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Harm Reduction

Chronicle AM: American College of Physicians Says Addiction Not a Moral Failing, More... (3/28/17)

Harm Reduction (STDW) - Tue, 03/28/2017 - 20:55

A leading doctors' group comes out for a progressive approach to opioid addiction, new research suggests medical marijuana can reduce opioid-related emergencies and overdoses, the Tennessee legislature slaps down pot decriminalization in Memphis and Nashville, and more.

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

Tennessee Bill to Block Municipal Decriminalization Passes Legislature. After the state's two largest cities, Memphis and Nashville, passed municipal marijuana decriminalization ordinances, the legislature has struck back. The Senate on Monday approved House Bill 173, which bars cities in the state from crafting marijuana penalties lesser than state law. The measure passed the House last week and now head's for the governor's desk.

Medical Marijuana

Legalized Marijuana Could Help Curb the Opioid Epidemic, Study Finds. A new study reported in the journal Drug and Alcohol Dependence finds that in states with medical marijuana, hospitalization rates for opioid pain pill dependence and abuse dropped by nearly a quarter (23%), while opioid overdose rates dropped by 13%. Researchers had expected to see an increase in marijuana-related visits. "Instead, medical marijuana laws may have reduced hospitalizations related to opioid pain relievers," said study author Yuyan Shi, a public health professor at the University of California, San Diego.

Maine Bill Would Make Medical Marijuana Users Eligible for Organ Transplants. Legislators heard powerful testimony from patients removed from life-saving organ transplant lists because they used marijuana as they considered Legislative Document 764 Monday. The bill would targets the Maine Medical Center, the only transplant center in the state, whose transplant policy states that "use of prescribed or recreational marijuana by any route of administration is absolutely prohibited." No vote was taken, and the bill is scheduled for more hearings next month.

Heroin and Prescription Opioids

American College of Physicians Calls for Opioid Addiction to Be Treated as Chronic Condition, Not Moral Failing. In a position paper in the Annals of Internal Medicine, the American College of Physicians released a comprehensive set of public policy recommendations for the prevention and treatment of substance use disorders that calls for treating addiction as a treatable chronic condition, not a moral failing or criminal activity. The guidelines call for expanded access to the overdose reversal drug naloxone and opioid maintenance therapies, as well as urging physicians to avoid opioids as first-line treatments for most chronic pain and to limit opioids for acute pain to the lowest possible dose for the shortest possible time. And they suggest that it is time to consider drug decriminalization or legalization: "Stakeholders should assess the risks and benefits of removing or reducing criminal penalties for nonviolent offenses involving illicit drugs."

Categories: Harm Reduction

Chronicle AM: Philippines Prez in Hot Seat Over Drug War, WV Legalization Bill, More... (3/16/17)

Harm Reduction (STDW) - Thu, 03/16/2017 - 20:55

The Philippines' bloody-handed president is facing harsh criticism as the UN Commission on Narcotic Drugs meets in Vienna, West Virginia gets a marijuana legalization bill, New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio rolls out a plan to fight opioid addiction and overdoses, and more.

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

West Virginia Legalization Bill Filed. Delegate Sean Hornbuckle (D-Cabell County) introduced House Bill 3035 Tuesday. The bill would tax and regulate marijuana like alcohol. It has been sent to the House Health and Human Resource Committee. If it gets through there, it must then go to the House Judiciary Committee before heading for a House floor vote.

Medical Marijuana

Arkansas Bill to Ban Edibles, Public Smoking Wins Committee Vote. A bill that would bar medical marijuana patients from consuming edibles or from smoking their medicine in public was approved Wednesday by the House Rules Committee. But the measure, House Bill 1400, faces an uphill battle to win final approval because any changes to the voter-approved medical marijuana law require a two-thirds vote to pass.

