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Harm Reduction

Chronicle AM: OR Top Cops Call for Drug Defelonization, SC County Wants Jail for Overdosers, More... (9/27/16)

Harm Reduction (STDW) - Tue, 09/27/2016 - 20:43

NORML updates its congressional scorecard, Bay State legalizers cry foul over a misleading voter guide, the number of babies suffering from opioid withdrawals has jumped dramatically, Oregon top cops want to defelonize simple drug possession, and more.

[image:1 align:right caption:true]Marijuana Policy

NORML Releases Updated and Revised 2016 Congressional Scorecard. To mark national Voter Registration Day, NORML has released its updated and revised guide to members of Congress. The guide gives letter grades to our representatives based on the comments and voting records. Only 22 of the 535 senators and congressmen got "A" grades, while 32 members got an "F" grade.

Massachusetts Legalizers Cry Foul Over State-Issued Voter Guide. Campaigners behind the Question 4 legalization initiative say a state-issued guide sent to voters across the state inaccurately describes the fiscal consequences of the measure. The guide says they are "difficult to project due to lack of reliable data" and cites a report from a committee headed by a top opponent of legalization to the effect that taxes and fee revenues from legal marijuana sales "may fall short of even covering the full public and social costs. The Yes on 4 campaign points out that there is "reliable data" from legal marijuana states and that those states have easily covered administrative and other expenses.

Heroin and Prescription Opioids

Study: Number of Babies Born Suffering Withdrawal Symptoms More Than Doubles in Four Years. Researchers studying neonatal abstinence syndrome, which results from withdrawal from opioids to which fetuses were exposed in utero, report that the incidence of the syndrome has jumped from 2.8 cases per thousand live births in 2009 to 7.3 cases in 2013. At least some of the surge may be a result of drug policies aimed at cracking down on prescription drug use. "The drug policies of the early 2000s were effective in reducing supply – we have seen a decrease in methamphetamine abuse and there have been reductions in some aspects of prescription drug abuse," said lead study author Dr. Joshua Brown. "However, the indirect results, mainly the increase in heroin abuse, were likely not anticipated and we are just starting to see these." The researchers also noted wide variations by state, from 0.7 cases per thousand in Hawaii to 33.4 cases in West Virginia.

New Psychoactive Substances

Bill to Criminalize More New Synthetics Passes House. A bill sponsored by Rep. Charlie Dent (R-TX) to add several new synthetic cannabinoids and opioids to the Controlled Substances Act passed the House Monday. The measure, HB 3537, now goes to the Senate.

Law Enforcement

Oregon Law Enforcement Calls for Defelonizing Drug Possession. The Oregon Association of Police Chiefs and the Oregon State Sheriff's Association have jointly called for people caught with "user amounts" of illegal drugs to face misdemeanor charges—not felonies—and be sent to treatment. Elected officials and prosecutors should "craft a more thoughtful approach to drug possession when it is the only crime committed," the top cops said, because felony charges "include unintended and collateral consequences including barriers to housing and employment and a disparate impact on minority communities."

South Carolina County Ponders Mandatory Jail Time for People Who Overdose. The chairman of the county council in Horry County, where Myrtle Beach is located, has inquired during a council meeting about whether to make people who suffer opioid overdoses spend three days in jail. Chairman Mark Lazarus would also like to see mandatory drug treatment required. He added that jailing people who overdose wouldn't discourage them from getting medical help because they're usually unconscious and someone else calls for emergency assistance. 

Categories: Harm Reduction

CN ON: City Installing Needle Bins

Harm Reduction (MAP) - Fri, 09/23/2016 - 07:00
Sudbury Star, 23 Sep 2016 - A bright yellow bin, about the size of a mailbox but taller, is now positioned on the edge of the Junction Creek trail near Hnatyshyn Park. The sunny hue, however, belies the gravity of its contents and the issue it's mean to address.
Categories: Harm Reduction

CN BC: More Safe Injection Sites On Way

Harm Reduction (MAP) - Fri, 09/23/2016 - 07:00
Metro, 23 Sep 2016 - Health officials hope to help Downtown Eastside Even with Insite, demand for new supervised injection sites remains highest in Vancouver's Downtown Eastside, Vancouver Coastal Health says. The health authority announced this week it is preparing applications for two new supervised injection sites in that community in response to the British Columbia's epidemic of overdose deaths.
Categories: Harm Reduction

