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oD Drug Policy Forum: Front Line Report - Week of July 4th 2011

We lead this weeks Report with news that the Bolivian government has formally notified the UN Secretary General of its withdrawal from the 1961 Single Convention on Narcotic Drugs. In other news, we look at the relationship between torture and drugs, and explore the Russian Government's counterproductive drug policies ~ MW & CS
Mark Weiss Charles Shaw
4 July 2011
   

Bolivia Withdraws from the UN Single Convention on Narcotic Drugs 

The Bolivian government formally notified the UN Secretary General of its withdrawal from the 1961 Single Convention on Narcotic Drugs (as amended by the 1972 Protocol) yesterday. The withdrawal will enter into effect on 1 January 2012. At that time, Bolivia will re-accede to the Convention with a reservation on the coca leaf and its traditional uses. 

Bolivia’s step – the first of its kind in the history of the UN drug control treaties – comes after the rejection earlier this year of its proposal to delete the Single Convention’s obligation that “coca leaf chewing must be abolished” (article 49). A number of countries, including the United States, objected. 

TNI and WOLA express their full understanding and support for the decision taken by the Morales administration, with the approval of the Bolivian legislature. After its proposed amendment was rejected, Bolivia had no other choice but to withdraw from the Convention, given the need to reconcile its international treaty obligations with the country’s new 2009 Constitution, which allows for a period of four years for the government to “denounce and, in that case, renegotiate the international treaties that may be contrary to the Constitution.” To learn more please follow this link

Source: Human Rights and Drugs

Briefing on Bolivia’s concurrent drug control and other international legal commitments 

Bolivia’s denunciation of the 1961 Single Convention on Narcotic Drugs is not just about one treaty. It is about finding an appropriate balance between multiple concurrent and conflicting international legal obligations. 

When international treaties ratified by or acceded to by Bolivia and relevant jurisprudence are taken into account, it is clear that Bolivia would find itself in breach of multiple international agreements were it to fully implement the 1961 Single Convention as written. A reservation on the 1961 Single Convention is the most reasonable and proportionate way to address this conflict. Download the backgrounder (PDF) To learn more please follow this link

Source: Human Rights and Drugs

What Do Torture and Drugs Have in Common? 

June 26 marks the UN’s annual International Day in Support of Victims of Torture. Interestingly, the UN has also designated that date as International Day against Drug Abuse and Illicit Trafficking. At first, the two occasions may seem to have little in common. Unfortunately, that is not the case for many people who use drugs across the globe. 

Over the past decade, governments have increasingly turned to arbitrary detention, cruelty, and even torture in order to combat drug abuse. This so-called rehabilitation rarely resembles the evidence-based drug treatment people deserve— a supportive experience, entered into voluntarily and with full consent to the treatment plan. 

Two new publications issued by the Campaign to Stop Torture in Health Care, a coalition led by the Open Society Foundations, document the abuses that people detained in the name of drug treatment regularly suffer. The first, Treated With Cruelty: Abuses in the Name of Drug Rehabilitation, is a compilation of personal testimonies of detainees in Russia, China, Cambodia, and Mexico. To learn more please follow this link

Source: Open Society 

California medical marijuana growers face pressure

A new Obama administration memo approves federal prosecution of anyone in the business of growing or supplying marijuana for medical patients even if they are complying with state law, a contradiction, advocacy groups say, of President Obama's pledge to let states set their own policies.

The memo, issued Wednesday by Deputy Attorney General James Cole, insisted that the Justice Department hadn't abandoned the policy it announced in a set of guidelines in October 2009. 

Those guidelines discouraged federal prosecutors from charging people who were following laws in California and other states that allow the medical use of marijuana, despite the federal government's absolute ban on the drug. Obama had promised as a presidential candidate, and reaffirmed soon after taking office, that his administration would take a hands-off approach to medical marijuana and let states chart their own course. To learn more please follow this link

Source: San Francisco Chronicle

Mexico Begins Search for New President as Criminal Violence Soars 

On Sunday, July 3 Mexicans in the state of Mexico, which borders Mexico City, will elect a new governor, while the current governor,   Enrique Pena Nieto campaigns to be elected president.  The politicking in Mexico comes as the current president, Felipe Calderon, is enmeshed in a war against drug cartels and other criminal organizations that has cost around 40,000 lives in the past five years. Some Mexicans hope a change in leadership may lead to diminished violence or even a truce with the powerful cartels, but, as  The war is likely to continue well into the next presidential term.

