WITH a sweet, awkward smile, Nancy Lilia Núñez offered up the main details of her life: she is a mother of three, having given birth to a daughter just seven months ago, and she is serving a 25-year sentence for helping to kidnap a 15-year-old girl. We were sitting at El Cereso — the Ciudad Juárez prison — a drab, hulking complex of brick and steel. Ms. Núñez wore tight jeans and eye makeup, as if heading to the mall.
At one moment, she declared with simply stated conviction that she had no idea the 15-year-old girl was being held for ransom in the house where Ms. Núñez was arrested. The next, she seemed to be holding back information about the friends she was arrested with. Ms. Núñez is only 22. She grew up here, in one of the world’s most crime-infested cities. But was she just hanging out with the wrong crowd, or is she a criminal deserving decades behind bars?
With her case and others, this is what Mexico is struggling to figure out. The number of women incarcerated for federal crimes has grown by 400 percent since 2007, pushing the total female prison population past 10,000. No one here seems to know what to make of the spike. Clearly, the rise can partly be attributed to the long reach of drug cartels, which have expanded into organized crime, and drawn in nearly everyone they can, including women. To learn more please follow this link
Source: New York Times
MEXICO CITY (AP) — Mexican soldiers and police officers regularly burst into homes, plant evidence and take people’s possessions, the National Human Rights Commission said Friday, adding that the violations have increased as Mexico’s war against drug gangs has grown more intense.
The actions by the security forces drew renewed attention this week when police officers searching for an accused leader of a drug gang stormed into the home of a gentle poet, breaking windows and doors and emptying closets and drawers.
The government’s human rights commission said that to justify an illegal entry the security forces sometimes planted evidence or cited vague justifications, like having received an anonymous tip or having spotted a person who looked “unusually nervous.”
“Illegal searches have become a common practice in many parts of the country, and they reveal a systematic pattern,” the commission said in a report released on Friday. It said that the security forces “burst into a home looking for illicit objects, they threaten, injure and detain the occupants, they take valuables or money, they alter evidence.” To learn more please follow this link
Source: New York Times
Put in simple terms harm reduction is meeting people where they are at. In the homeless service's space, harm reduction also means being sober is not a requirement for services such as housing. Myrecent visit with Donny in Calgary is a near text book example. Donny was drinking and using on the streets for over 20 years, but when he got into housing and was given some dignity Donny got sober all on his own.
But Donny was also lucky. He never really got into very hard drugs, so it was easier for him to get sober. Often this is challenging for 'normal' people to understand: there is a point where drugs take over a persons life. They lose all reason and self-worth. Their whole existence revolves around getting another fix. Often this path takes a person down an unthinkable path of self-destruction.
People end up doing things to survive that are horrible. HIV ,Hepatitis C, and drug related deaths become a very serious public safety issue for all of us. One story I heard from a few different people is addicts using puddles of urine to "fix" their heroin. The thought makes me cringe, but I know what drugs did to me when I was heavily addicted. I needed drugs more than I needed air and I would do anything to get them. To learn more please follow this link
Source: Huffington Post
The head of Brazil's indigenous protection service is to make an emergency visit to a remote jungle outpost, amid fears that members of an isolated Amazon tribe may have been "massacred" by drug traffickers. Fears for the tribe's wellbeing have been escalating since late July when a group of heavily armed Peruvian traffickers reportedly invaded its land, triggering a crisis in the remote border region between Brazil and Peru.
On 5 August Brazilian federal police launched an operation in the region, arresting Joaquim Antônio Custódio Fadista, a Portuguese man alleged to have been operating as a cocaine trafficker. But after the police pulled out, officers with the indigenous protection service (Funai) decided to return fearing a "massacre". They claimed that groups of men with rifles and machine guns were still at large in the rainforest. Reports suggest the traffickers may have been attempting to set up new smuggling routes, running through the tribe's land.
