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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. […]

Thousands of Free Pill Testing Kits Will Be Available at Music Festivals This Summer

Harm Reduction Australia’s president Gino Vumbaca explained how comprehensive clinical testing labs are a far more trustworthy alternative to reagent kits. These labs allow patrons to receive expert advice and chemical analysis of the pills they’re taking. The results are much more detailed and foolproof than those provided by DIY kits, which can detect active ingredients but not their dosage. […]

Singapore executes 2 for drug offences

It will not rid Singapore of drugs. By executing people for drug-related offences, which do not meet the threshold of most serious crimes, Singapore is violating international law,” said Amnesty International’s Rafendi Djamin. […]

Drug users swap stories, share warnings online in search for safety

“In the absence of a better system, people will use the systems that are available,” said NDARC researcher and Bluelight administrator Monica Barratt. “People are using drugs, and the internet is not going away,” Dr Barratt said. “We believe we need to change the way we approach drugs and talk about the best ways of dealing with these issues.” […]

The war on drugs has failed: doctors should lead calls for drug policy reform

Doctors and their leaders have ethical responsibilities to champion individual and public health, human rights, and dignity and to speak out where health and humanity are being systemically degraded. Change is coming, and doctors should use their authority to lead calls for pragmatic reform informed by science and ethics. […]

How Marijuana Won the Election

What Trump will do in light of his repeated calls for “law and order” and cracking down on crime is much harder to say. But if the man has an eye on winning a second term in 2020, he may not want to make weed his law enforcement priority. In most states where medical or recreational marijuana was on the ballot the initiatives got a significantly larger percentage of the vote than he did. […]

It’s Been a Historic Election for Marijuana

Across the US, voters have spoken, and they are embracing marijuana. In California, Florida, and even North Dakota, measures to legalize recreational or medical marijuana have passed handily. […]

Progress in war on drugs won’t come by locking more people up

Addiction is tough to beat, but the countries making progress aren’t calling for tougher laws and more prisons. How about we stop glorifying authoritarian law and order figures, declare a war on the war on drugs, and learn from the people and countries that are quietly and successfully setting about dealing with one of the biggest social problems of our time? […]

We Can’t ‘Breed Out’ Drug Addicts

Helping people with drug and alcohol problems is not the soft option, it is the smart option. Providing resources for family and treatment services achieves far better outcomes for the community than even more punishment ever will. […]

Drug users overseas to Duterte: ‘Stop playing God!’

“People who use drugs are not inherently evil or criminal. They are mothers, fathers, sons, daughters, sisters, brothers, and grandparents. They care for their families and communities. People who use drugs are human beings, just as valuable and important in contributions to society as all other citizens.” […]

DIY pill testing: Is it better than nothing?

Formal analytical testing of the market — with pill testing at music festivals as the sharp end of a broader early warning system that involves hospitals, ambulance, and static testing points — could not only save lives, it may even change the way how young Australians use drugs. […]

Polling high

Support for marijuana legalization has hit an all-time high in the U.S., according to two recent national polls, raising the possibility that legal weed could pass in all nine states where it’s on the ballot in the Nov. 8 election. […]

Health Warnings On Drugs Shouldn’t Be Provided By Police

It’s time for Australia to get back into the business of acting on evidence when it comes to drugs and to lead in this region. If you want our kids to be safer then we cannot simply push out more of the same and expect things to change. […]

Duterte in War of Words With the International Criminal Court’s Chief Prosecutor

Fatou Bensouda said that she is “deeply concerned” by reports from the country. “Any person in the Philippines who incites or engages in acts of mass violence including by ordering, requesting, encouraging or contributing, in any other manner, to the commission of crimes within the jurisdiction of the ICC is potentially liable to prosecution before the court.” […]

Court frees Australian in drugs rap

A Philippine judge dismissed a narcotics trafficking charge against an Australian man after ruling police made up evidence, court documents show, as concerns mount about new President Rodrigo Duterte’s war on drugs. […]

Will decriminalization solve the drug scourge?