One of the international observers on hand for the voting in the state of Mexico is Professor George Grayson of the College of William and Mary, considered one of the top US experts on Mexico. He says Governor Enrique Pena Nieto wants to use the election as a springboard for his presidential campaign.

“He wants to make sure that his successor wins by a huge majority to give impetus to his juggernaut as he seeks to become chief executive next year, so this July 3rd gubernatorial contest is really in many ways a primary for next year's election," said Grayson. To learn more please follow this link 

Source: Voice of America

The Drug War Must End: More Evidence from Thailand

Only weeks after the Global Commission on Drug Policy called for the end of the drug war, new video testimony from Thailand reinforces why this is a necessary step to ensuring public health. 

Thailand over the past two decades has often been hailed as a leader in HIV prevention and treatment. The country’s health officials, however, have consistently failed to address how to stop the spread of HIV among injection drug users. According to UNAIDS, nearly 40 percent of injection drug users in Thailand are living with HIV, leaving little doubt this lapse in prevention has needlessly cost lives. 

In the video above, Open Society Foundations grantees and partners from Thailand describe how the country’s war on drugs has put drug users at risk of HIV by preventing access to harm reduction services, including adequate legal counsel, needle exchange, and drug treatment.  Instead, as a June 17 news report by Al Jazeera depicted, drug users in Southeast Asia are more often forced into ineffective, military-run “rehabilitation” based on wholesale drug testing and detention. To learn more please follow this link

Source: Open Society Foundations

Ukrainian Government Crackdown on NGOs, Drug Users and People Living with HIV 

Hundreds of patients receiving drug substitution therapy and NGOs that are supporting programmes providing substitution therapy are facing harassment and abuse from state authorities in Ukraine after orders from the Ministry of Interior’s drug enforcement department in a worrying crackdown on people trying to access health services. 

Patients dependent on legal substitution therapy to manage their drug dependency are being withheld treatment unless they provide information on their health and HIV status for a ‘voluntary survey’.

“We are not given medication. They say we must first pass an ‘interview’ with law enforcement officers. A law enforcement officer threatened to arrest me if I do not fill in a questionnaire,” said Olha Belyaeva, a substitution therapy advocate. To learn more please follow this link 

Source: Trust 

Ban on Mexico Drug Ballads no Match for YouTube 

TIJUANA, Mexico, June 27 (Reuters) - The more Mexican authorities try to stamp out violent drug ballads celebrating the joys of narcotics trafficking, the more their fame spreads like wildfire, fanned by the Internet.

The accordion and brass-driven "narcocorridos" that glamorize the shady underworld of smugglers has been forced underground in the border state of Baja California, which since 2001 has pressured radio stations, music stores and bars into a kind of self-censorship that stops short of an outright ban. 

Now politicians are emulating Baja California to impose curbs in the northwestern state of Sinaloa, cradle of Mexico's drug trade, and the violent state of Chihuahua, worried they are adding fuel to the flames of the nation's brutal drug war. To learn more please follow this link

Source: Trust

Lighting up in Amsterdam 

It's not the Anne Frank house they are here to see. Wearing matching t-shirts emblazoned with a photo of their friend with a big slice of ham on his face and "Hamface's stag do," written on the back, these young men are in town for a good time. 

What is a good time? "Smokin'. You know. Maybe. Some 'shrooms. But mainly just smokin' and chillin," says a 30-something named Trevor-something from somewhere in Ireland as he mock dry humps his friend, the proud groom to be. "They are going to close this all down soon, you know," he notes. "Poof." 

