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Harm Reduction

Chronicle AM: NIDA Seeks Marijuana Grower, NC OD Awareness Events, LSD Lifer Seeks Freedom, More (8/28/14)

Harm Reduction (STDW) - Thu, 08/28/2014 - 20:23

NIDA seeks a marijuana grower, South Dakota state fair medical marijuana protest, an LSD lifer seeks his freedom, Gambia to reduce marijuana penalties, and more. Let's get to it:

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

Nevada Legalization Initiative Effort Ongoing. The effort to legalize marijuana in Nevada continues. The Coalition to Regulate Marijuana Like Alcohol in Nevada has until November 11 to collect just over 100,000 valid voter signatures for its legalization initiative. If they succeed, the measure goes to the legislature next year, and if the legislature does not approve it, it goes to the voters in 2016. In addition to urging people to sign up now, the campaign is also looking for signature gatherers. Click on the title link for more information.

Brookings Institution Report Finds Washington Legalization Doing Well. The report is Washington's Marijuana Legalization Grows Knowledge, Not Just Pot. Author Philip Wallach likes the built-in funding for research, the coordination of efforts across state agencies, the mandated cost-benefit analysis, and more.

NIDA Seeking a Marijuana Farmer. The National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) is preparing to solicit proposals from people who can "harvest, process, analyze, store and distribute" marijuana, the agency announced Tuesday night. The research agency is looking for someone who can produce between 400 and 700 kilograms of raw marijuana, rolled joints, and extracts.

Medical Marijuana

New Hampshire About to Enter Formal Rule-Making Phase for Dispensaries. Long-delayed dispensaries are about to get a bit closer. The Department of Health and Human Services has produced its first draft rules, and after public comment ends tomorrow, will enter its formal rule-making phase. Click on the link for more details, or visit the state's Therapeutic Cannabis Program.

Medical Marijuana, Hemp Protest at South Dakota State Fair Tomorrow. South Dakotans Against Prohibition is holding a march in support of medical marijuana and industrial hemp at the state fair in Huron tomorrow. The march starts at the fairgrounds and ends at Campbell Park in downtown Huron. This is the hometown of your correspondent. Go, neighbors!

Harm Reduction

North Carolina Overdose Awareness Day Events Planned. The North Carolina Harm Reduction Coalition is organizing events statewide for International Overdose Awareness Day. There will be events in Fayetteville, Franklin, and Greensboro. Click on the title link for more details.

Sentencing

Petition Drive to Free LSD Lifer Roderick Walker. Deadhead Roderick "Rudd" Walker is more than a decade into a life sentence in what the federal government claimed was a major LSD trafficking conspiracy. But Walker was never caught with any LSD; instead he was convicted and sentenced to life based solely on the testimony of others, including federal agents. There is now a petition drive. Visit and like the Free Roderick "Rudd" Walker page on Facebook and sign the Change.org petition drive to free him, which has already garnered more than 79,000 signatures. If it gets more than 100,000 signatures, the White House will respond.

International

Medical Marijuana Clinical Trials Coming to Victoria, Australia. Victoria Health Minister David Davis has announced that he will amend state law to allow medical marijuana clinical trials. The move comes one day after the Labor opposition announced it would legalize medical marijuana if elected.

Guatemalan President Says US More Open to Discussing Drug Legalization. In an interview with the Spanish EFE news agency, President Otto Perez Molina reiterated his support for some drug legalization and said the US seemed more open to discussing the issue than in the past. "From totally rejecting and avoiding the topic (of drug legalization), the US has moved on to say that they are ready to discuss the issue even though they may not agree with it, which is a significant change," he said. "I am convinced that we have to do things differently from how they have been done over the last 50 years," he said, adding that "prohibition has not worked for us" in the battle against drug trafficking. Click on the link for additional comments.

