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  • Canada’s mayors call for speedy approval of proposals to address overdose crisis

    The task force wants the federal government to set national targets for reducing overdoses
    The Globe and Mail (Canada)
    Thursday, May 25, 2017

    Canada’s big-city mayors are calling for the expedited approval of new supervised drug-consumption sites, improved data collection and the expansion of unconventional therapies, such as heroin-assisted treatment, to address a national overdose crisis that shows no signs of abating. The formal recommendations from the Federation of Canadian Municipalities’ task force on the opioid crisis come as the Vancouver Police Department issues its own call for expanded addictions programs, including heroin-assisted treatment. (See also: Opioid crisis: Listen to the big-city mayors)

  • France to decriminalise cannabis possession within months, interior minister says

    The current laws primarily target people from poor areas and immigrant communities, and this would likely continue despite the change
    Talking Drugs (UK)
    Thursday, May 25, 2017

    france legalisationFrance’s newly-appointed Minister of the Interior, Gérard Collomb, has said that personal cannabis possession may no longer be prosecuted from as soon as September, although this change may be accompanied by unprecedented strict rules on people with convictions for selling drugs. Collomb said that new rules are set to be implemented under which someone found in possession of cannabis will be given a ticket and required to pay a fine, instead of being prosecuted or imprisoned. The plans, which he revealed during an interview with French news channel BFMTV on 24 May, could be in place "within three to four months". (See also: France to scrap prison terms for cannabis users | Contraventionnalisation du cannabis en France: Décryptage)

  • Proportion of UK drug users using dark net to buy drugs 'doubles in three years'

    'We're talking about 15-year-olds getting hold of LSD. It's a complete disaster'
    The Independent (UK)
    Thursday, May 25, 2017

    dark netThere has been a huge rise in the number of UK drug users using the dark internet to buy illegal substances, a new survey has revealed. The Global Drug Survey found more users are buying their drugs on the dark net in the UK than almost anywhere else in the world. The mass of hidden web pages allows users to connect with online drug dealers while hiding their computer IP addresses to avoid being traced. Purchases are made using the virtual currency Bitcoin, which allows customers and sellers to remain anonymous. Younger drug users and those without a job or a university degree, were statistically more likely to use secret online websites to buy their drugs. (See also: From Dealer to Doorstep – How Drugs Are Sold On the Dark Net)

  • Tufton appeals to WHO for more leadership on ganja

    Tufton tendered his position while addressing the 70th World Health Assembly in Geneva
    Jamaica Observer (Jamaica)
    Wednesday, May 24, 2017

    Christopher TuftonMinister of Health, Christopher Tufton has called on the World Health Organisation (WHO) to remove cannabis from its current classification as a Schedule 1 Drug (illegal drug) deemed to have no medicinal benefits to a schedule that reflects its important potential for medicinal use.“Removing cannabis from its current classification is an important step in facilitating efforts by countries like Jamaica to promote its medicinal uses while maintaining a sound public health approach,” the minister said. Tufton's recommendations comes amidst WHO's Expert Committee on Drug Dependence ongoing review of the medicinal value of cannabis.

  • Canada eases steps to open supervised drug injection sites amid opioid crisis

    New legislation streamlines the more than two dozen requirements previously needed to launch facilities, which offer supervision and sterile equipment
    The Guardian (UK)
    Sunday, May 21, 2017

    Safe injection siteCanada’s government has made it easier to open supervised drug injection sites across the country, offering communities a lifeline as they battle an opioid crisis that has claimed thousands of lives in recent years. New legislation passed this week streamlines the more than two dozen requirements previously needed to launch these facilities, which offer a medically supervised space and sterile equipment for people who use drugs intravenously. “Solid evidence shows that, when properly set up and maintained, supervised consumption sites save lives, and they do it without increasing drug use or crime in the neighbourhood,” Jane Philpott, Canada’s health minister, told parliament this week.

  • The expanding universe of synthetic drugs

    From “legal highs” to fentanyl, there are more drugs on offer than ever before
    The Economist (UK)
    Saturday, May 20, 2017

    The 20th century saw new drugs created from scratch: amphetamines, barbiturates, benzodiazepines and more. It also saw a far more spirited, if often fruitless, policing of the line between drugs-as-medicine and drugs-of-choice — a line that was in many cases drawn according to the sort of people who chose to use the drug, rather than any essential danger it posed. These prohibitions rarely improved public health or public order; but they did encourage some of those who served the markets on the wrong side of the line to investigate the potential of molecules similar to those in existing drugs but not yet subject to any sanction.

  • Police time and money go to pot

    In the year 2014-2015, a whopping R3.5-billion was spent on dagga criminalisation
    Mail & Guardian (South Africa)
    Friday, May 19, 2017

    In 2015-2016, 259 165 people were arrested for drug-related crimes, according to the South African Police Service’s (SAPS) crime statistics. The police do not release the breakdown of their arrests according to drug type. The police did reveal in their 2015-2016 annual crime report that, nationally, possession of cannabis made up for a staggering 65% of all drug-related crimes recorded by police. This statistic has not changed much since 2006-2007. That report provides another interesting statistic. The police confiscated 362 099kg of dagga. All other drugs – cocaine, heroin and crystal meth – amounted to 1 370kg.

  • California takes right steps in crafting state’s marijuana regulations

    Adult-use marijuana, like medical marijuana, is now legal in the state of California
    The Sacramento Bee (US)
    Wednesday, May 17, 2017

    When Proposition 64 passed last November by the largest margin of any marijuana legalization ballot measure in history, it represented a resounding message from more than 8 million California voters to federal, state and local policymakers. With the input of hundreds of respected state and local organizations, including local government and law enforcement, Proposition 64 was carefully and specifically drafted to safeguard public safety, public health and the environment, preserve local control, curb market monopolies and, above all else, protect our children.

  • Is Colombia sacrificing coca farmers' trust for US Aid dollars?

    The priority placed by Colombia's government on reaching eradication goals has put enormous pressure on security forces destroy as much coca as possible
    InSight Crime
    Wednesday, May 17, 2017

    Colombia's defense minister divulged new coca eradication figures ahead of a meeting between Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos and his US counterpart Donald Trump, a sign of commitment to US policy preferences that may come at the expense of harming trust between Colombia's government and important segments of its own population. With regard to the upcoming meeting, Villegas praised the fact that the US Congress recently approved a $450 million aid package known as "Peace Colombia," which is aimed at supporting the country's peace agreement with the FARC.

  • An experiment helps heroin users test their street drugs for fentanyl

    Fentanyl has become a big part of the local drug supply in the Bronx
    NPR (US)
    Tuesday, May 16, 2017

    Fentanyl is a synthetic opioid that is "similar to morphine but can be 50 to 100 times more potent," according to the National Institute on Drug Abuse. Increasingly, drug dealers have been using fentanyl to cut their heroin supply — which can be lethal for users. By using the same simple test a doctor would use to check for fentanyl in a patient's urine, Van Asher, one of the staffers in charge of "transactions" — that means he gives out needles — is now giving drug users in the Bronx a way to quickly find out what's in their syringe before they inject.

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