Skip to Content

Harm Reduction

Chronicle AM: Organic Foods Group Disses Kratom, DPA Releases Opioids Plan, More... (12/7/16)

Harm Reduction (STDW) - Wed, 12/07/2016 - 21:15

An organic foods group says allowing kratom would be "dangerous," the Drug Policy Alliance comes out with a plan for heroin and prescription opioids, Iowa shuts down its asset forfeiture unit, and more.

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

Virginia Marijuana Arrests Plummet. Marijuana arrests have dropped 14% in the state over the past two years, the largest decline this century, and they appear headed for further declines this year. Changes in prosecutorial priorities appear to be behind the fall, with some prosecutors saying they need to husband their resources for felony prosecutions.

Heroin and Prescription Opioids

Drug Policy Alliance Releases Public Health and Safety Plan to Address Problematic Opioid Use and Overdose. The Drug Policy Alliance, the nation's leading proponent of drug policy reform, is releasing a plan to address increasing rates of opioid use and overdose (now the leading cause of accidental death in the United States). The plan marks a radical departure from the punitive responses that characterize much of US drug policy and instead focuses on scientifically proven harm reduction and public health interventions that can improve treatment outcomes and reduce the negative consequences of opioid misuse, such as transmission of infectious diseases and overdose. The plan has 20 specific recommendations, including establishing safe injection sites, moving ahead with prescription heroin (heroin-assisted treatment), and embracing Law Enforcement Assisted Diversion (LEAD) to keep people out of the criminal justice system and bring them in contact with social services.

Kratom

Natural Products Association Says Allowing Kratom Would Be "Dangerous." The largest trade group representing the organic and natural foods industry and dietary supplements makers has commented on the DEA's proposed ban on kratom, saying that "adding kratom to the US food supply could likely be dangerous and lead to serious unintended consequences." Kratom products have not met the strict standards for new items to be marketed to the public or undergone FDA approval, the group said. "Adding an untested and unregulated substance such as kratom to our food supply without the application of longstanding federal rules and guidelines would not only be illegal," said Daniel Fabricant, PhD, NPA's CEO and executive director. "It could likely be dangerous, leading to serious unintended consequences as our nation struggles with the crisis of opioid addiction."

Asset Forfeiture

Iowa Disbands State Asset Forfeiture Team, Returns $60,000 Taken From Travelers. Under increasing fire over asset forfeiture practices that saw a thousand seizures a year, the state Attorney General's Office announced Monday that the Department of Public Safety had disbanded its Interstate 80 drug interdiction and forfeiture team. The move came because of increased personnel demands and the need to focus on reducing traffic deaths, the office said, and had nothing to do with the recently announced settlement of a lawsuit brought by a pair of California gamblers who had $100,000 seized after they were stopped and a small amount of marijuana was found. That settlement resulted in the men getting most of their money back.

Law Enforcement

Justice Department Probing Possible Criminal Charges Over Atlanta DEA Informants. A DEA official told a congressional committee last week that the agency has referred "potential criminal charges" to the Justice Department over an Atlanta DEA supervisor who allegedly was in sexual relationships with two informants, one of whom was paid $212,000 for helping to bust four St. Louis drug traffickers. There are allegations of false documentation of payments to the snitch, who got $2,500 a month for two years, along with two "bonuses" of $55,000 and $80,750. The monthly payments apparently covered the rent for apartment near the DEA supervisor's home in the Atlanta metro area.

Categories: Harm Reduction

Chronicle AM: Seattle Safe Injection Site "Die-In," ME MJ Init Vote Recount, More... (12/5/16)

Harm Reduction (STDW) - Mon, 12/05/2016 - 21:19

Foes challenging the narrow legalization victory in Maine got their recount going today, patients take to the courts in Arizona and to the streets in Michigan, Seattle health care professionals do a die-in for safe injection sites, Ireland takes another step toward medical marijuana, and more.

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

Maine Legalization Initiative Recount Begins. The Question 1 initiative legalizing marijuana won by less than 1% of the popular vote, garnering 381,692 votes to the opposition's 377,619 votes, a difference of 4,073 votes. Citing the narrow margin of victory, foes called a recount, and it began Monday. The recount could take up to a month, delaying putting legalization into effect until it is completed.