Gambia Legislature Votes to Reduce Marijuana Possession Penalties. The National Assembly has voted to reduce penalties for possession of less than 150 grams of marijuana. Currently, offenders face a large fine and up to three years in jail, but under the new law, the fine would drop by 60% and the maximum jail sentence would be one year. Since the current tough law was introduced in 2010, the prison population has increased under the weight of marijuana offenders, putting pressure on prison authorities.

Categories: Harm Reduction

Chronicle AM: Marijuana Initiatives, CT SWAT Lawsuit, ISIS Burns Syria Pot Fields, More (8/27/14)

Harm Reduction (STDW) - Wed, 08/27/2014 - 20:48

Local marijuana initiatives move forward, the Oregon initiative is set to get a high-profile endorsement, a lot of people want to start medical marijuana businesses in Nevada, ISIS is burning pot fields in Syria, there's a harm reduction pre-event ahead of NYC's Electronic Zoo festival this weekend, and more. Let's get to it:

[image:1 align:right]Marijuana Policy

City Club of Portland Draft Report Endorses Oregon Legalization Initiative. The influential City Club of Portland has issued a draft report in support of Measure 91, the legalization initiative sponsored by New Approach Oregon. If approved by City Club members, the recommendation will be a powerful, high-profile endorsement of the measure. It picked up the endorsement of the state's largest newspaper, The Oregonian, on Sunday.

Santa Fe County Commission Approves Decriminalization Initiative, But…. The commission voted Tuesday to put the initiative on the November ballot, but questions remain about whether there is enough room on a crowded ballot to add the measure to it. State officials have outlined their concerns, but County Clerk Geraldine Salazar said she is confident those issues can be overcome. Stay tuned.

York, Maine, Activists Hand in Initiative Signatures. Citizens for Safer Maine is handing in more than 900 signatures today for its initiative that would legalize the possession of up to an ounce of marijuana. The initiative needs 641 valid voter signatures to qualify. The signature turn-in comes after town selectmen voted against putting the measure on the ballot.

Medical Marijuana

Maryland Medical Marijuana Rules Come Under Fire. The state commission charged with writing the rules for medical marijuana in the state heard an earful from physicians, patients, advocates, and potential growers at a hearing Tuesday. They criticized the proposed rules as too burdensome and vague, and said they would preclude a dispensary from operating anywhere in the city of Baltimore. The commission has three weeks to finalize the rules, and the hearing in Annapolis was the first public hearing.

More Than 500 Apply for Nevada Medical Marijuana Business Licenses. The state has received applications from more than 500 people to run dispensaries, grows, testing labs, and edible and infused product companies. Under a new state law, up to 66 medical marijuana businesses will be licensed. State officials will score the applications and announce their selections in November, with the first medical marijuana sales expected early next year.

Harm Reduction

DanceSafe to Do Harm Reduction Event Ahead of NYC Electronic Zoo Music Festival. The rave culture harm reduction group DanceSafe is hosting a "Surviving Zoo" event tomorrow night ahead of this weekend's Electric Zoo music festival. They will be giving away gift bags containing drug information cards, earplugs, and condoms, and will be offering personal drug testing kits for sale. Click on the link for more details. Last year, two people died from drug use at Electronic Zoo, and festival organizers have responded by adding more law enforcement and making attendees watch an anti-drug PSA before entering.

Drug Policy

British Drug Reform Group Transform Publishes Drug Debater's Guide. The Transform Drug Policy Foundation today made available Debating Drugs: How to Make the Case for Legal Regulation. "This is a guide to making the case for the legal regulation of drugs from a position of confidence and authority. Organized into 12 key subject areas, it provides an at-a-glance summary of the arguments for legal regulation, followed by commonly heard concerns and effective responses to them. It is the product of Transform's extensive experience debating the issues around legal regulation, and running workshops to equip supporters of reform with the arguments and nuanced messaging needed to win over a range of audiences." Check it out.

Drug Reform Funder John Sperling Dies. John Sperling, best known as the founder of the University of Phoenix, has died at age 93. Along with George Soros and Peter Lewis, Sperling was one of the troika of deep-pocketed funders whose financial support helped secure the passage of California's medical marijuana and sentencing reform initiatives (Prop 215 and Prop 36, respectively). He also helped fund Arizona's medical marijuana initiative, Prop 200.