Massachusetts Bills Would Protect Patients' Employment Rights. Even as the state Supreme Court Thursday heard a case on employment rights for medical marijuana patients, two bills alive in the state legislature would do just that. Rep. Frank Smizik (D-Brookline) has introduced House Bill 2385, which would explicitlyprotect the rights of a medical marijuana patient to use the drug without facing discrimination in hiring, firing or terms of employment. The bill would also protect medical marijuana patients from discrimination in education, housing and child welfare and custody cases. That bill is currently before the Committee on Marijuana Policy. A similar bill was filed last sessions, but didn't pass. A second bill, House Bill 113, is aimed mostly at updating state law to bring it in line with the Americans With Disabilities Act, but one provision clarifies that employers cannot take adverse employment action against someone for using medical marijuana. That bill is before the Joint Committee on Children, Families, and Persons with Disabilities.

Nebraska Medical Marijuana Bill Gets Charged Hearing. At a hearing in the Judiciary Committee Wednesday, law enforcement, the state attorney general's office, and the state's top doctor all came out in opposition to a medical marijuana bill, Legislative Bill 622, but legislators also heard emotional testimony in favor of the bill from Army veterans and others who said they would benefit from access to medical marijuana. Five of the bill's sponsors sit on the eight-member Judiciary Committee, so the bill is likely to make it to a House floor vote, where opposition has killed similar measures in past years.

Heroin and Prescription Opioids

New York City Mayor Reveals Plans to Fight Opioid Addiction. Mayor Bill de Blasio said Monday that the city planned to spend as much as $38 million a year on a broad array of measures aimed at reducing opioid addiction and overdoses. Among the measures mentioned were expanded methadone and buprenorphine treatment, the distribution of the overdose reversal drug naloxone to all 23,000 city patrol officers, a focus on city hospitals on dealing with addiction and overdoses, and increased prosecution of opioid dealers. De Blasio mentioned outreach, treatment, and law enforcement, but not harm reduction.

International

Bolivia Says It Does Not Need US or European Help to Fight Drug Trafficking. Bolivian Vice President Alvaro Garcia Lima said Wednesday that his country doesn't need help or advice from the US or Europe on its coca policies or its fight with drug traffickers. "We fight against drug trafficking with Bolivian money, we do not depend on the European Union (EU) to fight against drug trafficking. Before when we depended on the United States, Bolivia received about USD $100 million. We have set aside that aid," he said. Garcia Lima's remarks came in response to European Union criticism of a new Bolivian law nearly doubling legal coca cultivation. The EU suggested that perhaps its aid to Bolivia should be "refocused." Garcia Lima retorted that Bolivia is "not begging money" from the EU.

Philippines Vice-President Condemns Duterte's Drug War. In an interview with Time magazine ahead of a speech set for Thursday at the Commission on Narcotic Drugs in Vienna, Philippine Vice President Leni Robredo condemned President Rodrigo Duterte's bloody drug war and said she was "inspired" by growing opposition to it. She also said she was "encouraged" that the international community is speaking out. "We hope that in the next few months we, together with the international community, can convince the current administration to focus its efforts in ending human-rights violations and extrajudicial killings," she said. "In addition, let us work together to strengthen the existing accountability mechanisms in the Philippines in order for us to have those responsible brought to justice. We hope that we can persuade the administration to concentrate more on the bigger war we are facing -- the war on poverty."

Philippines Lawmaker Files Impeachment Complaint Against Duterte, Cites Drug War Killings. Philippines Rep. Gary Alejano has filed an impeachment complaint against President Rodrigo Duterte, calling for his removal for high crimes, abuses of power, and betrayal of public trust. The complaint lists drug-related murders, the operation of death squads while Duterte was mayor of Davao City, and conflicts of interest among the impeachable offenses. Pro-Duterte lawmakers said the complaint "will not fly," but Alejano was undaunted. "Our goal with this complaint is to be a vehicle for Filipinos to have a voice to oppose and fight against the abuses and crimes of President Duterte," Alejano told a televised news conference. "We know it's an uphill battle... but we believe that many will support this."

