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Harm Reduction

CN ON: Column: Opioid crisis in Peterborough: Overdose Prevention

Harm Reduction (MAP) - Tue, 03/13/2018 - 07:00
The Peterborough Examiner, 13 Mar 2018 - In 2018 we find ourselves battling an opioid crisis that has been years in the making. Opioids are drugs that act on the nervous system to relieve pain and were originally derived from opium but now also include synthetic preparations. In the mid-1990s, their use by physicians was heavily promoted by the pharmaceutical industry, leading to greater prescribing for both acute and chronic pain. Patients using opioids can develop a dependency or addiction.
Categories: Harm Reduction

CN AB: Column: Getting Drugs Off Streets Requires A Team Effort

Harm Reduction (MAP) - Mon, 03/12/2018 - 07:00
Lethbridge Herald, 12 Mar 2018 - Last week there were two rallies organized to address the opioid crisis - one in the city and the other on the Blood Reserve. On Monday night, I attended the Community in Crisis March that started at City Hall and ended with a candlelight vigil at Galt Gardens. Several very touching speeches were given by citizens who have been impacted by the opioid crisis and are determined to fight back. Our Mayor and local MLA Maria Fitzpatrick also provided remarks echoing the sentiment that this crisis sees no boundaries - it does not discriminate. They also reaffirmed we must continue with harm reduction efforts and band together as communities.
Categories: Harm Reduction

Canada: Column: Does Naloxone Really Save Lives?

Harm Reduction (MAP) - Sat, 03/10/2018 - 08:00
Globe and Mail, 10 Mar 2018 - The life-saving drug may actually increase opioid abuse. Here's why My friendly local pharmacy has started selling naloxone kits to the general public. They think everyone should have one. The idea is that you never know when you're going to have someone overdose in your home.
Categories: Harm Reduction

CN ON: Moss Park Harm-Reduction Volunteers Staying Put

Harm Reduction (MAP) - Sat, 03/10/2018 - 08:00
Globe and Mail, 10 Mar 2018 - More supervised injection sites planned as opioid-overdose numbers skyrocket The construction trailer that houses the illegal, volunteer-run overdose prevention site in Toronto's Moss Park is about to open for another evening, as a dozen drug users, some clearly anxious for their fix, cluster around its muddy entrance in the cold.
Categories: Harm Reduction

CN ON: Opioid-Related Deaths In Hamilton Surge In One Year

Harm Reduction (MAP) - Sat, 03/10/2018 - 08:00
Hamilton Spectator, 10 Mar 2018 - City's fatality rate is now nearly double Ontario average, fuelling more concern Opioid-related deaths in Hamilton have soared more than 80 per cent in one year. From January to October, 75 Hamilton residents died from an opioid overdose in 2017 compared to 41 during the same period the year before.
Categories: Harm Reduction

CN AB: Police Witness Suffering On Front Lines Of Battle Against

Harm Reduction (MAP) - Thu, 03/08/2018 - 08:00
Lethbridge Herald, 08 Mar 2018 - DOWNTOWN UNIT HAS AIDED USERS SUFFERING FROM OVERDOSE The sheer volume of human suffering has been increasing exponentially in recent months as a new and deadly wave of opioids scythes through local drug users and addicts, says Const. Ryan Darroch, a 15-year veteran of the Lethbridge Police Service, and a beat cop with the downtown policing unit.
Categories: Harm Reduction

CN ON: No Downside To A Supervised Injection Site, Says Ex-Addict

Harm Reduction (MAP) - Thu, 03/08/2018 - 08:00
The Record, 08 Mar 2018 - John Lavergne believes a safe injection site will help save lives KITCHENER - John Lavergne lost eight friends last year. All of them died of an opioid overdose. Six of them were in Waterloo Region. Three of them hadn't used in months and had a relapse. They couldn't tell their partners, friends or families they were using again.
Categories: Harm Reduction

Chronicle AM: HHS Sec Says "No Such Thing" as MedMJ, OR Opioid Treatment Bill, More... (3/5/18)

Harm Reduction (STDW) - Mon, 03/05/2018 - 20:55

Seattle will join San Francisco is expunging past petty pot possession convictions, the HHS secretary denies the reality of medical marijuana, the DOJ wants to toughen up a bill aimed at opioid makers and distributors, Colombia and the US reach an agreement on drug policy goals, and more.

[image:1 align:left caption:true]Marijuana Policy

New Jersey Pot Legalization Hearing Today. The Assembly Oversight Committee is holding a hearing today on marijuana legalization, the first step in getting a legalization bill through the legislature. Sen. Nicholas Scutari (D) has filed Senate Bill 380, which would legalize the possession of small amounts of pot and allow for taxed and regulated sales, but other bills could also be filed, including bills that only decriminalize—not legalize—marijuana.