"We decided to come back here because we believed that these guys may be massacring the isolated [tribe]," Carlos Travassos, the head of Brazil's department for isolated indigenous peoples, told the Brazilian news website IG. "We are more worried than ever. The situation could be one of the greatest blows we have seen to the work to protect isolated Indians in decades. A catastrophe - genocide!" To learn more please follow this link
Source: The Guardian
The Greek government is proposing to decriminalize the possession of drugs under a bill sent to parliament by Justice Minister Miltadis Papioannou, the British web site Talking Drugs reported this week. Under the bill, drug possession would be decriminalized as long as the drug use does not affect others.
The bill is a response to continuing high drug overdose numbers -- more than 300 deaths a year in recent years -- and high levels of imprisonment. Some 40% of Greek prisoners are doing time for drug or drug-related offenses. Under the proposed bill, drug possession for personal use would qualify only as "misconduct" instead of a more serious criminal offense. The decriminalization provision would also apply to people growing marijuana for their personal use.
The bill would also guarantee the right to drug treatment, including for people currently imprisoned. People deemed "addict offenders" by the courts would be provided treatment instead of being jailed. Under the "treatment not jail" approach, addicts would be admitted to an approved treatment program for detoxification, then granted deferred prosecution and conditional release under a drug monitoring program. It is unclear what would happen to addicts who relapse while in the program.
The bill does not legalize the sale of drugs, which would remain a felony offense. Like other decriminalization schemes, the measure would make life easier for drug users in some ways, but would do little to reduce the deleterious effects of the black market in proscribed substances.
Source: Stop the Drug War
Steve Rolles is the Transform Drug Policy Foundation‘s senior policy analyst. He has spent 10 years researching and writing on the subject of drug law reform. In this interview he shares his views on the problems with current UK and international drug policy, explores some alternatives which are already in practice and discusses how future drug policy options might work.
Source: Know Drugs
Children of the Drug War is a unique collection of original essays that investigates the impacts of the war on drugs on children, young people and their families. With contributions from around the world, providing different perspectives and utilizing a wide range of styles and approaches including ethnographic studies, personal accounts and interviews, the book asks fundamental questions of national and international drug control systems:
What have been the costs to children and young people of the war on drugs?
Is the protection of children from drugs a solid justification for current policies?
What kinds of public fears and preconceptions exist in relation to drugs and the drug trade?
How can children and young people be placed at the forefront of drug policies?
Following an introduction, four thematic sections address: (PDF, 334 KB)
Production and Trade (PDF, 775 KB)
Race, class and law enforcement (PDF, 604 KB)
Families and drug policy (PDF, 889 KB)
Children, drug use and dependence (PDF, 1 MB)
Download the book or read it online at www.childrenofthedrugwar.org
Source: Harm Reduction International
11 August 2011 - More than one trillion dollars: this is the staggering amount of money probably laundered annually in recent years, says Pierre Lapaque, chief of the section dealing with organized crime and money-laundering at UNODC. In 1998, the International Monetary Fund estimated this figure to be the equivalent of between two and five per cent of global GDP, and UNODC considers that such a range remains plausible today, says Lapaque.
"We cannot separate drug money from crime money - it's all dirty money," explains Lapaque. "It's a huge flow but we cannot make precise estimates. Let me put it this way: you have to identify the stream of illicit money before it joins the rivers of global financial flows. That's the crux of the problem in making estimates."
Once criminal money has entered the global and financial markets, it becomes much harder to trace its origins. Despite the measures in place to combat financial crimes -from prevention efforts and client identification to the training of police and customs personnel, and the development of a detection system - there will always be money-laundering. "The most we can do is to restrict the flow and staunch it as early as possible." To learn more please follow this link
9 August 2011 - Twenty-two year old Chawngmawii from Mizoram state, north east India left home when she was sixteen. Having suffered abuse while growing up, she started living on the streets and became addicted to injecting drugs. Chawngmawii turned to sex work to support her drug habit and was diagnosed with HIV in 2008. With the help of a local organisation, Chawngmawii started visiting a centre that catered for injecting drug users, one of a number set up under the Targeted Intervention projects in the state and supported by the National AIDS Control Programme. However, Chawngmawii felt unwelcome because the centre catered mostly to male clients.