Categories: Harm Reduction

CN ON: Column: Prescribing A Solution To Opioid Addiction

Harm Reduction (MAP) - Thu, 03/16/2017 - 07:00
Ottawa Sun, 16 Mar 2017 - City health authorities considering heroin to treat addicts Ottawa's health unit supports prescribing heroin to treat severe addicts and at least one treatment clinic is considering it as the city fights the rising rates of overdoses from it and similar opioid drugs.
Categories: Harm Reduction

CN ON: Getting High On Salvia

Harm Reduction (MAP) - Fri, 03/10/2017 - 08:00
The Expositor, 10 Mar 2017 - Use of hallucinogenic drug has recently sent at least three people to hospital The first signs of a problem were sounds of retching from her 15-year-old son's bedroom and a thump. Sandra and her boyfriend got up from their seats in the living room and ran to the Brantford teen's bedroom to find him having a seizure.
Categories: Harm Reduction

Chronicle AM: PA Auditor General Calls for Legal MJ, NV Public Consumption Bill, More... (3/7/17)

Harm Reduction (STDW) - Tue, 03/07/2017 - 21:52

Pennsylvania Auditor General Eugene DePasquale comes out for marijuana legalization, citing the tax revenue boost; a bill to limit home cultivation in Colorado advances, the Arizona Senate approves a hemp bill, the Arkansas Senate kills a no-smoking medical marijuana bill, and more.

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

Colorado Bill to Limit Home Cultivation Advances. The House Finance Committee voted Monday to approve House Bill 1220, which would limit home grows to 12 plants. Bill sponsors paint it as an effort to prevent diversion to the illegal market, but medical marijuana patients and advocates testified that it could make it difficult for them to grow enough medicine for their needs.

Nevada Bill to Allow Licenses for Public Events With Pot Consumption Filed. The state's leading pro-marijuana reform politician, Sen. Tick Segerblom (D-Las Vegas) filed Senate Bill 236 Monday. The bill, which is not yet available on the legislative website, would allow local governments to issue licenses for one-off events with public pot consumption, as well as licensing pot shops, bars, or other businesses to allow consumption on-premises. The bill has been referred to the Senate Judiciary Committee.

Pennsylvania Auditor Endorses Marijuana Legalization, Says State Could Earn Millions. Auditor General Eugene DePasquale (D) said Monday he supported marijuana legalization and that the state could generate $200 million a year in tax revenues from it. "The regulation-and-taxation-of-marijuana train has rumbled out of the station across the United States," DePasquale said at a press conference in the state capitol. "The question is whether Pennsylvania is going to miss its stop."

Medical Marijuana

Arkansas Senate Kills Bill to Ban Smoking of Medical Marijuana. The Senate voted 15-10 Monday to reject Senate Bill 357, which would have banned smoking medical marijuana. Bill sponsor Sen. Jason Rapert (R-Conway) argued smoking is a public health hazard and that smoking marijuana is a recreational use, not a medicinal one, but his colleagues were not buying his argument.

Hemp

Arizona Senate Passes Hemp Legalization Bill. The Senate has approved Senate Bill 1337, which would authorize industrial hemp production, processing, manufacture, distribution, and sales. It also includes language saying the state cannot prevent hemp commerce merely on the grounds that it is federally illegal.

Drug Policy

West Virginia Bill Would Create Drug Policy Office, Track Overdoses. A bill that would create an office to track fatal drug overdoses passed the House last week and heads to the Senate. House Bill 2620 would provide a central data collection point to track overdoses and arrests in the state. That information could be compiled and used as supporting data in research and as the state applies for federal grant money to combat the state's drug abuse epidemic. The bill is only one of many filed to deal with the opioid problem in the state. Click on the link for more.

