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Harm Reduction

Chronicle AM: CA Sees $1 Billion Pot Tax Bonanza, SF Health Chief Supports Safe Injection Sites, More... (12/2/16)

Harm Reduction (STDW) - Fri, 12/02/2016 - 21:36

A battle over safe injection sites looms in San Francisco, California could score a billion bucks a year in pot taxes, kratom gets massive support during the DEA's public comment period on its proposed ban, and more.

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

Legal Marijuana Could Generate a Billion Dollars a Year in California Pot Taxes. State analysts estimate legal marijuana tax revenues could provide a $1 billion a year boost in state and local tax revenues. In anticipation of dollars to come, the state Board of Equalization Tuesday approved a proposal to fund staffing to administer the state's legalization bureaucracy, saying it needs $20 million by 2021 to support a staff of 114.

Medical Marijuana

Arkansas Regulators Release Draft Medical Marijuana Rules. The state Department of Health Wednesday released proposed draft rules for the voter-approved medical marijuana program. The rules include provisions about labelling, obtaining medical marijuana registry cards, lab testing requirements, and the process for adding new qualifying conditions. The department said it hopes to present the draft rules to the Board of Health next month and then open them to public comment. The department has not completed draft rules for regulation of and applications for dispensary and cultivation licenses. The state is supposed to be ready to license growers and sellers by June 1.

Minnesota Will Allow Medical Marijuana For PTSD. The state Department of Health has decided to add post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) to the list of qualifying conditions for marijuana. It had been weighing requests to add PTSD, autism, arthritis, depression, and other conditions. "While the process of reviewing these potential additions was difficult due to the relative lack of published scientific evidence, PTSD presented the strongest case for potential benefits," Health Commissioner Dr. Ed Ehlinger said. "PTSD also has few effective treatment alternatives available for some patients with the condition," he added. The decision means that patients certified with PTSD will be eligible for medical cannabis starting August 2017.

Kratom

Kratom Comment Period is Over; Massive Response to DEA Ban Move. The time to comment on the DEA's proposed move to ban kratom has ended, but more than 22,000 comments came in before the deadline, overwhelmingly against restrictive scheduling of the Southeast Asian tree and the psychoactive chemicals it contains. Commenters noted its lack of lethality, its use as a pain reliever, and its utility in substituting for more dangerous opioids. Addiction specialist Dr. Jack Henningfield wrote a 127-page analysis that concluded that scheduling kratom "is not warranted from a public health perspective and is more likely to cause public health problems that do not presently exist." It should be regulated like a health supplement, Henningfield recommended.

Harm Reduction

San Francisco Health Chief Supports Safe Injection Sites. Barbara Garcia, director of the city's Department of Public Health, strongly endorsed safe injection sites, she told the Board of Supervisors Wednesday. "I think if we were going to open one, it would be very successful," she told the supes, but added that the city needed a half-dozen to make a real difference. That puts her at odds with Mayor Ed Lee, who has come out strongly against the harm reduction measure. 

Categories: Harm Reduction

Chronicle AM: It's World AIDS Day, Studies Suggest Psychedelics Could Help Terminal Patients, More... (12/1/16)

Harm Reduction (STDW) - Thu, 12/01/2016 - 22:01

New studies suggest psychedelics could help terminal patients deal with their fears, the Ohio legislature prepares to pass asset forfeiture reform, and more.

[image:1 align:right caption:true]Psychedelics

Studies Suggest Magic Mushrooms Could Help Cancer Patients Deal With Fear. A pair of studies published Thursday in the Journal of Psychopharmacology suggest that psilocybin, the psychedelic drug in magic mushrooms, could help terminal cancer patients cope with fear and anxiety around impending death. "The findings are impressive, with good safety data and large effect sizes," says Robin Carharrt-Harris, who studies psychedelic drugs at Imperial College London. "My feeling is that these studies will play a significant role in waking up the scientific and medical mainstream to the therapeutic potential of psychedelics."