Law Enforcement

Federal Court Says Lawsuit Over Fatal Connecticut SWAT Drug Raid Can Continue. A US federal appeals court has ruled that police cannot claim immunity to quash lawsuits filed in the wake of a botched 2008 raid that left one man dead and the homeowner wounded. In the raid, a heavily armed SWAT team shot and killed Gonzalo Guizan and wounded Ronald Terebesi as the two men were watching television. The ruling said that because police responded with unnecessary and inappropriate force, they are not protected by "qualified immunity." Police were responding to a claim by a stripper that she had seen a small amount of cocaine in Terebisi's home. They found only a personal use quantity of the drug and no weapon.

International

ISIS Burns Syrian Marijuana Fields. As if we didn't have enough reasons not to like these guys. Amateur video posted on the internet reportedly filmed recently in Akhtarin, near Aleppo, purportedly shows ISIS members burning a marijuana field. Syrian human rights observers reported that ISIS had captured the village from rival Islamists weeks ago. Click on the link to see the video.

Australia's Victoria Labor Party Vows Harsh New Laws Against Meth. The opposition Labor Party is hoping to gin up votes ahead of November's elections by vowing to crack down on meth if elected. Leader Daniel Andrews is calling for new criminal offenses to be enacted and penalties of up to 25 years in prison for sales to minors. New offenses would include writing or circulating meth "cookbooks" and owning or operating properties that "turn a blind eye" to meth production, as well as selling meth near a school.

Categories: Harm Reduction

US: Top Drug Official Is Michael. And He's An Alcoholic.

Harm Reduction (MAP) - Wed, 08/27/2014 - 07:00
Washington Post, 27 Aug 2014 - LYNN, MASS. - The nation's top drug-control official had a confession. Michael Botticelli was seated on a tattered couch in an old Victorian in this city just outside Boston. Above his head was a photo of Al Pacino as a drug kingpin in "Scarface," and gathered around was a group of addicts who live together in the house to receive help and support. On one door hangs a black mailbox labeled "urine," where residents must leave samples for drug tests. Botticelli is listening to their stories of addiction and then offered this:
Categories: Harm Reduction

Chronicle AM: Medical Marijuana and Opiate ODs, ME Welfare Drug Test Law, Colombia Drug Talks, More (8/26/14)

Harm Reduction (STDW) - Tue, 08/26/2014 - 20:10

Medical marijuana may reduce opioid overdose death rates, International Overdose Awareness Day is coming, the drug war claims another victim, new studies from the NIJ, and more. Let's get to it:

[image:1 align:right]Medical Marijuana

Medical Marijuana States Have Lower Opiate Overdose Rates, JAMA Study Finds. States with medical marijuana laws have significantly lower rates of opiate overdose deaths than states that don't, according to an article published Monday in the prestigious Journal of the American Medical Association. The article is Medical Cannabis Laws and Opioid Analgesic Overdose Mortality in the United States, 1999-2010.

Illinois Seeks Nominees for Medical Marijuana Advisory Board. The state medical marijuana program is looking for health professionals and patients to serve on its advisory board, which will be appointed by the governor. For more information, visit the Illinois Medical Cannabis Pilot Program.

New Mexico Cannabis Medical Advisory Board Holds Public Hearing on Proposed New Rules. The state's cannabis program's Medical Advisory Board (MAB) held a public hearing yesterday on proposed rule changes to the program. The MAB is frustrated that the Department of Health did not formally consult with it before releasing proposed rule changes, which have garnered unhappy responses from patients and providers.

Harm Reduction

August 31 is International Overdose Awareness Day. In Los Angeles, members of A New PATH (Parents for Addiction Treatment and Healing) are hosting an event at the Santa Monica Pier and Palisades Park. Click on the title link for more details. For details on other Overdose Awareness Day events, visit International Overdose Awareness Day.