Categories: Harm Reduction

Chronicle AM: Israel Cabinet Approves MJ Decrim, NM Senate Approves MJ Decrim, More... (3/6/17)

Harm Reduction (STDW) - Mon, 03/06/2017 - 22:00

Legalization bills are getting hearings on the East Coast, decriminalization advances in New Mexico and Israel, a Wyoming edibles penalty bill is dead, and more.

[image:1 align:left]Marijuana Policy

Connecticut Legalization Bill Gets Hearing Tomorrow. The General Assembly's Public Health Committee has a hearing set for House Bill 5314, cosponsored by Rep. Melissa Ziobron (R-East Haddam). The bill would legalize marijuana for people 21 and over, set up a regulatory system for marijuana cultivation and sales, and set up a tax system for marijuana commerce. Other legalization bills proposed by Democrats are awaiting action.

Maryland Legalization Bills Get Hearing. Supporters and foes of marijuana legalization testified before the Senate Judicial Proceedings Committee last Thursday on Senate Bill 927, which would tax and regulate legal marijuana sales, and on Senate Bill 891, which would set up a referendum to amend the state constitution to allow people 21 and over to possess up to two ounces and grow up to six plants. No votes were taken.

New Mexico Senate Approves Decriminalization Bill. The Senate voted last Thursday to approve Senate Bill 258, which would decriminalize the possession of up to a half-ounce of marijuana. Between a half-ounce and eight ounces would remain a misdemeanor. The move comes after the legislature rejected outright legalization. The bill is now before the House Consumer and Public Affairs Committee.

North Dakota Legalization Initiative Supporters Will Try Again. Initiative campaigners gave up a few months ago on signature gathering, but now say they will try again and are aiming at getting a measure on the 2018 ballot. Campaigners said they would have a new petition later this spring or summer.

Wyoming Bill to Set Edibles Penalties Dies Amidst Discord. A conference committee of House and Senate members was unable to reach agreement on how to punish the possession of marijuana edibles, killing House Bill 197. The bill had sought to close a loophole in state law that left it unclear how to punish edibles possession, but originally also included sentencing reductions for marijuana in its plant form. That provision was intended to make the bill palatable to Democratic lawmakers, but it was stripped out of the bill in the Senate. The bill died when the House rejected the Senate version.

Medical Marijuana

Arkansas Medical Marijuana "Fix" Bills Are Moving. The Senate sent two medical marijuana bills to the governor's desk last Thursday, while the House passed three more bills and sent them to the Senate. Winning final legislative approval were House Bill 1556, which bars the use of teleconferencing to certify a patient for medical marijuana, and House Bill 1402, which would allow the state to reschedule marijuana if the federal government does it first. Meanwhile, the Senate will now take up House Bill 1580, which imposes a 4% sales tax on cultivation facilities and a 4% sales tax on dispensary sales; House Bill 1436, which sets an expiration date for dispensary licenses, and House Bill 1584, which would led regulators issue temporary dispensary or cultivation licenses when the original owner ceases to be in control of the business.

West Virginia Medical Marijuana Bills Filed. Sen. Patricia Rucker (R-Jefferson) and 11 cosponsors have filed Senate Bill 386 and companion legislation in the House that would allow for the medical use of marijuana by patients with one of a list of qualifying disorders.

Asset Forfeiture

Mississippi Senate Approves Asset Forfeiture Reform Bill. The Senate voted unanimously last Thursday to approve House Bill 812, which will require law enforcement to report on all forfeitures and creates a new asset forfeiture warrant system under which a judge would have to authorize seizures. The bill had already passed both houses, but had to go back to the Senate for a housekeeping vote. It now head to the desk of Gov. Phil Bryant (R).

International

Israeli Cabinet Approves Marijuana Decriminalization. The cabinet has approved the public safety minister's proposal to decriminalize pot possession. Under the proposal, people caught with marijuana would face only administrative fines for their first three offenses, but criminal charges for a fourth. The measure must still be approved by the Knesset.

