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How Much Does it Cost to Criminalise People Who Use Drugs?

The massive criminalization of people who use drugs in the EECA region instead of the declared support of public health and social security imposes a financial and social burden on States. On average, incarceration costs are 2-6 times higher than the expenditures for health and social services.

This is evidenced by the results of a study conducted by the Eurasian Harm Reduction Association (EHRA). The organization collected data on incarceration costs of people who use drugs from countries of the EECA region as well as data on money spent for harm reduction services. (EHRA, 27.05.2019)

https://harmreductioneurasia.org/how-much-does-it-cost-to-criminalize-pwud/

Ethical challenges in global health-related stigma research.

Millum J, Campbell M, Luna F, Malekzadeh A, Karim QA.

BMC Med. 2019 Apr 29;17(1):84. doi: 10.1186/s12916-019-1317-6.

https://bmcmedicine.biomedcentral.com/articles/10.1186/s12916-019-1317-6

'Management of a spoiled identity': systematic review of interventions to address self-stigma among people living with and affected by HIV.

Pantelic M, Steinert JI, Park J, Mellors S, Murau F.

BMJ Glob Health. 2019 Mar 19;4(2):e001285. doi: 10.1136/bmjgh-2018-001285. 

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6441299/

Brasilien. Senators in Brazil pass forced rehab for drug users

SAO PAULO — Brazil’s Senate approved a series of drug policy changes designed to toughen penalties for traffickers and require users to undergo rehabilitation at private or religious centres, acting ahead of a Supreme Court decision on the decriminalization of marijuana consumption and possession. (National Post, Kanada, 16.05.2019)

https://nationalpost.com/pmn/news-pmn/senators-in-brazil-pass-forced-rehab-for-drug-users

Iran. Six Men Executed for Drug Offences in Iran, Despite Legal Reform

At least six men have been hanged for drug offences in Iran since late April, raising concerns about a “new wave of drug-related executions” in a country that recently legislated to reduce the punishment. (Talking Drugs, UK, 14.05.2019)

https://www.talkingdrugs.org/six-men-executed-for-drug-offences-in-iran-despite-legal-reform

Drug injection, syringe source, and self-stigma in New York City

People with substance use problems are widely stigmatized, a harmful societal notion reinforced by media depictions of drug use, misguided public policy, and punishments by criminal justice systems. Drug-related stigma is highly present for people who inject drugs (PWID), likely due in part to its association with HIV. On top of this, PWID often feel ashamed of their habits. This “self-stigma” encourages PWID to hide their addiction, avoiding crucial treatment and social support. This week, as part of our Special Series on Stigma and Addiction, we review a study by Alexis Rivera and colleagues that investigated which injection risk behaviors and demographic factors are associated with self-stigma among PWID in New York City. (STASH, Vol. 15(5), 14.05.2019)

https://www.basisonline.org/2019/05/stash-vol-155-drug-injection-self-stigma.html

Buprenorphine Treatment Divide by Race/Ethnicity and Payment.

Lagisetty PA, Ross R, Bohnert A, Clay M, Maust DT.

JAMA Psychiatry. 2019 May 8. doi: 10.1001/jamapsychiatry.2019.0876. 

Abstract

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/31066881

Sri Lanke / EU. Joint statement on the death penalty 

Colombo. The Delegation of the European Union (EU) issues the following statement in agreement with the Embassies of France, Germany, Italy, Netherlands, Romania and the UK High Commission, the Embassies of Norway and Switzerland, as well as the High Commissions of Canada and Australia. (Delegation of the European Union to Sri Lanka and Maldives, 08.04.2019)

https://eeas.europa.eu/delegations/sri-lanka/60713/joint-statement-death-penalty_en

“Liquid Handcuffs”—A Documentary to Free Methadone (Homepage und Trailer)

Filmed in six countries: Afghanistan, Britain, India, Portugal, Russia, United States

In 2017, the opioid-related overdose crisis killed 70,000 people in the US. Methadone is the most successful treatment for opioid addiction and is proven to cut the death rate by half or more. So why is it easier to get heroin than methadone?

Liquid Handcuffs: A Documentary to Free Methadone, shines a spotlight on the closed world of methadone clinics. An international cast of methadone users, activists, and healthcare providers explain the benefits and the barriers to getting the medication. And drug policy expert Deborah Small provides commentary on the politics of methadone.

Liquid Handcuffs: A Documentary to Free Methadone explores the intersection of methadone with race, class, social control, and stigma. This is the first feature-length documentary that uses the lens of harm reduction to examine the methadone clinic system. (liquidhandcuffsdoc.com, USA, April 2019)

https://www.liquidhandcuffsdoc.com/

Negative Impacts of Self-Stigma on the Quality of Life of Patients in Methadone Maintenance Treatment: The Mediated Roles of Psychological Distress and Social Functioning.

