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  • Killings won't solve drug problem, ex-Thai PM Abhisit says

    Former Thai prime minister Abhisit Vejjajiva reflects on Thailand's own war on drugs, which was similar to President Rodrigo Duterte's anti-drug campaign
    Rappler (Philippines)
    Saturday, October 21, 2017

    Recounting the experience of Thailand, former Thai prime minister Abhisit Vejjajiva said killing addicts can never solve the drug problem, as long as there is a demand for illegal substances. Thaksin's war on drugs was similar to Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte's anti-drug campaign. The drug war in Thailand, for one, led to at least 2,800 drug-related deaths. An investigation showed that more than half of the casualties had no dealings with drugs. Abhisit explained that when Thailand launched its drug war, "it was because people became impatient with the drug problem." "But when they engaged in extrajudicial killings and abuses of rights, this became more and more of a concern," he said.

  • Another country is getting ready to vote on legalizing cannabis

    Drug policy group claims two thirds of population want law change
    CNBC News
    Friday, October 20, 2017

    The newly-elected prime minister of New Zealand has said she wants a national discussion on legalizing cannabis. Jacinda Ardern said that she will work with her Cabinet and take advice before deciding on any referendum date. "During the campaign I've always been very vocal about the fact that I do not believe people should be imprisoned for the personal use of cannabis. On the flip-side, I also have concerns around young people accessing a product which can clearly do harm and damage to them," she said. A proposed change in the law over cannabis is being driven by the Green Party manifesto which states the drug should be legal for personal use, including possession and cultivation.

  • People are dying because of ignorance, not because of opioids

    One simple solution is to offer free, anonymous drug-purity testing services
    Scientific American (US)
    November 2017

    The vast majority of opioid users do not become addicts. Users’ chances of becoming addicted increase if they are white, male, young and unemployed and if they have co-occurring psychiatric disorders. That is why it is critical to conduct a thorough assessment of patients entering treatment, paying particular attention to these factors rather than simply focusing on the unrealistic goal of eliminating opioids. In many countries, including Switzerland, the Netherlands, Germany and Denmark, opioid treatment may include daily injections of heroin along with treating the patient's medical and psychosocial issues. These patients hold jobs, pay taxes and live long, healthy, productive lives.

  • New data continues to support the idea that legal cannabis access leads to fewer opioid-related deaths

    While cannabis substitution is certainly a hot topic among researchers and scientists, it's also an idea being put into play by frontline workers and activists
    The Georgia Straight (Canada)
    Tuesday, October 17, 2017

    A recent study reflects a growing body of information that suggests that cannabis access contributes to a reduction in opioid-related deaths. Researchers from the University of North Texas, University of Florida, and Emory University found that opioid-related deaths fell by 6.5 percent in the two years following the state of Colorado's decision to legalize recreational marijuana. Published in the November edition of the American Journal of Public Health, their work looked at opioid-related deaths in the state over a period of 15 years, between 2000 and 2015.

  • Indonesia endorses killing drug suspects to cut costs

    Drug Czar touts ‘shoot to kill’ over jail
    Human Rights Watch (US)
    Monday, October 16, 2017

    Indonesia’s National Narcotics Agency (BNN) head has an innovative approach to reducing incarceration costs: killing drug suspects so that they never get to prison. Last week Comr. Gen. Budi Waseso told the media he had instructed his agency’s drug enforcement personnel “not to hesitate to shoot to kill if they have to [because] if drug offenders go to jail they get free meals, which are paid for by the state.” In July he praised Duterte’s drug war. There are already indications that these statements are having a deadly impact.

  • The drug industry’s triumph over the DEA

    Amid a targeted lobbying effort, Congress weakened the DEA’s ability to go after drug distributors, even as opioid-related deaths continue to rise
    The Washington Post (US)
    Sunday, October 15, 2017

    In April 2016, at the height of the deadliest drug epidemic in U.S. history, Congress effectively stripped the Drug Enforcement Administration of its most potent weapon against large drug companies suspected of spilling prescription narcotics onto the nation’s streets. By then, the opioid war had claimed 200,000 lives, more than three times the number of U.S. military deaths in the Vietnam War. A handful of members of Congress, allied with the nation’s major drug distributors, prevailed upon the DEA and the Justice Department to agree to a more industry-friendly law, undermining efforts to stanch the flow of pain pills, according to The Washington Post and "60 Minutes". (See also: Trump drug czar nominee accused of hindering opioid crackdown)

  • Ghana’s bold step away from the ‘war on drugs’

    Could seismic changes in Ghana’s narcotics laws herald a shift in Africa’s drug policy?
    ISS Today (UK)
    Friday, October 13, 2017

    Ghana is poised to become the first African country, and the first country outside of Europe and the Americas, to decriminalise the personal possession and use of all illegal drugs. Ghana’s Narcotics Control Commission Bill, 2017 (the ‘Narcotics Bill’), which will repeal and replace existing drug offences, is expected to be passed later this year. The proposed legislation seeks to address drug use as a ‘public health issue’. Implementing it would mark a significant departure from Ghana’s previous drugs policy, which, like those in other West African countries and around the world, wielded punitive sentencing as a key weapon in a ‘war on drugs’. (See also: Is drug policy in Africa on the cusp of change? The unfolding debate in Ghana)

  • Are UK drug consumption rooms likely?

    The Home Office's own evidence showed that if you want to cut drug deaths, local DCRs can help
    BBC News (UK)
    Thursday, October 12, 2017

    Drug Consumption Room in GreeceWhat does the Home Office really think about drug consumption rooms - safe and supervised places where addicts can inject or inhale illicit substances without fear of prosecution? DCRs are used in other countries to reduce the risk of chronic drug users dying from an overdose or an infection. But the idea of creating spaces where illicit drugs are effectively decriminalised goes against the government's long maintained line that illegal drugs are dangerous, and those who possess them should be prosecuted. National government will not fund or provide drug consumption rooms (too politically risky), but if local health and police chiefs think they were a valuable tool, they could consider them.

  • More than 25 million people dying in agony without morphine every year

    Concern over illicit use and addiction is putting morphine out of reach for millions of patients globally who need it for pain relief
    The Guardian (UK)
    Thursday, October 12, 2017

    More than 25 million people, including 2.5 million children, die in agony every year around the world, for want of morphine or other palliative care, according to a major investigation. Poor people cannot get pain relief in many countries of the world because their needs are overlooked or the authorities are so worried about the potential illicit use of addictive opioids that they will not allow their importation. “Staring into this access abyss, one sees the depth of extreme suffering in the cruel face of poverty and inequity,” says a special report from a commission set up by the Lancet medical journal. (See also: Where the opioids go)

  • Philippine lawyers ask Supreme Court to halt 'illegal' war on drugs

    The petition comes as public scrutiny intensifies on Duterte’s signature campaign
    Reuters (UK)
    Wednesday, October 11, 2017

    Philippine lawyers filed an injunction with the Supreme Court to try to stop President Rodrigo Duterte’s bloody war on drugs, calling it as an illegal campaign that lets police kill and circumvent legal procedures. The government’s directive for the fierce 15-month-old crackdown permits police to “negate” and “neutralise” targets, effectively granting them a license to kill suspected users and dealers, without gathering evidence or building a case, the lawyers said. The petition comes as public scrutiny intensifies on Duterte’s signature campaign, which he insists will not stop, regardless of the bloodshed. (See also: Duterte orders PDEA to solely undertake all anti-drugs ops)

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