Asset Forfeiture

Ohio Legislature Poised to Pass Civil Asset Forfeiture Reform, Despite Police and Prosecutors' Opposition. Legislative leaders say they expect to pass a civil asset forfeiture reform bill in the state Senate next week. The measure, House Bill 347, passed the House in the spring, but was delayed in the Senate when a committee approved an amendment to address concerns raised by prosecutors. The bill originally would have eliminated civil asset forfeiture, but now has been softened to allow it if the property owner is dead, the suspect cannot be located, or the owner does not claim the property. It also allows for civil forfeiture post-conviction.

Harm Reduction

It's World AIDS Day. We Can't End AIDS Until We End the War on Drugs. "Today, December 1, is World AIDS Day," writes the Drug Policy Alliance's Laura Thomas. "In 1989, I was arrested in front of the White House on World AIDS Day, demanding that then-President Bush take action on HIV/AIDS. Among the issues we were demanding action on then, so many years ago, was the availability of sterile syringes for people who inject drugs, so they could stop the transmission of HIV. In the decades since, we have celebrated amazing victories against HIV/AIDS. We now have treatments we could only dream of then. We have pills that will prevent HIV. We have a National HIV/AIDS Strategy. We even have an effective cure for hepatitis C. And we are keeping many, many more people with HIV alive now. And yet, it is syringe access – needle exchange – that we have been the slowest to win…" Click on the link for the whole post. 

Categories: Harm Reduction

Chronicle AM: Calls for Obama to Cut More Sentences, Iran Drug Death Penalty Moves, More... (11/29/16)

Harm Reduction (STDW) - Tue, 11/29/2016 - 22:02

Scholars, advocates, and a US congressman are calling on Obama to ramp up the commutation process in the final weeks of his term, the CDC issues a report calling for expanded syringe exchange, Maryland moves to address racial diversity (or the lack thereof) in the medical marijuana business, and more.

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

Massachusetts Marijuana Victory Faces Certification Delay. Secretary of State William Galvin said Monday that the November 8 election results may not be certified in time for marijuana legalization to go into effect on December 15, that date it is supposed to become legal. Ballot initiatives in the state do not become law until they are officially certified, and a December 14 meeting is the earliest date voting tallies on the initiative are likely to presented, Galvin said. But if not by December 15, certainly by early next year, he added: "All those tokers can hold their breath a little longer, but they'll be able to exhale" by early 2017, Galvin quipped.

Medical Marijuana

Maryland Moving to Improve Diversity in Medical Marijuana Industry. The state Cannabis Commission announced Monday that it is hiring a consultant to advise it on steps it can take to improve racial diversity in the nascent industry. The consultant will decide whether a study can be conducted to determine whether minorities have been unfairly excluded. If such a finding is made, that would allow the state to consider race when awarding medical marijuana licenses.

Harm Reduction

Groundbreaking Report from CDC Calls for Expansion of Syringe Access Programs. In a report on HIV and injection drug use released Tuesday, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) calls strongly for expanding needle exchange programs. "Syringe services programs (SSPs) can play a role in preventing HIV and other health problems among people who inject drugs (PWID)," the report found. "They provide access to sterile syringes and should also provide comprehensive services such as help with stopping substance misuse; testing and linkage to treatment for HIV, hepatitis B, and hepatitis C; education on what to do for an overdose; and other prevention services. State and local health departments can work with their lawmakers and law enforcement to make SSPs more available to PWID."

Sentencing

Calls Mount For Obama to Ramp Up Commutations as Term Nears End. A coalition of scholars and activists as well as a US congressman are calling on President Obama to expand clemency efforts in the final weeks of his administration -- including considering granting clemency to entire groups of people without case-by-case review. Obama has commuted the sentences of more than a thousand people sentenced under draconian drug war sentencing laws, but thousands more have applied for commutations without those applications yet being acted on.

International

Iran Keeps Moving Toward Ending the Death Penalty for Drugs. The Iranian parliament last week agreed to expedite deliberations on a measure that would dramatically limit the number of people facing execution for drug offenses in the Islamic Republic. Now, the proposal will get top priority in the Legal and Social Affairs Committee before heading before the full parliament. The measure would limit the death penalty to "organized drug lords," "armed trafficking," "repeat offenders," and "bulk drug distributors." Iran is one of the world's leading drug executioners, with drug offenders accounting for the vast majority of the more than a thousand people it executed last year.