Two major human and civil rights organizations make a good case for it and advance the decriminalization discussion in a report released Wednesday. Human Rights Watch and the American Civil Liberties Union are engaged in a major push to change the way federal, state and local governments deal with drug enforcement and abuse. […]

Medicinal cannabis: New laws allow access for Queensland patients of any age

Queensland GPs will soon be able to prescribe medicinal cannabis for patients under new laws passed by State Parliament on Wednesday night. However, Steve Peek, who uses cannabis oil on his dying eight-year-old daughter Suli, said the laws would not solve their problems. He said legal cannabis oil was too expensive and was not on the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme. […]

France Is Opening Its First Ever Drug Consumption Room

According to France Inter, the facility contains six injecting booths for people to use drugs intravenously, and an inhalation room for those who smoke. It will be open seven days a week from 1:30 – 8:30 pm, and will be run by the Gaia Association. […]

Once-powerful Philippines Church divided, subdued over drug killings

Opposing the drug war “in some locations becomes a dangerous job”, said Father Luciano Felloni, a priest in a northern district of the capital, Manila. At least 30 people, including a child and a pregnant woman, have been killed in his ‘barangay’, or neighbourhood, where he is setting up community-based rehabilitation for drug users […]

What The Philippines’ War On Drugs Can Teach Australia

We have fallen behind the rest of the world in adopting many evidence-based initiatives. We have experienced an evidence-based policy-free zone for far too long. Programs such as supervised injecting rooms, pill testing, needle exchanges in prisons and heroin prescribing are badly needed to reduce the toll from illicit drugs. […]

Aussie man tells of Philippine drug war

“How are you meant to believe that all these people who are being killed in buy-busts are guilty of drug dealing when they completely fabricated this whole thing against me?” […]

Australia earns Duterte’s ire

Malacañang has chided Australia for raising criticisms over the extrajudicial killings in the country through the media instead of the official channels. […]

Police promise not to charge ice users — could this be the answer to Australia’s drug crisis?

John Coyne, head of the Australian Strategic Policy Institute’s border protection program, told it was crucial police in this country adopted innovative ways to combat the ice crisis because “law enforcement on its own isn’t going to solve it”. “Chances are in the court system drug users won’t get a custodial sentence, but it will give them a drug conviction and that won’t allow them to drag themselves out of the [drug] mire. […]

Australia urges Philippines: Stop extrajudicial killings

“The Australian government is concerned about ongoing reports of human rights violations in the Philippines and we are monitoring the situation closely,” Bishop was quoted in the Australian Financial Review report as saying. “We urge the government to ensure the cessation of extrajudicial killings and offer all Filipino citizens their rights according to the country’s criminal justice system,” Bishop added […]

I Take Psychedelic Drugs and I’m in Recovery

“Each person has the right to define what recovery means for them. For many people, establishing safer and less risky relationships with substances while also working to optimize other areas of functioning is the essence of recovery.” […]

US: Adult Pot Use Up, But Abuse is Down, Feds Say

As legal access to cannabis goes up, abuse of the drug is on the decline. New data from the federal Center for Disease Control and Prevention shows that the legalization movement’s long running message about responsible use seems to be getting through. […]

Fewer police sniffer dog searches but most still don’t find drugs

The NSW Greens are attributing the drop in search figures to the success of the party’s “Sniff Off” campaign, which highlights the high percentage of what the party calls “false positives” – where dogs indicate the presence of drugs yet none are found. […]

The war on drugs is a war on people

This year, as the war on people turns 45, we must collectively acknowledge that it is one of the greatest American injustices ever committed, and turn outrage and frustration into action and progress. […]

Bolivia ended its drug war by kicking out the DEA and legalizing coca

Farmers feel particularly indebted to President Evo Morales, a former firebrand coca growers’ leader from the Chapare. Morales expelled the DEA from Bolivia in 2008 after violent confrontations in the region claimed 30 lives and he said he could no longer guarantee the US agents’ safety. […]