Oregon Senate Approves Bill to Fund Enforcement Against Black Market Operations. The state Senate voted last Friday to approve Senate Bill 1544, which would create the Illegal Marijuana Market Enforcement Grant Program within the Criminal Justice Commission. The program would offer $1.5 million a year over six years to help local governments with costs incurred in going after illicit cultivation and production. The bill now goes to the House of Representatives for consideration.

Seattle to Expunge Misdemeanor Pot Possession Convictions. Mayor Jenny Durkan and City Attorney Pete Holmes announced last Thursday that they will clear the records of people who were prosecuted for misdemeanor pot possession prior to the legalization of marijuana in 2012. The city estimates some 500 to 600 convictions dating back to 1977 will be overturned.

Medical Marijuana

Health and Human Services Secretary Says "No Such Thing" as Medical Marijuana. Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar refused last Friday to acknowledge that marijuana has any medicinal uses. In response to a question at an Ohio press conference about opioids about the role of medical marijuana in treating them, he replied: "There really is no such thing as medical marijuana," he said at an Ohio press conference on opioids. "There is no FDA-approved use of marijuana, a botanical plant. I just want to be very clear about that."

Heroin and Prescription Opioids

Justice Department Wants Congress to Stiffen Opioid Legislation. In a letter last Wednesday to the head of a congressional committee investigating the opioid industry, Assistant Attorney General Stephen E. Boyd urged Congress to rewrite a bill passed with the pharmaceutical industry's blessing that the DEA says undermines its efforts to go after companies suspected of violating the drug laws. The Ensuring Patient Access and Effective Drug Enforcement Act was pushed through Congress in 2016 by a small group of lawmakers backed by drug companies, including then Rep. Tom Marino (R-PA), who was forced to back away from a nomination to head the drug czar's office after a CBS News investigative report on the law last fall.

Oregon House Approves Opioid Treatment Access Bill. The House last Thursday approved House Bill 4143, which "requires Director of Department of Consumer and Business Services to study barriers to effective treatment for and recovery from substance use disorders, including addictions to opioids and opiates, and to report and make recommendations to Legislative Assembly not later than June 30, 2018." The bill now goes to Gov. Kate Brown (D) for her signature.

Pennsylvania Governor Says State Will Ease Access to Opioid Treatment Medications. Gov. Tom Wolf (D) announced last Thursday that the state is ending a policy that slowed treatment for people addicted to opioids. The state's Medicaid program will no longer require doctors to get prior approval when prescribing drugs such as Suboxone and Vivitrol, used in what's known as medication-assisted treatment (MAT). "MATs work — they’re part of an overall strategy that can help all kinds of people," Wolf said. "This step that I’m announcing today is going to increase access to this lifesaving treatment for those who suffer from substance use disorder across the commonwealth."

Foreign Policy

US, Colombia Agree to Expand Anti-Drug Cooperation, Set Goal of 50% Coca Reduction. The United States and Colombia reached an agreement last Friday on cooperation in their joint anti-drug campaigns. The two countries pledged to expand their anti-drug cooperation, which has as an expressed goal or reducing the country's coca and cocaine production by 50% by 2023.

Categories: Harm Reduction

CN ON: London's Anti-OD Site Saves Two Lives

Harm Reduction (MAP) - Mon, 03/05/2018 - 08:00
London Free Press, 05 Mar 2018 - Two people using fentanyl at London's temporary overdose prevention site on the weekend were resuscitated by a nurse after they overdosed, Middlesex-London's medical officer of health says. "These people were inexperienced, and fentanyl is a drug where it's easy to miscalculate how much you are taking. If this had happened in a back alley or stairwell somewhere, it could have easily resulted in death," Dr. Chris Mackie said Sunday.
Categories: Harm Reduction

CN ON: Editorial: Waterloo Region Should Open Safe Injection Sites

Harm Reduction (MAP) - Sat, 03/03/2018 - 08:00
The Record, 03 Mar 2018 - An emergency situation demands an emergency response. When people are trapped in a burning house or wrecked car, the priority should be getting them out alive first, and then worrying about damaged property or blocked roadways.
Categories: Harm Reduction

CN ON: Numbers Increase At OD-Prevention Site

Harm Reduction (MAP) - Fri, 03/02/2018 - 08:00
London Free Press, 02 Mar 2018 - Nearly three weeks in, London's temporary overdose-prevention site - the first of its kind in the province - has gone from four drug users a day to 44, and front-line workers are beaming. The stripped-down supervised consumption facility opened Feb. 12, a quick, co-ordinated response to the growing number of opioid overdoses among London drug users. As of Tuesday, staff were seeing as many as 44 clients a day.
Categories: Harm Reduction

