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  • Montreal opens first mobile supervised injection clinic in North America

    First site will operate beside a two-booth mobile unit will offer a medically supervised space and sterile equipment for people who use drugs intravenously
    The Guardian (UK)
    Monday, June 19, 2017

    canada mobile dcr montrealMontreal has launched the first mobile supervised injection clinic in North America, as part of a package of services aimed at fighting back against an opioid crisis that has claimed thousands of lives across Canada. After years of lobbying by community organisations – the city opened its first safe injection site, alongside a two-booth mobile unit that will make its way through the downtown core. The services, which offer a medically supervised space and sterile equipment for people who use drugs intravenously, are Canada’s first such facilities outside of British Columbia. (See also: Canada eases steps to open supervised drug injection sites amid opioid crisis)

  • PH jail congestion rate soars to over 500% amid drug war

    Philippine jails have a total holding capacity of only 20,746, but now accommodate 126,946 inmates
    Rappler (Philippines)
    Friday, June 16, 2017

    The Philippines' cramped jails had to accommodate more inmates in 2016 amid the government's crackdown on drugs as well as other issues, resulting in an overall 511.9% congestion rate, according to the Commission on Audit (COA). "The jail populations for the year increased in various months attributed to the increase in the number of drug-related cases in the country as well as the court's slow or no action on the pending cases due to lack of judges, postponement of hearings, and the slow disposition of criminal cases," COA said. (See also: Dispatches: Philippines’ ‘war on drugs’ worsens jail miseries)

  • Congress is considering a bill that would expand Jeff Sessions’s power to escalate the war on drugs

    The new bill extends the temporary scheduling duration to five years for Schedule A substances and eliminates the requirement for analyzing the drug's abuse record and its potential risk to public health
    The Washington Post (US)
    Friday, June 16, 2017

    Congress is considering a bill that would expand the federal government's ability to pursue the war on drugs, granting new power to the attorney general to set federal drug policy. The bipartisan legislation, sponsored by powerful committee chairs in Congress, would allow the attorney general to unilaterally outlaw certain unregulated chemical compounds on a temporary basis. The bill could be used to justify bans on substances that are not particularly lethal or dangerous. The drug known as kratom is an area of concern. The risks with using kratom are “remarkably low,” and people say it has helped them quit using alcohol, opiates and other, much deadlier substances. Kratom advocates fear that the new bill would allow the Justice Department to outlaw the drug, as it tried unsuccessfully to do last year.

  • Wrecking to ‘revitalise’: São Paulo expels drug users and razes buildings, claiming public safety

    Latin America’s most innovative social inclusion initiatives, Braços Abertos, shut down
    The Conversation (UK)
    Friday, June 16, 2017

    On May 21, 500 civil and military police descended on the downtown neighbourhood where, since the late 1990s, hundreds to thousands of crack-cocaine users and drug dealers have congregated (hence its dubious appellation Cracolândia). Throwing gas grenades and with the aid of barking dogs, the police raided the area with a brutality that shocked the city. Tear gas, sound bombs and rubber bullets were unleashed in a "scatter" model, sending residents running. Canvas tents and shacks that provide shelter for dozens of homeless people were ripped down, razed and burned. Mayor João Doria committed to shut down the Braços Abertos (Open Arms) programme, despite contradictory scientific and human evidence.

  • Mexico’s worsening war without a name

    The “war on drugs” has morphed into a new rash of killings in Mexico
    International Crisis Group
    Thursday, June 15, 2017

    The deadly violence of well-organised, business-minded criminal groups in Mexico risks being aggravated by government inaction, corruption and bombastic U.S. rhetoric – exactly what caused the problem in the first place. Murder rates have hit a record high. Over the first four months of 2017, three murders took place every hour to reach a total of 8,705, about half of which can be attributed to organised crime. The path to this grisly statistic advanced through various stages. The first was the militarisation of the “war on drugs” in 2006 by former President Felipe Calderón, triggering clashes between criminal organisations and state security forces. Then came strategies aimed at taking down “kingpin” cartel leaders and at splintering criminal organisations, both of which aggravated the violence and reinforced ties with corrupt state institutions.

