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32 killed in Phil drug war’s bloodiest day

The intensity of the crackdown has alarmed the international community, and activists and human rights groups say police have been executing suspects and planting drugs and guns at crime scenes. “There were 32 killed in Bulacan in a massive raid, that’s good,” Duterte said in a speech. […]

HelpNotHarm: but what about rights?

Wodak, president of the Australian Drug Law Reform Foundation, said he was “stunned” by the decision to “strip people with alcohol and drug problems of income support payments”. For many people who use drugs, or are aware of the reality outside of the dominant narrative, this policy proposal is hardly shocking. […]

Just say ‘know’ to drugs: can testing facilities make festivals safer?

A growing number of festivals are now openly discussing a new approach to drugs, based on information and harm reduction rather than criminal justice. This shift in attitudes is coming at a very welcome time. Recent developments in the European drug market have seen an unprecedented rise in the strength of ecstasy tablets, with a number of recent reports of adverse health effects, including emergency medical treatment and fatalities, attributed to MDMA toxicity. […]

NZ’s Ross Bell: Police are not telling us enough about this killer drug

The people taking these cheap, poisonous products are largely young, poor and marginalised, and they’re not being protected. Wealthy, middle-aged people take plenty of drugs too, it’s just that they can afford better ones. We can’t keep relying on “just say no” as a model, it’s irresponsible. Our job as a caring society is to seek to mitigate and reduce harms by developing emergency response systems, getting mature legislation in place and addressing the underlying causes of drug use. […]

Prescription opioid epidemic coming to Australia

Much of American policy is designed to stop the flow of illicit drugs, which Dr Wodak said was close to useless in countries such as the United States and Australia, which have large borders. To address the growing problem, Dr Wodak made six recommendations, including increasing the availability of medical cannabis in Australia. […]

Tasmania: Time for a new tack on drug fight

Tasmania needs to listen to the experts — retired judges, magistrates, police commissioners, health experts and ex-premiers — and reorient resources towards preventing addiction. We need to intervene early, educate, fund more drug treatment programs and court mandated diversions, and decriminalise the personal use of drugs. […]

The real story of how ice is killing Australians isn’t found in scary headlines

Speaking of crime, what impact has ice had on rates of violent crime? A big one, according to the media. However, the Bureau of Crime Statistics and Research reports a recent downward trend in crimes such as robbery — down by 63 per cent since 2000 — which wasn’t the case during the heroin crisis of the 1990s, arguably the last time we were this concerned about an illicit drug. […]

Tas drug legalisation backed by ex-judge

A report calling on the Tasmanian government to decriminalise illegal drugs and invest more money in treatment services has the backing of a former chief magistrate. Community Legal Centres Tasmania on Monday released a study advocating a health-based approach to tackle the state’s “failing” war on drugs. […]

More executions reported in Philippines: UN experts

Reports of summary executions, including of children, are multiplying in the Philippines, three United Nations experts said Monday, urging the government to investigate and curb “spiralling rights violations”. “The Government of the Philippines must urgently address growing reports of human rights violations, including murder, threats against indigenous peoples and the summary execution of children,” the panel of three experts said in a statement. […]

ABC needs to report news not promote for-profit rehabs

A rehabilitation centre should be a sanctuary. Given that this facility is a private, unregulated clinic, there is little the government can do to regulate its actions. However, journalists can be more critical in colluding with such services by considering what the motives are for a story when it is being pitched, and questioning whether using and fully identifying vulnerable people as case studies is ethical. […]

Heroin deaths on track to pass statewide road toll in three years

Alcohol and Drug Foundation national policy manager Geoff Munro says the heroin toll will continue to rise. “We are disappointed that Victoria cannot follow the example of New South Wales of a supervised injecting room where people can get the medical assistance they need in case of an overdose,” he said. […]

ACT Labor conference forces caucus to consider pill testing at Spilt Milk

The ACT Labor caucus will be forced to consider pill testing at Spilt Milk 2017 after a motion was unanimously passed at its conference on Saturday. Pressure has been mounting on the government to allow harm minimisation groups to help people test their illicit drugs for dangerous substances. […]

Feds approve Ottawa’s first supervised injection site

The federal government signed off on the health centre’s application Wednesday after receiving the request for an injection site last January. Once a follow-up inspection is done, clients will enter one of five injection stations on the first floor of the health centre’s facility and shoot his or her drugs under the supervision of health experts. […]

