2019 International Overdose Awareness Day Report published

The International Overdose Awareness Day, originated in Melbourne, Australia in 2001, has grown into a global campaign aimed to raise awareness of overdose and reduce the stigma of a drug-related death. It is also an opportunity to stimulate discussion about evidence-based overdose prevention and drug policy.

The campaign in2019 was the most successful yet. Their 2019 IOAD Partners’ Report shows that 874 events were organised in 39 participating countries worldwide. This is a new record, surpassing the previous high of 747 set last year. This year’s campaign brought more than 273,000 visitors to the IOAD website. Visitors to the website downloaded our online resources – posters, fact sheets, and event support kits – more than 20,000 times.

We have promoted the campaign in our news and reported about the press release we published and the activities during the IOA day held in Montenegro, North Macedonia, Romania and Slovenia. Unfortunately, only those from Montenegro and Slovenia were mentioned in the report.

To read the report follow this link>>>

Changes in cannabis policies: insights from the Americas

The European Monitoring Centre for Drugs and Drug Addiction (EMCDDA) just published a new report “Monitoring and evaluating changes in cannabis policies: insights from the Americas“. This report provides an overview of the changes in cannabis policies in the Americas and the evidence emerging from evaluations of their impact. The focus of the report is shifted to recent changes to regulatory systems in the Americas that permit the consumption of cannabis by adults for non-medical, recreational purposes.

Over the past 50 years, several jurisdictions in Europe, Australia and the Americas have reduced the penalties associated with using or possessing small amounts of cannabis. As of December 2019, Canada, Uruguay and 10 US states have gone further and passed laws that license the production and retail sale of cannabis, mostly by private companies, to adults for non-medical – sometimes referred to as recreational – purposes. With discussions about alternatives to cannabis prohibition becoming more common in some parts of the world, there is a growing interest in learning from the cannabis policy changes in the Americas.

To learn more about these new cannabis regimes and their consequences, the European Monitoring Centre for Drugs and Drug Addiction (EMCDDA) commissioned a review of the changes governing recreational cannabis policies in the Americas and an overview of preliminary evaluations. Findings from this research are intended to inform discussions about the development of a framework for monitoring and evaluating policy developments related to cannabis regulatory reform.

To download the report, follow this link>>>

First Civil Society Monitoring Report

Taken from the Correlation website

The Correlation – European Harm Reduction Network (C-EHRN) published the first monitoring report covering certain areas of drug policy and practice. The purpose of this report is to enrich the information and knowledge base of harm reduction interventions in Europe from the viewpoint of civil society organisations, meaning organisations that directly work for, and with, people who use drugs. Correlation believe that this approach is a necessary, and useful, contribution to the development of drug policy in the region.

Correlation plan to repeat this reporting on an annual basis to identify developments and changes over time. A lot is being learned in this first pilot phase and adaptations to the focus and questions will be made, accordingly, as well as a recognition of certain limitations with regards to coverage and validation which we cannot easily overcome. Consequently, the information provided in this report is sometimes anecdotal and represents the situation in a particular city or region and informs us as to the experiences of a specific organisation in the field. Such ‘real life’ information can contribute significantly to an understanding of the advantages, barriers and challenges of drug policy.

Correlation will use the insights and information collected in this report within their advocate efforts to strengthen harm reduction policies in Europe and, hopefully, their partners and contributors will do the same in their environment at a regional and national level.

More than one hundred organisations and individuals from 35 European countries have contributed to the collection of data with an amazingly high response rate. All contributors deserve tanks for their great work and commitment. Without their engagement, this work would never have been undertaken at all.

To read the report, follow this link>>>

 

European Cannabis Report

The European Cannabis Report™: Edition 4, published by Prohibition Partners, is the most extensive review to date of the European cannabis industry. It examines legislation, regulation, market size and market opportunities in 33 European countries, analysing myriad data points.

Home to more than 740 million people, a population more than double that of the United States and Canada combined, Europe is set to become the world’s largest legal cannabis market over the next five years. In the last 12 months alone, the European cannabis industry has grown more than in the last six years. Six countries have announced new legislation and over €500million has been invested in European cannabis businesses and as our exclusive research shows, Europe’s cannabis market is estimated to be worth up to €123 billion by 2028.

The European Cannabis Report™ 4th Edition examines:

  • Commercial and business opportunities in 33 European markets
  • Changing legislation and new regulatory guidelines across the region
  • Emerging trends, market forecasts and industry insights

Founded in 2017, Prohibition Partners specialise in explaining the latest legislative developments and key trends in the cannabis industry aiming to help understand the cannabis industry and its increasingly segmented sectors through authoritative research and unique strategic advice on licensing, regulatory and business opportunities. Their reports provide the most in-depth coverage of the international cannabis industry.

To obtain the report, follow this link>>>

Rethinking the drug dealer

The Drug Policy Alliance released a new report making the case for rethinking the way the United States responds to the “drug dealer.” Beyond being merely ineffective, the harsh criminalization of supply-side drug market activity may actually make drug use more dangerous, increasing overdose deaths and leading to more violence in communities.

