Latest news on drug policy issues in the international media


  • America’s prisons: A catching sickness

    The Economist (UK)
    Saturday, September 3, 2011

    Harsh laws for selling or possessing of drugs are a public-policy disaster. Ernest Drucker, an epidemiologist, uses the tools of his trade to examine the laws and their consequences. He writes that America is suffering “a plague of prisons”, and the Rockefeller laws in New York were the outbreak of that plague. None of Mr Drucker’s statistics is new, but they bear repeating because they are unjust, unintended and easily remedied. Treating drug addiction as a public-health problem (emphasising treatment and harm-reduction) rather than a crime would go a long way towards making America’s poor and minority communities stabler and better. It would also save taxpayers money. All that is lacking is political will.

  • 'Legal highs' prevalence makes ban policy 'ridiculous'

    Prohibition approach is 'irrational' say experts as one new synthetic psychoactive substance appears every week
    The Guardian (UK)
    Saturday, September 3, 2011

    New "legal highs" are being discovered at the rate of one a week, outstripping attempts to control their availability and exposing what some experts claim is the "ridiculous and irrational" government policy of prohibition. Given the plethora of new substances, the government's attempts to ban legal highs is not a "feasible" solution.

  • Mexico's Narco-Epiphany: Is Calderón Suggesting the U.S. Legalize Drugs?

    Tim Padgett
    Time Magazie (US)
    Tuesday, August 30, 2011

    The central statistic of Mexico's violent drug war – 40,000 gangland murders in the past five years – is repeated so often it almost fails to alarm us anymore. But what happened last Thursday, Aug. 25, in the northern business capital of Monterrey – 52 innocent people massacred after gangsters set fire to a casino, presumably in a drug-cartel extortion operation – left even President Felipe Calderón sounding distressed. So agitated, in fact, that drug-war analysts believe Calderón, in his speech the next day, signaled a change in philosophy and told the U.S. to think about legalizing drugs as a way of weakening vicious drug traffickers.

  • With few rules, pot dispensaries try policing themselves

    The Seattle Times (US)
    Friday, August 26, 2011

    In the absence of government regulation, the local medical-marijuana industry increasingly is trying to professionalize the industry with such self-policing measures as "best practices" manuals, quality-control testing laboratories and training classes. After legal and political hiccups this spring and summer, the state's medical-marijuana industry is emerging reinvigorated, growing and almost entirely based in Seattle.

  • Colombia Takes Step Towards Drug Decriminalization

    Elyssa Pachico
    In Sight
    Thursday, August 25, 2011

    Colombia's Supreme Court ruled against harsh punishments for small-time drug offenders, in a move towards easing up Colombia's zero-tolerance drug laws, which have achieved little in the fight against organized crime.

  • Medical marijuana advocates seek PM's support

    Prague Monitor (Czech Republic)
    Tueasday, August 23, 2011

    The organisers of a Czech petition for the legalisation of cannabis in medical treatment have asked Prime Minister Petr Necas to support the relevant changes in legislation. The petition committee, including doctors, patients and scientists, recalls that it does not seek the legalisation of marijuana for recreational use. Since its launch on August 16, the petition has been signed by almost 5,000 people.

  • Free crack cocaine pipes enable the saving of lives

    Louise Gallagher (Director, Public Relations & Volunteer Services, with the Calgary Drop In and Rehab Centre)
    The Calgary Herald (Canada)
    Sunday, August 21, 2011

    In 2008, Safeworks, an outreach program of Alberta Health Services, began a harm reduction program aimed at mitigating the effects of sharing crack pipes with other addicts. Through the program, users had the opportunity to obtain a clean pipe. It helped cut down on transmittable diseases and it gave outreach workers an opportunity to build relationships and explore safer options with this at-risk population of crack users. It's disheartening that AHS decided last week to let this program go up in smoke because it became controversial.

  • Buzz Kill: Marijuana Genome Sequenced For Health, Not Highs

    NPRs Health Blog (US)
    Friday, August 19, 2011

    jointStoners and scientists alike may be stoked to learn that a startup biotech company has completed the DNA sequence of Cannabis sativa, or marijuana. But here's something that could ruin a high: The company hopes the data will help scientists breed pot plants without much THC, the mind-altering chemical in the plant. The goal is instead to maximize other compounds that may have therapeutic benefits.

  • Free crack pipe service discontinued in Calgary

    Some groups, including the Calgary Police Association, had recently expressed their concerns with the Safeworks program
    The Calgary Herald (Canada)
    Friday, August 19, 2011

    Safer Crack Using KitA decision to stop a clean crack-pipe distribution program has disappointed those working to rehabilitate street addicts. Since 2008, Alberta Health Services had been giving out crack-pipe kits as part of the Safeworks program, an effort to reduce transmittable diseases. The kits contained a glass pipe, mouthpiece and cleaning tool and were handed out in an AHS van. More than 14,500 crack pipes were given out as of June 2011. The program was an effective first step in engaging hardcore, street-involved crack cocaine addicts. However, AHS has discontinued the Safeworks crack pipe program, citing the “potential for a legal challenge with respect to distribution.”

  • Doctors, patients seek permission for marijuana use in treatment

    The Prague Monitor (Czech Republic)
    Wednesday, August 17, 2011

    czech-pharmacyCzech doctors, patients and scientists launched a petition for the legal use of marijuana in treating sclerosis multiplex, the Parkinson disease, cancer and the AIDS in the Czech Republic whose legislation bans such practice. The petitioners say the ban breaches people's free choice of treatment methods and want it to be lifted. They give research results and practice in foreign countries as arguments in support of their demand.

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