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Canada

CN ON: PUB LTE: Canada's Antiquated National Drug Strategy

Canada (MAP) - Fri, 10/17/2014 - 07:00
Burlington Post, 17 Oct 2014 - Public health departments freely hand out condoms to promote safe sex yet when it comes to drug use you're effectively on your own. In the case of heroin and MDMA (ecstasy), it will be of little help to the victims that the drugs will be analyzed after the fact. The misrepresentation of drugs on the black market is perhaps the biggest threat to a user because they can't easily answer such questions as What's the purity? Has it been cut (diluted) with a toxic substance? Is it even what was paid for? A proactive solution as simple as providing drug testing kits could go a long way in preventing adverse reactions and overdoses.
Categories: Canada

Canada: Pot and the Teenage Brain: Understanding the Science

Canada (MAP) - Fri, 10/17/2014 - 07:00
Globe and Mail, 17 Oct 2014 - Because their brains are still developing, adolescents may be particularly vulnerable to the negative effects of marijuana. During this crucial period, brain connections are strengthened through myelination - growth of fatty insulation around the neurons - as well as a "pruning" of inefficient neural connections. It's a lengthy process, stretching past the postsecondary years to at least 25.
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CN BC: Less Drug, Alcohol and Sexual Activity With Vancouver

Canada (MAP) - Fri, 10/17/2014 - 07:00
Vancouver 24hours, 17 Oct 2014 - Survey Finds Reductions in Some Risky Behaviours Over the Last Decade, While Mental Health Concerns Grow Fewer Vancouver teens are drinking and doing drugs than they were a decade ago, shows a survey of over 2,000 local students. The percentage of Vancouver youth who have tried alcohol decreased from 45% to 33%, while those who have tried marijuana dropped 7% in the last decade, says a McCreary Centre Society survey of adolescent health.
Categories: Canada

CN BC: LTE: No Sympathy

Canada (MAP) - Fri, 10/17/2014 - 07:00
The Province, 17 Oct 2014 - I don't feel bad that there is bad "heroin" out there (actually the police confirm it is fentanyl.) Most addicts choose that life and take the risk of having a bad dose. I have been working on the new Powell Street overpass and have to watch out for needles and anything else that may harm me from these people. A few less addicts will not hurt this world.
Categories: Canada

Canada: Your Kid's Brain on Pot

Canada (MAP) - Fri, 10/17/2014 - 07:00
Globe and Mail, 17 Oct 2014 - As the debate over legalization heats up, Adriana Barton examines the effects of marijuana on the developing brains of teenagers - our nation's most prolific users - and finds there is no such thing as a harmless habit Like it or not, your kids will probably try marijuana. So will their friends. Canadian teens are more than twice as likely as adults to smoke pot - and have the highest rate of cannabis use in the developed world. Marijuana has become as much a part of Canada's youth culture as hockey or Katy Perry.
Categories: Canada

CN SN: PUB LTE: Don't Waste Tax Dollars on Failed Marijuana

Canada (MAP) - Thu, 10/16/2014 - 07:00
The News, 16 Oct 2014 - To the editor, Regarding your thoughtful Oct. 14 editorial, there is a big difference between condoning marijuana use and protecting children from drugs. Decriminalization acknowledges the social reality of marijuana and frees users from the stigma of life-shattering criminal records. What's really needed is a regulated market with age controls.
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CN MB: Manitoba Embraces Harm Reduction Principles In Policies

Canada (MAP) - Thu, 10/16/2014 - 07:00
Thompson Citizen, 16 Oct 2014 - There is a growing recognition that harm reduction policies are more effective than abstinence-based policies as Manitoba organizations embrace harm reduction principles. During the Manitoba Harm Reduction Conference, held in Thompson Sept. 29- Oct. 1, representatives from various community organizations, First Nations communities, the five regional health authorities, and government departments addressed how their organizations are evolving to incorporate harm reduction. Provincial representation covered as far south as Steinbach and as far north as Churchill. Dr. Michael Ellery, clinical specialist of the Addictions Foundation of Manitoba shared how client-centred care, an integral component of the harm reduction model has been proven to be more effective at treating addictions. All five regional health authorities, including the Northern Health Region, are at various stages of recognizing harm reduction as part of its patient care model. The Safer Choices Northern Network (SCNN) based in Thompson was the host organization for the Manitoba Harm Reduction Conference. The conference organizing committee selected Thompson as it allowed participants, many of whom had travelled from southern Manitoba to better understand northern realities. The conference was hosted in partnership with the Play it Safer Network based in Flin Flon and The Pas, The 595 Prevention Team, and Ka Ni Kanichihk based in Winnipeg. SCNN provided an update of its activities during the past year and its priorities over the next year which includes a sustained public presence to increase awareness of harm reduction principles.
Categories: Canada