Interviewing people late Saturday night in the red light district who have been stoned for days yields little in the way of coherent answers. To learn more please follow this link

Source: Huffington Post

U.S. Sentencing Commission Votes to Make Crack/Powder Cocaine Sentencing Reforms Retroactive 

WASHINGTON, DC—Today, the U.S. Sentencing Commission voted to provide retroactive application of the Fair Sentencing Act, which Congress passed last year and narrowed a decades-old disparity in federal sentencing between crack cocaine and powder cocaine. The Commission’s decision to apply the sentencing guideline changes retroactively could benefit as many as 12,000 people in federal prison who could be released early, saving taxpayers as much as $240 million over the next 30 years. The Commission’s commitment to reforming this egregious practice is consistent with its history.   

 "Since 1995, the US Sentencing Commission has, in four reports to Congress, requested that Congress raise the threshold quantities of crack that trigger mandatory minimums in order to ease the unconscionable racial disparities in sentencing," said Jasmine L. Tyler, deputy director of national affairs for the Drug Policy Alliance, who testified in front of the Commission on June 1, 2011 in support of retroactivity.  “This vote to provide retroactive relief to the thousands of defendants whose sentences the Commission has consistently condemned for the past seventeen years."   

The Commission received more than 43,000 pieces of mail urging them to apply the Fair Sentencing Act retroactively to alleviate overcrowding in the Bureau of Prisons – currently operating at 140% capacity, and to relieve the unwarranted racial disparities in federal sentencing that has led civil rights leaders, criminologists, elected officials, and whole communities to criticize the criminal justice system.  Some Republican members in the House and Senate opposed retroactivity, however, setting up a possible fight over the issue in Congress. To learn more please follow this link

Source: Drug Policy Alliance

Brown's New Budget Prioritizes Jails & Prisons, Cuts Schools, Universities and Healthcare 

SACRAMENTO – In his latest proposal to the Legislature, reportedly already embraced by Legislative Democratic leadership and poised for passage by majority vote, Governor Jerry Brown proposes guaranteed funding to local governments for building jail capacity and hiring sheriffs deputies and probation officers to supervise low-level, nonviolent offenders at the county level. 

To offset this choice, the Governor proposes more cuts to health, education and social services. "In this year's budget, Governor Brown prison spending reaches a record high, and he proposes increased spending on local lock-ups as well, while cutting schools, parks, and healthcare that keep families whole and safe," said Kris Lev-Twombly, director of programs for Ella Baker Center for Human Rights, "California voters collective call to stop locking up drug users and shoplifters, and to invest the savings into health and education appears to have fallen on deaf ears yet again." 

The new budget proposal to address $9 billion in red ink makes no cuts to prisons. It does defer $2.8 billion in payments to K-12 schools and community colleges, makes an additional $450 million cut to higher education, and cuts $150 million from courts, over and above cuts taken earlier this year. To learn more please follow this link

Source: Drug Policy Alliance

Report: Teen Drug Use Now an 'Epidemic' 

Teen drug use shouldn't be looked at as a rite of passage but as a public health problem, say experts, and one that has reached "epidemic" levels. In a new report on drug, alcohol and tobacco use among teens in the U.S., the National Center on Addiction and Substance Abuse (CASA) at Columbia University finds that 75% of all high school students have used alcohol, tobacco or either legal or illicit drugs and that 20% of these adolescents are addicted. 

The data also support previous studies that link early substance use to addiction later in life: 90% of Americans who are currently addicted started smoking, drinking or using drugs before age 18. A quarter of those who begin using addictive substances at these early ages become addicted as adults, while only one in 25 who start using these substances after age 21 does. 

"What this data show is that any adolescent is at risk of using substances, and that it's preventable," says Dr. Leslie Walker, president of the Society for Adolescent Health and Medicine chief of adolescent medicine at the University of Washington. To learn more please follow this link

Source: Time

The criminal folly of criminalising bath salts 

More people are locked up in the United States, per head of population, than anywhere else in the world. Incarceration rates for drug offenders have increased twelvefold since 1980. Yet, drug use is skyrocketing and the drug cartels are laughing all the way to the arms dealers. Want to start chanting "USA!" yet?

Our leaders do. Hell-bent and determined for this "war" to fail spectacularly and consistently, President Obama's proposed federal anti-drug budget for 2012 has avoided the spending freeze and emphasises law enforcement and incarceration at the expense of treatment, while drug tsar Gil Kerlikowske claims it does exactly the opposite. 