Why Jokowi’s war on drugs is doing more harm than good

Far from having a deterrent effect, the number of drug-related crimes in Indonesia increased in the months after the executions were carried out in January and April 2015. During the subsequent crackdown, researchers and advocates also documented an increase in the use of coercive measures, prison overcrowding, including raids by law enforcement, forced drug testing, and compulsory detention. […]

Philippine leader says drugs war ‘trivialised’ by human rights concerns

Duterte wasted little time in his annual state of the nation address to defend a crackdown that has killed thousands of Filipinos. He said that though he valued human life, he needed to tackle “beasts and vultures” that were preying on helpless people and stopping foreign investment from pouring in. […]

Singapore hangs Malaysian drug trafficker

“(Srivijayan) was executed despite a pending appeal to have his case taken to the International Court of Justice, which would look into allegations that he was not given a fair trial,” the UN human rights body said in a statement. James Gomez, Amnesty International’s director for South East Asia and the Pacific, said: “That this cruel punishment has been administered after a trial filled with flaws makes this flouting of international law all the more disturbing.” […]

Why is Australia’s most progressive Premier blocking an injection room trial?

The paramedics who treat overdosed heroin addicts want a safe injecting room trial. The Richmond traders and locals who deal with users want a trial. The local government backs it. Health experts across the fields demand it. And Victoria’s coroner has twice recommended the state trial a medically supervised injecting room. […]

Uruguay, First Country in the World to Legally Regulate Marijuana, Begins Retail Sales Next Week

Next week, Uruguay will begin sales of legal marijuana for adult residents. The legalization proposal was put forward by former President José Mujica in 2012 as part of a comprehensive package aimed at improving public safety. Uruguay’s parliament gave final approval to the measure in December 2013, making theirs the first country in the world to legally regulate the production, distribution and sale of marijuana for adults. […]

Heroin use in Melbourne hits 20-year high

Fiona Patton, a member of the Upper House of Victoria parliament, said there was no serious organization that opposed safe injecting rooms. “Anyone with any common sense who has been there on the streets will see it is not working and people are dying,” Patton said. […]

Drug addiction researcher says new injecting room would save lives

After four years researching the dark world of drug addiction in the inner west, Jeremy Aitken believes having a place in the community where users could safely inject drugs would save lives. Having seen users accessing needle exchange programs, only to overdose through misadventure outside clinic doors, the academic and author is weighing in on the debate over the need for a second supervised injecting room in Sydney. […]

New Richmond alliance pushes for safe injecting room

“Visit a facility, talk to a real addict; to obtain some real facts before dismissing the proposal,” former AFP commissioner Mick Palmer said. “The reality is the facts speak for themselves and the huge success of Sydney’s [injecting centre] cannot be ignored, with major benefits and minimal negatives identified in a dozen independent evaluations and reviews.” […]

Why music festivals need to get smarter about drugs

The hardline approach does not work. That has been proven by now. You cannot stop the drug problem by waging war on it, just as you cannot stop something as ephemeral as “terror” by pledging to fight it with guns, and with arrests, and with the restrictions of civil liberties. Turning drug users and drug dealers into the enemy is like cutting off your toe to avoid the worst of tinea; like murdering your children to make sure someone else doesn’t first. […]

NZ Drug Foundation calls for decriminalisation of all drugs, regulated cannabis market

Criminal penalties for the possession, use and social supply of all drugs – not just cannabis – should be scrapped, the Drug Foundation has proposed. It announced the policy on Wednesday at its Parliamentary symposium, also calling for a strictly regulated cannabis market and more resources for prevention, education and treatment. […]

Decriminalisation Is The Only Way To Arrest Australia’s Drug Problem

The answer is not to give away the game of trying to control an uncontrollable market, but rather to learn from history and approach the problem with a clear headed focus on evidence. The answer lies in decriminalisation of personal use of drugs, regulation of the market and reducing the demand for drugs, not a focus on stopping what is a tidal wave of supply. […]

Covert drug testing reveals many Kiwi festival-goers consuming dodgy drugs

Undercover testing of illicit drugs at Kiwi music festivals has revealed that a third of substance-taking festivalgoers are consuming dodgy drugs. The findings have sparked a call from Associate Health Minister Peter Dunne to introduce legal testing of party drugs at festivals to reduce harm, labelling it logical and “common sense”. […]

United Nations and World Health Organization Call for Drug Decriminalization

In a joint statement, the United Nations and World Health Organization expressed their support for countries in the review and repeal of laws that criminalize drug use and possession of drugs for personal use. This joint statement, which addresses discrimination in health care settings, comes in light of the Sustainable Development Goals which aim to “ensure that no one is left behind”. […]