Medical Marijuana

Pair of Arizona Patients Sue Over Fees. Attorneys for patients Yolanda Daniels and Lisa Becker filed suit last Friday to force a reduction in the annual fee for registration cards that patients are legally required to obtain. The state health department is charging $150 a year, even though it has nearly $11.5 million in its medical marijuana account. "In a time when medication is more expensive than ever, the state should be helping to make it cheaper for Arizonans," the patients' attorney argued. "The state is deliberately squatting on the excess fund instead of refunding it to patients or using it in furtherance of the Arizona Medical Marijuana Act, such as to help patients."

Michigan Protestors Denounce Kent County Dispensary Raids. A couple of dozen people gathered outside the Plainfield Township Hall last Friday to protest a series of raids last Monday that shuttered three dispensaries in Plainfield. Demonstrators said they have nowhere to go to get their medicine, but Plainfield officials countered that dispensaries had been banned there since 2011.

Harm Reduction

Seattle Nurses, Doctors Do Die-In at City Hall in Protest Calling for Safe Injection Sites. As Seattle officials ponder whether to move toward allowing a safe injection site, doctors and nurses are turning up the heat. Last Friday, more than 30 members of Health Care Workers for Supervised Consumption Spaces held a die-in at City Hall to imitate the corpses that will be created if safe injection sites aren't allowed. City officials have been generally sympathetic to the idea, and a Seattle/King County opioid task force recommended the move in September.

International

British Town to Allow Drug Testing at Clubs. In a harm reduction first for the United Kingdom, a town in Lancashire will be the first in the country to offer testing of drug samples provided by club-goers at night clubs. The tests will examine samples of cocaine and MDMA to test the strength and purity of the drugs in a bid to reduce deaths related to "adulterated or highly potent" drugs. The National Police Chief's Council reportedly said the scheme could be useful but was still not yet endorsed on a national basis.

Ireland Takes Another Step Toward Medical Marijuana. The Dáil Éireann, the lower house of parliament, last Thursday approved an amendment allowing for the medicinal use of marijuana. But the measure still has to undergo another round of approval before it becomes law.

Poll: More Irish Support Marijuana Legalization Than Not. As the parliament ponders medical marijuana, a new poll finds that more Irish than not support full-blown legalization. A poll asking "Should cannabis be legalized for recreational use?" had 48% saying yes, 41% saying no, and 11% undecided.

Categories: Harm Reduction

CN ON: Editorial: Get Onside, Ontario

Harm Reduction (MAP) - Sun, 12/04/2016 - 08:00
Toronto Star, 04 Dec 2016 - Toronto has seen a 77-per-cent increase in overdose deaths between 2004 and 2014 Brooklyn McNeil was an Ontario scholar, singer, artist and harm reduction advocate. But the 22-year-old woman was also an injection drug addict who sadly died alone in June beside a dumpster in an east-end alley.
Categories: Harm Reduction

Chronicle AM: CA Eyeing Billion in MJ Taxes, SF Safe Injection Site Support, More... (12/2/16)

Harm Reduction (STDW) - Fri, 12/02/2016 - 21:36

A battle over safe injection sites looms in San Francisco, California could score a billion bucks a year in marijuana taxes, kratom gets massive support during the DEA's public comment period on its proposed ban, and more.

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

Legal Marijuana Could Generate a Billion Dollars a Year in California Marijuana Taxes. State analysts estimate legal marijuana tax revenues could provide a $1 billion a year boost in state and local tax revenues. In anticipation of dollars to come, the state Board of Equalization Tuesday approved a proposal to fund staffing to administer the state's legalization bureaucracy, saying it needs $20 million by 2021 to support a staff of 114.

Medical Marijuana

Arkansas Regulators Release Draft Medical Marijuana Rules. The state Department of Health Wednesday released proposed draft rules for the voter-approved medical marijuana program. The rules include provisions about labeling, obtaining medical marijuana registry cards, lab testing requirements, and the process for adding new qualifying conditions. The department said it hopes to present the draft rules to the Board of Health next month and then open them to public comment. The department has not completed draft rules for regulation of and applications for dispensary and cultivation licenses. The state is supposed to be ready to license growers and sellers by June 1.

Minnesota Will Allow Medical Marijuana For PTSD. The state Department of Health has decided to add post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) to the list of qualifying conditions for marijuana. It had been weighing requests to add PTSD, autism, arthritis, depression, and other conditions. "While the process of reviewing these potential additions was difficult due to the relative lack of published scientific evidence, PTSD presented the strongest case for potential benefits," Health Commissioner Dr. Ed Ehlinger said. "PTSD also has few effective treatment alternatives available for some patients with the condition," he added. The decision means that patients certified with PTSD will be eligible for medical cannabis starting August 2017.