CN BC: Discarded Needles A Growing Challenge For City

Harm Reduction (MAP) - Fri, 09/23/2016 - 07:00
Langley Times, 23 Sep 2016 - Unlimited distribution, but no pick-up As part of its harm reduction strategy, Fraser Health offers an unlimited supply of needles to intravenous drug users. But the local health authority does not recover those needles once they've been used - - a fact which has become more evident in Langley parks, streets, at the doorways of businesses and on trails and even school grounds throughout the Township and City.
Categories: Harm Reduction

CN BC: Overdoses Kill Over 2 Dozen In Kelowna

Harm Reduction (MAP) - Fri, 09/23/2016 - 07:00
The Daily Courier, 23 Sep 2016 - 27 deaths to date during 2016 far exceed those in all of last year Illicit drug overdoses killed more people in the first eight months of 2016 in Kelowna than in all of last year, according to a new government report.
Categories: Harm Reduction

CN BC: Two New Supervised Injection Sites Face Legal Wall

Harm Reduction (MAP) - Fri, 09/23/2016 - 07:00
Globe and Mail, 23 Sep 2016 - As Vancouver moves to open two new supervised injection sites amid an unprecedented level of overdose deaths, B.C.'s top health officials are once again calling for the repeal of legislation they say imposes unnecessary barriers to the lifesaving harm-reduction measure. Vancouver Coastal Health this week announced the locations for two of five proposed injection sites, both to be located in the city's Downtown Eastside. Speaking with media about the sites and the troubling surge of fatal overdoses in British Columbia, the province's top health officials once again spoke of the Respect for Communities Act, which requires prospective operators to satisfy more than two dozen time-consuming and costly requirements to get the exemption from federal drug laws needed to operate.
Categories: Harm Reduction

CN BC: Vancouver Firefighters Act To Ease Strain From Overdose Surge

Harm Reduction (MAP) - Thu, 09/22/2016 - 07:00
Globe and Mail, 22 Sep 2016 - A surge in drug overdoses that has spread across several provinces has prompted Vancouver firefighters to redistribute resources and place limits on shifts to ensure first responders on the front lines of an opioid crisis aren't overwhelmed. Vancouver's Fire Hall No. 2, which serves the Downtown Eastside, has long been one of the busiest in North America. It used to average roughly 650 calls a month, but soaring overdose rates - largely from the growing prevalence of illicit fentanyl in street drugs - have pushed that number up to more than 1,000 in both July and August.
Categories: Harm Reduction

CN BC: Four New Supervised Injection Sites Eyed For Vancouver

Harm Reduction (MAP) - Thu, 09/22/2016 - 07:00
Vancouver 24hours, 22 Sep 2016 - Vancouver Coastal Health has identified two locations where it intends to place future supervised injection sites, with an additional two unnamed locations planned, chief medical health officer Patricia Daly said on Wednesday. "The applications for the first two sites are going to go in within a month," Daly told Vancouver city council.
Categories: Harm Reduction

Seattle Aims to Open the First Safe Injection Sites in the US [FEATURE]

Harm Reduction (STDW) - Wed, 09/21/2016 - 21:48

Seattle and surrounding King County are on a path to establish the country's first supervised drug consumption sites as part of a broader campaign to address heroin and prescription opioid misuse. A 99-page report released last week by the Heroin and Prescription Opiate Addiction Task Force calls for setting up at least two of the sites, one in the city and one in the suburbs, as part of a pilot project.

[image:1 align:left]The facilities, modeled on the Canadian government-funded InSite supervised injection site in Vancouver, just 140 miles to the north, would be places where users could legally inject their drugs while under medical supervision and be put in contact with treatment and other social services. There have been no fatal overdoses in the 13-year history of InSite.

Although such facilities, which also operate in various European countries and Australia, have been proven to reduce overdose deaths and drug use-related disease, improve local quality of life, and improve the lives of drug users, they remain controversial, with foes accusing them of "enabling" drug use. Thus, the report refers to them not as "safe injection sites," or even "supervised consumption sites," but as the anodyne "Community Health Engagement Locations" (CHELs).

"If it's a strategy that saves lives then regardless of the political discomfort, I think it is something we have to move forward," said County Executive Dow Constantine, discussing the plan at a news conference last week.

The safe sites will address the region's high levels of opioid and heroin use, or what the task force called "the region's growing and increasingly lethal heroin and opioid epidemic." As the task force noted, the number of fatal overdoses in the county has tripled in recent years, with the rate of death rising from roughly one a week (49) in 2009 to one very other day (156) in 2014. The current wave of opioid use appears centered on young people, with the number of people under 30 seeking treatment doubling between 2006 and 2014, and now, more young people are entering detox for heroin than for alcohol.