Categories: Harm Reduction

CN MB: Column: Keeping Watch, Saving Lives

Harm Reduction (MAP) - Fri, 11/25/2016 - 08:00
Winnipeg Free Press, 25 Nov 2016 - Opioid crisis draws attention to supervised drug-use sites, but Manitoba's not interested - so far A DECADE ago, fentanyl, the killer synthetic opioid that can be 100 times more potent than morphine, was a relatively unknown drug. Today, it's everywhere - and it's at the heart of a national crisis claiming the lives of hundreds of Canadians.
Categories: Harm Reduction

CN BC: DKA Opposes Safe Injection Site

Harm Reduction (MAP) - Fri, 11/25/2016 - 08:00
Kelowna Capital News, 25 Nov 2016 - Interior Health is eying up both a spot on Leon Avenue as well as a mobile unit, for potential safe injection sites, and that has some of the community concerned. The Downtown Kelowna Association, which is a not-for-profit Business Improvement Area association, is coming out in opposition of the proposed Leon Avenue location that was revealed Thursday.
Categories: Harm Reduction

CN BC: Docs Say Prescription Heroin Helps

Harm Reduction (MAP) - Thu, 11/24/2016 - 08:00
The Georgia Straight, 24 Nov 2016 - This Christmas, Dianne Tobin will celebrate one year free of heroin. It will be the longest she's remained off the drug in 40 years. "It's been touchy at times, because I went down [in dosage] so fast," she told the Georgia Straight over coffee in the Downtown Eastside. "It was tough at first, going down so much at one time. But it was working for me."
Categories: Harm Reduction

CN ON: 84 Per Cent Back Safe Injection Site

Harm Reduction (MAP) - Mon, 11/21/2016 - 08:00
Hamilton Spectator, 21 Nov 2016 - The city has found a funding partner to help study if Hamilton should offer supervised injection sites for drug users. A report that goes to councillors this week says the anticipated $250,000 cost of a study can be cut to around $90,000 thanks to a proposed partnership with a health program and institute at McMaster University.
Categories: Harm Reduction

CN BC: Column: Drug-Addiction Column Draws Complaints

Harm Reduction (MAP) - Mon, 11/21/2016 - 08:00
The Daily Courier, 21 Nov 2016 - There was a frank exchange of views on the subject of drug addiction after Friday's column about two addicts' outlook on the issue. As in: "Fire this writer at once. Thanks for stigmatizing this population which you clearly have zero understanding of." "Heartless." One writer credited me with some intelligence, "but it was a bit hidden today."
Categories: Harm Reduction

CN BC: Column: Column Draws Complaints

Harm Reduction (MAP) - Mon, 11/21/2016 - 08:00
Penticton Herald, 21 Nov 2016 - There was a frank exchange of views on the subject of drug addiction after Friday's column about two addicts' outlook on the issue. As in: "Fire this writer at once. Thanks for stigmatizing this population which you clearly have zero understanding of." "Heartless." One writer credited me with some intelligence, "but it was a bit hidden today."
Categories: Harm Reduction

CN MB: 'Underwhelming'

Harm Reduction (MAP) - Sun, 11/20/2016 - 08:00
Winnipeg Sun, 20 Nov 2016 - Opioid conference misses point, advocate says A policy to address the latest opioids crisis at a Health Canada conference in Ottawa does not go far enough, or fast enough, to prevent future deaths, an advocate says.
Categories: Harm Reduction

Chronicle AM: Trump Picks AG Drug Warrior, Singapore Hangs Man for 5 lb of MJ, More... (11/18/2006)

Harm Reduction (STDW) - Fri, 11/18/2016 - 21:56

Thwarted activists in one state are already preparing for 2018, Trump chooses an ardent, unreconstructed drug warrior as attorney general, the surgeon general endorses harm reduction, and more.

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

Michigan Legalizers Gear Up for 2018. This year, legalization advocates came up just short in their bid to qualify an initiative for the ballot after state courts ruled that some of their petition signatures came outside a specified time-frame for signature gathering. But, buoyed by election results in other states where weed was on the ballot, MI Legalize say it is preparing to try again in 2018. The group will need to come up with about 250,000 valid voter signatures in a six-month period to qualify.

