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Aligning drug policies with human rights - Statement by the UNHCHR

(Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR), 07.06.2022)


Language Matters: Is This a Drug Overdose or Drug Poisoning Crisis?

In public policy, language matters. In drug policy, language has always been divisive. Words from “dealer” to “addict” have been used to marginalise, incarcerate, and strip three-dimensional humanity away from people by casting them as two-dimensional villains. (TalkingDrugs, UK, 09.06.2022)


Singapur. “We were like strays”: A life marked by drugs, incarceration, and the death penalty

Singapore's death penalty for drug offences sees a binary between "victims" of drugs and "predator" traffickers. Nazeri bin Lajim's experiences show that the reality is much more complex. (wethecitizens.net, Singapur, 30.05.2022)


Malaysia. Malaysia to get rid of ‘mandatory’ death sentences

Malaysia on Friday announced a stop to the mandatory death penalty — required death sentences for some crimes, including nonviolent drug trafficking offenses. Rights groups cautiously welcomed the move. (Washington Post, USA, 10.06.2022)



Pompidou Group of the Council of Europe, April 2022


Course and Correlates of Stigma in Patients on Opioid Agonist Treatment: A Prospective Study from an Outpatient Treatment Program in India. 

Ghosh A, Roub F, Pillai RR, Mahintamani T, Basu D, Subodh BN, Mattoo SK. 

Indian J Psychol Med. 2022 May;44(3):246-252. doi: 10.1177/02537176211012103. Epub 2021 Jun 14. PMID: 35656428; PMCID: PMC9125463.


Factors influencing medical students' attitudes towards substance use during pregnancy.

Richelle L, Dramaix-Wilmet M, Roland M, Kacenelenbogen N. 

BMC Med Educ. 2022 May 2;22(1):335. doi: 10.1186/s12909-022-03394-8. PMID: 35501752; PMCID: PMC9060417.


Access to oral care is a human rights issue: a community action report from the Downtown Eastside of Vancouver, Canada. 

Jozaghi E, Vandu, Maynard R, Khoshnoudian Y, Brondani MA. 

Harm Reduct J. 2022 May 2;19(1):42. doi: 10.1186/s12954-022-00626-4. PMID: 35501857; PMCID: PMC9059447.


Applicability of a national strategy for patient-oriented research to people who use(d) substances: a Canadian experience. 

Pauly B, Sullivan G, Inglis D, Cameron F, Phillips J, Rosen C, Bullock B, Cartwright J, Hainstock T, Trytten C, Urbanoski K. 

Res Involv Engagem. 2022 May 24;8(1):22. doi: 10.1186/s40900-022-00351-z. PMID: 35610726; PMCID: PMC9127478.


Cohort profile: the Kyrgyzstan InterSectional Stigma (KISS) injection drug use cohort study. 

Smith LR, Shumskaia N, Kurmanalieva A, Patterson TL, Werb D, Blyum A, Algarin AB, Yeager S, Cepeda J. 

Harm Reduct J. 2022 May 25;19(1):53. doi: 10.1186/s12954-022-00633-5. PMID: 35614508; PMCID: PMC9131652.


USA. Tracking the opioid overdose crisis. Have Black and White communities in America been affected the same?

Since the late 1990s, the United States has been experiencing an unprecedented overdose crisis driven primarily by opioids. Understanding how racial-ethnic groups may be differentially affected by this public health crisis is key to tailoring support and services. This study compared opioid overdose death rates between Black and White Americans from the beginning of the overdose crisis in 1999 to 2018. (RRI – Recovery Research Institute, USA, Mai 2022)


Nigeria. Briefing paper: Torture and ill-treatment against people who use drugs in Nigeria

This report presents evidence on the physical and mental violence faced by people who use drugs in Nigeria. The information included in this report has been collected through a mixed methodsapproachthatincludesdeskresearch and a survey of 79 people who use drugs and other stakeholders in 5 Nigerian states. (Chinwike Okereke, Adrià Cots Fernández & Maria-Goretti Loglo, International Drug Policy Consortium, April 2022)