[image:2 align:left caption:true]Overdose deaths actually dropped last year to 132, thanks to Good Samaritan laws that shield people who aid overdose victims from prosecution and to the wider use of the opioid overdose reversal drug naloxone. But that's still 132 King County residents who needn't have died. Task force members said the CHELs would help reduce that number even further.

"The heroin epidemic has had a profound effect not just on our region, but across our country as a whole," said Seattle Mayor Ed Murray. "It is critical that we not only move forward with meaningful solutions that support prevention and treatment, but that we remove the stigma surrounding addiction that often creates barriers to those seeking help.

Not only are key local elected officials on board, so is King County Sheriff John Urquhart. He said the safe site plan was workable.

"As long as there was strong, very strong, emphasis on education, services, and recovery, I would say that yes, the benefits outweigh the drawbacks," he said. "We will never make any headway in the war on drugs until we turn the war into a health issue."

The region may willing to embrace this ground-breaking harm reduction measure, but it is going to require some sort of federal dispensation to get around the Controlled Substances Act and the DEA. How that is going to happen remains to be seen, but Seattle is ready.

The task force wasn't just about CHELs. In fact, the safe sites are just a small, if key, component of a broad-based, far-ranging strategy to attack the problem. The task force report's recommendations come in three categories:

[image:3 align:right caption:true]Primary Prevention

  • Increase public awareness of effects of opioid use, including overdose and opioid-use disorder.
  • Promote safe storage and disposal of medications.
  • Work with schools and health-care providers to improve the screening practices and better identify opioid use.

Treatment Expansion and Enhancement

  • Make buprenorphine more accessible for people who have opiate-use disorders.
  • Develop treatment on demand for all types of substance-use disorders.Increase treatment capacity so that it’s accessible when and where someone is ready to receive help.

Health and Harm Reduction

  • Continue to distribute more naloxone kits and making training available to homeless service providers, emergency responders and law enforcement officers.
  • Create a three-year pilot project that will include at least two locations where adults with substance-use disorders will have access to on-site services while safely consuming opioids or other substances under the supervision of trained healthcare providers.

Will Seattle and King County be able to actual implement the CHELs? Will the federal government act as obstacle or facilitator? That remains to be seen, but harm reductionists, policymakers, and drug users in cities such as Portland, San Francisco, and New York will be watching closely. There have been murmurs about getting such sites up and running there, too.

Categories: Harm Reduction

CN ON: Creating Safe Injection Sites Won't Be Easy

Harm Reduction (MAP) - Wed, 09/21/2016 - 07:00
Hamilton Spectator, 21 Sep 2016 - Drug problem 'already in everybody's backyard,' physician says Advocates of safe injection sites for intravenous drug users in Hamilton believe they face an uphill battle in gaining public acceptance for the idea. But they feel the effort is worth it. "I don't expect it will be easy. I've already had one particular communication that was rather disturbing. I'm sure it won't be the only one," said Ward 2 Coun. Jason Farr, whose ward would likely end up with a site if the city allows them.
Categories: Harm Reduction

CN ON: Health Unit To Develop Regional Drug Strategy

Harm Reduction (MAP) - Wed, 09/21/2016 - 07:00
Northumberland Today, 21 Sep 2016 - A new coordinator has been hired to help develop a regional drug strategy, says the area medical officer of health (MOH). Dr. Lynn Noseworthy, the MOH of the Haliburton Kawartha Pine Ridge District Health Unit, provided some information about the strategy to the health unit board during its most recent meeting in Port Hope.
Categories: Harm Reduction

CN ON: Column: Safe Drug Use Sites A Way Station To Hell Or The

Harm Reduction (MAP) - Wed, 09/21/2016 - 07:00
Hamilton Spectator, 21 Sep 2016 - Moral dilemmas, NIMBY-ism and budgets pose obstacles Coun. Donna Skelly was curious what safe injection places for drug addicts look like. So Dr. Jessica Hopkins, Hamilton associate medical officer of health, drew her attention to slides of the Insite facility in Vancouver, one of two legally operating injection sites in Canada, both in Gastown.
Categories: Harm Reduction

Chronicle AM: Seattle Call for Injection Sites, Duterte Wants More Lethal Drug War, More... (9/20/16)

Harm Reduction (STDW) - Tue, 09/20/2016 - 20:40

A Seattle/King County heroin task force has recommended two safe injection sites be established, a California bill to let landlords ban medical marijuana smoking dies, Nevada legalization foes get organized, and more.

