Top Menu

2016 Articles RSS feed for this section

Heroin treatment drug naloxone ‘saves lives’ in WA trial

A trial giving family members and friends of heroin users a drug to prevent overdoses has been hailed a success, and may even reduce overall heroin use, researchers say. The WA Peer Naloxone Project trained users and family members how to administer naloxone, which is used in emergency medicine to reverse the effects of opiates. […]

Toll in Philippines drug crusade reaches 2,000

The number of drug-related killings in the Philippines since Rodrigo Duterte became president two months ago on a pledge to wipe out the illegal drug trade has reached about 2,000, according to data released on Tuesday. […]

Is Australia really being flooded by new killer drugs?

Fear-based campaigns are counterproductive and may even lead to increased drug use. What is needed are evidenced-based approaches to reduce harm. For a start, Australia could begin testing drugs as part of a drug-monitoring system aimed at improving public health and safety. […]

The Rejection Of Drug Testing Is A Hard Pill To Swallow

If it is one of your children or family attending a festival and considering taking a pill, which would you prefer: an engagement with health professionals, or reliance on an over-the-counter or internet-ordered test kit? […]

Philippines drugs war: The woman who kills dealers for a living

The Philippines is in the midst of a brutal war on drugs sanctioned by the controversial President Rodrigo Duterte, which has seen almost 2,000 killings in a matter of weeks. The BBC’s Jonathan Head explores the country’s dark underbelly of dealers and assassins through the story of one woman trapped in a chilling predicament. […]

US: A Doctor’s Take on Pot

The government’s scheduling of marijuana bears little relationship to actual patient care. The notion that marijuana is more dangerous or prone to abuse than alcohol (not scheduled), cocaine (Schedule II), methamphetamine (Schedule II), or prescription opioids (Schedules II, III, and IV) doesn’t reflect what we see in clinical medicine. […]

Executions: Indonesia disregards its own laws

In the days leading up to the execution, serious unfair trials and miscarriages of justice experienced by those to be executed were raised by lawyers, family members and human rights groups. […]

Protestors in NYC Decry Duterte’s Murderous War on Drugs

Human rights and drug policy activists gathered outside of the Philippines’ consulate in New York City to protest President Duterte’s violent war on drugs. Duterte’s bloody crusade has led to at least 1,800 extra-judicial killings so far, as police squads and vigilante groups roam the country killing alleged drug dealers. […]

NZ: Customs allows cannabis through border

New Zealand law allows anyone who is prescribed a medicine overseas to bring one month’s supply into the country for their own use – including cannabis products. […]

NZ: Call for cannabis clubs if legalised

A poll out this week found 80 percent of New Zealanders supported legalising cannabis for medicinal purposes and a majority in favour of allowing people to have a small amount for personal use. […]

Prohibition – it should be banned

Until recently, I was against legalising, or even decriminalising cannabis. I’m one of the few people I know who has never used the drug and I had been influenced by the culture of fear fostered by the war on drugs. The deeper I delve into the issue, the more I am struck by how frightening the consequences of prohibition are. […]

How the War on Drugs Makes People Eat Other People’s Faces After Stabbing Them to Death

Spice and flakka cause psychotic symptoms, bodily damage and death, whereas cannabis has never caused an overdose and has well-recognized medicinal value. Cocaine sourced from the black market, which is laced with other unknown chemicals, can cause overdose death – but people aren’t stabbing and eating the faces of other people while on cocaine. […]

Want to reduce gun violence? Halt the war on drugs

Without legal mechanisms in place, the only option for arbitration in the black market is violence. This violence takes many forms: turf wars between drug suppliers where civilians are caught in the crossfire; no-knock police raids where suspects are gunned down; drug addicts assaulting others to secure money for their addiction. […]

Chasing Drug Dealers: A War Of Wits

Organised Crime can only be fought successfully by levelling the playing field; take the money away from them. Regulate the control of illegal drugs and take the power away from criminals. It’s the intelligent thing to do. […]

It’s Important To Understand Pill Testing Before We Condemn It

The NSW Government has no reason to be fearful of a forum to debate and discuss policies that affect so many of its citizens’ lives. It is an opportunity to review the evidence, understand the impact of current laws and policies and develop effective approaches that make communities, families and people healthier and safer. […]

NZ and Australia to take part in world’s biggest ketamine trial

NZ and Australia are to conduct the world’s largest trial to find out whether ketamine can cure depression. Previous trials have shown ketamine “produces rapid antidepressant effects within hours”, says research leader UNSW Professor Colleen Loo, but the long-term effects aren’t yet known. […]

Killings of Drug Suspects Rise to 525 in the Philippines

Some local news agencies have reported considerably higher death tolls, some as high as nearly 1,000, in counts that included drug suspects killed by unidentified attackers since Duterte emerged as the president-elect following the May 9 elections. […]

