The Day, 24 Jul 2016 - America's drug policies are largely misguided. Many people, from common citizens to seasoned politicians, are aware of this, and have sought to change these laws in response to the needless incarceration of indulgers and addicts and, as a consequence, an ever-expanding population of prison inmates - the largest in the world.
Globe and Mail, 22 Jul 2016 - Health officials in British Columbia want to provide pharmaceutical-grade opioids to some addicts at supervised-consumption sites to tackle the province's soaring number of overdose deaths. While they caution that there are no concrete plans yet, such a measure would make British Columbia the first province in Canada to provide prescription narcotics to addicts outside a clinical trial, while significantly expanding the role of facilities such as Vancouver's Insite - the country's first public supervised injection site, which has never offered drugs to users who inject there.
Boston Globe, 21 Jul 2016 - President Obama has committed to sign the Comprehensive Addiction and Recovery Act, which includes among its provisions new policies to reduce inappropriate prescribing of prescription opioids such as Oxycontin and Vicodin. Given the ongoing epidemic of addiction and death caused by opioid painkillers, this seems like sensible public-health policy, but some critics charge that tighter prescribing rules simply cause prescription opioid users to switch to heroin, thereby feeding a second opioid epidemic. The New England Journal of Medicine recently published the first systematic analysis of this terrifying possibility.
Maple Ridge News, 20 Jul 2016 - Maple Ridge will work with Fraser Health Fraser Health will identify priority sites for supervised drug consumption as part of a broader strategy to contain a surge in illicit drug overdoses, and Maple Ridge could be one.
Globe and Mail, 20 Jul 2016 - A steep and steady climb in the number of drug overdoses has put increased pressure on health authorities in British Columbia to open additional spaces for users to consume illicit substances under medical supervision. Fatal drug overdoses have increased almost every year since 2009, spiking with the emergence of illicit fentanyl in 2012. Advocates have long called for more supervised-consumption sites - particularly in the Fraser Valley and on Vancouver Island.
Surrey Leader, 20 Jul 2016 - Fraser Health will quickly identify priority sites for supervised drug consumption as part of a broader strategy to contain a surge in illicit drug overdoses. Surrey is certain to be one of the proposed locations, but health authority officials aren't yet saying if they will also propose sites in other drug-troubled downtowns such as Langley City, Maple Ridge and Abbotsford.
Globe and Mail, 18 Jul 2016 - Svante Myrick, the young mayor of Ithaca, N.Y., made international headlines earlier this year when he backed a drug strategy that included the opening of a supervised-injection site. While two such facilities have existed in Vancouver for more than 13 years - and Toronto recently approved three - supervised consumption remains a controversial idea for many in North America. If approved, Ithaca's could be the first of its kind in the United States. The Globe and Mail spoke with Mr. Myrick, who recently visited Vancouver's Downtown Eastside, where he toured the Insite supervised-injection site; the Providence Crosstown Clinic, where drug users who were part of a clinical trial receive prescription heroin; and other social-service providers.
Chico Enterprise-Record, 17 Jul 2016 - About this series The nation is in the midst of a prescription opioid and heroin overdose epidemic. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates 44 people in the U.S. die every day from an overdose of prescription painkillers alone.
Boston Globe, 17 Jul 2016 - Last night's needles line the sidewalks at dawn along the blighted blocks where Massachusetts Avenue and Southampton Street meet. People emerge from shelters and halfway houses and trudge toward the methadone clinics that lend this place its ugly nickname. An open-air drug market is in full swing on the corner outside a convenience store, where offers of drugs trill like music. "Clonidines-Clonidines-Clonidines-Clonidines!" "Does anybody need Xani Bars?" Phenergans, Pins, Johnnies? A man grimaces one chilly morning, unsteady on his feet. He opens his mouth to reveal a knotted bag of heroin, double-wrapped and ready to be swallowed should police wade into the crowd. "This is all I have left," he says.
New York Times, 16 Jul 2016 - The police raids around a gritty Brooklyn intersection were meant to show that city officials were taking charge after 33 people had been stricken by suspected overdoses of K2. But the spectacle, captured by a crush of news media, came up all but empty, without a single packet of the drug seized. The outcome of the attempted crackdown underscored the challenges the authorities face in combating K2, a potent substance that is easy to distribute and hard to regulate. Its low price and powerful high have made it popular among some homeless people, and its effects have periodically transformed patches of the city - like the one on the border of Bushwick and Bedford-Stuyvesant where the raids were carried out - into theaters of public drug use.
Toronto Sun, 15 Jul 2016 - Vote 36 to 3 in Favour of Three Toronto Locations Councillors said yes, in a big way, to creating three safe injection sites. The sites, often deemed controversial, sailed through Thursday's council meeting with a 36-3 vote in favour.
Toronto Star, 15 Jul 2016 - Planned supervised locations for intravenous drug users could be operational in 2017 Toronto city council has given its resounding support to the opening of three supervised injection sites for intravenous drug users.