[image:1 align:right caption:true]Marijuana Policy

Nevada Legalization Foes Get Organized. Opponents of the Question 2 legalization initiative have organized as Protecting Nevada's Children, complete with a slick website that warns that "legalizing marijuana… like giving candy to a baby." Officials with the no campaign are also worrying about "a well-prepared workforce" if Las Vegas becomes "the Amsterdam of the West." The group refuses to divulge its funding, saying it would be revealed in mid-October, when campaign finance reports are due.

Medical Marijuana

California Bill to Let Landlords Ban Medical Marijuana Smoking Dies. Assemblyman Jim Wood (D-North Coast) has dropped his bill that would let landlords ban smoking medical marijuana after he conceded he was unable to figure out how to meet the needs of medical marijuana patients.

Harm Reduction

Seattle Heroin and Opioid Task Force Issues Report, Calls for Two Safe Injection Sites. The King County Heroin and Opiate Addiction Task Force has issued a final report calling on increased prevention and access to treatment for addicted users. Among other recommendations, the report calls for authorities to "Create a three-year pilot project that will include at least two locations where adults with substance-use disorders will have access to on-site services while safely consuming opioids or other substances under the supervision of trained healthcare providers." Look for a detailed article on the task force recommendations tomorrow.

Sentencing Reform

North Dakota Legislature Squabbles Over Drug Sentences. Legislators are working off-session on a pair of criminal justice reform bills aimed at curbing a growing prison population, but some are reluctant to embrace reductions in drug sentences that experts said were necessary to actually achieve prison population cuts. There was support for reducing some sentences for drug possessors, but not for drug sellers. A proposal from the Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation to eliminate mandatory minimums for people dealing drugs was rejected. But a proposal from the Council of State Governments to make probation the presumptive sentence for first-time, low-level felonies was accepted. The bills will be introduced at the beginning of the next session.


Philippines President Wants Six More Months of Drug War Because He "Cannot Kill Them All" Fast Enough. Even as the death toll from President Rodrigo Duterte's slow motion massacre of drug suspects tops 3,000, the hardline leader is saying he wants to extend his crusade another six months. "I did not realize how severe and how serious the drug menace was in this republic until I became president," Duterte said. "Even if I wanted to I cannot kill them all because the last report would be this thick," he said, referring to a new police list of people including top officials suspected of being involved in the drugs trade.

Categories: Harm Reduction

CN ON: City Seeks Local Input On Injection Centres

Harm Reduction (MAP) - Tue, 09/20/2016 - 07:00
Hamilton Spectator, 20 Sep 2016 - Crack pipes, overdose kits also get panel's OK Hamilton will join the vanguard of Ontario cities studying whether to give drug users a legal, supervised site to inject opioids such as heroin. The board of health voted Monday to study supervised injection sites - so long as the cost fits within the 2017 budget.
Categories: Harm Reduction

CN AB: Column: Safe Injection Not A Gateway

Harm Reduction (MAP) - Sat, 09/17/2016 - 07:00
Edmonton Sun, 17 Sep 2016 - People get twitchy when you start talking about safe injection sites. A clean, safe spot where needle drug users can use needle drugs. Vancouver's still the only spot in the country but that could be changing if the College of Physicians and Surgeons of Alberta gets their way.
Categories: Harm Reduction

CN BC: Kamloops Moves To Reduce Overdoses

Harm Reduction (MAP) - Thu, 09/15/2016 - 07:00
Globe and Mail, 15 Sep 2016 - With 22 deaths in the first half of this year, city council votes to support supervised consumption service Kamloops city council has voted unanimously to support the concept of a supervised site where people can consume illicit drugs under medical supervision amid a surge in overdose deaths in the city.
Categories: Harm Reduction

Chronicle AM: CA&MA Polls, Kratom Proponents Mobilize, Canada OKs Prescription Heroin; More... (9/14/16)

Harm Reduction (STDW) - Wed, 09/14/2016 - 20:24

The polling is looking good in Massachusetts and better in California, there will be no initiative for Michigan this year, kratom proponents fight a proposed DEA ban, Canada gives the go-ahead for expanded heroin prescribing, and more.

[image:1 align:left caption:true]Marijuana Policy

Marijuana Could Be a $50 Billion a Year Industry Within a Decade. A new report from financial analysts Cowen & Company says the legal weed industry could grow to a $50 billion a year business by 2026. The report notes that legalizing pot in California alone could triple the size of the industry, currently around $6 billion a year.