Drug Testing

Maine Welfare Drug Test Program Gets No Support at Public Hearing. Health and Human Services Commissioner Mary Mayhew told a public hearing on Gov. LePage's (R) welfare drug testing plan that it was a "common sense approach," but no one else seemed to agree. The ACLU of Maine and Maine Equal Justice Partners vehemently differed. The drug testing scheme, which had been okayed in 2011, but which LePage just rolled now as he faces reelection, would require people with past felony drug convictions to be tested before being approved. A written public comment period is open through Sept. 7, after which Attorney General Janet Mills, a Democrat, will need to sign off on whether the final rule complies with federal law and the intent of the original state-level legislation.

Drugs and Crime

National Institute of Justice Releases Reports on Crime and Drugs. The National Criminal Justice Reference Service at the National Institute of Justice has released five technical reports on drugs and crime. They are: How Much Crime Is Drug-Related? History, Limitations, and Potential Improvements of Estimation Methods, Reducing Drug Violence in Mexico: Options for Implementing Targeted Enforcement, Measuring the Costs of Crime, Drug Control and Reductions in Drug-Attributable Crime, and Managing Drug-Involved Offenders. Click on the title link for more details.

Law Enforcement

Puerto Rico Police Officer is Year's 30th Drug War Fatality. Puerto Rican police officer Geniel Amaro Fantauzzi died Monday after being taken off life support six days after he was shot and critically wounded during a drug raid at a residence. He was an agent of the Humaco Drug Division.

International

Colombia Drug Policy Talks Get Underway. The National Dialog for the Future of Drug Policy got underway last Friday in Bogota. The meeting with members of academia, political groups, and unions is the first of 10 national and regional forums organized by the ministries of Justice, Health and Social Welfare, and Public Affairs. In the first forum, a survey of 61 recognized drug experts was presented, with all 61 saying drug policy "must change" and 42 of them considering current policy "ineffective, costly, and repressive."

Categories: Harm Reduction

US PA: OPED: Growing Heroin, Opioid Epidemic Demands Action

Harm Reduction (MAP) - Tue, 08/26/2014 - 07:00
The News-Item, 26 Aug 2014 - Over the past five years, nearly 3,000 heroin-related overdose deaths have been identified in Pennsylvania. Overdose deaths in our state have increased by an astounding 570 percent, rising from 2.7 to 15.4 per thousand over the last two decades. Nationally, more people aged 25 to 64 are dying from heroin overdoses than in vehicle crashes.
Categories: Harm Reduction

Chronicle AM: Oregon Marijuana Legalization Endorsement, PA Mandatory Minimums, Heroin Maintenance, More (8/25/14)

Harm Reduction (STDW) - Mon, 08/25/2014 - 19:45

The Oregonian says legalize it, so do Vermont GOP gubernatorial candidates, LEAP founder says legalize heroin, a Pennsylvania court throws out mandatory minimums, Vancouver's SALOME participants will get their heroin, and more. Let's get to it:

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

Oregon's Largest Newspaper Endorses Measure 91. In a Sunday editorial, the Oregonian has endorsed marijuana legalization in general and New Approach Oregon's initiative, Measure 91, in particular. Click on the title link to read the newspaper's reasoning.

Vermont GOP Governor Candidates Agree Marijuana Should Be Legal. In interviews with Vermont Public Radio, all three Republican gubernatorial candidates said they agreed that marijuana should be legalized. Steve Berry of Wolcott, Scott Milne of Pomfret and Emily Peyton of Putney are competing in tomorrow's primary. Peyton and Berry came out strongly for legalization, while Milne said he would sign a bill if it got to his desk. Milne is the leading contender.

Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court Upholds Eviction of Public Housing Tenant for Marijuana Criminal Activity. With marijuana decriminalized in the state, can a public housing tenant still be evicted for possession of less than an ounce? That question remains undecided after the state's high court sidestepped it in Figgs v. Boston Housing Authority. A lower court had held that the tenant could not be evicted for simple possession, but the high court reversed, saying the facts in the case showed not just possession, but also that the tenant's roommate sold marijuana and possessed a weapon. Figgs is going to have to find a new place to live now.

