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Drug use may increase the risk of coronavirus. Here’s how to reduce the harms

The coronavirus is too new to know the exact interaction with illicit drugs. There has been no peer reviewed research yet, and we don’t know how many people who have contracted the virus also use drugs. However, we can estimate some of the possible impacts from what we know generally about drugs, their effects on the body, and how people use them, including in times of increased stress. […]

In the time of COVID-19: Civil Society Statement on COVID-19 and People who use Drugs

COVID-19 infection does not discriminate, but magnifies existing social, economic and political inequities. People who use drugs are particularly vulnerable due to criminalisation and stigma and often experience underlying health conditions, higher rates of poverty, unemployment and homelessness, as well as a lack of access to vital resources – putting them at greater risk of infection. […]

It’s stockpiling, but not as you know it. Why coronavirus is making people hoard illegal drugs

Any disruption to the illicit drug supply will have the biggest effect on the most vulnerable populations. Heavy drug users are more likely to live with multiple people, have respiratory or other health issues or be homeless — and are therefore more at risk of contracting Covid-19. “They are in a double tier of vulnerability in that they’re more likely to get the virus and they’re more likely to be affected negatively by it,” said Steve Rolles, senior policy analyst at the Transform Drug Policy Foundation. […]

Fighting Australian addiction

In considering Australia’s future path to manage addiction, policymakers need look no further. They must consider the policies in Portugal and Switzerland and implement them in Australia. These ideas, radical or not, are working. […]

How Harm Reduction Is Responding to the Pandemic

Harm reduction is used to adversity. Hopefully we can do a good enough job of conveying to people that social distancing is simply due to an extraordinary set of circumstances, which are serious but still temporary, and not because we don’t care. That, at least, should be something we know how to do. […]

Why releasing some prisoners is essential to stop the spread of coronavirus

The Australian government has been silent on prison policy in its coronavirus control measures. The well-documented history of the transmission of infectious diseases in prisons rings alarm bells for the threat of COVID-19 to prisoners and society at large. This blind spot could have a devastating effect on communities, especially Indigenous communities. […]

COVID19 Harm Reduction for People Who Use Drugs

The following tips were developed to inform the global community of drug users on important harm reduction tips to practice during the current COVID-19 (“coronavirus”) pandemic. Please share, disseminate, and alter as needed to fit the needs of your community. And above all else, please stay safe and look after each other.  […]

Australia, you have a drug problem

As a starting point, the Government should establish a new joint parliamentary committee to critically explore our current national illicit drug strategy, with a focus on identifying gaps between demand and supply reduction and harm minimisation policy commitments, actions and impact. This work needs to focus on shaping Australia’s long-term illicit drug strategy. […]

Ice Inquiry Makes Recommendations, But Government Has Its Head in the Sand

“The Berejiklian government has been consistently refractory to all expert advice regarding the failure and futility of its drug policy,” Dr Wodak made clear. “The short-term prospects of drug law reform and better outcomes in NSW are dismal, but the long-term prospects are excellent.” The reason being is that drug law reform is “accelerating internationally”. […]

Decriminalisation and supervised drug consumption: call for leadership in Tasmania on drug reform

Ms Alison Lai said making drug use a criminal issue had been a proven failure throughout the world, and decriminalisation was a key step in making it a health issue. “If police find someone on the street and they are in possession of a couple of caps of ecstasy, for example, they get a warning, the drugs are confiscated and, the second time, they’re diverted into a program,” she said. […]

Pressure for permanent pill-testing service in Canberra after successful festival trials

Greens leader and Minister for Mental Health Shane Rattenbury acknowledged there were many in the community still uncomfortable with pill testing, but said the debate had to move on. “It’s been effective in potentially saving young lives. For me, that’s the bottom line,” he said. “I would hate to see a young person die because they wanted to experiment, they succumbed to the peer pressure, they took the tablet and it was a dodgy pill.” […]

NSW commission recommends more injecting clinics to stem tide of ice

A NSW special commission of inquiry into crystal methamphetamine has recommended the decriminalisation of illicit drugs, the statewide expansion of injecting clinics, and drug testing facilities for users at fixed sites, under a dramatic overhaul of existing policies criticised for failing to stem addiction around Australia. As a fundamental first step, Commissioner Dan Howard SC also emphasised what a chorus of global experts have repeatedly recommended: that illicit drug use be recognised as a health and social problem, rather than a matter of criminal justice. […]

