Top Menu

In the News RSS feed for this section

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!” […]

Why not decriminalize drug use?

Vice President Leni Robredo suggested on Friday that the Philippines look to the example of Portugal, which made the radical decision of decriminalizing drug use in 2001, leading to lower drug-related deaths and declines in drug abuse among its citizens. […]

New report: Decriminalise drug use for a better society

A groundbreaking report was released last month on the future of drug policy in Australia. The report, Can Australia respond to drugs more effectively and safely? openly acknowledged the failure of Australia’s punitive drug policies and called for a steady path towards decriminalisation. […]

Push to undo hash ban in Nepal

Activists say that legalising marijuana will help patients to get high quality cannabis for their conditions, and by regulating the drug, the government can keep a tab on the criminality associated with it. […]

Pill testing could have saved my son’s life.

“Even though most people are for it, and we have the technology, pill testing is a topic no politician is brave enough to talk about. So it’s still illegal in Australia and people like my son continue to die,” says Adriana Buccianti. […]

Ice and Busts: The Lost War on Drugs in Australia

The ministers traffic in votes and illusions, and finding drugs provides a false incentive for both. What is needed, as The Age editorial surmised in November last year, is a policy “in favour of a harm minimisation strategy based on decriminalisation, regulation and education.” Paramilitary approaches should be ditched, and resources channeled into health. […]

Australia’s ice plan ‘failing’: expert

The federal government has invested $300 million into ice education and rehabilitation but Dr Wodak, a former director of the Alcohol and Drug Service at Sydney’s St Vincent’s Hospital, argues a more progressive policy is needed. “I’m not suggesting for a minute that we take money off law enforcement but we need to put serious money into prevention”. […]

Heroin made life bearable – at the same time as it nearly killed me

Trauma, mental ill-health, housing insecurity, poverty and so on are not the fault of the individual in a society increasingly aware of how many people are left behind and ignored in the minority’s pursuit of wealth. They do increase the attraction of drugs that can numb the severity of bitter reality. […]

Richmond’s heroin problem has gone from tragic to absurd

Thirty-four people died in my neighbourhood last year from overdoses that might have been avoided by providing drug users with a place that is carefully monitored by staff and social workers so they can inject with sterile equipment and dispose of needles safely instead of accidental overdoses occurring and syringes ending up in our streets. […]

South Africa High Court Just Legalized Private Cannabis Use

In a landmark ruling this morning, the Western Cape High Court in South Africa ruled that keeping weed illegal is unconstitutional. The decision marks a significant change in South Africa’s cannabis laws, effectively legalizing private cannabis use. […]

Why it’s important to just say no to bad drug policy

We should just say no to antiquated, ineffective and regressive strategies and policies for drug misuse prevention, and to demonizing complicated behaviors that are often initiated out of trauma, for capital gains in the prison system. Sessions, it seems, wants to further stigmatize and criminalize trauma. To this, I just say no. […]

Drug Decriminalization Conversation Ramps Up In Australia

Mick Palmer spent decades locking up drug users, first as a policeman and eventually as the head of the Australian Federal Police. Now, Palmer—along with other law enforcement officers and politicians—is calling for the widespread decriminalization of drugs in Australia in order to turn the tide against a drug enforcement policy that has been shown not to work. […]

Former premiers and Australian police chiefs call for drug decriminalisation

The report, entitled “Can Australia respond to drugs more effectively and safely?”, makes 13 recommendations around minimising drug-related harm and the burden on the criminal justice system. Among them are reducing and, where possible, eliminating penalties for possession and use; expanding health and social assistance for young people struggling with drug addiction; and undermining the black market with a regulated “white” market. […]

Drugs: The big win that proves we lose

Since Mokbel was jailed, the flow of drugs has only grown. He brought them in by containers; now syndicates have their own ships. He was a smart local entrepeneur; now Australia is targeted by international cartels, well aware we pay the highest prices in the world. The truth is we are worse off now than when Mokbel was grabbed 10 years ago.  […]

As police admit to losing battle, Australian Drug Law Reform Foundation president Alex Wodak calls for ice ingestion rooms

As State Government officials tour the state for a series of Ice Taskforce roundtables, people at the frontline of the Australia’s ice epidemic have told the Sunday Mail the police-based “war on drugs” approach is failing. Instead, they say a greater focus on health services, funding for treatment programs and “safe use” information is the key to beating the ice scourge that has gripped many parts of SA. […]