Globe and Mail, 15 Jul 2016 - Toronto City Council voted 36-3 on Thursday in favour of setting up three supervised injection sites for drug users. That in itself was remarkable, an overwhelming mandate for a program that often runs into heavy community and political opposition. What was even more remarkable was how it happened. In a city with a recent history of divisive quarrels, in which evidence is the first casualty, this was a civilized, deliberate, rational debate that ended with a sensible, fact-based decision. In Toronto, that is something worth applauding.
Globe and Mail, 15 Jul 2016 - Drug users report highest-ever rate of stimulant's use in study's history, which suggests need for change to harm-reduction resources Crystal methamphetamine use has climbed across British Columbia and is now on par with heroin use, according to a new provincewide survey of drug users.
Governors use their bill-signing pens in Rhode Island and North Carolina, a new poll has surprisingly strong support for marijuana legalization in Wisconsin, Montanans will vote on medical marijuana in November, and more.
[image:1 align:left caption:true]Marijuana Policy
Wisconsin Poll Has Strong Majority for Marijuana Legalization. A Marquette Law School poll released Wednesday has a whopping 59% support for freeing the weed in the Badger State. The poll question asked whether pot should be "fully legalized and treated like alcohol." The level of support is up dramatically from September 2014, when voters asked a similar (but not identical) question about legalization only gave it 46% support.
Montana Medical Marijuana Initiative Qualifies for the Ballot. An initiative aimed at reestablishing the state's medical marijuana system has qualified for the November ballot, state officials said Wednesday. The I-182 initiative would reverse restrictions imposed by the legislature in 2011 and, after lengthy court challenges, set to go into effect on August 31. Voters had approved the state's medical marijuana system in 2004.
Rhode Island Governor Signs Bill to Allow Medical Marijuana for PTSD. Gov. Gina Raimondo (D) Wednesday signed into law a bill that will allow medical marijuana to be recommended for the treatment of PTSD symptoms.
Heroin and Prescription Opioids
Congress Passes Major Heroin and Opioids Bill, But Doesn't Adequately Fund It. The Senate voted Wednesday to send opioid legislation known as the Comprehensive Addiction and Recovery Act (CARA) to President Obama for his signature. The House voted last week 407-5 to approve CARA. The bill advances a large number of treatment and prevention measures intended to reduce prescription opioid and heroin misuse, including evidence-based interventions for the treatment of opioid and heroin addiction and prevention of overdose deaths. This bill, however, does not provide federal funding. Republican leadership have maintained that opioid funding must be appropriated through regular order and have repeatedly pledged to fund the programs authorized in CARA this year. Advocates urge Congress to deliver on this promise.
North Carolina Governor Signs Bill to Allow Needle Exchanges. Gov. Mike McCrory (R) Monday signed into law House Bill 972, which authorizes the operation of needle exchange programs by local governments.
Indian MP Calls for Legalization of Recreational Drugs. MP Dr. Dharamvira Ghandi said Wednesday he is crafting an amendment to the Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances Act to legalize recreational drugs. Gandhi has been working with Delhi-based lawyers and professionals on a draft of the bill. He says drug prohibition has failed. "Punitive measures to combat the supply of drugs failed miserably, as demand for drugs had exhibited an exponential growth, leading to creation of drug mafias that provided continuous supplies, regardless of the harshest provisions for punishment," he said. "It has dawned upon countries worldwide that by decriminalizing certain substances that pose minimal health risks, and by following harm reduction policies, the demand for harmful and killing medical drugs had dropped drastically, along with the offences committed. Certain Indian states are currently facing a massive drug problem, with citizens between 15-40 years of age abusing drugs, and this has caused considerable harm to society in general, and the youth in particular."
The Now, 14 Jul 2016 - Future archaeologists will no doubt be needing lots of Band-Aids as they dig down into certain Whalley neighbourhoods where one would be hard pressed, figuratively speaking, to find a haystack among all the discarded needles. What a legacy.
The Now, 14 Jul 2016 - Every day, hundreds of discarded needles are picked up from Whalley streets, many of them just steps from City Hall. Now, a downtown business group is offering up fresh solutions. On one side of the street, children glide up and down on their skateboards at Chuck Bailey skate park. Their laughter fills the air.
Portland Mercury, 14 Jul 2016 - Cops and Prosecutors Are Embracing a Radical Idea: Not Filing Drug Possession Cases HERE'S THE DEAL: People are using drugs in this city, despite decades of law enforcement's best efforts. That fight has landed thousands of people in jail and prison-far too many of them people of color. It's created hardships for Portlanders who need jobs and a place to stay, but find that a criminal record has closed the door to those things. It's led to tensions between police and communities of color that are playing out-vividly, tragically-every day around the country.
London Free Press, 13 Jul 2016 - Anti-homeless activist says business owner's actions 'not a solution' to addiction problem Some are hailing him as a vigilant hero, but others say he may be setting a dangerous precedent. A viral video of a bat-wielding London business owner chasing off two men allegedly injecting drugs in broad daylight on a downtown street has triggered a debate about addiction issues in the city.
Ottawa Sun, 09 Jul 2016 - Groups work to reduce drug overdoses, sex assaults during summer festivals With the summer festival season in full blast, there's a dark side to the fun in the sun. One local service agency is helping festival-goers who use drugs avoid the deadly mistakes that have killed people in Ottawa and across Canada by offering low-tech checking kits.