Singapur. Singapore: UN human rights experts urge immediate death penalty moratorium

GENEVA (12 May 2022) – UN human rights experts* today called on the Government of Singapore to immediately impose a moratorium on the use of the death penalty, and said its continued use of capital punishment for drug-related crimes ran contrary to international law. (United Nations Human Rights, Office of the High Commissioner, Genf, 12.05.2022)


A systematic literature review of patient perspectives of barriers and facilitators to access, adherence, stigma, and persistence to treatment for substance use disorder. 

Cernasev A, Hohmeier KC, Frederick K, Jasmin H, Gatwood J. 

Explor Res Clin Soc Pharm. 2021 Jun 4;2:100029. doi: 10.1016/j.rcsop.2021.100029. PMID: 35481114; PMCID: PMC9029901.


Singapur. Statement: Singapore Carries Out Second Execution for Drugs in a Month

LONDON, 27 April – Nagaenthran Dharmalingam was executed in Singapore today, despite international outcry and widespread condemnation from human rights activists, the Malaysian government, United Nations experts on human rights, the European Union and prominent personalities including businessmen Richard Branson and actor Stephen Fry. Nagaenthran, who was only 21 years old at the time of his arrest, had spent over a decade on death row for carrying the equivalent of approximately three tablespoons of diamorphine. He suffered from mental health challenges and had cognitive disabilities, both of which should have provided a moral and legal basis to stop his execution. (HRI – Harm Reduction International, UK, 27.04.2022)


Singapur. Singapore executes man on drugs charge, rejecting mental disability plea

Malaysian drug smuggler has been executed in Singapore, despite pleas for clemency because he was intellectually impaired. 

Nagaenthran Dharmalingam was caught with about three tablespoons of heroin and had been on death row since 2010.

His case was highly controversial as he was assessed by a medical expert to have an IQ of 69 - a level that indicates an intellectual disability.

But the government said he "clearly understood the nature of his acts". (BBC, UK, 27.04.2022)


USA. The Americans with Disabilities Act and the Opioid Crisis: Combating Discrimination Against People in Treatment or Recovery

The opioid crisis poses an extraordinary challenge to communities throughout our country. The Department of Justice (the Department) has responded with a comprehensive approach prioritizing prevention, enforcement, and treatment. This includes enforcing the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), which prohibits discrimination against people in recovery from opioid use disorder (OUD) who are not engaging in illegal drug use, including those who are taking legally-prescribed medication to treat their OUD. This guidance document provides information about how the ADA can protect individuals with OUD from discrimination—an important part of combating the opioid epidemic across American communities. While this document focuses on individuals with OUD, the legal principles discussed also apply to individuals with other types of substance use disorders. (U.S. Department of Justice, Civil Rights Division, 05.04.2022)


Asien/Singapur: Death penalty for drugs: Will 2022 signal sea change in ASEAN?

On March 30, Singapore executed Abdul Kahar bin Othman, a local man sentenced to death for drug offenses and the first person to be executed in Singapore in since 2019. Othman had been unable to appeal his execution because he did not have a lawyer. Eight of the 35 countries that still retain the death penalty for drug offenses are in Southeast Asia and were responsible for a staggering 91.5 percent of all confirmed death sentences given for drug offenses worldwide, according to the Global Review 2021 from Harm Reduction International (HRI). (The Jakarta Post, Indonesien, 05.04.2022)


Human rights and drug use: an interview with Gabriele Fischer (audio)

In this interview, Professor Gabriele Fischer discusses what first interested her about applying human rights work to people who use drugs. She outlines the implications of United Nations (UN) human rights treaties and their relevance to psychiatry. She also talks about the importance of incorporating family planning and trauma-informed care into treatment services, and some of the international issues around coercion in treatment. (SSA – Society for the Stus´dy ofe Addiction, 30.03.2022, Audio, 28:07)


Measuring Stigma Towards People with Opioid Use Problems: Exploratory and Confirmatory Factor Analysis of the Opening Minds Provider Attitudes Towards Opioid-Use Scale (OM-PATOS). 