CN ON: PUB LTE: War on Drugs a Failure

Canada (MAP) - Thu, 10/16/2014 - 07:00
The Record, 16 Oct 2014 - Pot should be legalized, addiction centre says - Oct. 9 What do the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health in Toronto, NORML Canada and more than half of Canadian citizens have in common? All call for the legalization or decriminalization of marijuana.
Categories: Canada

CN BC: Overdoses Underscore Need for Outreach

Canada (MAP) - Thu, 10/16/2014 - 07:00
Globe and Mail, 16 Oct 2014 - A flood of drug overdoses at Vancouver's supervised injection site is being blamed on fentanyl, a highly dangerous substance that looks like heroin and which is increasingly being sold on the streets. The flurry of nearly 40 incidents since Sunday is underscoring for health officials the need not only for controlled injection sites such as Insite, but also for outreach programs that can deliver naloxone to users, wherever they are. Naloxone is a rapidly acting antidote for opioid drug overdose that users and other volunteers are being trained to administer in a pilot program run by the BC Centre for Disease Control (BCCDC).
Categories: Canada

CN ON: Review: Marc Emery Documentary Doesn't Pull Any Punches

Canada (MAP) - Thu, 10/16/2014 - 07:00
London Free Press, 16 Oct 2014 - MARC EMERY DOCUMENTARY DOESN'T PULL ANY PUNCHES CitizenMarc is no pot puff piece. The documentary on marijuana activist Marc Emery, written and produced by Canadian filmmaking couple Roger Evan Larry and Sandra Tomc, is being released Friday in 13 Canadian cities, including London at Landmark Cinemas.
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CN SN: Editorial: An Argument Missing the Point

Canada (MAP) - Tue, 10/14/2014 - 07:00
Truro Daily News, 14 Oct 2014 - Justice Minister Peter MacKay said last week he's surprised by the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health's call to legalize marijuana. The Central Nova MP adds the statement contrasts with reports from other health organizations underlining the negative impact of the drug, particularly on the developing brains of children. That's the kind of non-sequitur we expect from government but could do without.
Categories: Canada

CN SN: Editorial: An Argument Missing the Point

Canada (MAP) - Tue, 10/14/2014 - 07:00
The News, 14 Oct 2014 - Justice Minister Peter MacKay said last week he's surprised by the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health's call to legalize marijuana. The Central Nova MP adds the statement contrasts with reports from other health organizations underlining the negative impact of the drug, particularly on the developing brains of children. That's the kind of non-sequitur we expect from government but could do without.
Categories: Canada

Canada: Political Pandering or Reefer Madness?

Canada (MAP) - Sun, 10/12/2014 - 07:00
Ottawa Sun, 12 Oct 2014 - Raging Debate Over Marijuana Law Reform Tough for Lawmakers, Leaders to Ignore The battle lines have long been drawn. Factions from either side of the political fence waging full-scale propaganda campaigns and stockpiling ammunition for the unavoidable clash.
Categories: Canada

CN NK: RCMP Suicide Stirs Treatment Debate

Canada (MAP) - Sat, 10/11/2014 - 07:00
Globe and Mail, 11 Oct 2014 - Death of Mountie who smoked medicinal marijuana for PTSD highlights lack of strategy for dealing with trauma in first responders Ron Francis's family and friends filled a big white wooden church near the Saint John River on a sunny Friday - more than 250 people jammed into the pews and along the back and side walls for the RCMP corporal's funeral.
Categories: Canada

Chronicle AM: Alaska Poll Battle, NE Anti-Heroin Campaign, NYC Psychedelic Conference, More (10/9/14)

Canada (STDW) - Thu, 10/09/2014 - 21:04

Polls continue to split on the Alaska initiative, Illinoisans are lining up for medical marijuana, four Northeastern states unite to fight heroin, Canada's largest addiction center calls for marijuana legalization, and more. Let's get to it:

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

Polls Split on Alaska Initiative. The fate of Alaska's Measure 2 legalization initiative remains up in the air. Polls this week commissioned by the opposing sides had differing results. A Dittman Research poll sponsored by the "Big Marijuana, Big Mistake, Vote No on 2" campaign has the measure losing 44% to 53%. But the Alaska Survey poll, in which the Campaign to Regulate Marijuana Like Alcohol paid for a marijuana policy question to be asked, had the initiative winning 57% to 39%. Both polls claimed a +/- 4% margin of error, but even so, both of them can't be right. The split in polls has been evident throughout the campaign. Stay tuned.

