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Harm Reduction

Chronicle AM: WA SIJs Win Court Ruling, Houston DA Goes Deep on Reforms, More.. (10/19/17)

Harm Reduction (STDW) - Thu, 10/19/2017 - 20:10

Hemp farming comes a step closer in Wisconsin, safe injection sites win a court battle in suburban Seattle, Houston's DA is proving to be a real criminal justice reformer, and more.

[image:1 align:left caption:true]Industrial Hemp

Wisconsin Hemp Bill Advances. The Senate Agriculture Committee unanimously approved an industrial hemp bill Wednesday. The measure, Senate Bill 119, would create state licenses for farmers seeking to grow hemp. Plants could not contain more than 1% THC. The bill is now ready for a Senate floor vote.

Bail Reform

New Mexico Governor Wants to Roll Back Bail Reform. Voters last year approved a constitutional amendment that aimed to ensure that low-level, non-violent offenders did not rot in jail awaiting trial, but now Gov. Susana Martinez (R) wants to repeal it. While lawmakers on both sides of the aisle have concerns about how the courts are implementing reform, actually repealing it would be a long shot.

Drug Policy

Houston DA Lays Out Reform Agenda. Harris County District Attorney Kim Ogg on Tuesday laid out plans for what she called "more diversion, less jail" for people struggling with drug use or mental illness. Ogg released eight reports based on her transition team's recommendations, around everything from police shootings to bail reform to equality in justice to diversion, and more. Ogg has already enacted a marijuana diversion program and ended the prosecution of cases where only trace amounts of drugs are found. But she's ready to go deeper.

Harm Reduction

Washington State Judge Rules in Favor of Safe Injection Sites. King County Superior Court Judge Veronica Alicea-Galvan ruled Monday that a NIMBY initiative aimed at blocking a site in suburban Seattle "interferes with the duties and obligations of the Health Board and County Council." If upheld, the ruling would kill the initiative, which is currently set for a February vote, but foes vow to appeal the ruling.

Categories: Harm Reduction

CN ON: Editorial: Get Smarter On Drugs

Harm Reduction (MAP) - Fri, 10/06/2017 - 07:00
Toronto Star, 06 Oct 2017 - The chorus calling on Ottawa to decriminalize possession of all drugs is growing louder and more urgent. The government should listen The chorus calling on Ottawa to rethink its approach to the epidemic of opioid overdoses sweeping this country is growing louder and more urgent. Two new reports issued this week echo a broad consensus among public health experts: decriminalizing the possession of all drugs is crucial if we're going to tackle this crisis.
Categories: Harm Reduction

CN BC: Expert Calls For Drug Decriminalization

Harm Reduction (MAP) - Thu, 10/05/2017 - 07:00
Prince George Citizen, 05 Oct 2017 - VANCOUVER - Canada's political leaders must take bold action by joining forces to decriminalize illicit drugs and save lives in the midst of an unprecedented overdose crisis, a leading drug-policy expert says. Donald MacPherson of the Canadian Drug Policy Coalition said Prime Minister Justin Trudeau's stance on legalizing marijuana to protect youth and stop the flow of profits to organized crime must also apply to drugs that have killed thousands of Canadians.
Categories: Harm Reduction

CN BC: Decriminalize Drugs To Fight Overdoses: Expert

Harm Reduction (MAP) - Thu, 10/05/2017 - 07:00
The Record, 05 Oct 2017 - VANCOUVER - Canada's political leaders must take bold action by joining forces to decriminalize illicit drugs and save lives in the midst of an unprecedented overdose crisis, a leading drug-policy expert says. Donald MacPherson of the Canadian Drug Policy Coalition said Prime Minister Justin Trudeau's stance on legalizing marijuana to protect youth and stop the flow of profits to organized crime must also apply to drugs that have killed thousands of Canadians.
Categories: Harm Reduction