Drug-Taking is Inevitable at Festivals, So We Must Focus On Keeping People Safe

For too long, the debate around regulating recreational drug culture has been driven by those removed from its epicentre, albeit with clear concern for those at risk – politicians, law enforcement, parents of drug users, or even services seeking to minimise associated harm. As it becomes increasingly critical to explore new approaches focusing on harm reduction, we need to stop judging other people’s choices if we are to help them stay safe. […]

Why We Shouldn’t Drug Test Poor People

The results are resoundingly clear: Drug testing is costly, invasive and ineffective. In recent years, seven US states with drug-testing programs have spent over $1 million, only to find that in six of them, fewer than 1 percent of beneficiaries tested positive, compared with about 10 percent of the general population. […]

Why opioid deaths are this generation’s Aids crisis

Drug users have long been one of the most demonised and marginalised groups in society – and a low priority for policymakers. This simply can’t continue. A public health crisis and loss of life on the scale currently being witnessed warrants an immediate, and unapologetically progressive response. […]

Prohibition didn’t work for alcohol and it’s failing for marijuana

The abolition of anti-pot laws wouldn’t induct us into the Age of Aquarius. As we’ve seen in America, it’s actually a pretty small step – but it might spare a few kids from the brutality of the prison system, while freeing up resources that could be put to better use elsewhere.  […]

Medical cannabis workshop: ‘incredibly cumbersome’ to get drugs to patients

David Caldicott, a senior medical lecturer at Australian National University told Guardian Australia there was a lack of clarity among both doctors and patients due to confusing government frameworks. “If you go to different states in Australia you see very different responses. It is still incredibly cumbersome to get drugs to patients. […]

Drug Addicts, Alcoholics To Be Denied Disability Pension Under New Government Rules

Federal parliament will debate whether people with a disability caused by drug or alcohol use should receive government pensions, in the latest controversial welfare clampdown to attract outrage from social agencies. Numerous welfare and social groups have voiced their outrage over the measure, saying it unfairly targets and marginalises people who struggle with addiction and serious substance abuse issues. […]

Mexico Legalizes Medical Marijuana

A decree issued by Mexican President Enrique Peña Nieto today confirmed that Mexico has legalized cannabis for medicinal use after overwhelming support from Mexico’s Lower House of Congress. […]

Tough response to ice ‘failing’: Palmer

Mick Palmer, who served as AFP commissioner from 1994 to 2001, says approaching ice use as social and health problem rather than a law enforcement issue would be more effective in curbing use and supply. “The whole aim of our illicit drug policy at the moment is harm minimisation. We’ve done nothing to minimise harm over 40 or 50 years, in fact in many ways we aggravate it,” he said ahead of a public forum in Brisbane on Wednesday. […]

Queensland’s prison policy is ‘stupid’, says former chief as he calls for drugs rethink

Queensland’s “stupid” rate of incarceration should push the state government towards legalising recreational drug supply, a former state jails boss has said. Keith Hamburger also hopes the Palaszczuk government will embrace proposals for Aboriginal-owned “rehabilitation healing” centres for Indigenous offenders, of whom there are “probably 1,000” now in jail who “don’t need to be in there”. […]

Victoria Applauded for Refusing Plan to Drug Test Welfare Recipients

VCOSS CEO Emma King told Pro Bono News “nobody with heart” could support the policy. “We applaud the Victorian Government refusal to play the Commonwealth’s cruel game,” King said. “Drug testing and then punishing vulnerable job seekers will neither find them a job nor help them get off drugs. […]

Colombia ignores US pressure to return to aerial fumigation of coca

Colombia’s government dismissed US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson’s claim that “it is necessary to resume fumigation” of coca, the base ingredient for cocaine, reported newspaper El Tiempo. Disregarding Tillerson’s opinion, the Colombian government is bound to the peace deal that allows the spraying of chemicals only as a last resort and has no intention of changing the crop substitution strategy. […]

Welfare Drug Testing Will Ruin Recovering Addicts Like Me

When I heard Scott Morrison’s announcement, I thought, Well, that’s welfare done. I guess I’ll be avoiding it altogether. And I know that others like me, too, will feel that burn. Maybe that’s what some people hope will happen—for “dole bludging drug addicts” to be punished. But a welfare system that penalises addicts for lapsing is one that fundamentally misunderstands addiction. […]