Not surprising. The Global Commission on Drug Policy's report made waves earlier this month by calling for drug legalisation and by describing the war on drugs as the failure that it is. The Obama administration responded with boilerplate about progress and promptly ignored the high-level panel of experts. So much for change. To learn more please follow this link

Source: The Guardian

Brazil's marijuana march for freedom 

Thousands took to the streets across Brazil recently in the country's second "March for Freedom", which saw a colourful collective of organisations protest together for the right to free speech, freedom of choice and, some, for the legalisation of marijuana. The mood was a mix of protest and celebration, in an event that marks a pivotal moment in the struggle for liberal values in Brazil.

More than just a march, the March for Freedom (Marcha da Liberdade) represents a new social movement that emerged just one month ago, in response to the increasing violent repression of protesters by state military police. Police violence is a reality that many face in Brazil, especially in areas where crime and poverty are high. Yet the escalating force used to quell peaceful protests has surprised many. The catalytic event came on 21 May this year at Sao Paulo's "marijuana march". Despite a crowd of little over 1,000, police launched an offensive armed with rubber bullets, tear gas and pepper spray.

The police were acting under a federal court ruling, which had declared pro-marijuana marches illegal. At least nine other federal courts across the country also issued a ban. The courts claimed that the protests acted to support drugs use, a crime in Brazil known as "apology for drug use". However, the rulings only served to increase support for the marches, with many protesters joining in under the banner of freedom of expression. To learn more please follow this link

Source: The Guardian

"Tree of Hope" draws attention to plight of drug abusers

Each year, more than 200,000 people die of drug-related illnesses. On the occasion of the International Day against Drug Abuse and Illicit Trafficking on 26 June 2011, and in an effort to raise awareness and remember those affected by drugs, a "Tree of Hope" monument was unveiled outside the Vienna International Centre.

The "Tree of Hope", located prominently at the main entrance to the United Nations Office at Vienna, symbolizes a new beginning, new hope and confidence to prevent and treat drug dependence in the community. The tree serves as a reminder that with a firm and solid base drawing strength from families, schools, local communities and civil society, it is possible to prevent and treat drug dependence.

The idea of the "Tree of Hope" originated in Germany, when a mother whose child died of a drug overdose built a stone memorial in a public garden. The spirit of the original memorial is reflected in the monument's stone base, while the metal plant sprouting from the base symbolizes a new beginning full of hope. To learn more please follow this link

Source: UNODC

Drugnet Europe 74

Drugnet Europe, the EMCDDA's quarterly newsletter, provides regular information on the Agency's activities to a broad readership.

In this issue: over 40 new drugs reported in 2010; HIV in the European region; mapping 'drug squads' in Europe; khat use in Europe; new EMCDDA products and services. English (en)

Source: EMCDDA

Specialist drug and alcohol services for young people – a cost benefit analysis

This report looks at the costs and benefits associated with young people’s drug and alcohol treatment.

There were approximately 24,000 young people who received specialist drug and alcohol treatment in the UK in 2008-09. This is defined as “a care planned medical, psychosocial or specialist harm reduction intervention”. 

As set out in the Drug Strategy 2010 such treatment is aimed at preventing escalation of use or harm and should “respond incrementally to the risks in terms of drug use, vulnerability and, particularly, age.”

Most of these young people were treated primarily for alcohol (37%) or cannabis (53%) misuse, with the remaining 10% misusing Class A drugs, including heroin and crack. Apart from using drugs and alcohol, these young people had  experienced a range of other problems, including involvement in crime (shoplifting, theft, assault); being NEET (not in education, employment or training); or housing problems. To learn more please follow this link 

Source: Findings

Putin speaks out against compulsory drug treatment 

Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin spoke out against compulsory drug addiction and alcohol treatment on Thursday. "It is necessary to persuade a person, to bring up his inner motivation to overcome this ordeal," Putin told a regional conference of the pro-Kremlin United Russia party in Yekaterinburg. 