CN ON: Region Looking Into 3 Safe Injection Sites Locations Not

Harm Reduction (MAP) - Thu, 03/01/2018 - 08:00
The Record, 01 Mar 2018 - WATERLOO REGION - Waterloo Region plans to look further into pursuing three supervised injection sites, following a study that found a need and support in the community for the service to combat fatal opioid overdoses. Sites are proposed for the central cores of Kitchener and Galt, and a third spot to be determined that could be a mobile unit.
Categories: Harm Reduction

CN AB: Kenney Opposes Consumption Sites

Harm Reduction (MAP) - Thu, 03/01/2018 - 08:00
Lethbridge Herald, 01 Mar 2018 - United Conservative Party leader Jason Kenney said he would be opposed to expanding Safe Consumption Sites across the province if elected premier. "Helping addicts inject poison into their bodies is not a solution to the problem of addiction," he said bluntly while visiting Lethbridge on Wednesday.
Categories: Harm Reduction

CN AB: Lethbridge OD Spike Watched Closely In The Hat

Harm Reduction (MAP) - Thu, 03/01/2018 - 08:00
Medicine Hat News, 01 Mar 2018 - The significant spike in illicit drug overdoses in Lethbridge has not reached Medicine Hat - yet. There is no way to predict that it will or when, said Insp. Tim McGough, Medicine Hat Police Service.
Categories: Harm Reduction

Chronicle AM: Joint-Smoking IL US House Candidate, DEA Link to Mexico Murders, More... (2/28/18)

Harm Reduction (STDW) - Wed, 02/28/2018 - 21:09

An Illinois Democratic congressional candidate goes bold on weed, New Jersey legalization efforts face an uphill battle in the Senate, congressional Democrats call for investigations into DEA-linked drug war deaths in Mexico, and more.

[image:1 align:right caption:true]Marijuana Policy

Illinois Democratic Congressional Candidate Smokes Joint in Ad. Former FBI national security official and current Logan Park restaurateur Benjamin Thomas Wolfe is running for the Democratic nomination for Illinois' 5th congressional district -- and he's putting marijuana legalization front and center. A photograph Wolf released Monday features him sitting in front of an American flag painting. Above him, smoke rises from the joint he presumably just puffed on. "As a cannabis user, I think it's important we get out front and talk about it," Wolf said. "We realize that cannabis can bring billions of dollars to the state, it's medicine for millions of people around the country, it changes criminal justice reform and personally I think it's a wonderful recreational substance as well."

New Hampshire Poll Finds Strong Support for Legalization -- Without Sales. A new Granite State poll has across the board support for a bill that would legalize the possession and cultivation of small amounts of marijuana, but not sale or taxation of it. The poll had support at 56% overall, with 61% of Democrats, 56% of independents, and 49% of Republicans behind it.

New Jersey Senate Survey Suggests Hard Road Ahead for Legalization. A survey of all 40 state Senate members by NJ Cannabis Insider finds there is some work to be done before the body is prepared to pass a legalization bill. The survey found only five senators said they would vote yes, 20 would vote no, and 15 were either undecided or did not reply. A legalization bill, Senate Bill 830, awaits a hearing in the Senate Judiciary Committee.

Medical Marijuana

Tennessee Medical Marijuana Bill Advances. The House Criminal Justice Subcommittee narrowly approved a medical marijuana bill Tuesday. The committee voted 4-3 in favor of House Bill 1749, with the key vote provided by House Speaker Beth Harwell.

Harm Reduction

New York Advocates Call on Mayor de Blasio to Release Study on Safe Injection Sites. Advocates led by the Drug Policy Alliance, Housing Works, and Camelot gathered at city hall Tuesday to demand that Mayor Bill de Blasio release a $100,000 study on the feasibility of safe injection sites. De Blasio said last month he would release the results "relatively soon." On Tuesday, the Health Department again said "soon." The city council authorized safe injection sites two years ago.

Law Enforcement

Congressional Democrats Want Investigation into Mexico Murders Linked to DEA Activities. Democratic leaders in the House and Senate have sent a letter to the Justice and State departments asking that their inspectors general investigate DEA-led operations in Mexico that triggered violent retaliation from drug cartels, leading to the death or disappearance of dozens or even hundreds of people. The Democrats cited a 2010 cartel attack in Monterrey and a 2011 massacre by Zetas in the state of Coahuila. In both cases, the killings were linked to DEA surveillance activities, and in both cases, the DEA downplayed its involvement and didn't help investigate the killings.

(This article was prepared by's 501(c)(4) lobbying nonprofit, the Drug Reform Coordination Network, which also pays the cost of maintaining this web site. DRCNet Foundation takes no positions on candidates for public office, in compliance with section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code, and does not pay for reporting that could be interpreted or misinterpreted as doing so.)