CN ON: Grieving Moms Now Advocates On Opioids Crisis

Harm Reduction (MAP) - Thu, 10/05/2017 - 07:00
The Grimsby Lincoln News, 05 Oct 2017 - Mothers galvanize regional politicians with powerful stories of loss of kids to overdoses NIAGARA - Wilma Thompson was hearing about the horrific death toll the opioid crisis sweeping across the country was having, so she pulled her daughter Jaena, age 19, aside last year.
Categories: Harm Reduction

CN ON: Editorial: Grief Turns To Opioid Advocacy

Harm Reduction (MAP) - Thu, 10/05/2017 - 07:00
The Grimsby Lincoln News, 05 Oct 2017 - They're still dealing with crushing grief barely contained, but a group of Niagara mothers who lost children in the prime of their lives to overdoses from opioids delivered a powerful message to regional politicians last week on the desperate need to deal with the opioid crisis sweeping like a freight train across the country. The powerful drugs such as fentanyl have left a trail of destruction starting on the West Coast and moving east, with soaring numbers of emergency rooms visits due to overdoses in Ontario now.
Categories: Harm Reduction

CN ON: Grieving Moms Now Advocates On Opioids Crisis

Harm Reduction (MAP) - Thu, 10/05/2017 - 07:00
Port Colborne Leader, 05 Oct 2017 - Mothers galvanize regional politicians with powerful stories of loss of kids to overdoses NIAGARA - Wilma Thompson was hearing about the horrific death toll the opioid crisis sweeping across the country was having, so she pulled her daughter Jaena, age 19, aside last year.
Categories: Harm Reduction

Chronicle AM: Trump DEA Pick Has Issues, FL MedMJ Licenses Delayed, More... (10/2/17)

Harm Reduction (STDW) - Mon, 10/02/2017 - 20:32

The man Trump will reportedly name to head the DEA has some racial profiling issues in his past, the Global Commission on Drugs issued recommendations on dealing with the opioid crisis, the 6th Circuit slaps down the DEA in an asset forfeiture case, and more.

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

Florida Will Miss Deadline for Issuing Grower Licenses. Florida officials were supposed to distribute ten medical marijuana cultivation licenses Tuesday, but that's not going to happen. Officials said last Friday said the delay would be brief and pointed fingers at Hurricane Irma and a recently-filed lawsuit from a black farmer challenging the state's effort to achieve racial diversity among growers. That farmer charged that the state's guidelines were too restrictive.

Heroin and Prescription Opioids

Global Commission on Drug Policy Releases Position Paper on North America Opioid Crisis. The Global Commission on Drug Policy Monday released a position paper on The Opioid Crisis in North America. The members of the Global Commission, several of whom faced similar crises while occupying the highest levels of government, share their views and recommendations on how to mitigate this epidemic. The Commission warns against cutting the supply of prescription opioids without first having supporting measures in place, and emphasizes the need to improve and expand proven harm reduction services and treatment options, including opioid substitution therapy and heroin-assisted treatment. Regulation of prescription opioids needs to become well-balanced to provide effective pain care while minimizing misuse. The Global Commission also calls for the de facto decriminalization of drug use and possession for personal use at the municipal, city or State/Province levels, so that people in need of health and social services can access them freely, easily, and without fear of punishment. Finally, the Global Commission suggests allowing pilot projects for the responsible legal regulation of currently illicit drugs including opioids, to bypass criminal organizations that drive and benefit from the black market.

Asset Forfeiture

6th Circuit Slaps Down DEA Cleveland Airport Cash Seizure. Even when it looks like they have the perfect case, the DEA and the courts can't cut corners in their efforts to seize suspected drug money, the court held in a case decided late last month. Agents had seized $41,000 in cash from two men with previous drug convictions who had purchased tickets to -- gasp! -- California, and their drug dog told them the money was tainted. The men appealed the seizure, saying the cash was legally obtained, but the DEA moved to strike their claim, saying they had provided no proof, and a lower court agreed. But the DEA and the lower court erred, the appeals court ruled, by shifting the burden of proof to the claimants at that early stage of the proceedings: "Finally, we note our concern that the government's approach would turn the burden of proof in forfeiture actions on its head. Under the Civil Asset Forfeiture Reform Act of 2000 (CAFRA), the government bears the burden of proving by a preponderance of evidence that the subject of a civil forfeiture action is, in fact, forfeitable," the opinion concluded. "Requiring a forfeiture claimant to explain the nature of his ownership at the pleading stage would be asking the claimant to satisfy the government's burden of proof, or at least go a long way toward doing so."