California: LA Times Poll Has Prop 64 at 58%. The Prop 64 legalization initiative is supported by 58% of voters, according to a new USC Dornsife/Los Angeles Times poll. Only 34% said they would vote against the measure, with 8% undecided. "It's very clear that Californians' attitudes have changed dramatically on this issue over the last several years," said Dan Schnur, director of the poll and of the Jesse M. Unruh Institute of Politics at USC. "The opposition is going to have to identify a fairly sizable source of campaign funding if this initiative is to be close," he added.

California: Eyewitness News/Southern California Newsgroup Poll Has Prop 64 at 52%. The Prop 64 legalization initiative has 52% in a new poll from Eyewitness News/Southern California Newsgroup. Some 40% said they would vote no, with 8% undecided.

Massachusetts Poll Has Legalization Initiative Up By Five Points. A new poll from WBUR TV has support for the Question 4 legalization initiative at 50%, with 45% opposed. "There's some big demographic splits, particularly along age lines," pollster Steve Koczela said. "Younger people are very much in favor of legalization, and it declines steadily as you move up the age brackets to where you get to voters who are 60-plus, and they're opposed to it by a 17-point margin."

Federal Judge Puts Final Nail in Coffin of Michigan Legalization Initiative. A federal court judge rejected a last chance effort by MI Legalize to get its legalization initiative on the November ballot. Judge Linda Parker Tuesday denied a motion from the group to stop the printing of election ballots, saying there was not enough time to stop the election process. MI Legalize gathered enough signatures to qualify for the ballot, but some of them came outside a 180-day mandated by state law. MI Legalize challenged rulings by state officials that knocked those signatures off the tally, but lost in the state courts -- and now, in federal court.


Kratom Supporters Fight Proposed DEA Ban. Proponents of the Southeast Asian plant with mild opium-like qualities have mobilized to block the DEA proposed emergency move to place the substance on Schedule I of the Controlled Substances Act. Hundreds marched in front of the White House Tuesday and more than 120,000 have signed a petition opposing the ban, meaning the White House will have to publicly address the issue.


Canada Has Approved Prescription Heroin. The Canadian government last week quietly approved new regulations that will allow doctors to prescribe diacetylmorphine (heroin) to long-term users who have not responded to more conventional approaches to weaning them from the drug. The Crosstown clinic in Vancouver is currently the only place in the country with a heroin maintenance program, but that should now not be the case for long.

British MPs Call for Medical Marijuana. The All Party Parliamentary Group on Drug Policy Reform has called for medical marijuana to be legalized in the United Kingdom. The call comes on the heels of a report by neurologist Dr. Mike Barnes urging that marijuana be moved from Schedule I to Schedule IV on the British drugs classification scheme. "Many hundreds of thousands of people in the UK are already taking cannabis for primarily medical reasons," said MP Caroline Lucas, who co-chairs the group. "It is totally unacceptable that they should face the added stress of having to break the law to access their medicine."

Categories: Harm Reduction

CN ON: Ottawa needs at least two supervised injection sites: Expert

Harm Reduction (MAP) - Wed, 09/14/2016 - 07:00
Metro, 14 Sep 2016 - Ottawa should aim to have two or three supervised injection sites in locations most likely to be used by drug users, said Ahmed M. Bayoumi, a researcher and physician at St. Michael's Hospital in Toronto. Bayoumi,helped conduct a recent study on the cost-effectiveness of supervised injection sites in Toronto and Ottawa. They found that the optimal number for Ottawa was two.
Categories: Harm Reduction

Canada: OPED: How Patients With Addiction Problems Showed Me A Better

Harm Reduction (MAP) - Mon, 09/12/2016 - 07:00
Globe and Mail, 12 Sep 2016 - In the discussion about Canadian drug policy, the unspoken question is: Why should we take care of drug addicts? I have had to ask myself this because my job is taking care of people with drug dependence and mental illness in the Downtown Eastside, Vancouver's notoriously drug and disease-ridden inner city. What does society gain from assisting people who engage in illegal activity, who bring their diseases and, with increasing prevalence, their death, upon themselves? I am a McGill and UBC-trained family and emergency physician, and have practised in Canada, the United States and West Africa. I have delivered babies, treated trauma victims, managed chronic disease, and comforted dying people.
Categories: Harm Reduction

CN BC: Overdose Kits Offered To Students At UBCO

Harm Reduction (MAP) - Thu, 09/08/2016 - 07:00
The Daily Courier, 08 Sep 2016 - Free naloxone kits aimed at saving lives of drug users UBC Okanagan is now offering free take-home naloxone kits to help students reverse the effects of opioid overdoses. The new program is in response to the public health emergency declared in April by provincial health officer Dr. Perry Kendall over the increasing number of drug overdoses across B.C.
Categories: Harm Reduction
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