Duterte’s war on drugs leaves jails bursting, sees mass surrenders

From severely overcrowded prisons to exhausted funeral parlour operators and parents turning their own children in to avoid vigilante bounty killings, people in the Philippines are scrambling to respond to the effects of President Duterte’s war on drugs, slightly more than a month after he took office. […]

Colombia’s New, Legal Drug Barons Focus on Medical Marijuana

Officials hope the new law will put a dent in Colombia’s drug trafficking business by creating a legal opportunity in an industry historically controlled by the black market. The authorities believe the new law will also help attract investment and give the economy a lift. […]

Finding a better way to treat drug addiction than by jailing people

In Australia we have known for decades that although treatment for drug addiction is sometimes expensive, it is always much less expensive than the costs of escalating incarceration. As Dan Satterberg, a prosecuting attorney from King County in Washington, says: “Jail is the most expensive and least effective way to deal with drug crimes.” […]

Two years later

In the two years since the first cannabis company ad was published in the New York Times, the Berlin Wall of prohibition has continued to crumble. Today, 25 states have some type of legal medical cannabis, a total that could climb after the 2016 election. Countries like Germany and Australia are taking active steps to introduce federal medical cannabis programs. […]

US ‘concerned’ by violent Philippine war on drugs

Elizabeth Trudeau, a State Department spokeswoman, said Monday that the United States was “concerned.” “We believe in rule of law. We believe in due process. We believe in respect for universal human rights,” she told reporters. […]

Rodrigo Duterte: ‘I don’t care about human rights’

In a homily delivered later on Sunday, Catholic leader Archbishop Socrates Villegas condemned the latest killings, saying, “I am in utter disbelief. If this is just a nightmare, wake me up and assure me it is not true. This is too much to swallow. […]

The Bodies Of Drug Dealers Are Piling Up In The Philippines

Police wrap their lifeless heads in tape and cardboard scrawled with the tag ‘pusher ako’. It’s a sign to the community that this person who lays dead on a street was a drug dealer. You should not remember their face. You should not see them as human. You should not cry. […]

Crackdowns and cutbacks: Indonesia’s drug policy

“A redirection of focus and funds away from repressive policies should happen with evidence-based approaches such as harm reduction and community-based drug dependence treatment as the priority, rather than coercive or non-evidence based models,” said Rick Lines of Harm Reduction International. […]

Over 300 NGOs call on the United Nations to take immediate action on the hundreds of extrajudicial killings of suspected drug offenders in the Philippines

Civil society groups from across the globe, including prominent human rights NGOs, have called on UN drug control authorities to urge an immediate stop to the extrajudicial killings of suspected drug offenders in the Philippines. Since 10th May 2016, more than 700 people have been killed by police and vigilantes in the Philippines for being suspected of using or dealing drugs, as a direct result of recently-elected President Duterte’s campaign to eradicate crime within six months. […]

Drug testing down under

For emergency doctors with an interest in illicit toxicology, the arrival of the summer months in Australia signals, like some sort of grotesque seasonal cuckoo, the beginning of the music festival season. With it, the entirely predictable and unnecessary deaths of young Australians from illicit substance ingestion. […]

Why Lousy “Synthetic Drugs” Are Going to End the Drug War

More completely and more quickly than any of the “classic” drugs, the creation and existence of NPS has forced two of the thorniest issues in drug policy to the fore: whether altered states are even allowable, and whether it should possible for anyone to profit off of them. Answering these two questions will force an end, one way or another, to the drug-by-drug prohibition-based drug war we know. […]

Indonesia’s cruel death penalty

President Joko Widodo has permitted these executions, each convicted of drug offences, claiming it will send a message of deterrence. The only message is regrettably of Indonesia’s inhumanity. […]

The long and cruel reach of Indonesia’s death penalty

All 14 people executed last year were convicted of drug trafficking, and all but two were foreign nationals. With hundreds of Indonesians on death row in other countries, many have decried the hypocrisy of a government that fights to save their own people while targeting foreigners for execution. […]

Russia’s war on drugs is hurting America

Russia has become the world’s most aggressive defender of maintaining the war on drugs, outdoing even countries such as Iran. Iran, for instance, supports things such as needle exchanges for heroin users; Russia does not. And Russia’s hard-line stance on the drug war is bad for us. […]

Indonesia executes four convicted drug offenders

“Any executions that are still to take place must be halted immediately. The injustice already done cannot be reversed, but there is still hope that it won’t be compounded,” said Rafendi Djamin, Amnesty International’s director for South East Asia and the Pacific. […]

The Link Between Drugs And Violence

As long as we persist in keeping drugs illegal, the violence, especially in our inner cities, will continue, and there will be an endless supply of new non-violent offenders as well as those who take violent action. Only legalization can change the dynamic. […]

Splendour In The Grass Proves How Broken Australia’s Drug Laws Are

Tony Trimingham said earlier this year that “families want services that assist rather than punish and criminalise people in a way that creates lifelong penalties”. Nowhere is our punitive, counter-productive approach to drug use more perfectly encapsulated than the hypocritical, expensive police operations run at music festivals like Splendour in the Grass. […]

Is addiction really a disease?