Cheng, C.-M.; Chang, C.-C.; Wang, J.-D.; Chang, K.-C.; Ting, S.-Y.; Lin, C.-Y. 

Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health2019, 16, 1299.

https://www.mdpi.com/1660-4601/16/7/1299/htm

The Changing Face of the Death Penalty for Drug Offences: An Interview with Aurélie Plaçais (Director of the World Coalition Against the Death Penalty)

Drug offences are punishable by death in at least 35 countries and territories worldwide, and that number may grow. 

Over the past year, authorities in Bangladesh and Sri Lanka have reintroduced the death penalty as a possible punishment for drug offences, while the presidents of the Philippines and the US have expressed support for executing people involved in the drug trade. At the same time, Iran and Malaysia have made moves to reduce the use of the death penalty for non-violent drug offences.

TalkingDrugs spoke with Aurélie Plaçais, the director of the World Coalition Against the Death Penalty, to gain insight on how the use of the death penalty for drug offences is changing. (TalkingDrugs, UK, 29.04.2019)

https://www.talkingdrugs.org/the-changing-face-of-the-death-penalty-for-drug-offence

Kolumbien. Situation of human rights in Colombia - Report of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights

Annual report of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights and reports of the Office of the High Commissioner and the Secretary-General, Human Rights Council, Fortieth session, 25 February–22 March 2019

https://undocs.org/A/HRC/40/3/ADD.3

Amnesty International: Death penalty in 2018: Facts and figures

(...) At least 98 executionswere known to have been carried out for drug-related offences in 4 countries– 14% of the global total and down from 28% in 2017. At least 226 of such death sentences were known to have been imposed in 14 countries. (Amnesty International, 10.04.2019)

https://www.amnesty.org/en/latest/news/2019/04/death-penalty-facts-and-figures-2018/

International guidelines on human rights and drug policy

International Centre on Human Rights and Drug Policy, UNAIDS, WHO, UNDP

2019

https://www.humanrights-drugpolicy.org/site/assets/files/1/hrdp_guidelines_2019.pdf

International Centre on Human Rights and Drug Policy

Mission Statement:

The International Centre on Human Rights and Drug Policy is dedicated to the study of human rights law and drug policies and programmes in order to

- Promote and disseminate international legal scholarship and research on human rights and drug policy

- Highlight the obligations of all governments and international organisations to respect, protect and fulfil human rights in the context of drug policy

- Promote a human rights-based approach to drug policy

The International Centre on Human Rights and Drug Policy fulfills its mission through research, teaching, and policy development.

https://www.hr-dp.org/

UNAIDS. Promises to improve health outcomes for people who inject drugs remain unfulfilled as 99% do not have adequate access to harm reduction services 

New report by UNAIDS highlights the urgent need to implement a human rights and evidence-informed approach to reach people who inject drugs with essential health services. (UNAIDS, Genf, 13.03.2019)

http://www.unaids.org/en/resources/presscentre/pressreleaseandstatementarchive/2019/march/20190313_drugs_report

UNAIDS. HEALTH, RIGHTS AND DRUGS - HARM REDUCTION, DECRIMINALIZATION AND ZERO DISCRIMINATION FOR PEOPLE WHO USE DRUGS

(UNAIDS, 2019)

http://www.unaids.org/sites/default/files/media_asset/JC2954_UNAIDS_drugs_report_2019_en.pdf

HIV-Diskriminierung und Datenschutz: HIV-Datenleck in Singapur - Der Skandal ist die Diskriminierung

In Singapur sind Daten von 14.200 Menschen mit HIV öffentlich geworden. Gedeihen konnte das Datendesaster vor allem, weil im Stadtstaat ein extrem konservatives Klima herrscht. (DAH, magazin.hiv, 25.02.2019)

https://magazin.hiv/2019/02/25/hiv-datenleck-in-singapur/

A new brief opioid stigma scale to assess perceived public attitudes and internalized stigma: Evidence for construct validity.

Yang LH, Grivel MM, Anderson B, Bailey GL, Opler M, Wong LY, Stein MD.

J Subst Abuse Treat. 2019 Apr;99:44-51. doi: 10.1016/j.jsat.2019.01.005. 

Abstract

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/30797393

The Death Penalty for Drug Offences: Global Overview 2018.

The death penalty for drug offences is a clear violation of international human rights law. Numerous international authorities and legal scholars have reaffirmed this point, including the UN Human Rights Committee as recently as 2018.

Since Harm Reduction International began monitoring the use of this abhorrent practice in 2007, annual implementation of the death penalty for drug offences has fluctuated markedly. Over 4,000 people were executed globally for these offences between 2008 and 2018, with executions hitting a peak above 750 in 2015 (excluding China and Vietnam, where these figures are a state secret). Notably, 2018 figures show a significant downward trend, with known executions falling below 100 globally. (HRI – Harm Reduction International, Februar 2019)

https://www.hri.global/files/2019/02/22/HRI_DeathPenaltyReport_2019.pdf

International AIDS Society. Getting to the Heart of Stigma

“THE PERSISTENCE OF STIGMA IN THE CONTEXT OF HIV ALSO CAUSES IMMENSE HUMAN HARDSHIP AND DIMINISHES US AS A GLOBAL COMMUNITY.”