Kratom

Kratom Comment Period is Over; Massive Response to DEA Ban Move. The time to comment on the DEA's proposed move to ban kratom has ended, but more than 22,000 comments came in before the deadline, overwhelmingly against restrictive scheduling of the Southeast Asian tree and the psychoactive chemicals it contains. Commenters noted its lack of lethality, its use as a pain reliever, and its utility in substituting for more dangerous opioids. Addiction specialist Dr. Jack Henningfield wrote a 127-page analysis that concluded that scheduling kratom "is not warranted from a public health perspective and is more likely to cause public health problems that do not presently exist." It should be regulated like a health supplement, Henningfield recommended.

Harm Reduction

San Francisco Health Chief Supports Safe Injection Sites. Barbara Garcia, director of the city's Department of Public Health, strongly endorsed safe injection sites, she told the Board of Supervisors Wednesday. "I think if we were going to open one, it would be very successful," she told the supes, but added that the city needed a half-dozen to make a real difference. That puts her at odds with Mayor Ed Lee, who has come out strongly against the harm reduction measure.

Categories: Harm Reduction

CN BC: Column: Just Like Sodom And Gomorrah

Harm Reduction (MAP) - Fri, 12/02/2016 - 08:00
Maple Ridge News, 02 Dec 2016 - We've now had a few years of the low-barrier, harm reduction approach to solving or coping with our widespread illicit drug use epidemic. Maybe it's now time to review what has been accomplished. Almost every public health official, provincial housing authority, city councillor, police officer and drug counsellor in this province openly acknowledge the growing tragedy of drug overdose deaths in British Columbia.
Categories: Harm Reduction

CN AB: Report Looks At Safe Sites

Harm Reduction (MAP) - Fri, 12/02/2016 - 08:00
Metro, 02 Dec 2016 - In 2014, there were 324 people in Edmonton sharing needles and injecting in public spaces, according to the group looking at safe consumption services in the city. That's more than what Vancouver saw before launching safe consumption clinic Insite, says Shelley Williams, chair of Access to Medically Supervised Injection Services.
Categories: Harm Reduction

Chronicle AM: World AIDS Day, Psilocybin Could Help Terminal Patients, More... (12/1/16)

Harm Reduction (STDW) - Thu, 12/01/2016 - 22:01

New studies suggest psychedelics could help terminal patients deal with their fears, the Ohio legislature prepares to pass asset forfeiture reform, and more.

[image:1 align:left caption:true]Psychedelics

Studies Suggest Magic Mushrooms Could Help Cancer Patients Deal With Fear. A pair of studies published Thursday in the Journal of Psychopharmacology suggest that psilocybin, the psychedelic drug in magic mushrooms, could help terminal cancer patients cope with fear and anxiety around impending death. "The findings are impressive, with good safety data and large effect sizes," says Robin Carharrt-Harris, who studies psychedelic drugs at Imperial College London. "My feeling is that these studies will play a significant role in waking up the scientific and medical mainstream to the therapeutic potential of psychedelics."

Asset Forfeiture

Ohio Legislature Poised to Pass Civil Asset Forfeiture Reform, Despite Police and Prosecutors' Opposition. Legislative leaders say they expect to pass a civil asset forfeiture reform bill in the state Senate next week. The measure, House Bill 347, passed the House in the spring, but was delayed in the Senate when a committee approved an amendment to address concerns raised by prosecutors. The bill originally would have eliminated civil asset forfeiture, but now has been softened to allow it if the property owner is dead, the suspect cannot be located, or the owner does not claim the property. It also allows for civil forfeiture post-conviction.

Harm Reduction

It's World AIDS Day. We Can't End AIDS Until We End the War on Drugs. "Today, December 1, is World AIDS Day," writes the Drug Policy Alliance's Laura Thomas. "In 1989, I was arrested in front of the White House on World AIDS Day, demanding that then-President Bush take action on HIV/AIDS. Among the issues we were demanding action on then, so many years ago, was the availability of sterile syringes for people who inject drugs, so they could stop the transmission of HIV. In the decades since, we have celebrated amazing victories against HIV/AIDS. We now have treatments we could only dream of then. We have pills that will prevent HIV. We have a National HIV/AIDS Strategy. We even have an effective cure for hepatitis C. And we are keeping many, many more people with HIV alive now. And yet, it is syringe access -- needle exchange -- that we have been the slowest to win…" Click on the link for the whole post.