Medical Marijuana

Arizona Advocates File Lawsuit over PTSD Treatment Restrictions. The Arizona Cannabis Nurses Association filed a lawsuit last Friday challenging limits imposed on patients with PTSD who seek to use medical marijuana. Health Director Will Humble has ruled that PTSD patients can only use medical marijuana if they are already getting some other form of treatment for PTSD. The lawsuit is in Maricopa County District Court.

Kansas Democratic Party Endorses Medical Marijuana. Kansas Democrats now formally support medical marijuana, they announced during their statewide Demofest convention Saturday night. "Kansas Democrats support the availability of marijuana for medical use and protection of patients from criminal arrest and prosecution." the plank says. The platform link wasn't working as of Tuesday night, but you can try it here.

Sentencing

Pennsylvania Superior Court Rules Mandatory Minimums Unconstitutional. In a decision last week, the court has thrown out the use of mandatory minimum sentences as violating the constitution. The ruling came in Pennsylvania v. Newman, where James Newman had received a mandatory minimum 5-year sentence for possession of drugs and a gun. Relying on a line of federal court decisions beginning with Apprendi v. New Jersey, the Superior Court held that, in sentences based on the elements of the crime, jurors -- not judges -- must find that those elements existed.

California Fair Sentencing Act Heads for Governor's Desk. After a final Senate concurrence vote last Thursday, the Fair Sentencing Act is now headed for the desk of Gov. Jerry Brown (D). The act, Senate Bill 1010, would eliminate the sentencing disparities between crack and powder cocaine offenses by reducing the penalty for crack offenses.

Heroin

Boston Globe Op-Ed Calls for End to Heroin Prohibition. A Sunday op-ed in the Globe published by former New Jersey narcotics officer and Law Enforcement Against Prohibition founder Jack Cole forthrightly calls for ending heroin prohibition. Police efforts to repress heroin "did more harm than good, and the harder my colleagues and I tried, the more damage we did," he writes. "As a police officer, I understand the instinct to mete out punishment, send a message, put somebody away for abusing drugs. Nonetheless, my experience has shown me that it is futile, counterproductive, and dangerous to try to arrest our way out of this very real problem." There's much more; click on the title link to read the whole thing.

International

Number of Disappeared in Mexico Keeps Rising. The number of people who have vanished since former President Felipe Calderon initiated his drug war in 2006 has increased to some 23,000, according to the Interior Ministry. More than 12,000 disappeared during the Calderon sexenio, and nearly 10,000 more have vanished during the first two years of the Enrique Pena Nieto presidency. Human rights groups say these official numbers are low.

Two-Thirds of Canadians Support Marijuana Law Reform. A new Forum Research poll finds that 66% of Canadians favor either legalizing and taxing marijuana or taking pot possession out of the criminal code (decriminalizing it). Some 35% said legalize it, while another 31% said decriminalize it. Only 16% said they were happy with the marijuana law status quo.

Canada's SALOME Study Will Get Prescription Heroin By Christmas. Vancouver heroin addicts participating in the Study to Assess Longer-term Opioid Medication Effectiveness (SALOME) will have legally prescribed heroin by Christmas, their attorney said last week. They won the right to use heroin as a maintenance drug after the BC Supreme Court in May granted them an injunction exempting them from a federal government ban on such uses. The pharmaceutical grade heroin is coming from a European manufacturer.

Australian National Council on Drugs Softens on Medical Marijuana. The Australian National Council on Drugs today released Medicinal Use of Cannabis: Background and Information Paper, which concedes that pharmaceutical marijuana products are effective for treating some forms of pain, reducing nausea, and helping people with wasting syndrome. The backgrounder comes as clamor grows, especially in Victoria, for legalizing medical marijuana.