Drug Policy

Trump Could Name Racial Profiling Apologist to Head DEA. The Washington Post has reported that President Trump will name New Jersey State Police Superintendent Joseph Fuentes to head the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA). In 2000, Fuentes, then a state police trooper, wrote a paper defending "suspect profiling" as the state was embroiled in controversy over "driving while black" and police tactics like asking hotel clerk to report guests who were "suspicious" because they had dreadlocks or spoke Spanish. "Because of the disproportionate involvement of minorities in these... arrests, civil rights groups have branded the whole process of highway drug enforcement as racist," he wrote. But when pressed during his nomination to head the state police, Fuentes disavowed that position and denied being an apologist for racial profiling.

Categories: Harm Reduction

Switzerland: Commission Makes Recommendations For Tackling Opioid

Harm Reduction (MAP) - Mon, 10/02/2017 - 07:00
Globe and Mail, 02 Oct 2017 - The Global Commission on Drug Policy has issued recommendations on tackling North America's opioid crisis, calling for the immediate expansion of harm reduction services, the decriminalization and regulation of currently illicit drugs and an initiative to allow interested cities to de facto decriminalize as federal debates over drug policy continue. The position paper, to be released on Monday, comes in advance of the final report of the White House opioid commission, led by New Jersey Governor Chris Christie, due out in November.
Categories: Harm Reduction

CN AB: CP Rail Cutting Off Access To Injection Site

Harm Reduction (MAP) - Sun, 10/01/2017 - 07:00
Lethbridge Herald, 01 Oct 2017 - Stafford Drive bridge area being fenced off CP Rail is cutting off access to one of the most active illicit injection sites in the city in the coming months, which could drive up drug use in other areas of the city.
Categories: Harm Reduction

CN ON: Pop-Up Injection Site Gets Mixed Reviews In Lowertown

Harm Reduction (MAP) - Sat, 09/30/2017 - 07:00
Ottawa Sun, 30 Sep 2017 - A pop-up injection site on the edge of the ByWard Market is drawing mixed reviews from Lowertown residents, landlords and business owners. An anonymous flyer circulated this week in the area, and shared widely on social media, claims the "unsanctioned and illegal" site operated by Overdose Prevention Ottawa has led to sharp increases in drug dealing, public intoxication, public disorder and discarded needles and other drug paraphernalia littering the downtown streets.
Categories: Harm Reduction

CN ON: Protesters Crowd Into Councillor's Office To Oppose Closing Of

Harm Reduction (MAP) - Sat, 09/30/2017 - 07:00
Ottawa Sun, 30 Sep 2017 - 'POP-UP' SAFE INJECTION SITE IN LOWERTOWN People crowd in the reception area for councillors' offices at city hall yesterday to protest councillor Mathieu Fleury suggesting a Lowertown 'pop-up' safe-injection site be removed.
Categories: Harm Reduction

Canada: OPED: Money Alone Can't Solve Ontario's Opioid Crisis

Harm Reduction (MAP) - Fri, 09/29/2017 - 07:00
Globe and Mail, 29 Sep 2017 - The Toronto Board of Health has joined the chorus of voices asking the Ontario government to better fight the opioid crisis. This week, the board voted unanimously to recommend the province declare the opioid crisis a provincial emergency. Last month, more than 700 health-care workers across Ontario signed an open letter also requesting Premier Kathleen Wynne declare the opioid crisis a provincial emergency. In response to last month's open letter, Ontario's Health Minister Eric Hoskins resisted declaring an emergency and instead offered a familiar solution: spending more money. The provincial government plans to spend $222-million over three years to hire more harm-reduction workers, expand the supply of naloxone and create more clinics. Following the board of health's vote, Dr. Hoskins doubled down on his refusal to label the opioid crisis an emergency.
Categories: Harm Reduction