Drug prohibition and the criminalization of people who sell or distribute drugs does not reduce the harms of drug use or improve public safety. Our current approach is built on a foundation of stigma, ignorance and fear rather than evidence and creates new problems while doing nothing to solve those that already exist. Such approach to drug sales has failed. We should address drug-involvement, including most sales, outside of the failed apparatus of criminalization. We should also reduce the harms of drug distribution and repair the harm of the criminal legal system’s discriminatory response to the drug trade.

The Drug Policy Alliance believes it is time to rethink the “drug dealer.” We must urgently assess what type of people actually fall into this category and how we as a society can respond to them in ways that will keep people and communities safer and healthier. This work has been motivated by the leadership of formerly incarcerated people and drug users unions.

Politicians of all stripes have argued that long sentences for drug sellers will reduce drug availability and make remaining drugs more expensive, driving down demand. But this is not how drug markets actually work. Research and history have shown that the vilification and criminalization of people who sell drugs does not reduce problematic drug use, reduce the availability of drugs, or keep people who use drugs safer.

With this report, the Drug Policy Alliance aims to expand the current public dialogue around drug reform, to focus on who the people now labelled “drug dealers” really are and how we, as a society, can respond to them in ways that will keep people and communities safer and healthier.

DPA has provided a set of tailored recommendations based on three broad principles:

  • First, to the maximum extent possible, society should deal with drug involvement outside the destructive apparatus of criminalization – and to the extent that the criminal justice system continues to focus on drug selling and distribution, it must do so with a commitment to proportionality and due process.
  • Second, we should focus on reducing the harms of drug distribution (for example, reducing drug market-related violence), rather than attempting to eliminate drug market activity.
  • Third, we must take seriously the criminal justice system’s discriminatory response to the drug trade and work toward reforms that both repair the harm already done while preventing further harm to communities of colour and poor communities.

To read, download or share the report follow this link>>>

 

The most dangerous thing about MDMA is that it’s illegal

The Beckley Foundation published a policy proposal which examines the acute, sub-acute, and chronic harms related to MDMA use in detail. The report examines the production, distribution, purchase and consumption of the drug; related risks and harms; and the impact prohibition has on these, as well as the potential impact of alternative policies. Crucially, their evidence shows that most harms associated with MDMA use arise from its unregulated status as an illegal drug and that any risks inherent to MDMA could be more effectively mitigated within a legally regulated market.

Authors claim that there is growing evidence to support reorienting drug policy away from an ideologically driven criminal justice-led model to one rooted in pragmatic health and harm reduction principles. Current policy is not meeting its goal of reducing harms, and greater control of MDMA production, distribution, purchase and consumption is needed in order to prevent MDMA-related emergencies.

This policy proposal rests on the following five principles which should underpin all evidence-informed drug policy and practice:

  • Promoting public health and reducing harm
  • Safeguarding vulnerable populations, including children and young people
  • Supporting human rights
  • Promoting social justice
  • Supporting participatory democracy

Roadmaps to Regulation: MDMA has two overarching interlinked objectives:

  • To highlight that the harms associated with MDMA use are predominantly related to its prohibition;
  • To propose an alternative regulatory model that would reduce the harms associated with criminalising MDMA use and minimise the risks associated with its use more generally.

The report outlines, for the first time, detailed recommendations for drug policy reform in order to better control the production, distribution, purchase, and consumption of MDMA products. Reform, and the ensuing reduction in MDMA-related harms, will not happen overnight. The changes outlined, which culminate in a strictly-regulated, legal market for MDMA, would need to be phased in gradually and closely monitored throughout, in order to ensure that health and social outcomes are properly evaluated.

More about the report is available it the video below

To read full report, follow this link>>>

Global State of Harm Reduction 2019

Harm Reduction International, a leading NGO dedicated to reducing the negative health, social and legal impacts of drug use and drug policy, just published their annual The Global State of Harm Reduction biennial report. First published in 2008, it involves a coordinated effort across practitioners, academics, advocates and activists to map global data and responses to drug-related harms. The data presented here has been gathered over the course of 2019 from publicly available sources and in cooperation with our partners around the world.

It is the only report to provide an independent analysis of the state of harm reduction in the world and has become the go-to source on global harm reduction developments for researchers and advocates in our sector and beyond.

The Report indicated that:

  • Since 2018, the total number of countries implementing needle and syringe programmes (NSP) has increased by just one, from 86 to 87.
  • The re-introduction of NSPs in Bulgaria and the first NSP opening in Sierra Leone have been countered by the closure of services in Uganda.
  • No new countries have begun implementing opioid substitution therapy (OST) programmes since 2018.

We extracted the data on the situation in countries of South East Europe:

To get full information from the report, follow this link>>>

Should you find any inaccuracies, please contact Harm Reduction International at office@hri.global

EU Drug Markets Report 2019

Drug trafficking is a highly profitable commercial activity and remains a core business for organised crime groups across Europe today. Understanding the reality of the European drug market requires a holistic approach, following the supply chain from production and trafficking to distribution and sales.