Drug experts at Curtin University claim drug tests at festivals would save lives

The National Drug Research Institute says a trial of “sensible, contained and targeted drug-checking services” at Australia’s music festivals is “much-needed”. But the Curtin University-based group said this would only happen if political leaders “instruct health and law enforcement to work together and make it happen”. […]

Music festivals told by health officials to offer drug testing so users can assess the strength of illegal narcotics

The Royal Society for Public Health (RSPH) said testing facilities should be ‘standard’ at festivals so revellers can assess the strength and content of the drugs they are considering taking. Drug safety testing pilots at the Secret Garden Party and Kendall Calling festivals last summer, with the support of local police and public health officials, reduced the amount of potentially harmful substances circulating on site, RSPH said. […]

Australia Is Lagging Behind On Safe Injecting Rooms And It’s Killing People

No one in the field is claiming that MSICs will solve the state’s drug problem — the coroner’s report explicitly said they were not the “silver bullet” — but when displayed alongside the state’s other harm minimisation policies centred on drug use, it would seem surely seem like a natural step? […]

Uruguay, the first country where you can smoke marijuana wherever you like

“South America’s war against drugs has been absurd, with catastrophic results no matter which indicators you consider, including consumption. If Uruguay’s experience turns out positive, it will be easier for other countries such as Colombia or Mexico, mired in huge problems with powerful narcos, to find a better solution than the disastrous one implemented so far.”

[…]

Government Paper Says Welfare Drug Tests ‘Ought Not Be Considered’

“Whilst it is understandable why some might presume that drug testing is a useful strategy, it is high in cost, may have unintended adverse outcomes, and raises serious ethical and legal issues,” the paper said. “Its drawbacks may be addressed, at least in part, if it is clearly demonstrated that drug testing effectively meets its aims and reduces risk. […]

Australia ‘deserves better’ than US-style drug testing of welfare recipients

Greens senator Rachel Siewert said the US experience showed drug testing welfare recipients was not effective. “Looking overseas, what is becoming clear is the drug testing policy is introduced or proposed for purely political reasons, as a way of saying to voters ‘we are taking action on drug use’, Australia deserves better than this, we need evidence-based policy,” Siewert said. […]

WA medics call for decriminalisation of drugs

Drug possession for personal use should be decriminalised in WA, says the State’s peak doctors group, which is calling for a radical new approach to the war on drugs. Australian Medical Association WA president Dr Andrew Miller said it was time for a public debate on whether drug abuse should be treated as a health issue instead of a law and order problem. […]

Ottawa approves 3 supervised injection sites for B.C., 1 in Montreal

The new round of approvals brings the number of federally sanctioned sites to nine, significantly expanding what was once a radical intervention limited to a single location in Vancouver’s Downtown Eastside. Such facilities, run by local health agencies, allow users to consume illicit drugs in the presence of health workers who can intervene in the event of an overdose. […]

Brazil: No Humanity in São Paulo’s Violent Crackdown on Cracolândia

Videos and recounts of the crackdown are horrific: 900 militarized police officers viciously stormed through the area, arresting people suspected of using drugs. They evicted people who had been accessing voluntary treatment services, destroyed tents and temporary housing that had become people’s homes, and even blocked health professionals from providing relief to those harmed in the operation. […]

Russia and Ukraine: Annexation Symptoms

Russia’s abrupt, public shutdown of substitution therapy in Crimea in 2014 is one of the oddest and cruellest stories of the annexation. Russia claimed it incorporated the peninsula to protect local Russian-speakers from what it called a nationalist, fascist government that had come to power after months of demonstrations in Kiev forced President Yanukovych to flee. […]

The Left/Right Challenge To The Failed “War On Drugs”

The argument to criminalize “street drugs,” and severely punish their sellers and users, is largely based on the assumption that a “tough on crime” approach will reduce addiction and abuse of these dangerous substances. Criminalizing drug use consistently fails to address the health problems of addiction, and drives the drug trade underground where crime, violence and death flourish. […]

US: It’s time to kick our addiction to the war on drugs

There’s a better way. It’s called harm reduction. This approach focuses on reducing the negative effects of drug use rather than on punishing people who use drugs in an often-futile attempt to make them stop. Harm reduction options like supervised injection facilities or drug consumption rooms have successfully prevented fatal overdoses and connected people to treatment in cities such as Vancouver, Sydney, Amsterdam, Barcelona, and Zurich; there are 74 official drug consumption facilities in Europe alone. […]

People who use drugs may use cannabis and drug cocktails as a form of harm reduction