Categories: Harm Reduction

CN BC: Column: Recovery Needs More Resources Amid Overdose Epidemic

Harm Reduction (MAP) - Thu, 12/01/2016 - 08:00
Vancouver 24hours, 01 Dec 2016 - This week, the B.C. Coroners Service announced that Vancouver police had for the first time found carfentanil at the scene of an apparent illicitdrug overdose death on Nov. 17. The deadly drug is used as an elephant tranquilizer and 100 times more toxic than fentanyl, and deadly to humans in an amount smaller than a grain of salt.
Categories: Harm Reduction

CN BC: Cops Say Injection Tents A Health-Care Matter

Harm Reduction (MAP) - Thu, 12/01/2016 - 08:00
The Georgia Straight, 01 Dec 2016 - In the rain last Saturday afternoon (November 27), a young First Nations man lay unconscious in a Downtown Eastside alley. The lower half of his body remained inside a tent that volunteers had pitched as an unsanctioned supervised-injection site. It's one of two locations they've made available to drug users in response to the fentanyl crisis and an unprecedented number of drug overdose deaths.
Categories: Harm Reduction

CN MB: OPED: Fighting Together On World Aids Day

Harm Reduction (MAP) - Thu, 12/01/2016 - 08:00
Winnipeg Free Press, 01 Dec 2016 - TODAY marks World AIDS Day. We celebrate advances made in the fight against HIV, look back on how far we've come and honour those we've lost, while also looking to the future and what we have left to accomplish. Last year, 102 people in Manitoba were diagnosed with HIV, joining more than 1,250 living with HIV in the province and 78,000 across Canada.
Categories: Harm Reduction

CN ON: Drugs Spiked With Deadly Fentanyl

Harm Reduction (MAP) - Thu, 12/01/2016 - 08:00
The Delhi News-Record, 01 Dec 2016 - Drug dealers who sell narcotics containing fentanyl could face serious charges beyond trafficking if users are injured or killed. Charges could range from criminal negligence causing bodily harm or death to manslaughter and homicide charges.
Categories: Harm Reduction

CN BC: IH: Safe Injection Services Available By Spring

Harm Reduction (MAP) - Wed, 11/30/2016 - 08:00
Kelowna Capital News, 30 Nov 2016 - A Kelowna safe injection site should be up and running by April, although what it will look like remains to be seen. Interior Health proposed two potential options last week - a fixed injection site at 477 Leon Ave. as well as a mobile site - and now they're embarking on the final community engagement process.
Categories: Harm Reduction

CN BC: Kelowna Safe Injection Site Debate Heats Up

Harm Reduction (MAP) - Wed, 11/30/2016 - 08:00
Kelowna Capital News, 30 Nov 2016 - Safe injection sites eyed in Kelowna The debate over a safe injection site in Kelowna continues to gain steam as community members take sides on the controversial topic. The Downtown Kelowna Association has come out against the Interior Health Authority's proposed Leon Avenue location, due to public safety concerns.
Categories: Harm Reduction

CN ON: City Seeks Approval For Injection Sites

Harm Reduction (MAP) - Wed, 11/30/2016 - 08:00
Toronto Star, 30 Nov 2016 - Queen's Park silent as Toronto moves to table proposal to feds The city and two local health providers will formally request federal permission on Wednesday to operate three supervised injection services in Toronto.
Categories: Harm Reduction

Chronicle AM: Calls for Obama to Cut More Sentences, Iran Drug Death Penalty Moves, More... (11/29/16)

Harm Reduction (STDW) - Tue, 11/29/2016 - 22:02

Scholars, advocates, and a US congressman are calling on Obama to ramp up the commutation process in the final weeks of his term, the CDC issues a report calling for expanded syringe exchange, Maryland moves to address racial diversity (or the lack thereof) in the medical marijuana business, and more.

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

Massachusetts Marijuana Victory Faces Certification Delay. Secretary of State William Galvin said Monday that the November 8 election results may not be certified in time for marijuana legalization to go into effect on December 15, that date it is supposed to become legal. Ballot initiatives in the state do not become law until they are officially certified, and a December 14 meeting is the earliest date voting tallies on the initiative are likely to presented, Galvin said. But if not by December 15, certainly by early next year, he added: "All those tokers can hold their breath a little longer, but they'll be able to exhale" by early 2017, Galvin quipped.