Chawngmawii's story is similar to that of many other women like her in north east India. Several states in the region are facing an HIV epidemic, driven by both injecting drug use and high-risk sexual behaviour. Despite the availability of free services for injecting drug users through both government hospitals and NGOs, a significant proportion of female users are unable to access treatment services for drug-driven HIV/AIDS. The lack of trained female service providers often deters women from seeking services, and the existing drop-in centres are primarily occupied by men.
UNODC is working with the Government of India to improve the quality and coverage of services for drug treatment. Under a joint United Nations programme in the north east, UNODC works in the four states of Manipur, Nagaland, Mizoram and Meghalaya, focusing particularly on establishing HIV prevention services for women. Under this initiative, interventions to address the special needs of women have been set up at four sites in the region. To learn more please follow this link
Five years ago I wrote a critique of the World Health Organization in the BMJ. 1One of my sources was a report by an American economist, Richard Tollison, which tore apart the WHO's budgetary priorities. Tollison's main claim was that too little of the WHO's money was spent on improving health in the developing world. 2
One statement quoted in the BMJ ran, “The poorest nations in WHO are interested in basic public health, and not in the more exotic forays of WHO into the public health issues of the modern industrialised West.” 3 What I and theBMJ and its readers didn't know, because the report didn't say, was that Tollison was in the pay of British American Tobacco. Nor did we know that such covert funding of “independent” commentators was just one part of an elaborate campaign by the tobacco industry to discredit the WHO and divert money and attention away from tobacco control activities. To learn more please follow this link
Prevention is a “hard” problem. We cannot just give out medicines to change behavior, and simple approaches on their own are unlikely to be sufficient. Lifestyle behaviours most relevant for health, such as eating choices or physical activity, cannot be changed just with a single intervention, however “effective” it may be.
This implies that effective strategies for prevention of most common risk behaviours must be based on a broad spectrum of interventions, targeted to both environment and individuals, and including structural changes and changes in social norms. For example, health education interventions to prevent obesity are likely to have maximal effectiveness in environments where unhealthy foods have high level of taxation, bike lanes are widespread, and restaurants and catering companies highlight healthy food choices. Likewise, school-based interventions to prevent smoking onset should be provided together with the implementation of school policies against tobacco, delivery of tobacco-free homes programmes, smoking bans in public places, and restriction of smoking in the media and film. In other words, changing health-related behaviours requires complex and synergistic strategies.
While there is sufficient knowledge about the effects of some health education programmes and school-based interventions, our understanding of how interventions brought at the level of the environment might work is poor. In order to fill this gap, the scientific evaluation of environmental interventions, as well as of complex community interventions should become a priority. But this raises several methodological questions, from the task of disentangling the effect of single components to that of summarising and de-contextualising results. To learn more please follow this link
This consultation document seeks your comments on proposals to consolidate and review specific provisions under the Misuse of Drugs Regulations 2001 and on the accompanying impact assessment.
When responding please state whether you are responding as an individual or whether you are representing the views of an organisation. If responding on behalf of an organisation, please make it clear who the organisation represents and, where applicable, how the views of members were assembled. The consultation will run for 12 weeks. The closing date for responses is 28 October 2011.
PDF file(507 kb )
Source: Home Office
The recently published Smoking, drinking and drug use among young people in England in 2010 reconfirms the relationship between truancy and exclusion with drug use by young people. The report says:
Pupils who had truanted or been excluded from school were more likely to report usually taking drugs at least once a month, the measure of frequent drug use, than those who had never truanted nor been excluded (8% and 1% respectively)...
In 2010, of those pupils who had ever truanted or been excluded, 9% had taken any Class A drugs in the last year, compared with 1% who had never truanted or been excluded from school. So the numbers of pupils who have been excluded is bound to be of interest to readers of this website.
