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oD Drug Policy Forum: Front Line Report - Week of September 21st 2011

We lead this weeks Drug Policy Report with encouraging news that theLiberal Democrats have voted to establish a panel to consider decriminalising the use of all drugs ~ MW
Mark Weiss
21 September 2011

Lead Article

Lib Dems vote overwhelmingly to set up panel to consider decriminalising drugs 

The Liberal Democrats have voted to establish a panel to consider decriminalising the use of all drugs.

The panel would also consider a less radical alternative: that possession would remain illegal, but those caught would have to appear before a panel and made to undertake "appropriate education, health or social interventions", replacing the existing fines and jail sentences on the statute book.Any money made available by these reforms would be used for education, treatment and rehabilitation.

The motion also offers a show of support for the Advisory Council on the Misuse of Drugs, following high profile resignations from the body over disagreements with the then-Labour government, and the coalition's plan to remove the statutory minimum of scientists sitting on the council.

The Lib Dem motion says the council should "retain a majority of independent scientific and social scientific experts in its membership" and that no changes to drug laws should be made without its advice. The panel would carry out an impact assessment of the Misuse of Drugs Act 1971 to evaluate, "economically and scientifically", the legal framework prohibiting drugs.

Ewan Hoyle, a delegate from Glasgow South and the founder of Liberal Democrats for Drug Policy Reform, moved the motion. Drug policy had been a no-go area for politicians because of "cowardice, pure cowardice", he said – fear of the reaction from tabloid newspapers. "It's time politicians looked voters in the eye and attempted to explain complex concepts." To learn more please follow this link

Source: The Guardian 

Latin America

Mexican president hints US should legalise drugs

Felipe Calderón, the Mexican president, has hinted that the United States may have to consider legalising drugs in order to weaken the powerful cartels that have wreaked havoc in his country. In a speech in New York, Mr Calderón said the high demand for illegal drugs in the US was a "key issue" and was "the most important source of power of the criminals."

"We are living in the same building. And our neighbour is the largest consumer of drugs in the world. And everybody wants to sell him drugs through our doors and our windows," he said. "We must do everything to reduce demand for drugs. But if the consumption of drugs cannot be limited, then decision-makers must seek more solutions – including market alternatives – in order to reduce the astronomical earnings of criminal organisations."

Mr Calderon's comments, in a speech to the Americas Society and Council of the Americas, appeared to be a call for high-level debate in the US about whether state regulation of the drugs market could prove more effective than the current 'war on drugs' in combating cartels. According to the State Department, around 90 per cent of cocaine which enters the US is trafficked through Mexico. Mr Calderón launched an aggressive crackdown on drug-related violence involving thousands of federal troops on taking office in December 2006. The US government viewed Mr Calderon's efforts favourably and in 2007 the two countries agreed a three-year, $1.5bn plan to combat drug trafficking.

But the death toll from drug-related violence in Mexico has continued to rise and now stands at more than 42,000, damaging support for Mr Calderon's conservative National Action Party ahead of a July 2012 presidential election.Last month saw one of the worst drugs-related atrocities when 52 people died in an arson attack by suspected cartel members in a casino in the northern city of Monterrey. Mr Calderón turned on Washington after the attack, accusing the US government of not doing enough to tackle drug consumption. To learn more please follow this link

Source: The Telegraph

Free speech in Mexico: Be careful what you Tweet

SAYING what you think in print has always carried a risk for journalists. Between 2006 and 2010, at least 37 media workers were killed or went missing in Mexico. In some places the risks have become so great that the print and television media have stopped reporting on the drug war. Last year in Ciudad Juárez, El Diario ran a front-page editorialasking the drug traffickers: “What do you want from us?”

In the face of a news vacuum in the traditional media, citizens have turned to the safety and anonymity of the internet. Last year we reported from Reynosa that the city government had started using its Twitter account as a means of warning citizens when gunfights were going on. Anonymous blogs print details that newspapers fear to reveal. Twitter, Facebook and the like provide a forum to swap information and gossip.

But the chill on freedom of expression is now extending into cyberspace. Yesterday morning commuters discovered the tortured bodies of a young man and woman strung up from a footbridge in Nuevo Laredo, a northern border city that has seen heavy fighting linked to the drug wars. Near them was a mis-spelled notice threatening: “This will happen to all the gossips on the internet”. It mentioned two websites: El Blog del Narcoand Al Rojo Vivo. (Be warned, if you click through, you may find photos that you will find hard to forget.) It isn’t clear how the killers selected their victims, as such blogs usually allow anonymous comments. But posters are likely to think twice before uploading information in future, even anonymously. To learn more please follow this link

Source: The Economist 

Young people from Latin America speak out against the war on drugs

The HCLU held a two day long video advocacy training before the conference, organized together with Espolea. This video was produced with the participants of the training, who were representing HCLUEspoleaAsuntos del SurFHNHCR, Trip!, SSDPCSSDP and Youth RISE.

This short video was created during the HCLU video advocacy training held prior to the III Latin American and I Mexican Drug Policy Conference that took place in Mexico City, 13-14 September, 2011.

The HCLU held a two day long video advocacy training before the conference, organized together with Espolea. This video was produced with the participants of the training, who were representing HCLUEspoleaAsuntos del SurFHNHCR, Trip!, SSDPCSSDP and Youth RISE.