Medical Marijuana

More Than 6,000 Illinoisans Have Applied for Medical Marijuana Cards. The Department of Health reported Wednesday that some 6,300 state residents have applied for permission to use medical marijuana, with cancer, fibromyalgia, multiple sclerosis, and spinal cord injuries being the most common health conditions mentioned. But the department also noted that the vast majority of applications were incomplete; only 800 have submitted complete applications, which include a doctor certification form and background check information. People whose applications are incomplete will be notified and then will have 21 days to complete them.

Guam Election Commission Seeks to End Legal Challenge to Medical Marijuana Initiative Vote. The commission has asked the US District Court on the island territory to dismiss the petition for a writ blocking the vote filed by local attorney Howard Trapp. Trapp has argued that the legislature cannot send an initiative to the voters, but the Election Commission and the Guam Supreme Court have already rejected his claim.

Drug Policy

Drug Czar Claims Marijuana Legalization Undermines Fight Against Opiates. In a speech yesterday in Maine, acting head of the Office of National Drug Control Policy (ONDCP -- the drug czar's office) Michael Botticelli argued that the trend toward marijuana legalization is making the fight against more serious drug problems, such as the abuse of prescription opioids, more difficult. He said that early use of marijuana increases the likelihood that users will develop dependency on other drugs. "It's hard to say at one level that we want to think about prescription drug abuse and heroin abuse without looking at how to prevent kids from starting to use other substances from an early age," he said.

Heroin

Four Northeastern States Create Anti-Heroin Task Force. Massachusetts, New Jersey, New York, and Pennsylvania officials Wednesday announced the formation of the Northeast and Mid-Atlantic Heroin Task Force (NEMA-HTF) in "an unprecedented law-enforcement collaboration to combat the growing problem of heroin distribution and abuse in communities throughout the region." Attorneys General from the four states will work together to try to repress the heroin trade. "For too long, drug organizations have tried to outmaneuver law-enforcement agencies by crossing state lines. This task force will ensure that our borders do not become our boundaries," said New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman. "By joining together, we can prevent defendants from using state borders as a shield from law-enforcement and allow us to shut down the pipelines and cut off the heroin supply."

Why Are We Freaking Out About Heroin? Wonkblog Asks. The Washington Post's Wonkblog has an insightful piece about the level of heroin use in the country and the public policy response it has engendered. The piece notes that "hardly anyone uses heroin" and is full of crunchy numbers and thoughtful commentary. "Overall, it's important for the public -- and particularly the media -- to keep some perspective when it comes to the numbers on heroin," the piece concludes. "It doesn't make a lot of sense to speak of 'epidemics' when use rates continue to hover somewhere between 0.1 and 0.5% of the total population. And kneejerk legislating will only make the problem worse." Click on the link for the full piece.

Psychedelics

New York City Conference on Psychedelics This Weekend. The eighth annual Horizons: Perspectives on Psychedelics conference will be held at Judson Memorial Church and The New School in Greenwich Village on October 11 and 12. Horizons focuses on contemporary research into the applications of psychedelics, providing an invaluable forum for experts to share ideas, insights, and to rethink the future of these drugs in science, medicine, culture, and history. This year, professors, researchers, writers and practitioners from the United States, England and Switzerland will be presenting findings and insights in the fields of neuroscience, terminal anxiety disorder, depression, hard drugs addiction, sexual orientation and identity, and more. Click on the links for more information.

International

Canada's Largest Addiction Center Calls for Marijuana Legalization. In a report issued today, Canada's largest addiction center calls for marijuana legalization with a strict regulatory approach. The recommendation is based in harm reduction principles. The Center for Addiction and Mental Health (CAMH) in Toronto made the call for legalization in its report CAMH's Cannabis Policy Framework. It comes after an in-depth analysis of the health, social, and legal implications of marijuana use, as well as an examination of comparative marijuana policy, by CAMH scientists and policy experts. "Canada's current system of cannabis control is failing to prevent or reduce the harms associated with cannabis use," said Dr. Jürgen Rehm, Director of the Social and Epidemiological Research Department at CAMH. "Based on a thorough review of the evidence, we believe that legalization combined with strict regulation of cannabis is the most effective means of reducing the harms associated with its use."

Myanmar Moving Toward Reducing Drug Penalties. Deputy Minister for Home Affairs Brigadier General Kyaw Kyaw Tun has told members of parliament that the government is preparing to review sentences for drug use, which currently range from five to 15 years in prison. "Officials from the Central Committee for Drug Abuse Control, the Union Attorney-General's Office and the Union Supreme Court are drawing up an amendment law," the deputy minister said. The Myanmar government has been moving to shift drug penalties since 2012.