The DfE have published the latest figures which cover the period 2009 - 10, which show that fixed period exclusions fell by 31,900 over the previous year to 331,380. Permanent exclusions also fell by 810 to 5,740. Both were also a smaller proportion of pupils that in 2008 - 09. To learn more please follow this link
Source: The Drug Education Forum
Many Americans continue to believe that marijuana should be legalized, but are not supportive of making other drugs readily available, a new Angus Reid Public Opinion poll has found. In the online survey of a representative national sample of 1,003 American adults, 55 per cent of respondents support the legalization of marijuana, while 40 per cent oppose it.
The groups that are the most supportive of making cannabis legal in the U.S. are Democrats (63%), Independents (61%), Men (57%) and respondents aged 35-to-54 (57%). However, only 10 per cent of Americans support legalizing ecstasy. Smaller proportions of respondents would consent to the legalization of powder cocaine (9%), heroin (8%), methamphetamine or “crystal meth” (7%), and crack cocaine (7%).
Across the country, 64 per cent of respondents believe America has a serious drug abuse problem that affects the entire United States, while one-in-five (20%) perceive a drug abuse problem that is confined to specific areas and people. One-in-twenty Americans (5%) think America does not have a serious drug abuse problem.Only nine per cent of respondents believe the “War on Drugs”—the efforts of the U.S. government to reduce the illegal drug trade—has been a success, while two thirds (67%) deem it a failure. To learn more please follow this link
Source: Angus Reid Consulting
The Bloomberg administration announced yesterday that New York City students will be required to receive sex education in public middle and high schools. These sex education classes will teach about condom use and the appropriate age for sexual activity. I applaud the mayor's campaign to teach sex education in school. While many parents may hope that their teenagers won't be sexually active, the reality is that most teenagers will have sex and it is important that they are educated about the risks of pregnancy and sexual transmitted diseases like HIV.
The same principles and goals of sex education should be applied to another issue that parents have to deal with when it comes to teen safety -- and that is drug education. The same way sex education advocates acknowledge that not all teens will be abstinent and need to learn how to protect themselves and be safe, we need to acknowledge that not all teens are going to abstain from drug use and they also need to be provided honest drug education that will keep them safe. That's why the Drug Policy Alliance developed the "Safety First" program to provide parents and teachers will a fallback strategy for teens who say "sometimes" or "maybe."
While many schools already provide honest sex education that acknowledges the reality that some teens will have sex, our nation's drug education programs treat abstinence as the sole measure of success and the only acceptable teaching option. This simplistic and unrealistic "education" does not acknowledge the reality that 75% of teens will try alcohol and 50% will try marijuana before they graduate. Instead of giving our teens honest information about drugs, we have police go into schools and give them reefer madness. To learn more please follow this link
Source: Huffington Post
Rome July, 25 - A special agreement between the Italian Government’s DPA (Drug Policy Department) and the US ONDCP was signed to foster cooperation between the two organisations. Therefore the agreement is likely to give more importance to the Italian experience on drug policy, which remains rather conservative, especially regarding harm reduction.Read more (in Italian).
During the negotiations of the EU resolution in the lead up to the CND 2011, for example, the Italian Government had been challenging the European position on harm reduction. The policy paper presented by the Italian Government and entitled “Measures and concrete actions for the prevention of drug related diseases” attempted to narrow down the definition of harm reduction by excluding certain measures, such as pill testing, heroin assisted treatment and drug consumption rooms, as quoted in the addendum to the policy paper.
This appears to be paradoxical, given that Italian Government had signed the 2005-2012 European Commission Drug Strategy where harm reduction is defined broadly, harm reduction interventions are clearly and comprehensively spelled out, and their implementation encouraged. Fortunately these services still have a good success in some Italian regions.