Knaak S, Patten S, Stuart H. 

Int J Ment Health Addict. 2022 Mar 3:1-12. doi: 10.1007/s11469-022-00788-z. Epub ahead of print. PMID: 35261572; PMCID: PMC8893056.


Stigmatization of Pregnant Individuals with Opioid Use Disorder. 

Crawford AD, McGlothen-Bell K, Recto P, McGrath JM, Scott L, Brownell EA, Cleveland LM. 

Womens Health Rep (New Rochelle). 2022 Feb 2;3(1):172-179. doi: 10.1089/whr.2021.0112. PMID: 35262054; PMCID: PMC8896218.


Healthcare Professional Students' Perspectives on Substance Use Disorders and Stigma: A Qualitative Study. 

Cernasev A, Kline KM, Barenie RE, Hohmeier KC, Stewart S, Forrest-Bank SS. 

Int J Environ Res Public Health. 2022 Feb 27;19(5):2776. doi: 10.3390/ijerph19052776. PMID: 35270468; PMCID: PMC8909966.


Relationship between psychological factors and perceived stigma of addiction among women with substance use disorders, Thailand. 

Yangyuen S, Kanato M, Somdee T. 

J Educ Health Promot. 2022 Jan 31;11:16. doi: 10.4103/jehp.jehp_572_21. PMID: 35281408; PMCID: PMC8893069.


Singapur. Gericht lehnt letzten Einspruch gegen Hinrichtung eines geistig Behinderten ab 

In Singapur gelten strikte Betäubungsmittelgesetze. Nun soll ein geistig behinderter Mann, der wegen eines Drogendelikts zum Tode verurteilt wurde, hingerichtet werden. Die Familie spricht von »einer schrecklichen Tortur«. (Spiegel online, 29.03.2022)


Death Penalty For Drug Offences: Global Overview 2021

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 eleventh 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, London, 2022)


Impact of Stigma on People with Opioid Use Disorder, Opioid Treatment, and Policy. 

Cheetham, Ali & Picco, Louisa & Barnett, Tony & Lubman, Dan & Nielsen, Suzanne. (2022). The 

Substance Abuse and Rehabilitation. Volume 13. 1-12. 10.2147/SAR.S304566.


Stigma and ART initiation among people with HIV and a lifetime history of illicit drug use in Saint-Petersburg, Russia-A prospective cohort analysis. 

Vetrova M, Lodi S, Rateau L, Patts G, Blokhina E, Palatkin V, Yaroslavtseva T, Toussova O, Bushara N, Bendiks S, Gnatienko N, Krupitsky E, Lioznov D, Samet JH, Lunze K. 

Int J Drug Policy. 2022 Feb 5;102:103600. doi: 10.1016/j.drugpo.2022.103600. Epub ahead of print. PMID: 35134598.


Stigma reduction is key to improving the HIV care continuum

Poteat, Tonia C et al.

The Lancet HIV, Volume 9, Issue 3, e144 - e145 


Global assessment of existing HIV and key population stigma indicators: A data mapping exercise to inform country-level stigma measurement. 

Lyons C, Bendaud V, Bourey C, Erkkola T, Ravichandran I, Syarif O, et al. (2022) 

PLoS Med 19(2): e1003914. doi.org/10.1371/journal.pmed.1003914


USA. Prisoner Who Sued for Access to OUD Meds Is in Solitary as “Retaliation”

The man at the center of a pivotal legal battle over access to methadone while incarcerated has been held in continuous solitary confinement for more than five months, in what the New York Civil Liberties Union alleges is retaliation for taking legal action. (Filter, USA, 15.02.2022)