Hand-picked commissioner slams government’s ‘tired, unimaginative’ drug policies

The state government has been left embarrassed after the professor hand-picked to solve the ice crisis landed ministers with a raft of suggestions they have already rejected. Opening up more injecting rooms, ditching drug detection dogs at music festivals, limiting strip searches, making ice pipes legal, and decriminalising the personal use of ice were among the controversial recommendations handed down on Thursday by ice inquiry head Professor Dan Howard. […]

Australia’s war on drugs is a failure

When policymakers consider how ongoing drug use trends combine with this new threat, it is clear that current and previous drug strategies will not be an effective tool, and lack the necessary ability to truly tackle this issue. A strong policy response to these problems will require innovative approaches that shift Australia from where it currently is to where it needs to go. […]

Growing push for Sydney’s second medically supervised injecting room

The Berejiklian government is facing a growing push to set up a safe injecting room in western Sydney as data on overdose deaths show the opioid crisis has spread to the outer suburbs. Criminologists are the latest to call for a second injecting room after a recommendation from Deputy State Coroner Harriet Grahame, who said politics should not stop “sound health policy”. […]

‘No excuse’: Doctors urge immediate release of ice inquiry report

Doctors and drug law reform advocates are calling on the NSW government to urgently release the findings of a special commission of inquiry into the drug ice. The four-volume report was delivered to the Berejiklian government by commissioner Professor Dan Howard on January 28, but the government has not publicly shared its findings or committed to a release date. […]

NZ: Universities called on to make drug testing kits available during Orientation Week

Wendy Allison said it was “about time universities stepped up” and used their own spectrometers to give students better access to testing services. Five student associations said they welcomed the prospect of  drug testing at upcoming orientation weeks, but only one – the Otago University Students’ Association – was able to do so.  […]

Will pill testing be on the Groovin’ lineup this year?

“The ACT Government does not condone the use of illicit drugs, we know the safest option is to not take drugs,” Health Minister Stephen-Smith said. “However, we also believe governments have a responsibility to not only try to prevent drug use but also to support initiatives that reduce the harms associated with drug use. […]

Loved ones unite in Family Drug Support group

Since 1997 Family Drug Support has built and developed a model for supporting families impacted by a family member’s alcohol or other drug issues by listening and talking to thousands of families and undertaking focus testing of their programs. “We advocate for harm minimisation as a oppose to zero tolerance, we believe that families do the best they can and if they are supported they can build resilience and survive their journey intact,” Family Project Officer Angela Tolley said. […]

Destroying amnesty bin drugs a wasted opportunity: Health experts

Health experts warn destroying drugs ditched in amnesty bins is a wasted opportunity. The bins give festival-goers a chance to ditch their illegal drugs – and have been used at eight events in New South Wales. Currently, the substances collected are destroyed by a waste management company. The Deputy State Coroner says testing the bins could provide information to health providers. […]

North Wales Police boss says UK should regulate cannabis and allow home grows

Police and Crime Commissioner Jones believes that the UK’s approach to drugs needs to change. He said: “In my policing career I have never met anyone who has caused violence through cannabis, as opposed to the hundreds of violence cases I have seen related to alcohol, which is a legal substance. […]

Does the future of music festivals rely on pill testing?

Few are better placed to comment on the impact of pill testing at the coal face than Dr David Caldicott from the ANU College of Health & Medicine and Pill Testing Australia. Twice, he has been part of a team that provided government-sanctioned on-site facilities at Groovin the Moo festival. “We knew it would work because it’s worked everywhere else it’s been tried and we’ve been campaigning for it for over 20 years,” he says.  […]

Time to put politics aside and implement pill testing

The upfront cost of drug safety testing is relatively minor; indeed, a simple reallocation of public money currently spent on drug detection dogs would more than fully fund it. It would also save costs of emergency services and hospitalisations.  Drug safety testing is a proven harm reduction measure. Drug detection dogs increase drug-related harm. […]