This is worrying because other important cooperation agreements developed between Italy and Serbia, Albania, Morocco and other counties of East Europe, Maghreb and the Mediterranean area are likely to be affected by the above US-Italian agreement.
The overall objective of this project is to support Probation Service on implementation of alternative sanctions in Albania, offering treatment programmes for offenders in the community. The Probation Service is based on finding enhancing and using effectively partnerships within the community and improves public confidence in the effectiveness of comminity sentences.
I am pleased to announce the new StoptheDrugWar.org Legislative Center. The Legislative Center can be accessed online here or by following the "Legislation" link from any page on our web site. The Legislative Center already includes:
Info on hundreds of drug policy and related bills in Congress and the state legislatures, organized by issue category.
An expanded set of federal action alerts. (State alerts coming next.)
Legislative vote tallies and legislator voting records.
Additional resources like a media outlet lookup, a basic how to guide for lobbying Congress and a voter registration tool.
Some of the highlights you'll find there:
Legalization and decriminalization bills from 18 states and Congress. Zip code lookup of state legislators and US Representatives -- how they voted, their bios and histories, how to contact them.
Alerts to take action on marijuana legalization, medical marijuana, sentencing reform, stopping new drug prohibitions and a commission to revamp the criminal justice system. Please visit http://stopthedrugwar.org/donate to support this new and expanded part of our online publishing. We need your support in these challenging economic times to afford the legislative tracking and advocacy system that makes it possible for us to do this, and to continue to take further steps to expand our advocacy programs. StoptheDrugWar.org offers a range of books, videos and other items in thanks for donations above specified levels.
We also need volunteers. There's a lot of information in our Legislative Center now, but there is more that can be done -- finding any bills we may have missed, spotting new bills as they come out, tracking the legislation we know about, more. Please use our contact form or reply to this email to let us know if you'd like to get involved.
Thank you for being a part of changing drug policy, for the better!
Source: Stop the Drug War
The events can be directly traced back to the death of a 23-year-old man stabbed through the heart as he left an East End night club and the actions of his friend who believed he was honour-bound to avenge his death.
The dead man was Kelvin Easton, known as Smegz, who was an elder in the "Bloodline", from the Broadwater Farm estate in Tottenham, one of London's "post code" gangs. The club where he died had been heaving: more than 500 people were inside at the time of the attack. But this is a world where the "stooly" who talks to the police is an outcast.
Tragically, it was not - until last week - an unusual story: London has seen 92 similar gang related murders in the last two years. The gangs control the drugs trade on their territories, sometimes little more than a few streets, and will kill and maim rivals to defend it. To learn more please follow this link
Source: The Telegraph
Some 10 million people who inject illegal drugs have hepatitis C while 1.2 million have hepatitis B, according to the first global estimate of infection rates among this population, published Thursday. Both viral diseases are debilitating and potentially deadly, and public health officials must step up efforts to combat blood-borne transmission and to lower treatment costs, the researchers urged. The health and economic costs of hepatitis C (HCV) spread via injected drugs, on its own, may be as high or higher than for similarly transmitted cases of HIV, they said.
The study, published in the British journal The Lancet, found that fully two-thirds of the global population of "injecting drug users" have been exposed, and thus infected, to HVC. About 80 percent are destined to develop chronic infections, and up to 11 percent of these individuals will, within two decades, suffer cirrhosis, which can cause liver failure and cancer. There is currently no vaccine for the hepatitis C virus. To learn more please follow this link
Source: The Independent
The West Australian government is to deal "harshly" with illegal drug manufacturers, introducing mandatory jail sentences for harming children during homemade drug operations. WA Police Minister Rob Johnson has announced a raft of new laws to deal with the growing problem of clandestine drug laboratories, now uncovered at a rate of nearly one a day.
Under the proposed news laws, any adult found guilty of causing harm to a child during the production of illegal drugs will be sentenced to a minimum term of 12 months jail.Mr Johnson said police have busted about 120 clandestine drug laboratories so far this year, including some set up in homes across the road from schools.