An Interview with Ethan Nadelmann

(W)ho are the drug reform movement? We’re people who love drugs, people who hate drugs, and we’re the people who don’t give a damn about drugs. But every one of us believes that the war on drugs is not the right way to deal with it. And that weaving together of a movement is the thing that I’ve (…) taken the greatest pleasure and pride in. […]

United Nations drugs board slams killings in Philippines

In a new annual report, the INCB says ‘extrajudicial action, purportedly taken in pursuit of drug control objectives, is fundamentally contrary to the provisions and objectives’ of international drug conventions. […]

Duterte’s war on drugs riddled with corruption: Human rights group

A Human Rights Watch report released on Wednesday (Mar 3) stated that the police and gangs or vigilantes are often one and the same. The report said: “In several cases we investigated, the police dismissed allegations of involvement and instead classified such killings as ‘found bodies’ or ‘deaths under investigation’ when only hours before the suspects had been in police custody.” […]

Yes, we can do on-the-spot drug testing quickly and safely

Drug testing at music festivals is very much about intervention and encouraging behavioural changes, rather than just drily delivering a result. We know from research that the majority of consumers would not take a pill if test results indicated the substance wasn’t what they thought it was. […]

Why there’s no legal barrier to a Melbourne drug injecting room, despite political setback

Such facilities are often a gateway for connecting marginalised and disadvantaged people to vital health care and other support services. This includes, for those who want it, alcohol and drug treatment services. Most importantly, supervised drug injection facilities around the world have prevented many fatal drug overdoses. And Sydney’s Medically Supervised Injecting Centre has overseen nearly one million injections and managed over 6,000 overdoses without a single death. […]

The ‘War On Drugs’ Has Been A Deadly Failure

There will be more deaths in the months to come, and as the disparity between expert recommendation and government action becomes more apparent, so will the anger of (voting) parents and loved ones. And every time there is another tragic, unnecessary loss of a precious, precious young Australian, those who stand in the way of what the health community is demanding — now — need to take a long hard look at themselves. […]

Viewing addiction as a brain disease promotes social injustice

An insidious assumption of the diseased brain theory is that any use of certain drugs is considered pathological, even the non-problematic, recreational use that characterizes the experience of the overwhelming majority who ingest these drugs. For example, in a popular US anti-drug campaign, it is implied that one hit of methamphetamine is enough to cause irrevocable damage […]

Filipino President Rodrigo Duterte Wants to Expand His Deadly Drug War to 9-Year-Olds

Duterte is looking to ramp things up further by lowering the age of criminal responsibility from 15 all the way down to 9. A bill that would do just that was actually introduced right around the time he was sworn in, and one of its co-authors says he expects it to be approved by the nation’s congress within the next six months. […]

‘Ice Wars’ message is overblown and unhelpful

Fear drives poor policy, policy that focuses on “crackdowns”, “zero tolerance” and scare campaigns. None of these things is effective. We know what reduces drug related harms in the community is a focus on support, on keeping people alive and on access to treatment. […]

Melbourne could open drug injecting room like Kings Cross

“If you have problematic injecting drug use and a number of people are requiring ambulance attendance because of overdose and a number of people are dying of accidental overdose and discarded equipment is in the streets, there’s public use going on and the local business community and local residents are sick of that and you’re lucky enough to have local police and council to support you, you tell me what the evidence based reasoning is not to open a proven service.” […]

Better Solution Than a Border Wall? End Drug Prohibition

So what’s the solution? Legalization. Yes, legalize marijuana, which is the number one producer of wealth for the cartels. End the federal prohibition, reschedule cannabis, invest in research and infrastructure, support medical advances and improve upon the nation’s economy all the while ending the war on drugs and dismantling the illicit market, which thrives on prohibition. […]

Needle exchanges in prisons can save money and lives

Incarcerated addicts shouldn’t be denied the health protections that are available to everyone else. The government should have faith in its evidence-based approach, and bring harm reduction inside prison walls. […]

War on drugs — It’s time to change tactics

Today law enforcement agencies continue to receive more than 65 per cent of the national drug budget to arrest people using drugs — so rather just saying we can’t arrest our way out of a drug problem, maybe it’s time to actually do something different. […]

Do large seizures of illicit drugs really make a difference?