Drug Policy

Donald Trump Selects Drug Warrior Senator Jeff Sessions as Attorney General. The Alabama Republican senator, who once said that the Ku Klux Klan was, "OK, until he learned that they smoked marijuana," has a track record of opposition to marijuana reform. Earlier this year, Sessions spoke out against marijuana legalization in a Senate hearing, and urged the government to send the message to the public that "good people don't smoke marijuana." He has also said in a separate hearing that marijuana cannot be safer than alcohol because, "Lady Gaga says she's addicted to it and it is not harmless." Sessions is also a proponent of harsh sentences for drug offenses. Sessions was the chief opponent of recent bipartisan efforts to reduce sentences for drug offenses, demagoguing that "this proposal would provide for leniency for illegal alien drug traffickers," and voting against the bill in the Judiciary Committee.

Harm Reduction

US Surgeon General Issues Addiction Report Endorsing Harm Reduction. The office of the Surgeon General has released a report on alcohol and other drug use that endorses harm reduction and calls needle exchanges "an important strategy." The report by Surgeon General Dr. Vivek Murphy also acknowledges the role of harm reduction in "meeting people where they're at," saying that such programs meet the "needs of those who are not yet ready to participate in treatment" and those "who may not be ready to stop substance use -- offering individuals strategies to reduce risks while still using." The report identifies drug abuse and addiction as the nation's number one public health problem.

International

Singapore Hangs Nigerian Man for Five Pounds of Weed. Chijoke Stpehen Obioha, 38, a Nigerian citizen, was hanged Friday in Singapore after being convicted of trafficking 2.6 kilograms of marijuana. He had been jailed for nine years after his 2007 arrest. Under Singapore law, anyone caught with more than a pound of marijuana can be sentenced to death. In 2015, Singapore executed four people, one murderer and three drug offenders.

Categories: Harm Reduction

CN BC: B.C. Drug Overdoses Rising

Harm Reduction (MAP) - Fri, 11/18/2016 - 08:00
Prince George Citizen, 18 Nov 2016 - VANCOUVER - The death toll from illicit drugs will likely continue rising because of stronger opioids, an onerous federal law and accidental overdoses among people who unwittingly take a killer pain medication, says British Columbia's medical health officer. Dr. Perry Kendall said a record-number of fatal overdoses have officials in several cities across the province urging the federal government to approve facilities where drug use is supervised and overdoses can be reversed.
Categories: Harm Reduction

CN BC: VPD Issue Warning Following String Of Drug Overdoses

Harm Reduction (MAP) - Wed, 11/16/2016 - 08:00
Globe and Mail, 16 Nov 2016 - Vancouver police have issued another warning after 11 overdoses were reported in a single day in the city's Downtown Eastside. The move prompted the province's opposition party to call for more help for addicts and underscored the danger facing drug users ahead of a federal conference on the opioid crisis. Police issued the warning after a series of non-fatal overdoses on Monday, echoing previous notices from police and health officials, who have urged users not to inject when they are alone and to watch for overdose symptoms.
Categories: Harm Reduction

CN BC: Ottawa To Ease Injection-Site Law

Harm Reduction (MAP) - Fri, 11/11/2016 - 08:00
Globe and Mail, 11 Nov 2016 - Respect for Communities Act currently puts requirements on prospective operators that critics say are an effort to curb the facilities The federal government will change a contentious piece of Harper-era legislation that critics say imposes undue barriers to opening new supervised injection sites.
Categories: Harm Reduction

CN ON: Meth Task Force Adapting To Change

Harm Reduction (MAP) - Mon, 11/07/2016 - 08:00
The Sun Times, 07 Nov 2016 - Despite a decline in area crystal meth operations the substance continues to arrive from large urban centres in other forms that are part of a larger drug problem. "It's coming in a pill form and it's also coming in and being mixed with other chemicals . . . for example in marijuana," said Barb Fedy, co-chair of the Grey Bruce Task Force on Crystal Meth and Other Drugs during a recent presentation to Bruce County council.
Categories: Harm Reduction

Chronicle AM: Former LA Mayor Endorses Prop 64, Glasgow Moves Toward UK's First Safe Injection Site, More... (11/1/16)

Harm Reduction (STDW) - Tue, 11/01/2016 - 20:21

California's Prop 64 picks up another high-profile endorsement, the city of Glasgow is moving to establish the United Kingdom's first safe injection site, and more.