Durham Police Will Become First in England to Implement Prescription Heroin and Supervised Injection Sites. Police in Durham are set to begin buying pharmaceutical heroin and providing it to addicts, who will inject it twice a day at a supervised injection site. The plan is currently being studied by public health authorities in the region.

Categories: Harm Reduction

CN BC: PM Attends Roundtable On Opioid Crisis

Harm Reduction (MAP) - Sat, 03/04/2017 - 08:00
Globe and Mail, 04 Mar 2017 - Attendees at the meeting urged Trudeau to consider extra funding and expanded access to injectable opioid treatment Canada's Prime Minister and Minister of Defence met with people on the front lines of B.C.'s overdose crisis on Friday, listening as they spoke candidly about the urgent need to scale up treatment options, the province's record death toll and the emotional impact it's had on first responders.
Categories: Harm Reduction

CN ON: 'Where's The Fent?'

Harm Reduction (MAP) - Sat, 03/04/2017 - 08:00
Ottawa Sun, 04 Mar 2017 - AIDS Committee of Ottawa offering strips to test urine A project launched this week by the AIDS Committee of Ottawa is offering urine test strips that reveal to people who have used drugs whether they've been unwittingly exposed to the powerful opioid fentanyl.
Categories: Harm Reduction

CN BC: Opioid Crisis: Recreational Drug Users Hit Hardest

Harm Reduction (MAP) - Fri, 03/03/2017 - 08:00
Goldstream Gazette, 03 Mar 2017 - Paramedics say naloxone doesn't reverse damage done to the brain from lack of oxygen in an overdose While a lot of emphasis is being put on the statistics relating to overdose deaths, paramedics working on the West Shore are struggling to help the patients they save, but are still ultimately lost.
Categories: Harm Reduction

CN BC: Expert Calls For 'Scaled Up' Approach To Opioid Crisis

Harm Reduction (MAP) - Fri, 03/03/2017 - 08:00
Metro, 03 Mar 2017 - Disease control director says more should be prescribed One of British Columbia's top experts on diseases has slammed longstanding "drug policies that criminalize drug users," in an op-ed in the B.C. Medical Journal's new issue, and pushed for the expansion of government-prescribed opioids.
Categories: Harm Reduction

CN BC: PM Won't Widen Decriminalization Of Drugs

Harm Reduction (MAP) - Fri, 03/03/2017 - 08:00
Globe and Mail, 03 Mar 2017 - Prime Minister Justin Trudeau is rejecting recommendations from British Columbia's top health officials to widen the scope of his government's decriminalization agenda beyond marijuana to help stem the country's growing opioid crisis. Mr. Trudeau will meet Friday with health experts in Vancouver to discuss Canada's response to the rising toll of overdose deaths, the latest in a series of meetings where he has engaged with British Columbians on the front lines of the deadly opioid battle.
Categories: Harm Reduction

CN BC: Carfentanil Bust In Nelson

Harm Reduction (MAP) - Fri, 03/03/2017 - 08:00
Nelson Star, 03 Mar 2017 - It's an elephant tranquilizer, and it can kill you. The Nelson Police Department recently busted a man for possession, and after sending away his faux oxycodone tablets to Health Canada they were informed the batch contained carfentanil.
Categories: Harm Reduction

CN ON: Health Board Hears Of Harm-Reduction Strategy

Harm Reduction (MAP) - Thu, 03/02/2017 - 08:00
Northumberland Today, 02 Mar 2017 - PORT HOPE - Naloxone, administered as a nasal spray or by needle, is being distributed to stakeholders in the community (including emergency responder), to temporarily reverse the effects of an opioid overdose, says Peterborough AIDS Resource Network prevention and education co-ordinator, Chris Jardin -a membert of the Harm Reduction Programming Committee of the Haliburton, Kawartha, Pine Ridge District Health Unit. But Jardin says it should be spread more widely.
Categories: Harm Reduction