People who use drugs have come up with innovative strategies that help them reduce harm, including using marijuana to decrease crack use and mixing heroin with methamphetamine to moderate the effects of meth or prolong the duration of heroin’s effects, according to presentations at the 25th International Harm Reduction Conference (HR17) last week in Montréal. […]

Meet the Woman Testing Drugs at This Summer’s UK Festivals

The ink hasn’t quite dried on all the contracts, but the Loop will be providing drug testing at four or five commercial festivals. Add up all the guests at these events, and Fiona Measham believes some 500,000 people will have access to a potentially lifesaving service. All this is a result of consultations with police and local authorities, as opposed to government officials, with permission being granted at a local rather than national level. […]

Drug plan based on stigma not love

It is abundantly clear that the aim is not to “stabilise lives and encourage people to participate in treatment”. If the Turnbull government genuinely wanted to help people into treatment it would direct what will undoubtedly be the very high costs of this program towards treatment. […]

Drug testing could have catastrophic consequences for welfare recipients

Targeting and excluding people who use drugs is a terrible response to what is at its core a public health issue. This idea rests on the discredited view that illicit drug use is a “moral evil” as opposed to something 42 per cent of Australians have done at least once, and that getting tough is the appropriate response. […]

Supervised Drug-Injection Sites Are Spreading in Canada

Some segment of the population is going to be injecting drugs: Do you want them doing it in a safe, clinical setting, or in a park? Stigmatizing a problem and driving it into the darkness only exacerbates it — which is why cities like Montreal should be applauded for taking a more thoughtful approach, even if it might seem a bit counterintuitive at first. […]

Drug testing could have catastrophic consequences for welfare recipients

Scott Morrison’s federal budget has declared yet another “war on drugs”, announcing 5000 new welfare recipients will be required to undergo drug testing. Let’s be clear, there is no evidence these measures, which would target some of society’s most vulnerable people, would have any social benefit. […]

Any dignity left down the toilet

If a North Shore mum had to give a drug test before she claimed Family Tax Benefit Part B, Sunrise and Mamamia would be calling for Malcolm Turnbull’s head, but when it is just the dole bludgers everyone seems kind of cool with it. […]

Telegraph exploits man and exposes Australia’s failed and futile drug policy

If Australia had started a quarter century ago reforming its drug laws and carrying out a heroin trial, the bedraggled man in the photograph may well by now have been leading a normal and useful life, looking after his family, working for a living and paying his share of taxes. The exploitation of the man in the Daily Telegraph photo perpetuates the marginalisation of people who use drugs and further limits drug policy debate in Australia. […]

Drug-testing will demonise Australians on welfare, experts say

Welfare advocates say the Coalition’s plan to drug-test welfare recipients undermines the fabric of Australia’s needs-based safety net, while drug experts are warning the trial could have “unintended consequences” on those in the throes of addiction, including driving them into criminality. […]

Drug Testing The Dole Queue Won’t Help Make It Shorter

Until drug use is truly seen as a health issue and not one to be addressed via punitive measures, the stigma, discrimination, isolation and helplessness will remain. This program will not result in helping people but rather increase their likelihood of moving into a life of crime and homelessness. […]

UN expert in PH: Punitive measures worsen drug problem

“Badly thought-out policies,” Agnes Callamard said, not only fail to address the problem of illegal drugs but “compound” them. The “compounded” problems include killings, criminal gangs, breakdown of the rule of law, vigilante crimes, illegal detention of suspects, among others, Callamard said […]

Underground Pill Testing

We collected data on what we tested, what we found and what people said they were going to do with that information. It is hoped that releasing this will show that this practice has a tangible public health benefit, to show that individuals or groups can help keep themselves, their crew and the people around them safe. […]

Punter plans pill testing outside Canberra Groovin after ACT inaction

The unemployed 22-year-old has been buying chemicals online with money from his mum and plans to provide DIY reagent kits to punters heading to the Canberra leg of Groovin on the weekend. He’s posted a mobile number on his Facebook page and is asking punters who want to test their drugs to contact him in the lead up to the event. […]

ACT’s drug-testing trial could help end decades of backward policing

The arguments supporting pill testing are persuasive and are often made by health and law enforcement advocates with decades of relevant experience. Unfortunately, parliamentary politics is primarily focused on winning the next election. It can also be about threading effective policies through the political maze, while still surviving politically. As European Commission president Jean-Claude Juncker said recently: “We all know what to do, but we don’t know how to get re-elected once we have done it!” […]