Copenhagen’s New Supervised Injection Site Is Swanky

“It would be great to have more supervised consumption sites in other parts of Copenhagen because we can see that people no longer die of overdoses in Vesterbro after we’ve opened the consumption facility here.” […]

Inside a Music Festival in a Country Where All Drugs Are Decriminalized

In Portugal, where the government’s approach to drugs is almost completely outside the realm of law enforcement, the climate at music festivals is different. Onsite drug-checking services test purity, and virtually no one is hassled for their supplements of choice. That’s because 15 years ago, a bold national policy was implemented where low-level possession of all drugs was decriminalized. […]

A Stark Choice For Filipino Drug Addicts: Surrender Or Risk Being Killed

The government says more than 700,000 people have surrendered. They’re fearful of what the president’s war on drugs might bring for them. That number has overwhelmed the government, which has neither the budget nor the infrastructure to help so many addicts. There are fewer than 50 government-accredited treatment and rehab centers in the entire country. […]

Troy Grant: the one NSW minister who should resign

At a harm minimisation summit at parliament house in August, an exasperated Harm Reduction Australia president Gino Vumbaca revealed that he had written to Grant inviting him to discuss issues of pill testing at music festivals. […]

In an Act of Extreme Sanity, Canada Approves Prescription Heroin

In Canada’s continued mission to become the woke sibling of the United States, Justin Trudeau’s government has just approved prescription heroin. The idea is to help severe addicts who haven’t responded to methadone, rehab, and other treatments. […]

NZ cop calls for cannabis reform

“Another reason is, does punishing a user of a drug, any drug, actually impact on their decision to use that drug? I don’t think so. People use drugs for various reasons. The thought of being prosecuted for such behaviour is obviously something they have considered briefly and then decided not to worry about it.” […]

We have a moral obligation to allow drug analysis at music festivals

We have a moral obligation to minimise the risk of harm to festival-goers or “festies”. Health professionals have the technology to act on this moral imperative – drug testing. What they don’t have is permission from our politicians and law enforcement agencies. […]

SA stakeholders call to put pill-testing to the test

South Australian drug and alcohol service providers are urging a summit on the merits of festival pill testing after the controversial intervention was endorsed by a motion in the Senate earlier this month. […]

Bullets Trump Rehab as Asia Quickens ‘Failing’ War on Drugs

“There is so much scaremongering and hysteria surrounding the issue of drugs,” says Gloria Lai of the International Drug Policy Consortium, a global network of 154 non-governmental groups. “That’s a disincentive for challenging old ways of thinking.” […]

Ex-ice users lecturing school kids not the answer to preventing drug use

Australia’s broader drug policy is based on “harm minimisation”. This acknowledges it’s impossible to eliminate drugs from society and that most people will use drugs only occasionally and for a short period in their lives. So reducing harms associated with drug use is the priority. […]

In Philippine Drug War, Little Help for Those Who Surrender

The government is proving woefully unprepared to help the flood of users pledging to kick their habits, leaving almost all of them to battle addiction largely on their own. The country’s meager drug treatment facilities have been overwhelmed, creating a new crisis for Mr. Duterte as he presses ahead with his violent campaign to rid the nation of drug dealers. […]

Rich, poor are all targets in drug war

The Catholic church, human rights groups and even UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon have criticised Duterte for his apparent support of extrajudicial killings. Critics have also charged that the police are mainly killing poor people in the slums while wealthy and influential suspects have been spared. […]

Pill Testing, Drug Sniffer Dog Removal Motion Passes Senate

Unharm’s Will Tregoning hinted to Triple J’s Hack program this week that pill testing advocates may throw caution to the wind and begin unofficially testing pills at music festivals this summer, most likely in the ACT where he says police are more receptive to the idea than some other states. When pressed on this idea by HuffPost Australia, he again did not rule it out. […]