New publication from UNODC Toxicology Portal

The first volume of the new biannual Current NPS Threats was launched with data reported to the Toxicology Portal (Tox-Portal) of the UNODC Early Warning Advisory on NPS developed in collaboration with The International Association of Forensic Toxicologists (TIAFT) that collects data on toxicology and harm related to the use of new psychoactive substances (NPS) at a global level.

These data from post-mortem, clinical and other casework were reported by toxicology laboratories from 29 countries in all regions of the world and allowed to identify some key recent developments regarding health threats posed by NPS:

  • Synthetic cannabinoids, synthetic opioids and stimulants account for the majority of NPS reported to the Tox-Portal
  • Synthetic cannabinoids, in particular remain harmful, persistent and prevalent with more reports in 2018 than synthetic opioids
  • Poly-drug use continues to be a factor and an important consideration in NPS fatalities
  • Benzodiazepine-type NPS feature highly in driving under the influence of drugs.

To download this publication follow this link>>>>

Programmatic Mapping to Estimate Size, Distribution, and Dynamics of Key Populations in Kosovo

The burden of an HIV epidemic in Kosovo* lies among the key populations (KPs) of female sex workers (FSWs), men who have sex with men (MSM), and people who inject drugs (PWIDs). The aim of this study was to estimate the size and distribution of these populations to create evidence for developing action plans for HIV prevention.

Results of this Study: Study in Kosovo

Of the estimated 6814 men who have sex with men (range: 6445 to 7117), nearly 4940 operate through the internet owing to the large stigma and discrimination against same-sex relationships. Geo-based men who have sex with men (who operate through physical spots) congregate at a few spots with large spot sizes (13.3 men who have sex with men /spot). Three-fourths of the men who have sex with men are distributed in 5 major municipalities. Fridays and Saturdays are the peak days of operation; however, the number only increases by 5%. A significant number are involved in sex work, that is, provide sex to other men for money. People who inject drugs are largely geo-based; 4973 (range: 3932 to 6015) people who inject drugs of the total number of 5819 (range: 4777 to 6860) visit geographical spots, with an average spot size of 7.1. In smaller municipalities, they mostly inject in residential locations. The numbers stay stable during the entire week, and there are no peak days. Of the 5037 (range: 4213 to 5860) female sex workers, 20% use cell phones, whereas 10% use websites to connect with clients. The number increases by 25% on weekends, especially in larger municipalities where sex work is mostly concentrated. Other than a few street-based spots, most spots are establishments run by pimps, which is reflective of the highly institutionalized, structured, and organized female sex workers network.

This study provides valuable information about the population size estimates as well as dynamics of each KP, which is the key to developing effective HIV prevention strategies. The information should be utilized to develop microplans and effectively provide HIV prevention services to various KPs.

To read more about this study follow this link >>>>

Greek Parliament set to vote on new bill establishing Supervised Drug Consumption Sites

A hearing meeting of the Standing Committee on Social Affairs of the Hellenic Parliament took place on 20 February 2019 to discuss draft law submitted by the Health Ministry. Among others, it includes various amendments of the Law 4139/2013 on drugs as well as a specific provision for the legal establishment of supervised drug consumption sites in Greece. The debate over the recent draft law is entitled “Private Clinics Statutory Framework, Modernization and Reformative recommendations, The National Public Health Organization establishment, the National Institute of Neoplasms and the other provisions establishment”.

Sofia GalinakiSofia Galinaki, Advocacy Officer of Diogenis and representative of the Greek organizations’ Platform for psychoactive substances, participated in the hearing, during which in cooperation with other Platform’s member organizations presented a series of proposals aiming to improve this legislative initiative.

Α relevant proposals’ memorandum was submitted on behalf of the Platform to the Committee and the Minister of Health, Mr A. Xanthos.

The second reading of the draft law by the Committee scheduled for 26 February 2019.

The current Law (in Greek) is available following this link>>>>

A new on-line course on drugs, health and human rights

The University of Geneva launched an online course aimed at unlimited participation and open access via the web (a massive open online course – MOOC) on drugs, health & human rights, on the occasion of 26 June, The International Day Against Drug Abuse And Illicit Trafficking. This course is primarily aimed at students and professionals from different backgrounds interested in the fields of psychoactive substances, health, human rights and drug policy.

The topics will be presented by over 40 speakers from scientific, academic and institutional backgrounds, spokespersons of civil society as well as people who use drugs presenting their views.

The course lasts for 6 weeks. It is run in English, with subtitles in French, Spanish and Russian. Expected commitment is about 3 to 4 hours of work per week.

Participation is free and widely open to all interested. Enrolment is open for a few more days – so hurry to apply following this link>>>>