(This article was published by StoptheDrugWar.org's lobbying arm, the Drug Reform Coordination Network, which also shares 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

Canada: Drug-Testing Kits Have Limitations, But Can Help

Harm Reduction (MAP) - Mon, 08/25/2014 - 07:00
Guelph Mercury, 25 Aug 2014 - TORONTO - Drug-testing kits currently available in Canada have limitations, but they can be part of the solution to prevent unnecessary deaths at live concerts, says a harm-reduction group. Two people died this month at Toronto's Veld music festival after taking what's believed to be party drugs. Toronto's Trip Project says the testing kits, when combined with other strategies like drug education, could make drug use safer for people who will not abstain from risky behaviour.
Categories: Harm Reduction

Canada: Drug-Testing Kits Have Limitations, But Can Prevent

Harm Reduction (MAP) - Mon, 08/25/2014 - 07:00
The Journal-Pioneer, 25 Aug 2014 - TORONTO - Drug-testing kits currently available in Canada have limitations, but they can be part of the solution to help prevent unnecessary deaths at live concerts such as Toronto's Veld music festival, where two people died earlier this month after taking what's believed to be party drugs, says a harm-reduction group. Toronto's Trip Project says the testing kits, when combined with other strategies like drug education, could make drug use safer for people who will not abstain from risky behaviour.
Categories: Harm Reduction

Canada: Drug-Testing Kits Can Reduce Harm: Advocates

Harm Reduction (MAP) - Mon, 08/25/2014 - 07:00
The Record, 25 Aug 2014 - TORONTO - Drug-testing kits currently available in Canada have limitations, but they can be part of the solution to prevent unnecessary deaths at live concerts, says a harm-reduction group. Two people died this month at Toronto's Veld music festival after taking what's believed to be party drugs.
Categories: Harm Reduction

US NY: Heroin's Pain: Epidemic's Scourge Reflected In Loved

Harm Reduction (MAP) - Sun, 08/24/2014 - 07:00
The Observer-Dispatch, 24 Aug 2014 - Owen Kemp's family celebrated his 20th birthday Jan. 12 with everything - Chinese takeout, fireworks, singing and cake. Everything - - except Owen Kemp. The boy who once made goofy faces for the camera, sang "You Are My Sunshine" over and over, loved fishing with his dad and baked apple crisp for his grandparents died of a heroin overdose in November while staying with his grandparents in North Utica.
Categories: Harm Reduction

US MA: OPED: End the Prohibition of Heroin

Harm Reduction (MAP) - Sun, 08/24/2014 - 07:00
Boston Globe, 24 Aug 2014 - A Cop's Experience Tells Him the Drug War Is Doing More Harm Than Good FOR 14 of the 26 years I served with the New Jersey State Police, I worked undercover narcotics. On the job, I saw first-hand the addictive power of opiates. Yet I also came to understand that the destruction of whole communities did not primarily result from the use or misuse of those drugs. No, the damage came from people - cops - - doing what I did: dragging buyers and sellers away from their families and slamming them into the criminal justice system, depriving both them and their neighborhoods of all hope. I witnessed people we disparagingly called "junkies" dying with needles in their arms not because heroin is a poison but because the heroin was poisoned. I did more harm than good, and the harder my colleagues and I tried, the more damage we did.
Categories: Harm Reduction

US NY: Methadone Clinic OK'd For Lower West Side

Harm Reduction (MAP) - Fri, 08/22/2014 - 07:00
Buffalo News, 22 Aug 2014 - Over the vehement objections of both neighborhood residents and Erie County officials, the state has decided to grant Hispanics United of Buffalo and Acacia Network a conditional license to operate a clinic that will dispense methadone to heroin addicts. The state Office of Alcoholism and Substance Abuse Service, in a letter dated Wednesday, notified the clinic operators that it is granting a conditional certificate of operation for the clinic to be run out of Hispanics United's headquarters at 254 Virginia St. The letter said the decision was made, in part, after more than 60 community meetings had been held to discuss the proposal with nearby residents.
Categories: Harm Reduction