CN ON: Preparing To Battle The Rise Of Opiates

Harm Reduction (MAP) - Wed, 09/27/2017 - 07:00
Northumberland Today, 27 Sep 2017 - PORT HOPE - A detailed report about how the local health unit is battling opioid overdoses and fatalities does not yet include a safe injection site like the one established this summer after a volunteer pop-up tent appeared in Toronto. After receiving the Medical Officer of Health's (MOH) report about how the inventory, supply and control of Naloxone has been established and the first "pop up" Naloxone community event was held at the hospital in Lindsay last month, board members of the Haliburton, Kawartha, Pine Ridge District Health Unit asked if there were plans in place to react to a "pop-up" safe injection site should it occur in the health unit's own tri-county jurisdiction.
Categories: Harm Reduction

CN ON: Reported Overdoses Tip Of Iceberg

Harm Reduction (MAP) - Sat, 09/23/2017 - 07:00
North Bay Nugget, 23 Sep 2017 - Many cases unreported due to naloxone distribution, says health official There's likely a large number of unreported opioid overdoses in North Bay. That's because the antidote naloxone is being distributed by pharmacies and front-line organizations to those struggling with addiction, as well as their friends and family members, throughout the community.
Categories: Harm Reduction

CN ON: Opioid Epidemic Taking Toll On Emergency Departments

Harm Reduction (MAP) - Sat, 09/23/2017 - 07:00
St. Thomas Times-Journal, 23 Sep 2017 - The opioid crisis plaguing much of Canada has made its mark on southwestern Ontario's emergency rooms. Visits to the region's emergency rooms for opioid overdoses went up almost 28 per cent from 281 in 2015 to 359 in 2016, according to statistics recently released by Public Health Ontario.
Categories: Harm Reduction

CN ON: Injection Site Gets OK

Harm Reduction (MAP) - Sat, 09/23/2017 - 07:00
Ottawa Sun, 23 Sep 2017 - Lowertown facility to greet first clients next Tuesday Health Canada on Friday granted the necessary exemption for an interim supervised injection site in Lowertown, with Ottawa Public Health planning to greet the first clients on Tuesday.
Categories: Harm Reduction

Canada: Editorial: Why Prohibition Failed

Harm Reduction (MAP) - Sat, 09/23/2017 - 07:00
Globe and Mail, 23 Sep 2017 - Why is Canada legalizing marijuana, and why does the move - if done right - make sense? It's all about harm reduction. Smoking marijuana has real health risks, particularly for young people. But the long-standing ban on the sale of pot isn't addressing them. The drug is widely available and widely used; according to the OECD, Canada has the developed world's highest rate of youth pot use. Prohibition's only real accomplishment is as an unintended industrial strategy, fostering a multi-billion-dollar black market. The federal government is ending the criminal ban on pot, but almost everything that happens after that is up to the provinces. Each has to strike a difficult balance: making pot available legally and widely, thereby pushing out the black market, while simultaneously creating a framework for discouraging the use and abuse of the drug, especially among teenagers and young adults.
Categories: Harm Reduction

Chronicle AM: MA Drug Lab Scandal Redux, PA MJ Support Strong and Rising, More... (9/22/17)

Harm Reduction (STDW) - Fri, 09/22/2017 - 19:52

Pennsylvania support for marijuana legalization is strong and rising, Attorney General Sessions mixes drug and immigration policy, another federal court rules against Stingray, a second Massachusetts drug lab scandal could see thousands more cases dismissed, and more.

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

California Will Issue Temporary Business Licenses. Regulators will introduce a temporary marijuana business licensing system to ensure a smooth start to regulated marijuana sales beginning on January 1, the state's top marijuana official announced Thursday. Businesses would only need to provide some "pretty basic information" for the temporary licenses, said Lori Ajax. The application will be available in early December, after temporary rulemaking is completed. "We don't have time to do regular rulemaking," she explained, adding that would come next year.

