Drugs in the news

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  • Scandinavia’s largest drug injection room opens in Copenhagen

    H17 in Vesterbro offers 1,000 sq metres of supervised facilities
    The Copenhagen Post (Denmark)
    Sunday, August 14, 2016

    denmark-h17-dcrH17, a new drug consumption room (fixerum), officially opens in Copenhagen. H17 was designed and decorated to specially suit the needs of drug users, who will find a sterile, supervised and supportive environment with access to medical and psycho-social services. According to Foregningen Fixerum, some 300 drug users die from overdoses in Denmark every year – one of the highest rates per capita in Europe. “Here they can take their drugs in a safe environment, and because it’s so peaceful here, we can hopefully get some of them to consider talking to a treatment worker,” said Louise Runge Mortensen, the head of H17.

  • What makes marijuana users different from everyone else

    Usage patterns are similar to what's seen among tobacco users
    The Washington Post (US)
    Sunday, August 14, 2016

    A massive study published this month in the Journal of Drug Issues found that the proportion of marijuana users who smoke daily has rapidly grown, and that many of those frequent users are poor and lack a high-school diploma. "Most people who have used marijuana in the past year are in full control of their use, and are generally happy with that use," researcher Jonathan Caulkins said . But, "consumption is highly concentrated among the smaller number of daily & near-daily users, and they tend to be less educated, less affluent, and less in control of their use."

  • Indonesia’s push to execute drug convicts underlines flaws in justice system

    Amnesty International has denounced the manifestly flawed administration of justice in Indonesia that resulted in flagrant human rights violations
    The New York Times (US)
    Saturday, August 13, 2016

    More than a year after Indonesia drew international censure by putting to death 12 foreigners convicted of drug crimes, the country has resumed a war on drugs by way of executions — and has again put a spotlight on its profoundly flawed justice system. Critics in Indonesia and abroad say those flaws go so deep that the country should not employ the death penalty at all. Researchers have found that many condemned convicts were tortured by the police into confessing, did not receive access to lawyers or were otherwise denied fair trials.

  • Did the DEA just kick open the door for the pharmaceuticalization of pot?

    The agency’s ultimate goal looks to be the domestic production of pharmaceutically produced medical cannabis products
    Alternet (US)
    Friday, August 12, 2016

    med-marijuanaWhile much ink has been spilled over the last few days regarding DEA’s refusal to recognize marijuana as a medicine and its unwillingness to reclassify it under federal law, far less attention has been paid to a separate decision by the agency to create, for the first time, a “clear legal pathway” for pharmaceutical companies to engage in cannabis-specific “drug product development.” The DEA’s intent is articulated in the August 11 edition of the US Federal Register in a notice entitled ‘Applications to Become Registered Under the Controlled Substances Act to Manufacture Marijuana to Supply Researchers in the United States.’

  • Hysteria about drugs and harm minimisation

    Debates about harm reduction follow the same pattern: relentless hostility, proof that it works, then more relentless hostility
    Alex Wodak
    The Guardian (UK)
    Thursday, August 11, 2016

    No matter how impressive the evidence of benefits, or how weak the evidence of serious side effects or how badly a strategy is needed, new harm reduction strategies are always greeted the same way: with relentless hostility. Debates about harm reduction always follow the same pattern. Hysterical fears are confidently asserted as if proven beyond doubt while potential benefits, often based on considerable research and experience, are dismissed or ignored. (See also: If we want to stop drug-related deaths at festivals, we need a new strategy)

  • Activists furious over DEA's refusal to recognise medical benefits of marijuana

    The government's own research has revealed the medical benefits of the drug
    The Independent (UK)
    Thursday, August 11, 2016

    cannabis-handsCampaigners have reacted with dismay after the Obama administration refused to stop classifying marijuana as a dangerous drug with no medical use - even though government research has shown it can kill cancer cells. The Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) said it would continue to list marijuana as a co-called “Schedule I” drug, placing it on par with heroin. The government has repeatedly rejected appeals for reclassification. (See also: What Congress is saying about the DEA’s refusal to change course on pot | The DEA’s marijuana decision is more important than rescheduling)

  • Beyond Olympic glow, a vicious drug war rages in Rio

    The devilishly complex struggle for control of many favelas, the largely poor areas that often emerged as squatter settlements in Rio, is still grinding on
    The New York Times (US)
    Thursday, August 11, 2016

    rio-favela-bopeIn the shadow of the Olympics, a slow-burning war between drug gangs and the nation’s security forces is taking place. As the casualties mount in the favelas, the Games seem — to thousands in some of Rio’s poorest areas — like they are taking place in some distant city. Security experts who track gunfights in Rio de Janeiro have documented dozens of violent episodes in favelas since the Olympics started, raising questions about the huge security operation for the Games. The drug gangs are clashing not only with the police, but also with other gangs and with militias — paramilitary groups largely made up of both active-duty and retired police officers.

  • Health Canada to allow safety testing of medical marijuana

    Hundreds of storefront dispensaries have sprung up across the country, particularly in Toronto and Vancouver, remain illegal
    The Globe and Mail (Canada)
    Thursday, August 11, 2016

    Health Canada is easing its prohibitions against safety testing of medical marijuana, which will allow registered growers and patients to have the product scrutinized at federally certified laboratories to ensure it is safe. The federal government plans to legalize marijuana for recreational use next year, and the move will give added protection in an unregulated market to consumers, many of whom worry that some marijuana being sold as medicine could contain harmful contaminants. The shift follows a Globe and Mail investigation into the contents of marijuana. (See also Pot dispensaries shut out of Health Canada's new safety-testing rules)

  • Marijuana legalization in California

    Despite schisms, supporters are certain Prop 64 is worth it
    The Influence (US)
    Wednesday, August 10, 2016

    This November, a marijuana legalization measure will be put to voters in the most populous and influential US state. If Californians vote “yes” on Proposition 64 – which beat out 21 competing cannabis legalization initiatives to make it onto the ballot – their decision will resonate far beyond the state’s borders. Why is a small but vocal group of pro-legalization activists determined to #StopProp64? “The marijuana community has always been incredibly fractured,” says Lynn Lyman, California state director for the Drug Policy Alliance (DPA), one of the organizations behind Prop 64.

  • DEA rejects attempt to loosen federal restrictions on marijuana

    Marijuana again failed an analysis conducted by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration and NIDA
    NPR (US)
    Wednesday, August 10, 2016

    cannabis-cultThe Obama administration has denied a bid by two Democratic governors to reconsider how it treats marijuana under federal drug control laws, keeping the drug for now in the most restrictive category for U.S. law enforcement purposes. Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) chief Chuck Rosenberg says the decision is rooted in science. Rosenberg gave "enormous weight" to conclusions by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) that marijuana has "no currently accepted medical use in treatment in the United States". (See also: DEA decides not to loosen restrictions on marijuana, keeping it schedule 1 (with heroin))

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Study: The ‘gateway drug’ is alcohol, not marijuana

A study in the August edition of The Journal of School Health finds that the generations old theory of a “gateway drug” effect is in fact accurate for some drug users, but shifts the blame for those addicts’ escalating substance abuse away from marijuana and onto the most pervasive and socially accepted drug in American life: alcohol.

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