CN BC: Group Of Vancouver Addicts Will Receive Heroin By

Harm Reduction (MAP) - Fri, 08/22/2014 - 07:00
Toronto Star, 22 Aug 2014 - Health Ministry 'Disappointed' With B.C. Supreme Court Decision on Prescribing Drug A group of Vancouver drug addicts is slated to become Canada's first recipients of legally prescribed heroin by Christmas.
Categories: Harm Reduction

US WI: Investigating The Lodi Drug Problem

Harm Reduction (MAP) - Fri, 08/22/2014 - 07:00
Lodi Enterprise, 22 Aug 2014 - INVESTIGATING THE LODI DRUG PROBLEM Police Explain Tactics Drugs have been around Lodi for a long time, but nearly two years ago, the death of a 17-year-old Lodi teen made the community strikingly aware of its ramifications.
Categories: Harm Reduction

CN BC: Views Aired On Harm Reduction

Harm Reduction (MAP) - Fri, 08/22/2014 - 07:00
Mission City Record, 22 Aug 2014 - Opinions Differ At Public Hearing On Needle Exchange Facilities Harm reduction helped save Erica Thomson's life. The people who reached out to her made her feel worthy and that she was not disposable. Methadone helped get her off drugs, and as long as she was on it, she was permitted to keep her daughter in her care.
Categories: Harm Reduction

Canada: Column: Canadaas Pot Policy Needs To Sober Up

Harm Reduction (MAP) - Fri, 08/22/2014 - 07:00
Globe and Mail, 22 Aug 2014 - Our current mishmash of regulations serves only to polarize public perception of a drug no more harmful than tobacco or alcohol The air is thick with pot talk in Canadian political circles these days, but the rhetoric is so extreme - ranging from "pot kills" to "pot cures cancer" - that it's sometimes hard to get a grip on what needs to be done.
Categories: Harm Reduction

UK: Column: Cannabis Helps Me Cope With MS, So Why Can't I Get

Harm Reduction (MAP) - Fri, 08/22/2014 - 07:00
Daily Telegraph, 22 Aug 2014 - It's Confusing and Unfair to Deny Sativex Spray to Those Plagued by Muscle Spasms I've read with utter frustration news reports over the past week about plans to make Sativex - an oral cannabis-based spray - available on the NHS in Wales but not in other parts of Britain. Cannabis grown for medical use on a farm at a secret location south east of London
Categories: Harm Reduction

US: In Move To Curb Drug Abuse, DEA Tightens Rule On Widely

Harm Reduction (MAP) - Fri, 08/22/2014 - 07:00
New York Times, 22 Aug 2014 - WASHINGTON - The federal government tightened the prescribing for the most common form of painkiller in the country on Thursday, the final step in a policy shift that has been years in the making. The stricter rule for hydrocodone, which is the most widely prescribed painkiller in the United States and which is an ingredient in drugs like Vicodin, is one of the most far-reaching efforts to stop the growing epidemic of prescription drug abuse. More than 20,000 Americans die every year because of prescription drug abuse, according to federal data.
Categories: Harm Reduction

Chronicle AM: OR Dems Just Say Yes, DEA Tightens Screws on Vicodin, CT's First Dispensary Opens, Peru Coca Eradication, Venezuela Plane Shootdowns (8/21/14)

Harm Reduction (STDW) - Thu, 08/21/2014 - 20:07

Oregon Dems just say yes, Connecticut's first dispensary opens, the DEA tightens the screws on Vicodin, guess who's more likely to get busted for pot in Ferguson, Missouri, and more. Let's get to it:

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

Oregon Democratic Party Endorses Legalization Initiative. Oregon's Democratic Party has endorsed Measure 91, the New Approach Oregon marijuana legalization initiative. "A majority of Americans and large majority of Democrats now support state regulation of legal marijuana use," the party said. "Measure 91 is the right approach to legalization in Oregon, strictly regulating use while funding law enforcement and schools. Vote Yes on 91."