In about a quarter of cases, he said children were either present or registered as living at the home. "I don't think this is taking it too far," he said."I think we can never be over-protective of our children; our children are the most vulnerable people in our society and we have a duty to try and protect them from the harms of drugs and drug laboratories." Courts will also only have the options of imposing a suspended jail sentence or a term of imprisonment if someone is found guilty of exposing a child to harm through the manufacturing of drugs. To learn more please follow this link
Source: Sydney Morning Herald
Americans are popping more anti-depressants than ever before to deal with everyday stress, and non-psychiatrists are increasingly willing to prescribe the drugs to patients with no mental health diagnosis, a new study finds. Anti-depressants such as Prozac, Paxil and Lexapro are now the third most widely prescribed group of drugs in the U.S., and many people may take them for minor complaints without being fully aware of potential risks, the researchers said.
“Both consumers and prescribers of anti-depressants should be more knowledgeable about the indications [or symptoms] that anti-depressants are better for,” said study lead author Dr. Ramin Mojtabai, an associate professor of psychiatry at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health in Baltimore. “Although these drugs do not have many acute side effects, there may be more long-term adverse effects.” To learn more please follow this link
Source: The Chicago Sun
In 1998, the UN hosted a special session on illegal drugs which set out to implement law enforcement control strategies in the hope of creating a “drug free” world. Today, it is generally recognised that this policy has been an abject failure. The United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime stated in a 2011 report that the “overall number of drug users appears to have increased over the last decade from 180 to some 210 million people”.
In Australia, studies have found that the government’s strategy of harm minimisation has not been matched in funding terms. They note that more money is spent on law enforcement than on prevention, treatment and rehabilitation programs.
Moreover, the Australian Crime Commission in its most recent Illicit Drug Data Report observes that drug related arrests have increased over past years. The conclusions are the global drug war has failed To learn more please follow this link
Source: Green Left
The Supreme Court will rule next term on whether police need warrants to track suspects using high-tech surveillance. It could have a major impact on defining modern privacy rights.
When is a search not a search? Or, more pointedly: when are electronic or other forms of surveillance of an individual considered a search under the Fourth Amendment―thus requiring a valid warrant to conduct such surveillance in a manner that protects the individual from “unlawful search and seizure”?
How the U.S. Supreme Court answers that question, in a case on its docket for the term starting in October, will have far-reaching implications for the power of government and for the privacy of individuals, according to lawyers and privacy rights advocates. To learn more please follow this link
Source: The Crime Report
Six U.S. states that reduced incarceration rates by focusing on parole or probation instead of prison time have cut costs without increasing crime rates, according to a report released on Tuesday.
The report by the American Civil Liberties Union highlights Texas, Mississippi, Kansas, South Carolina, Kentucky and Ohio as traditionally "tough-on-crime" states that benefited from reducing incarceration rates. Four more states -- California, Louisiana, Maryland and Indiana -- are in the midst of reform, said the report by the ACLU's Center for Justice, an advocacy group that supports less-stringent penalties for nonviolent offenses.
"The costs of using incarceration as an option of first -- rather than last -- resort far outweighs any benefit to public safety," ACLU advocacy and policy counsel Inimai Chettiar said in a statement accompanying the report. State and federal governments spend about $70 billion annually on prisons and corrections, with state corrections spending having skyrocketed 674 percent over the last 25 years, according to the ACLU. Some of the changes noted by the report as having a positive impact include:
* Decriminalizing possession of small amounts of marijuana
* Reducing sentencing disparity between different types of drugs
* Ending mandatory minimum sentences
* Pushing treatment and parole over prison for non-violent offenders
* Letting prisoners earn credit toward early release
* Creating parole programs for elderly prisoners who are no longer a threat.
Sentencing reform has united political progressives like the ACLU with conservatives in states like Texas, said Michael Jacobson, the director of the Vera Institute of Justice, a nonpartisan criminal law research center in New York. To learn more please follow this link