Categories: Harm Reduction

Rick Steves Has Three Must-Sees for a Jeff Sessions European Drug Policy Trip

Harm Reduction (STDW) - Mon, 02/26/2018 - 18:05

PBS star and prolific travel guidebook author Rick Steves is a prominent advocate of marijuana legalization and drug reform. For years, he has advocated for freeing the weed and adopting a more moderate, European-style approach to drug policy.

[image:1 align:left caption:true]He has enjoyed successes, playing a leading role in bringing the public around in Washington state, which legalized weed in 2012, and continuing to make his high-profile calls for more enlightened drug policies. But now, the Trump administration, and Attorney General Jeff Sessions in particular, is trying to put the brakes on, and that got Steves thinking.

In response, as Rolling Stone reports, Steves has now combined his travel savvy and his drug reform advocacy in proposing an eye-opening, pot-centric European travel itinerary tailor-made for Sessions in the hope that some of the Old World tolerance would rub off on him.

Here are the three must-sees on Steves' Sessions European drug policy itinerary:

1. Switzerland. "I would take him to Switzerland and we'd go to a heroin maintenance clinic," Steves said, referring to the country's pioneering and non-criminal approach to opioid addiction.

2. Barcelona. Cannabis clubs are allowed there. "In Spain they can't sell marijuana but they can grow it. In practice, they don't want to grow it so they join a club that grows it collectively, and they can enjoy the harvest."

3. The Netherlands. Steves said he would take the attorney general to one of those famous Dutch "coffee shops" where adults can legally purchase small amounts of weed. "After the coffee shop, we'd visit a mayor and a policeman and have [Sessions] listen to the mayor and policeman explain why they'd rather have coffee shops than have marijuana sold on the street," Steves says.

Although he didn't mention it, there is one other European destination that could be an eye-opener for Sessions:

4. Portugal.The Iberian nation decriminalized the possession of all drugs in 2001. And not only is it still standing, it has drug use levels similar to other European countries, but without all the arrests.

Of course, Sessions is unlikely to take Steves up on his offer and even more unlikely to be convinced by saner European approaches, but Steves' point is still made: There are better ways of dealing with drug use and abuse. We just have to acknowledge them.

Categories: Harm Reduction

CN AB: Column: Consumption Site Is A Logical Step In Drug Fight

Harm Reduction (MAP) - Mon, 02/26/2018 - 08:00
Lethbridge Herald, 26 Feb 2018 - SITE OPENS THIS WEEK, AMID LINGERING QUESTIONS FROM GENERAL PUBLIC This week marks a historic first for the City of Lethbridge. The Supervised Consumption Site (SCS) will open its doors and will be the first of its kind in North America to offer all four modes of consumption - ingestion/oral, injection, intra-nasal/snorting and inhalation. Despite this milestone, it's fair to say the facility has been met with mixed reviews, including people who have come to me to "blame" the police service for letting it happen. This not only demonstrates a narrow view of Canada and our Charter of Rights and Freedoms, but a failure to understand the role of the police in social-political decisions that are driven by municipal , provincial and federal officials and the mandate they support.
Categories: Harm Reduction

CN ON: Toronto Police Opt To Supply Officers With Naloxone

Harm Reduction (MAP) - Fri, 02/23/2018 - 08:00
Globe and Mail, 23 Feb 2018 - As a national opioid crisis wages on, Toronto police have decided to equip their downtown frontline officers with the opioid antidote naloxone. "This is about life and death, and that's what we signed up to do," Chief Mark Saunders told the Toronto Police Services Board at their meeting Thursday.
Categories: Harm Reduction

CN ON: Ellis Defends New Pot Law

Harm Reduction (MAP) - Thu, 02/22/2018 - 08:00
The Intelligencer, 22 Feb 2018 - Liberal MP says he wasn't thrilled about it at first, but changed his views Cannabis was on the menu at the Belleville & District Chamber of Commerce's monthly breakfast Wednesday at the Travelodge Hotel, and Bay of Quinte MP Neil Ellis was pushing it - from a business point of view.
Categories: Harm Reduction

CN BC: Drug Laws Kill: Advocates

Harm Reduction (MAP) - Wed, 02/21/2018 - 08:00
Metro, 21 Feb 2018 - Demonstrators demand change to federal drug policies Around 200 drug users and advocates took to Vancouver's streets Tuesday, demanding changes to the federal government's drug policies. In a national day of action, co-ordinated with cities across Canada, demonstrators from the Canadian Association of People who Use Drugs (CAPUD), the Vancouver Area Network of Drug Users (VANDU) and other groups marched through Vancouver's Downtown Eastside from Victory Square to the B.C. courts building at Hornby and Smithe St.
Categories: Harm Reduction
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