.

Subst Abus. 2019 Sep 24:1-7. doi: 10.1080/08897077.2019.1640833.



The Discrimination Against, Health Status and Wellness of People Who Use Drugs in Italian Services: A Survey.

Pelullo CP, Curcio F, Auriemma F, Cefalo G, Fabozzi A, Rossiello R, Spagnoli L, Attena F.

Medicina (Kaunas). 2019 Sep 30;55(10). pii: E662. doi: 10.3390/medicina55100662.


Stigma as a fundamental hindrance to the United States opioid overdose crisis response.

Tsai AC, Kiang MV, Barnett ML, Beletsky L, Keyes KM, McGinty EE, et al. (2019) 

PLoS Med 16(11): e1002969. doi.org/10.1371/journal.pmed.1002969


Irland. Long-term methadone maintenance treatment: Stigma and social isolation

Mirroring trends throughout Europe, there has been a distinct rise in the age of Ireland’s opiate users who are in treatment. In 2015, 42.5% of treated opiate users nationally were over the age of 35 years compared to 27% in 2009. In the Dublin region, this trend is more pronounced: while 31.5% of individuals treated for opiate use in 2009 were over the age of 35, this proportion increased to 54% by 2015. Yet, very little is known about the lives of individuals who have been accessing methadone maintenance treatment (MMT) for a prolonged period of time and their experiences remain largely invisible. (Merchants Quay, Ireland, Homeless & Drugs Service, Irland, Oktober 2019)


Witnessed Urine Screens in Drug Treatment: Humiliating and Harmful

My heart drummed in time to my racing thoughts, which repeated an increasingly urgent command. Just. Fucking. Pee. But instead of performing, my pelvic area grew numb. Total drought. (…) 

But I would never succeed. Not the next two times with that same peer counselor, nor during my two attempts with a facility nurse⁠—nor a single drop while being watched on two occasions by a social worker who was known for calling child services on her clients.

This happened even when my bladder felt so full it hurt, when I needed to pee so badly that it gushed out as soon as I was alone and not holding a little plastic cup under my crotch. (…)

The condition is called paruresis, or colloquially “shy bladder syndrome,” and described as a form of social anxiety in which the sufferer finds it difficult or impossible to urinate around other people. (Filter, USA, 28.10.2019)


Malaysia: Unfair trials, secretive hangings and petty drug convictions reveal ‘cruel injustice’ of the death penalty 

Malaysia must start to fulfil its promise to abolish the death penalty in forthcoming legislation by ending its use for drug-related offences and eliminating the mandatory death sentence, Amnesty International said today, as it launches a new report to mark the World Day Against the Death Penalty.

The report, Fatally flawed: Why Malaysia must abolish the death penalty, reveals the use of torture and other ill-treatment to obtain “confessions”, inadequate access to legal assistance, an opaque pardons process and other serious violations of the right to a fair trial that have put people at risk of execution. (Amnesty International, UK, 10.10.2019)