Categories: Canada

Canada's Largest Addiction Center Calls for Marijuana Legalization

Canada (STDW) - Thu, 10/09/2014 - 18:20

In a report issued today, Canada's largest addiction center called for marijuana legalization with a strict regulatory approach. The recommendation is based in harm reduction principles.

[image:1 align:left]The Center for Addiction and Mental Health (CAMH) in Toronto made the call for legalization in its report Cannabis Policy Framework. It comes after an in-depth analysis of the health, social, and legal implications of marijuana use, as well as an examination of comparative marijuana policy, by CAMH scientists and policy experts.

"Canada's current system of cannabis control is failing to prevent or reduce the harms associated with cannabis use," said Dr. Jürgen Rehm, Director of the Social and Epidemiological Research Department at CAMH. "Based on a thorough review of the evidence, we believe that legalization combined with strict regulation of cannabis is the most effective means of reducing the harms associated with its use."

The report found that 40% of Canadians have used marijuana at least once and 10% have used it in the past year. Among people aged 15 to 24 that figure jumps to 20%.

CAMH does not view marijuana as a benign substance and thus calls for a very strong regulatory approach.

"Cannabis use is associated with a variety of health harms like problems with cognitive and psychomotor functioning, respiratory issues, cannabis dependence and mental illness," Rehm said. "For this reason, any reform of Canada's system of cannabis control must include a strong focus on prevention and a range of interventions aimed at groups that are at higher risk of harm, including youth and people with a personal or family history of mental illness."

But CAMH also clearly recognizes the harm derived from marijuana prohibition. The group noted that criminalization doesn't deter use, but does drive users away from prevention, risk reduction, and treatment services, as well as exposing them to non-quality controlled substances.

CAMH is calling for a government monopoly on sales, as well as other restrictions.

"Legalization of cannabis must be governed by strict regulations that ensure it is not sold like other commodities," Rehm said. "This would include a government monopoly on sales, limits on availability, a pricing system that discourages use of higher-harm products, and a ban on marketing."

Canada's governing Conservatives have proven extremely averse to marijuana law reform and have, in fact, moved in the opposite direction through measures such as instituting mandatory minimum sentencing for some marijuana cultivation offenses. The leader of the opposition Liberal Party, Justin Trudeau, on the other hand, is calling for marijuana legalization. National elections are set for next year.

"We've known for a long time that the existing approach to cannabis policy is not working," said Dr. Rehm. "We want this framework to add to an informed discussion about the future of cannabis policy and to serve as a guide to the factors that need to be considered in order to come to a solution that is the most beneficial for public health. We believe that the best solution is a system of legalization combined with strict regulation of cannabis."

Categories: Canada

Canada: Health Canada's Prescription Heroin Ban Issued on Thin Ground

Canada (MAP) - Thu, 10/09/2014 - 07:00
The Georgia Straight, 09 Oct 2014 - IN OCTOBER 2013, Health Canada made a regulation change that banned B.C. doctors from prescribing heroin to a small group of addicts. The federal department did that after consulting only one scientific report on the matter, according to documents released in response to a freedom-of-information request. Furthermore, that one expert's opinion is that prescription heroin, or diacetylmorphine, should remain an available treatment option.
Categories: Canada

CN ON: Pot Should Be Legalized, Addiction Centre Says

Canada (MAP) - Thu, 10/09/2014 - 07:00
The Record, 09 Oct 2014 - Selling it like alcohol seen as the most effective means of reducing the harms associated with its use TORONTO - Canada's largest mental health and addiction treatment and research centre is calling for the legalization of marijuana, with strict controls that would govern who could buy weed, from where, and in what quantity.
Categories: Canada

CN ON: Time To Legalize Marijuana, Treatment Centre Urges

Canada (MAP) - Thu, 10/09/2014 - 07:00
Toronto Star, 09 Oct 2014 - Facility seeks restrictions on availability and quantity Canada's largest mental health and addiction treatment and research centre is calling for the legalization of marijuana, with strict controls that would govern who could buy weed, from where and in what quantity.
Categories: Canada

CN BC: LTE: Pot Smoke Annoys Neighbours

Canada (MAP) - Thu, 10/09/2014 - 07:00
Vancouver Sun, 09 Oct 2014 - I recently lived in a large condo building in False Creek; it was a pleasant place apart from one factor - the frequent stench of second- hand marijuana smoke invading my living space through the windows. The consequences include opening our young child's bedroom to find her asleep in a room filled with someone else's drug smoke. Complaints to the building management are met with the answer that it is legal to smoke marijuana in your own home. Individuals who smoke drugs in condo buildings selfishly reduce the quality of life of those around them and endanger the health of children as they sleep.
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