The premier stressed the importance of the state's role in helping drug addicts. "It is important that a person should not feel abandoned...that his nearest and dearest, parents, school, colleagues and the state do not abandon him." To learn more please follow this link 

Source: Ria Novosti

Reasons for hope in nation's 'heroin capital' 

Baltimore City has long held the unfortunate title of "U.S. heroin capital." Over the years, many people inside and outside of Baltimore have chosen to promulgate this unofficial designation when reporting on or portraying Baltimore's challenges with drugs, addiction and the residual effects of high crime, violence and other social ills. Baltimore, like many urban jurisdictions across the country, has suffered and continues to suffer tremendously from the consequences of illegal drugs flowing into our city. What may not be as widely known is the progress Baltimore has made to counteract its undeserved title. 

In 1999, Baltimore's overdose death rate exceeded that of its homicide rate; then-Health Commissioner Peter Beilenson called drug addiction "the biggest problem in the city"; and Baltimore Sun editorials called for more drug treatment. Within five years, grant funding for drug treatment doubled to support an increase in treatment from 18,000 admissions in 1999 to 30,000 in 2004. An overdose prevention program was introduced, and drug courts were expanded. In 2006, Baltimore's treatment system started the innovative Baltimore Buprenorphine Initiative, offering clients access to Suboxone, a medication that effectively treats opiate addiction. 

Despite all of these efforts, the demand for treatment continued to significantly outpace availability, with waiting lists at methadone programs stretching for weeks to months. Clear to many was the limit of grant funding to support the large number of uninsured seeking services, particularly single, low-income men. In 2009, Del. Pete Hammen championed a bill that revolutionized access to treatment in Baltimore City; Maryland Medicaid's Primary Adult Care Program was now to pay for outpatient substance abuse treatment, including comprehensive medication-assisted services, for anyone with an income of 116 percent of federal poverty (around $12,600) or less. To learn more please follow this link

Source: Baltimore Sun

Doctors Tell Congress How to Rein in Prescription Drug Abuse 

More than 125 physicians descended on Capitol Hill this week to demand some relief in their fight against prescription drug addiction. With nearly 30,000 Americans dying from overdose last year - roughly half from prescription drugs - they say it's time for the federal government to step in. Their solution: Require health care professionals who prescribe drugs to receive specialized training. 

"In most cases, doctors contribute innocently because they haven't been trained properly on how to prescribe in a responsible way, how to identify a drug addict and help them," said Dr. David Kloth, a pain management physician from Connecticut and spokesman for the American Society of Interventional Pain Physicians.

In fact, 80 to 90 percent of physicians in the United States have absolutely no training or education in the use of controlled substances, he said. To learn more please follow this link 

Source: PBS

Montana Judge Blocks Restrictive Medical Marijuana Provisions 

A state judge has blocked some of the most onerous provisions of a new law designed to rein in Montana's medical marijuana industry from taking effect. But other provisions of the law, which will make life more difficult for patients and providers, are now in effect.

District Court Judge James Reynolds issued a preliminary injunction late Thursday to block those portions of the law from going into effect hours later. But the rest of the repressive "reform" is in effect as of today.

Reynolds ruled that lawmakers went too far in trying to clamp down. He blocked a provision of the new law that outlawed anyone making money in the business, including growers being compensated for their efforts. He blocked the law's ban on advertising and promotion of medical marijuana. And he threw out the new law's provision limiting providers to growing for no more than three patients. To learn more please follow this link

Source: Stop the Drug War

Drug addicts in London get heroin prescribed by NHS 

Drug addicts are being prescribed heroin on the NHS across London, a BBC investigation has revealed. There has been a long-running public debate about whether addicts should be widely offered the drug. Supporters say prescribing diamorphine - pure heroin - stops them committing crime to feed their habit.

They argue a regular supply of pure heroin means addicts can build a stable life and find employment. In January, Health Minister Anne Milton told Parliament: "The Drugs Strategy sets out the coalition government's commitment to continue to examine the role of diamorphine prescribing for the small number who may benefit. To learn more please follow this link

Source: BBC News

Federal Crack Prisoners Will Get Sentence Cuts 

Thousands of inmates imprisoned on federal crack cocaine charges will be able to seek sentence reductions and early release after the US Sentencing Commission vote unanimously Thursday to make changes in federal sentencing guidelines for crack offenders it had approved earlier this year retroactive. About 85% of those crack prisoners are black.