CN BC: VPD Uses Naloxone For First Time To Reverse Drug Overdose

Harm Reduction (MAP) - Thu, 03/02/2017 - 08:00
Vancouver Courier, 02 Mar 2017 - Officer used the nasal spray form of the drug inside Rogers Arena A Vancouver police officer working at a Vancouver Canucks hockey game has become the first member of the department to use the overdose-reversing drug naloxone on an overdose victim.
Categories: Harm Reduction

CN BC: Column: Federal Health Minister Talks Legalization, Injection

Harm Reduction (MAP) - Thu, 03/02/2017 - 08:00
Vancouver Courier, 02 Mar 2017 - t's always nice to hear from the person in charge when you have questions about what he or she is going to do to address a problem affecting a large number of people. You may not always like the answers - or get a straight answer, for that matter - but still, it's something, right?
Categories: Harm Reduction

CN ON: Column: Criminalization Of Opioids Is Costing Lives

Harm Reduction (MAP) - Thu, 03/02/2017 - 08:00
Toronto Star, 02 Mar 2017 - Two weeks ago, 28-year-old Pierre Gregoire died after a fatal drug overdose in the washroom of a downtown restaurant When I worked at a drop-in centre for youth over a decade ago, our staff carried keys to the facility's washrooms at all times. We were always prepared for the possibility that young people we served might lock themselves in the washrooms to get high, particularly by using opioid drugs, and fall unconscious due to an overdose.
Categories: Harm Reduction

CN BC: OPED: Perspectives On The Drug Overdose Crisis In BC

Harm Reduction (MAP) - Wed, 03/01/2017 - 08:00
BC Medical Journal, 01 Mar 2017 - Issue: BCMJ, Vol. 59, No. 2, March 2017, page(s) 89 BC Centre for Disease Control Mark W. Tyndall, MD, ScD, FRCPC British Columbia is in the midst of a public health crisis, with 914 documented overdose deaths in 2016. While there has been a steady increase in overdose deaths over the past 2 years, December 2016 had the highest monthly total of deaths ever recorded (128 deaths).[1] This is particularly alarming as it is happening despite a public health emergency announcement in April 2016 and a massive scale-up of the take-home naloxone program that has been used in over 3000 overdose reversals.
Categories: Harm Reduction

CN BC: Surrey Overdose-Site Plans To Be Reviewed

Harm Reduction (MAP) - Tue, 02/28/2017 - 08:00
Globe and Mail, 28 Feb 2017 - The Health Minister has asked the Fraser Health CEO to look into potential barriers for the supervised-consumption project British Columbia's Health Minister has asked the chief executive officer of the Fraser Health Authority to review the plans for two "overdose-prevention sites" announced for Surrey after The Globe and Mail reported they do not exist yet.
Categories: Harm Reduction

CN BC: Surrey 'Hotspot' Lacks Overdose-Prevention Sites

Harm Reduction (MAP) - Mon, 02/27/2017 - 08:00
Globe and Mail, 27 Feb 2017 - The first time Donna May walked down the stretch of road known as the Surrey Strip, she felt afraid. The Mississauga resident had never before seen such a concentration of drug use: 50 or 60 people, sickness and addiction - a sense of desperation jarring against the backdrop of a sunny winter's day. She remembered that no one was smiling. "It was like walking from one world into another," Ms. May said of that day in January, 2012, on 135A Street, the quiet stretch in the Fraser Valley city that has become a semi-permanent homeless encampment rife with drug use.
Categories: Harm Reduction

CN ON: Life-Saving Drug Comes To Oxford

Harm Reduction (MAP) - Mon, 02/27/2017 - 08:00
Sentinel Review, 27 Feb 2017 - Higher-dosage, easier-to-use Naxolone kits, which cane help prevent opioid overdoses, are now available through Oxford County public health Higher-dosage and easier-to-use Naloxone kits will soon be available free of charge to anyone in Oxford County to help prevent opioid overdose deaths.
Categories: Harm Reduction
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