No Decriminalization Vote in Toledo in November. Even though Northwest Ohio NORML turned in sufficient signatures to qualify a decriminalization initiative for the local ballot earlier this month, voters will not have a chance to get their say in November because the city council failed to act by today. The council doesn't have another meeting set until last week. It's unclear if the initiative is now dead, or if it will go on the ballot at a later date.

Medical Marijuana

Connecticut Gets First Medical Marijuana Dispensary. The first dispensary in the state opened Wednesday night in South Windsor. Prime Wellness of Connecticut is the first of six dispensaries approved for licenses by the Department of Consumer Protection. The rest will be opening in coming weeks or months.

Prescription Opiates

DEA Tightens Rules on Popular Pain Relievers. It is about to get more difficult to obtain popular pain medications based on hydrocodone, including widely prescribed drugs such as Vicodin. The DEA announced today that it is moving hydrocodone combination drugs from Schedule III of the Controlled Substances Act (CSA) to Schedule II. Drugs containing only hydrocodone were already placed on Schedule II, but drug combinations containing hydrocodone plus other substances, such as aspirin or acetaminophen, have been Schedule III since the CSA was passed in 1970.The DEA will publish the final rule establishing the change in the Federal Register tomorrow. It will go into effect in 45 days.

Law Enforcement

Blacks in Ferguson, Missouri, More Than Three Times More Likely Than Whites to Be Arrested for Marijuana Possession. In its podcast this week, Missouri drug reform group Show-Me Cannabis points to the drug war connection in the tensions between police and residents in the predominantly black St. Louis suburb of Ferguson, plagued by more than 10 days of unrest since the killing of unarmed black teenager Michael Brown. Show-Me's John Payne points out that black residents of Ferguson are 3.25 times more likely to be arrested for marijuana possession than whites. Click on the title link to listen to the podcast.

International

West Africa Drugs Commission Head Says Region Must Step Up, Deal With Political Weakness. Former Nigerian President Olusegun Obasanjo, who also heads the West Africa Commission on Drugs, said countries in the region must confront their political and institutional weaknesses if they are to get a handle on the drug trade. "West Africa is no longer only a transit zone of drugs but an attractive destination where pushers take advantage of the weak political system to perpetuate their trade," he said during a meeting with Ghana's President John Mahama."We believe that we should confront openly the political and governance weaknesses which the traffickers exploit," Obasanjo said. "Drug barons can buy, they can do, and they can undo -- buy officials in the military, security and pervert justice." The commission has called on West Africa to decriminalize drug use and treat the issue as a public health problem.

Peru Aims to Eradicate 75,000 Acres of Coca Plants This Year. Peru's anti-drug agency, DEVIDA, says it has already eradicated 30,000 acres of coca plants this year and plans to eradicate another 45,000 acres by years' end. The eradication is being done manually and in tandem with $90 million crop substitution program. About 125,000 acres are under cultivation for coca. Peru is arguably the world's largest coca producer (vying with Colombia), and 90% of the crop is estimated to be destined for the illicit cocaine trade.

Venezuela Has Shot Down at Least Three Suspected Drug Planes in Last Year. At least three planes flying out of Mexico and suspected of carrying drugs have been shot down over Venezuela since last November. This Vice News report goes into detail on the search for one of the missing pilots.

Categories: Harm Reduction

US PA: Magee, Insurers Launch Recovery Center For

Harm Reduction (MAP) - Thu, 08/21/2014 - 07:00
Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, 21 Aug 2014 - At a time when heroin use and prescription drug abuse have reached epidemic levels, local health care providers are stepping up to the plate to help one targeted group: pregnant women. On Wednesday, Magee-Womens Hospital of UPMC, along with several local insurers, announced the launch of what it called the "first-of its kind" outpatient recovery center in the country for pregnant women addicted to opiates - heroin and Vicodin, Oxycontin, hydrocodone and other highly addictive painkillers. And West Penn medical officials said a similar program is in the works.
Categories: Harm Reduction
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