The changes in the sentencing guidelines came after Congress last year passed the Fair Sentencing Act reducing the notorious disparity between crack and powder cocaine offenses. Under drug laws passed amidst the crack hysteria of the mid-1980s, people caught with as little as five grams of crack faced a mandatory minimum five-year prison sentence, while people caught with powder cocaine had to be carrying 100 times as much of the drug to garner the same sentence.

The law passed last year reduced the sentencing disparity from 100:1 to 18:1, but did not eliminate it. After passage of the law, the Sentencing Commission proposed a permanent amendment to the federal sentencing guidelines to implement the new law, which would result in sentence reductions for newly convicted crack offenders. But that amendment provided no relief for those already serving harsh crack sentences—until now. To learn more please follow this link

Source: Stop the Drug War

Marijuana Legalization Bill in Congress! 

The first Congressional marijuana legalization bill is now in Congress -- please support it!

H.R. 2306, the Ending Federal Marijuana Prohibition Act, would remove marijuana from the federal Controlled Substances Act and limit the federal government's role in marijuana enforcement to cross-border or interstate smuggling. States would be able to legalize and regulate marijuana, or to continue to prohibit it, as they individually choose.

Please use our web form to contact your US Representative and your two US Senators in support of this historic bill. Please follow-up by calling their offices too -- if you don't know their numbers (or aren't sure who they are), you can reach them by calling the Congressional Switchboard at (202) 224-3121. And please use our tell-a-friend form to spread the word. To learn more please follow this link

Source: Stop the Drug War

International AIDS Society (IAS): Russian government shall radically reassess counterproductive drug policies which are fuelling HIV epidemic in the country

Just months before the MDG 6 summit hosted by the Russian government in Moscow, the International AIDS Society (IAS) urges the Russian government to radically reassess counterproductive drug policies which are fuelling the HIV epidemic in the country.

On 28 June 2011, IAS in response to Boris Gryzlov’s (speaker of the Russian state Duma) call for a “total war on drugs” to tackle Russia’s growing drug problem urges Russian government to radically reassess its approach to drug policy, and to accept that the war on drugs has failed dramatically from both a law enforcement and a public health perspective.

New Russian legislation being discussed in the Russian parliament will force injecting drug users into treatment or jailed and drug dealers will be sent to the forced labour camps in contradiction to the recommendations of the recent report by the Global Commission on Drugs Policy, which clearly states that there must be a shift away from criminalizing drugs and incarcerating those who use them, and which calls on policy makers to “end the criminalization, marginalization and stigmatization of people who use drugs but who do no harm to others.”  To learn more please follow this link

Source: IHRA

Government of Cambodia rejects UN child rights monitors' concerns over drug detention and abuse. UNICEF no comment

The Government of Cambodia has rejected the concerns of UN child rights monitors about arbitrary detention and child abuse related to drug detention centres in the country. The UN Committee on the Rights of the Child just days ago called for the immediate release of all children arbitrarily detained in the name of drug treatment or rehabilitation and the prompt investigation of all allegations of abuse.

These issues were subject of a Human Rights Watch report in 2010 which documented clear human rights violations against children.

According the the Phnom Penh Post, however: The Ministry of Social Affairs spokesman Lem El Djurado said yesterday there was “no intention to abuse children” at drug rehabilitation centres, rejecting the UN allegations. To learn more please follow this link

Source: IHRA

UN child rights monitors demand release of children from Cambodian drug detention centres and investigation of abuses 

The UN Committee on the Rights of the Child has called for the immediate release of all children arbitrarily detained in Cambodia in drug detention centres and the prompt investigation of all allegations of abuse.

The call comes following the Committee’s review of Cambodia’s progress in implementing the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child, which includes the right to be protected from the illicit use of narcotic drugs and psychotropic substances (article 33). 