If we can acknowledge that addiction is like a disease in some ways and very much unlike a disease in other ways, maybe we can stop trying to label it and pay more attention to the best means for overcoming it. […]

Secret Garden Party becomes first UK festival to introduce drug testing

“For the first time we’ve been able to offer the testing service to individual users as part of a tailored advice and information package provided by a team of experienced workers. This can help people make informed choices, raising awareness of dangerous substances and reducing the chance of drug-related problems.” […]

Decades on, old foes unite for new drug approach

Next month’s summit, the initiative of a group of MPs from across political divides, will consider how a harm-minimisation approach could be extended to today’s major drug challenges, including the rising availability and use of ice. […]

NZ: Numbers on cannabis speak for themselves

The advocates of decriminalising cannabis now have an economic case to press. A Treasury official, in a document prepared for a brainstorming session, suggested the Government could save more than $500 million a year legalising the popular drug. […]

Italian Parliament to Consider Marijuana Legalization

Italy hopes to jown a growing list of countries that have recently reformed marijuana laws. If Italy passes the bill currently under consideration, it would become the first European country to legalize marijuana for non-medical use. […]

Why more drug consumption rooms are a must

It’s well and truly time we opened more Drug Consumption Rooms in our major cities and in some of our larger regional centres. New centres should also be able to handle people who inhale ice, a drug about which the community rightly remains concerned. […]

Calls for needle exchange programs in jail

The spread of blood-borne diseases such as hepatitis B and C among Australia’s prison population has prompted a call for jails to establish needle exchange programs. […]

Drugs, Dissociatives and Displacement: The Festival Drug Report

The only way that we can know for sure what is circulating at festivals and whether dealers are misselling NPS to users is to conduct forensic testing on site and to match what users think they have bought with what they have actually bought. This is essential for public safety, for emergency services to respond appropriately to incidents, and for targeted harm reduction messages to users. […]

NZ should introduce meth inhalation rooms: Aus addiction expert

An Australian drug addiction treatment expert says New Zealand should introduce supervised meth inhalation facilities. Youth addiction sector worker Matt Noffs said New Zealand’s innovative approach to treating drug addiction has worked in the past and should continue. […]

Why ice rooms are an absolute necessity

Safe rooms represent a portal for health and social interventions. So safe rooms benefit people who use drugs and their families and their communities. They are not a solution to our drug problems; there is no solution. But they are part of the response intended to more effectively respond to illicit drugs. […]

Death penalty of Australian is ‘appalling’

The Human Rights Watch said it was appalled by the death penalty verdict by a Vietnam criminal court against an Australian grandmother for drug trafficking. Phil Robertson, deputy Asia director for Human Rights Watch, was highly critical of Vietnam’s policy to apply the death penalty for drug trafficking. […]

Safe Injection Rooms Would Save Lives

The idea that rooms are provided to allow people to take drugs like crystal methamphetamine needs to be taken seriously. When my son Damien died in 1997, the idea of injecting facilities and prescription heroin drew my attention but I was cautious about them. Rather than dismiss them out of hand I took it upon myself to visit Switzerland and see them functioning in Geneva and Berne. […]

UK: Prohibition doesn’t save anyone’s child

Each tragedy that swells the ranks of the Anyone’s Child campaign is preventable, and each one further evidences the fact that legalising and regulating the UK’s supply of drugs will save lives. Nobody’s child needs to provide the government with another case study. […]

The war on drugs is a losing battle

If we are genuine about reducing the harm caused by drugs we need education, regulation and health-based programs underpinned by evidence. The days of empty, chest beating calls for a war on drugs are hopefully over. […]

The hypocrisy of drug bans in a game backed by booze

Drugs, legal and illegal, are prevalent in Australian society. And over-consumption causes addiction, disfunction and death. But the illegal ones – those tested for by the NRL – are, according to experts, less harmful than the legal ones that sponsor rugby league. […]

Confronting the ‘meth monster’

The first step to solving a problem is admitting there is one. So together we must realise that the real problem is not the use of drugs, it is the fear and the subsequent belief we created that the criminal justice system is the answer. […]

Why we should de-criminalize all drugs

It’s impossible to remove the stigma of addiction while drug use remains illegal – the two concepts are completely at odds with one another. […]

How Psychedelic Drugs Could Help Treat Addiction

Another step toward mainstream medical acceptance of formerly “out-there” substances may involve turning them against other drugs. Across the US and UK, new clinical trials are using psychedelics in an attempt to treat addiction to everything from controlled substances to alcohol and cigarettes. […]

Duterte names and shames top Filipino cops for helping drug gangs

Thirty suspected drugs dealers were killed in the five days after he took office on June 30 and the death toll since his May 9 election win is far higher than that recorded in the previous four months.The drugs war has triggered alarm among human rights groups, lawyers and the clergy who say “summary executions” should stop. […]