IAS – International AIDS Society, Annual Letter, Februar 2019-03-02

https://www.iasociety.org/Who-we-are/About-the-IAS/Annual-Letter-2019

“Maybe if I stop the drugs, then maybe they’d care?”—hospital care experiences of people who use drugs

Soo Chan Carusone, Adrian Guta, Samantha Robinson, Darrell H. Tan, Curtis Cooper, Bill O’Leary, Karen de Prinse, Grant Cobb, Ross Upshur and Carol Strike 

Harm Reduction Journal 2019, 16:16, doi.org/10.1186/s12954-019-0285-7

https://harmreductionjournal.biomedcentral.com/articles/10.1186/s12954-019-0285-7

Sri Lanka. Makabere Stellenausschreibung: Henker gesucht 

Sri Lanka will zurück zur Todesstrafe und sucht einen Vollstrecker. Doch das Beispiel Philippinen zeigt: Ein brutaler und gnadenloser Staat ist nutzlos im Kampf gegen Drogenkriminalität. (Süddeutsche Zeitung, 15.02.2019)

https://www.sueddeutsche.de/panorama/sri-lanka-drogen-todesstrafe-1.4331305

USA. Black Americans and HIV/AIDS: The Basics

Key Facts:

- Black Americans have been disproportionately affected by HIV/AIDS since the epidemic’s beginning, and that disparity has deepened over time. 

- Although they represent only 12% of the U.S. population, Blacks account for a much larger share of HIV diagnoses (43%), people estimated to be living with HIV disease (42%), and deaths among people with HIV (43%) than any other racial/ethnic group in the U.S. 

- Among Black Americans, Black women, youth, and gay and bisexual men have been especially hard hit. 

- A number of challenges contribute to the epidemic among Blacks, including poverty, lack of access to health care, higher rates of some sexually transmitted infections and smaller sexual networks, lack of awareness of HIV status, and stigma. 

- Despite this impact, recent data indicate some encouraging trends, including declining new HIV diagnoses among Blacks overall, especially among women, and a leveling off of new diagnoses among Black gay and bisexual men. However, given the epidemic’s continued and disproportionate impact among Blacks, a continued focus is critical to addressing HIV in the United States. (KFF – Kaiser Family Foundation, USA, 07.02.2019)

https://www.kff.org/hivaids/fact-sheet/black-americans-and-hivaids-the-basics

Ägypten. Egypt's Cabinet approves bill executing narcotics smugglers

CAIRO. The Egyptian government approved on Wednesday a bill that stipulates sentencing to death those who"import or export synthetic substances that cause harm to the body, mind or the nervous system," in efforts to limit prohibited drug trade. (Egypt Today, 30.01.2019)

http://www.egypttoday.com/Article/1/64077/Egypt-s-Cabinet-approves-bill-executing-narcotics-smugglers

Sri Lanka. Sri Lanka to begin hangings within months, ending 43-year stay on executions 

Crackdown inspired by Philippines’ war on drugs comes as president Maithripala Sirisena faces tough election. (The Guardian, UK, 07.02.2019)

https://www.theguardian.com/world/2019/feb/07/sri-lanka-to-begin-hangings-within-months-ending-43-year-stay-on-executions

"Like being put on an ice floe and shoved away": A qualitative study of the impacts of opioid-related policy changes on people who take opioids.

Antoniou T, Ala-Leppilampi K, Shearer D, Parsons JA, Tadrous M, Gomes T.

Int J Drug Policy. 2019 Jan 24;66:15-22. doi: 10.1016/j.drugpo.2019.01.015. 

https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0955395919300234

Reducing HIV-related stigma and discrimination in healthcare settings: A systematic review of quantitative evidence. 

Feyissa GT, Lockwood C, Woldie M, Munn Z (2019) 

PLoS ONE 14(1): e0211298. doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0211298

https://journals.plos.org/plosone/article?id=10.1371/journal.pone.0211298

A qualitative study on intersectional stigma and sexual health among women on opioid substitution treatment in England: Implications for research, policy and practice.

Medina-Perucha L, Scott J, Chapman S, Barnett J, Dack C, Family H.

Soc Sci Med. 2019 Jan 17;222:315-322. doi: 10.1016/j.socscimed.2019.01.022.

Abstract

https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/abs/pii/S027795361930022X

Assessing Mental Illness Stigma: A Complex Issue.

Mannarini S, Rossi A.

Front Psychol. 2019 Jan 11;9:2722. doi: 10.3389/fpsyg.2018.02722. 

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6336735/