The Committee, made up of eighteen independent experts from around the world, raised its “deep concern about allegations that children and adolescent addicted to drugs, children with mental disabilities and children in street situations have been subjected to torture and ill-treatment, including widespread beatings, whippings and administration of electric shock in drug rehabilitation and youth centres where some of them had been forcibly placed” To learn more please follow this link

Source: IHRA

2011 UN Political Declaration on HIV/AIDS misses opportunity to address critical levels of HIV in people who inject drugs 

On June 8-10, 2011 world leaders met in New York for the United Nations High Level Meeting (HLM) on AIDS to assess progress on the global AIDS response and shape the future of the epidemic. In the run-up to the event, Harm Reduction International, joined by the International Council of AIDS Service Organizations, the International AIDS Society, the Open Society Foundations, the International HIV/AIDS Alliance and the International Network of People who Use Drugs launched a joint press release on the Beirut Declaration on HIV and Injecting Drug Use: A Global Call for Action calling for intensified commitments and actions on injecting drug use, HIV-related harm reduction and drug policy reform in HLM outcomes. To learn more please follow this link

Source: IHRA

Understanding illicit drug markets, supply-reduction efforts, and drug-related crime in the European Union

The European Drugs Strategy concentrates on demand reduction and supply reduction through international cooperation and research, information and evaluation. However, efforts to provide insight in the different aspects of Europe’s illicit drug problems have largely focused on indicators developed to assess demand-side strategies. The development of measures capturing dimensions of the supply of different illicit substances is an emerging field in the EU. 

To advance these efforts, the European Commission DG Justice, Freedom and Security commissioned a study to recommend indicators for improving the understanding of illicit drug markets, supply reduction efforts, and drug-related crime in the EU. In this study we reviewed literature and RAND’s previous work in this area, and we gathered insights from European experts and policymakers. 

Based on these insights and a conceptual framework for thinking about drug markets, we develop a number of immediate-term, near-term, and long-term recommendations. These recommendations will improve both Member States’ and the European Commission’s ability to monitor drug markets and drug-related crime as well as initiate analyses regarding the effectiveness of supply reduction strategies. To learn more please follow this link

Source: Rand

The Latin American Drug Trade, Scope, Dimensions, Impact, and Response 

Transnational crime remains a particularly serious problem in Latin America, with most issues connected in some way to the drug trade. This book examines the scope and dimensions of Andean cocaine and heroin production; the main methods and land, air, and sea routes that are used to ship these narcotics between source, transit, and consumption countries; and the principal consequences that are associated with this particular manifestation of transnational crime. Addressing the problem of the Latin American drug trade has direct implications for the U.S. Air Force (USAF). 

In Colombia and, increasingly, Mexico, Washington is including counternarcotics support as an integral feature of its foreign internal defense aid, and the USAF is already engaged in a number of initiatives in both countries. Although this assistance has borne some notable results, there are some specific measures that the USAF should consider in looking to further hone and adjust its counternarcotics effort in Latin America. These include augmenting aerial surveillance over the Pacific–Central American corridor; refining existing standard operating procedures and further institutionalizing joint mission statements and protocols regarding drug interdiction; reconsidering the policy of aerial fumigation of illegal crops; and ensuring adequate protection of existing counter–drug-access arrangements in Central America. To learn more please follow this link

Source: Rand 

Afghanistan Cannabis survey 2010 

This 2010 Afghanistan Cannabis Survey updates the first-ever Afghanistan Cannabis Survey that was produced in 2009 by the UNODC and the Ministry of Counter Narcotics (MCN). Based on years of evidence from cannabis seizures that pointed to Afghanistan as a main cannabis producer, the 2009 survey was the initial effort to systemically estimate cannabis cultivation and production in the country. The findings confirmed Afghanistan’s role as a major grower of cannabis, but also discovered that the country produced more cannabis resin or hashish than any other nation. The reason why was found to be the country’s high yields, up to 145 kg of resin per hectare as compared to Morocco’s 40 kg per hectare. To learn more please follow this link 

Source: UNODC

Expose the ‘dark money’ bankrolling our politics

US Christian ‘fundamentalists’, some linked to Donald Trump and Steve Bannon, have poured at least $50m of ‘dark money’ into Europe over the past decade – boosting the far right.

That's just the tip of the iceberg: we've got many more leads to chase down. Find out more and support our work here.

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