Law enforcement attempts to interrupt the supply of illicit drugs are neither effective nor cost effective and they produce substantial collateral damage. Change is starting to happen in some countries and will eventually start in Australia. […]

Drug Prohibition Is Killing Young Australians

No organisations or individuals — not governments, police, teachers or even parents — have ever been able to stop young people using drugs. The exasperating truth is that all we can do as a society, and as parents, is to make it as safe as possible when they experiment with drugs. […]

Greens push for drug testing program after bad ecstasy blamed for overdoses

Greens health spokeswoman Colleen Hartland said a government-backed testing regime would be able to issue public alerts about dangerous drugs that could save lives. The push for drug testing comes after a bad batch of ecstasy was blamed for up to 20 overdoses around Chapel Street over the weekend. […]

AMA: Needle and syringe programs needed in prisons

The Australian Medical Association (AMA) has called for needle and syringe programs (NSPs) to be introduced in prisons and other custodial settings, to reduce the spread of Blood Borne Viruses including hepatitis B and C, and HIV. […]

Call for pill testing after party death

Dr Alex Wodak supports the introduction of pill testing in night clubs and at festivals and raves. ‘The principle is simple, every drug death of a young, fit, healthy Australian could largely if not totally be prevented,’ said Dr Wodak. […]

Regulating cannabis is inevitable. We should talk about getting it right

The reality is that if the two million Australians who use cannabis every year cannot purchase supplies from a legal, regulated market, they will obtain their supplies from a black market. A legal, regulated market would free up more than 60,000 thousand arrests-worth of police resources and eliminate a major source of funding for organised crime. […]

Why Australia needs more Drug Consumption Rooms

The most important question we should ask ourselves is not whether we need another drug consumption rooms in Australia, but why only one such centre has been established in the country despite their very positive national and international record. […]

Zero tolerance for drugs doesn’t work. Let’s embrace zero harm

Looking out for the health and wellbeing of people who attend their events is good for everyone, including the sustainability of the industry. Safer drug use at venues means less use of emergency services. Safer drug use at venues means happier, healthier customers who are more likely to be repeat visitors. […]

‘War on drugs will fail’

“The war on drugs is a misnomer.” The crackdown “is a war on people, largely the poor and, in many cases, minor offenders (assuming for the purpose of classification that they are offenders). As in all wars, there are unintended consequences, including collateral damage to innocent bystanders. Victims are ‘suspects’ only…. […]

Morality and non-medical drug use

So long as others are not harmed, there are no moral grounds for restricting use of cannabis or heroin any more than alcohol or caffeine, argues A C Grayling. […]

In Defense of Suboxone

This isn’t a story about me. It’s about two friends who would likely be alive today if they didn’t feel compelled to stop taking a life-saving medication. […]

Nobel Peace Prize: Santos calls for ‘rethink’ of war on drugs

The President of Colombia, Juan Manuel Santos, has used his Nobel Peace Prize acceptance speech to call for the world to “rethink” the war on drugs. He said the zero-tolerance policy might be “even more harmful” than all the other wars being fought worldwide. […]

Dear Aussie media, please stop reporting non-stories about drugs at festivals

Drug arrests at music festivals make for sexy story fodder. But whilst the media outlets enjoy the clicks, these non-stories paint a biased and inaccurate profile of Australia’s festival scene and undermine the efforts of organisers and industry members to police their events and protect their punters. […]

World AIDS Day: We Can’t End AIDS Until We End the War on Drugs

We’re not going to end the HIV/AIDS epidemic until we end the war on drugs. We aren’t going to get to zero – meaning zero deaths, zero new infections, and zero stigma – until we end the war on drugs. Syringe access is essential, as is decriminalizing drug use and opening safer drug use spaces or supervised consumption facilities. […]

Duterte threatens to kill rights activists if drug problem worsens

Human rights advocates, beware. You might just be next in “The Punisher’s” crosshairs. President Rodrigo Duterte has threatened to kill human rights activists critical of his take-no-prisoner tactic against illegal drugs, which has claimed the lives of some 5000 people allegedly involved in the narcotics trade. […]

Australia could see festival pill testing within this festival season

Speaking with ABC Radio National Dr David Caldicott said that pill testing in Australia right now is purely a political issue, with medical experts almost unanimously agreeing it’s a necessity. “I have great faith that it’s going to happen within this festival season, and it’s need has never been greater,” said Caldicott. […]

The ‘war on drugs’ has failed, and Australia must change its policies

The Age has for years been arguing the policy should be dumped in favour of a harm minimisation strategy based on decriminalisation, regulation and education. We continue to so advocate, and believe the resources being wasted on this misguided, indefensible “war” should be diverted from the criminal justice system to the health system, where there is a need for more treatment facilities and support to help those with drug issues recover and stay well. […]

Greens in radical new drug legalisation push

The Greens have made a radical change to their drugs policy which leader Richard Di Natale hopes will reignite the decriminalisation debate and pave the way for the legalisation of recreational drugs like cannabis. […]