Pennsylvania Poll Shows Strong, Rising Support for Legalization. A Franklin & Marshall College poll released Thursday has support for marijuana legalization at 59%, with only 31% opposed and 9% undecided. The pro-legalization numbers are the highest ever in the poll, up three points since May and a whopping 19 points since June2015.

Immigration

Sessions Blames Lax Immigration Policies for Drug Gangs, Cartels. Attorney General Jeff Sessions used concerns over drug gangs and cartels to attack "loose" immigration policy in remarks in Boston Thursday. He specifically singled out MS-13 as an example, while failing to note the gang's origins among Salvadoran refugees fleeing a US-sponsored civil war there in the 1980s. He also attacked the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program, which offers protections to undocumented residents who were brought to the country as children. "The gangs use this program as a means to recruit members," Sessions said. "We cannot allow young people to be brought into this life of crime." Sessions did not mention that DACA participants are carefully vetted and must have no serious criminal records or that 90% of them are working or in college.

Law Enforcement

DC Court Latest to Rule Against Warrantless Stingray Searches. The DC Court of Appeals ruled Thursday that the warrantless use of a Stingray cell-site stimulator to monitor phone calls was unconstitutional. The ruling was only the latest in a string of recent federal appeals court judgments that ruled using the Stingray amounts to a search under the meaning of the Fourth Amendment. In the DC case, the court found the violation so egregious that it excluded all evidence derived from it, overturning the conviction of Prince Jones on drug charges.

ACLU Calls for Thousands More Massachusetts Drug Cases to Be Thrown Out in Drug Lab Scandals. Bay State judges have already dismissed more than 20,000 drug cases tainted by the misbehavior of state lab chemist Annie Dookhan, but now the ACLU is calling for judges and prosecutors to dismiss thousands more in a second case of lab tech misbehavior. Amherst state lab chemist Sonja Farak pleaded guilty in 2014 to stealing cocaine from the lab and admitted she was high nearly every day from 2004 to 2013 on cocaine, meth, and other stimulant drugs she pilfered from her job. The ACLU charges that prosecutors have sought to minimize Farak's misbehavior in a bid to preserve drug cases and convictions and failed to notify defendants that the evidence in their cases had been tainted. "Far worse than the Hinton scandal, the Amherst scandal combines a lab crisis with prosecutorial misconduct of unparalleled scope and irremediable consequence," the ACLU argued. "This latest systemic lapse in the justice system demands a most emphatic response." And that response would be mass dismissals.

International

Iceland Marijuana Legalization Bill Filed. Members of the Reform Party and the Pirate Party have banded together to file a bill that would legalize marijuana in the North Atlantic island nation. The bill would allow anyone 20 and over to possess and cultivate pot for personal use -- with a government permit. The bill would also allow retail sales and consumption lounges, but not at the same business.

Australia to See First Music Festival With On-Site Pill Testing. The Spilt Milk Festival in Canberra will provide on-site pill testing for attendees in a harm reduction move aimed at reducing overdoses and other bad drug interactions. The Australian Capital Territory government has given the okay for the project, which will be operated by the Safety Testing Advisory Service at Festivals and Events. That consortium consists of Harm Reduction Australia, the Australian Drug Observatory, the Noffs Foundation, DanceWize, and Students for Sensible Drug Policy.

Categories: Harm Reduction

US NJ: Paterson: Inside Needle Exchange, Clients Defend The Program

Harm Reduction (MAP) - Fri, 09/22/2017 - 07:00
Herald News, 22 Sep 2017 - PATERSON -- About a dozen men and women sat on hard plastic chairs early Wednesday morning inside a conference room at the Well of Hope Drop-In Center on Broadway, where a flat screen television broadcast sports highlights on ESPN. Some came for the free coffee. A sign said the limit was one cup per hour. Others were there to use the showers and toilet facilities. A 57-year-old man who would only give his name as "Julius" was waiting to see a nurse about a blister on his foot.
Categories: Harm Reduction
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