Medical Marijuana

Maryland Moving to Improve Diversity in Medical Marijuana Industry. The state Cannabis Commission announced Monday that it is hiring a consultant to advise it on steps it can take to improve racial diversity in the nascent industry. The consultant will decide whether a study can be conducted to determine whether minorities have been unfairly excluded. If such a finding is made, that would allow the state to consider race when awarding medical marijuana licenses.

Harm Reduction

Groundbreaking Report from CDC Calls for Expansion of Syringe Access Programs. In a report on HIV and injection drug use released Tuesday, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) calls strongly for expanding needle exchange programs. "Syringe services programs (SSPs) can play a role in preventing HIV and other health problems among people who inject drugs (PWID)," the report found. "They provide access to sterile syringes and should also provide comprehensive services such as help with stopping substance misuse; testing and linkage to treatment for HIV, hepatitis B, and hepatitis C; education on what to do for an overdose; and other prevention services. State and local health departments can work with their lawmakers and law enforcement to make SSPs more available to PWID."

Sentencing

Calls Mount For Obama to Ramp Up Commutations as Term Nears End. A coalition of scholars and activists as well as a US congressman are calling on President Obama to expand clemency efforts in the final weeks of his administration -- including considering granting clemency to entire groups of people without case-by-case review. Obama has commuted the sentences of more than a thousand people sentenced under draconian drug war sentencing laws, but thousands more have applied for commutations without those applications yet being acted on.

International

Iran Keeps Moving Toward Ending the Death Penalty for Drugs. The Iranian parliament last week agreed to expedite deliberations on a measure that would dramatically limit the number of people facing execution for drug offenses in the Islamic Republic. Now, the proposal will get top priority in the Legal and Social Affairs Committee before heading before the full parliament. The measure would limit the death penalty to "organized drug lords," "armed trafficking," "repeat offenders," and "bulk drug distributors." Iran is one of the world's leading drug executioners, with drug offenders accounting for the vast majority of the more than a thousand people it executed last year.

Categories: Harm Reduction

CN MB: Column: Keeping Watch, Saving Lives

Harm Reduction (MAP) - Fri, 11/25/2016 - 08:00
Winnipeg Free Press, 25 Nov 2016 - Opioid crisis draws attention to supervised drug-use sites, but Manitoba's not interested - so far A DECADE ago, fentanyl, the killer synthetic opioid that can be 100 times more potent than morphine, was a relatively unknown drug. Today, it's everywhere - and it's at the heart of a national crisis claiming the lives of hundreds of Canadians.
Categories: Harm Reduction

CN BC: DKA Opposes Safe Injection Site

Harm Reduction (MAP) - Fri, 11/25/2016 - 08:00
Kelowna Capital News, 25 Nov 2016 - Interior Health is eying up both a spot on Leon Avenue as well as a mobile unit, for potential safe injection sites, and that has some of the community concerned. The Downtown Kelowna Association, which is a not-for-profit Business Improvement Area association, is coming out in opposition of the proposed Leon Avenue location that was revealed Thursday.
Categories: Harm Reduction

CN BC: Docs Say Prescription Heroin Helps

Harm Reduction (MAP) - Thu, 11/24/2016 - 08:00
The Georgia Straight, 24 Nov 2016 - This Christmas, Dianne Tobin will celebrate one year free of heroin. It will be the longest she's remained off the drug in 40 years. "It's been touchy at times, because I went down [in dosage] so fast," she told the Georgia Straight over coffee in the Downtown Eastside. "It was tough at first, going down so much at one time. But it was working for me."
Categories: Harm Reduction

CN ON: 84 Per Cent Back Safe Injection Site

Harm Reduction (MAP) - Mon, 11/21/2016 - 08:00
Hamilton Spectator, 21 Nov 2016 - The city has found a funding partner to help study if Hamilton should offer supervised injection sites for drug users. A report that goes to councillors this week says the anticipated $250,000 cost of a study can be cut to around $90,000 thanks to a proposed partnership with a health program and institute at McMaster University.
Categories: Harm Reduction

CN BC: Column: Drug-Addiction Column Draws Complaints

Harm Reduction (MAP) - Mon, 11/21/2016 - 08:00
The Daily Courier, 21 Nov 2016 - There was a frank exchange of views on the subject of drug addiction after Friday's column about two addicts' outlook on the issue. As in: "Fire this writer at once. Thanks for stigmatizing this population which you clearly have zero understanding of." "Heartless." One writer credited me with some intelligence, "but it was a bit hidden today."
Categories: Harm Reduction
Syndicate content