  • Copenhagen’s drug injection rooms a success story, mayor says

    Life has become easier and safer for drug addicts in the Danish capital since the introduction of the fixerum in 2012
    The Copenhagen Post (Denmark)
    Tuesday, June 13, 2017

    The lives of drug addicts who overdose can often be saved, provided they are using a drug injection room, figures show. Since two fixerums were opened by the municipality of Copenhagen in 2012 in the face of considerable opposition, 643 people have been treated for overdoses without a single fatality. “This tells me there has been a crying need [for the fixerums]. And it has been right to find a new way for the many people living a chaotic existence on the street with little or no contact to the system,” said Jesper Christensen, the deputy mayor for social issues. “In just a single year we have concluded up to 2,500 advisory talks about health and social conditions with citizens living on the edge and often far from help, and there’s no doubt we have improved their prospects.”

  • Jeff Sessions personally asked Congress to let him prosecute medical marijuana providers

    The Rohrabacher-Farr amendment has significant bipartisan support in Congress
    The Washington Post (US)
    Tuesday, June 13, 2017

    Attorney General Jeff Sessions is asking congressional leaders to undo federal medical marijuana protections that have been in place since 2014, according to a May letter that became public. The protections, known as the Rohrabacher-Farr amendment, prohibit the Justice Department from using federal funds to prevent certain states "from implementing their own State laws that authorize the use, distribution, possession or cultivation of medical marijuana." In his letter, first obtained by Tom Angell of Massroots.com, Sessions argued that the amendment would "inhibit [the Justice Department's] authority to enforce the Controlled Substances Act." (See also: Science calls out Jeff Sessions on medical marijuana and the "historic drug epidemic")

  • Support users, don't punish them: Ex-AFP boss' radical ideas to beat the drug trade

    The drug trade has just kept getting bigger and more dangerous, and we simply cannot arrest and imprison our way out of the problem
    The Sydney Morning Herald (Australia)
    Tuesday, June 13, 2017

    support dont punishFor over half a century governments in Australia have relied heavily on law enforcement to curb the drug trade and reduce drug use. But despite huge funding, ever-increasing levels of police effectiveness and effort, and the imposition of lengthy prison terms for serious drug offences, the drug trade has just kept getting bigger and more dangerous. With the best intentions in the world, we simply cannot arrest and imprison our way out of the problem. We must be prepared to try new ideas and approaches, writes Mick Palmer, the former commissioner of the Australian Federal Police.

  • U.K. tobacco giant gets medicinal cannabis expertise

    The appointment advances Imperial Brands’s efforts to move beyond its main product, as smoking rates in developed nations dwindle
    Bloomberg (US)
    Tuesday, June 13, 2017

    Imperial Brands Plc gained the services of a leader in the field of medicinal cannabis as the British tobacco manufacturer seeks to further its push beyond cigarettes. Simon Langelier, a 30-year veteran of Philip Morris International Inc., joined the board as a non-executive director. Langelier is chairman of PharmaCielo Ltd., a supplier of medicinal-grade cannabis oil extracts. He joined the Canadian-based company in 2015 after a career at Philip Morris that included heading up the next-generation products unit from 2007 to 2010. Imperial stands to benefit from his experience in tobacco and “wider consumer adjacencies,” Chairman Mark Williamson said. (See also: Canadian company PharmaCielo Ltd could be the first to grow legal pot in Colombia)

  • The case for prescription heroin

    Vancouver gives heroin to drug users suffering from addiction — and it works
    Vox (US)
    Monday, June 12, 2017

    CrosstownAs a deadly and devastating opioid epidemic ravages North America, the Providence Crosstown Clinic in Vancouver BC is giving their patients legal access the very drug they are addicted to: heroin. Patients can not only avoid death by overdose but otherwise go about their lives without stealing or committing other crimes to obtain heroin. And it isn’t some wild-eyed theory; the scientific research almost unanimously backs it up, and Crosstown’s own experience shows it can make a difference in drug users’ lives. Crosstown represents an international move toward providing a full spectrum of care for people who are addicted to drugs.

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