Taking such an approach, two EU agencies – the EMCDDA and Europol – have joined forces to provide their third state-of-the-art overview of the European illicit drug market in the form of the EU Drug Markets Report 2019.

The analysis presented in this report spans numerous topics such as the links between drugs and other crimes, the licit economy and society more generally as well as the processes and players involved in the trade, from production and trafficking to distribution. Taking an evidence-based approach, the report reviews the markets for heroin, cocaine, cannabis, amphetamine, methamphetamine, MDMA and new psychoactive substances. It also provides action points to inform policy development at EU and national level. This publication is an essential reference for law enforcement professionals, policymakers, the academic community and indeed for anyone seeking up-to-date information and analysis on drug markets in Europe.

The latest data show that overall drug availability within Europe remains ‘very high’ and that consumers have access to a wide variety of high-purity and high-potency products at steady, or falling, prices. An important cross-cutting theme in the report is the environmental impact of drug production, including deforestation and the dumping of chemical waste, which can result in ecological damage, safety risks and high clean-up costs.

The report highlights the increasing importance of Europe, both as a target and drug-producing region, and shows how the violence and corruption, long seen in traditional drug-producing countries, are now increasingly evident within the EU. Among the wide-ranging consequences of the drug market presented in the analysis are its negative impacts on society (e.g. gang violence, drug-related homicide) and the strain on public institutions and governance. The drug market’s links to wider criminal activity (e.g. human trafficking, terrorism) are also explored, along with its negative repercussions on the legal economy (e.g. how money laundering associated with the drug trade undermines legitimate businesses).

To read full report, follow this link>>>

A short presentation of the main highlights from the EU Drug Markets Report 2019, targeting policy and practice is available in a separate document available here>>>

 

A large European survey among men who have sex with men

The European Men-Who-Have-Sex-With-Men Internet Survey EMIS-2017 collected comparable data from 127.792 participants – men who have sex with men from 48 countries in Europe. It provides insights on their knowledge of HIV, viral hepatitis and sexually transmitted infections (STI), sexual behaviour, prevention needs and testing habits.

EMIS-2017 was executed by Sigma Research (London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine) as part of European Surveys and Training to Improve MSM Community Health (ESTICOM). It was a three-year project (2016-2019) funded by the European Commission Health Programme 2014-2020 through a tender by the Consumers, Health, Agriculture and Food Executive Agency (Chafea).

The results show considerable differences across the countries reflecting Europe’s diversity with respect to sexual health and behaviour of MSM. The report describes both MSM behaviour and needs, alongside resulting morbidities, and the likely value of current services to address these.

The Executive Summary indicates that sex between men remains the predominant mode of HIV transmission in the EU/EEA countries, where the first signs of a decline in reported new cases resulted from a 20% drop in new diagnoses among MSM (2015-2017). Responses to a survey that focused on knowledge about HIV and sexually transmitted infections, sexual behaviour, access to care, HIV-related stigma and the use of services for HIV and sexual health is a strong indication that this group cares about HIV and sexual health issues. For example, every second (56%) respondent had received an HIV test result in the last 12 months and almost half (46%) had tested for other STI during the same period.

To read full Report, follow this link>>>

GCDP report set out in detail the irrationality of current global drug laws

On the occasion of the International Day Against Drug Abuse and Illicit Trafficking 26 June, the Global Commission on Drug Policy launched a report “Classification of Psychoactive Substances: When Science was Left Behind“. This GCDP ninth report analyses the history, procedures and inconsistencies of the current classification of psychoactive substances.

In the report, the Global Commission on Drug Policy explains how the biased historical classification of psychoactive substances has contributed to the “world drug problem”. It is the first-ever comprehensive report providing a political reading of the current evaluation and classification, or “scheduling” of drugs according to their harms. “The current distinction between legal and illegal substances is not unequivocally based on pharmacological research but in large part on historical and cultural precedents. It is also distorted by and feeds into morally charged perceptions about a presumed “good and evil” distinction between legal and illegal drugs.

Psychoactive substances should be classified with regard to their potential for dependence and other harms. This is not the case today, where some substances are legally available because they are considered beneficial (medicines) or culturally important (alcohol), while others are seen as destructive, and are strictly prohibited. The classification of drugs is at the core of the international drug control system. As such, governments must ensure that such a classification is pragmatic and based on science and evidence, makes clear the benefits and harms of drugs, and allows for responsible legal regulatory models to control drugs.

Ruth Dreiffus, chair of the organization and a former president of Switzerland, wrote in the foreword: “…this classification or ‘scheduling’ of drugs is the cornerstone of the current repressive approach to drug policy, which has resulted in the ‘collateral damage’ of the ‘war on drugs—tragic consequences that the Global Commission on Drug Policy has condemned since its founding in 2011. The effects of prohibition—in terms of public health and security, discrimination and prison overcrowding, the rise in power of criminal organizations and the associated violence and corruption, as well as the lack of access to essential medicines—highlight the urgent need to change course and implement policies that are more effective and more respectful of human rights.

To read full report, follow this link>>>