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

Colorado Lawmakers Call on Arizona "No" Campaign to Quit Using Inaccurate Ads. Three Colorado state legislators Monday sent letters to the campaign opposing the Prop 205 legalization initiative calling on it to quit misstating facts about what has happened since legalization in Colorado. The "no" campaign has claimed that Colorado schools have not seen any money from marijuana revenues, but the legislators point out that the state Department of Education has received more than $138 million in pot tax revenues. "They are saying these things that area really far field from the truth," state Sen. Pat Steadman. "We've been building schools and repairing schools with the excess tax revenue that was dedicated to school construction. Those dollars are flowing."

Former Los Angeles Mayor Endorses California Legalization Initiative. Former Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa (D) Monday became the latest well-known California politician to endorse the Prop 64 legalization initiative. "I took my time on this measure because I wanted to make sure it included protections for children and public safety," Villaraigosa said in a statement. "In evaluating the measure in its entirety, I am convinced there are enough safeguards to make it a workable proposition."

Medical Marijuana

Disqualified Arkansas Initiative Asks State Supreme Court to Reinstate It. Backers of the Issue 7 medical marijuana initiative are seeking recourse from the state's highest court after that same court last week disqualified it days after early voting began in the state. In a ruling last week, the high court said the campaign had violating state laws regarding reporting and registration of paid canvassers and threw out 12,000 signatures that had been approved by state election officials. But the Issue 7 campaign argues that a 2013 law imposing restrictions on paid canvassers is unfair to smaller groups. The state Supreme Court rarely grants petitions for a rehearing. A competing initiative, Issue 6, remains on the ballot. 

International

Glasgow Moves Toward Opening Forced Supervised Injection Facility in the UK.The Glasgow City Alcohol and Drug Partnership is pushing plans for the first safe injection sites in the United Kingdom. The notion is to be considered by the city council, the health board, and the police, all of whom are expected to agree in principle to the idea. Stay tuned. 

Categories: Harm Reduction

CN AB: Consumption Sites A 'Friendlier' Name

Harm Reduction (MAP) - Mon, 10/31/2016 - 07:00
Metro, 31 Oct 2016 - Regardless of what you call it, Alberta is getting into the business of harm reduction by giving drug users a safe place to take their drugs. Late last week the province announced it would provide funding for agencies working to establish supervised consumption sites, but for our neighbours to the west, these sites are known as supervised injection sites.
Categories: Harm Reduction

CN AB: Column: Province's Move Toward Safe Injection Sites To Be

Harm Reduction (MAP) - Sat, 10/29/2016 - 07:00
Medicine Hat News, 29 Oct 2016 - The provincial government's announcement Thursday of funding to establish safe, supervised sites for opioid use is absolutely commendable, but unfortunately also like closing the barn door after the horse has bolted when it comes to the ever-growing crisis of fentanyl and opioid addiction and deaths in Alberta. From January 2015 to the end of June this year there were 427 deaths in Alberta associated with the highly-addictive and deadly opioid, fentanyl. Of those, 21 were in the South Zone. The increase has been dramatic, even spiralling.
Categories: Harm Reduction

CN SN: New Effort To Pick Up Needles

Harm Reduction (MAP) - Sat, 10/22/2016 - 07:00
Prince Albert Daily Herald, 22 Oct 2016 - A new program has started up to help tackle the city's discarded needle problem. In the realm of tongue-twisting health acronyms, CHANGE is one of the worst offenders. It stands for Community, Harm Reduction, Needle Pickup, Guidance and Education, and it's the Prince Albert Parkland Health Region's newest strategy to reduce discarded needles in the community.
Categories: Harm Reduction

CN SN: Health: Where They Stand

Harm Reduction (MAP) - Sat, 10/22/2016 - 07:00
Prince Albert Daily Herald, 22 Oct 2016 - In part four of our look at the major issues of the campaign, we asked the mayoral candidates about a new Victoria Hospital and the city's role in the battle against HIV Healthcare is not a municipal responsibility. But, as Mayor Dionne puts it, the mayor can be a "voice for the residents of Prince Albert," calling on the province to provide the healthcare our city deserves.
Categories: Harm Reduction
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