Source: Drug Reporter

United States expands its drug watch list to include all Central America 

MEXICO CITY - The White House on Thursday added tiny El Salvador and Belize to its list of drug producing and transit countries, placing for the first time all seven Central American nations on the list in a sign of how awash in illegal narcotics the region has become.

President Barack Obama also condemned two Latin American countries that were already on the list, Venezuela and Bolivia, for having "failed demonstrably during the previous 12 months to make substantial efforts" in combating narcotics. Burma also was declared a failure in fighting illegal drugs. Of the 22 countries on the list, only five are not in the Western Hemisphere: Afghanistan, Pakistan, India, Burma and Laos.

Bolivia is one of the major producers of cocaine, while Venezuela is increasingly being used as a transshipment point for drugs that are on their way to Central America and northward to the United States. Leaders of those two nations are both highly critical of Washington.

Obama said Afghanistan remains the world's top grower of opium poppy, used for making heroin, but reported that poppy cultivation had fallen by a third in Helmand Province because of an incentive program for farmers and increased law enforcement action. To learn more please follow this link

Source: IDPC

South America

Eradication Sparks Conflict in Peru's Coca Fields 

Newly installed Peruvian President Ollanta Humala is facing the first serious challenge to his authority as coca farmer unions have gone on strike to protest the resumption of coca plant eradication. Just last month, in a nod to growers whom he had promised he would halt involuntary eradication, Humala's government announced a temporary halt to eradication in the Upper Huallaga River Valley, but now eradication is again underway, and the coca farmer unions are up in arms.

Earlier this week, strikers erected roadblocks on a major regional highway, and two people had been injured and seven arrested by the time Humala declared a 60-day state of emergency in the Ucayali region Tuesday night. Coca grower unions are threatening an "indefinite national strike" within two weeks if forced eradication isn't ended.

Coca has been grown in Peru for thousands of years and is an intrinsic part of Andean life. Although international anti-drug treaties consider it a controlled substance, tens of thousands of Peruvian farmers grow it legally under license from ENACO, the Peruvian state coca monopoly, which then sells the product for traditional, nutritional and industrial uses. To learn more please follow this link

Source: Stop the Drug War

America

Announcement: The 2011 International Drug Policy Reform Conference, LA

StoptheDrugWar.org (DRCNet) is pleased to be a partner in the upcoming 2011 International Drug Policy Reform Conference, this November 2-5 at the Westin Bonaventure in Los Angeles.

The Reform Conference, sponsored by our friends at the Drug Policy Alliance, is the major biennial gathering of drug policy reformers of all kinds. The last one, held in Albuquerque in 2009, brought together over 1,000 attendees representing 30 different countries. This year attendees will have the opportunity to spend three days interacting with people committed to finding alternatives to the war on drugs while participating in sessions given by leading experts from around the world. Click here to register -- early bird rates are available through September 16, and discounts are available for students. To learn more please follow this link

Source: Stop the Drug War

A Drug Arrest Every 19 Seconds, Says Latest US Data 

More than 1.6 million people were arrested for drug offenses in the US last year, according to the FBI's Uniform Crime Report 2010, and more than half of them were for marijuana. That's a drug arrest every 19 seconds, 24 hours a day, every day last year. The numbers suggest that despite "no more war on drugs" rhetoric emanating from Washington, the drug war juggernaut is rolling along on cruise control.

Overall, 1,638,846 were arrested on drug charges in 2010, up very slightly from the 1,633,582 arrested in 2009. But while the number of drug arrests appears to be stabilizing, they are stabilizing at historically high levels. Overall drug arrests are up 8.3% from a decade ago.

Marijuana arrests last year stood at 853,838, down very slightly from 2009's 858,408. But for the second year in a row, pot busts accounted for more arrests than  all other drugs combined, constituting 52% of all drug arrests. Nearly eight million people have been arrested on pot charges since 2000. To learn more please follow this link

Source: Stop the Drug War

ACLU Blocks Missouri College Drug Testing

A Missouri technical college's plan to force incoming students to undergo suspicionless drug testing is on hold after theACLU of Eastern Missouri successfully sought a temporary injunction in federal court in St. Louis Wednesday. With assistance from Students for Sensible Drug Policy, the group has filed a lawsuit on behalf of six Linn State Technical College students to challenge the constitutionality of the drug tests.

Federal courts consider a drug test to be a search under the Fourth Amendment and have allowed only limited exceptions to the amendment's requirement that searches require a warrant based on reasonable suspicion. Those drug testing exceptions include people working in jobs that impact the public safety (truck drivers, airline pilots), police involved in drug law enforcement, and minor students who participate in high school athletic or other extracurricular activities.

Linn State administrators implemented the drug testing programthis fall. It requires all first-year students and some returning students to be screened -- at their own expense -- for drugs, including marijuana, cocaine, methamphetamines, and opiates. To learn more please follow this link

Source: Stop the Drug War

Drug Policy Prospects on Capitol Hill This Year 

There are nearly two dozen pieces of drug policy-related legislation pending on Capitol Hill, but given a bitterly divided Congress intently focused on the economic crisis and bipartisan warfare in the run-up to the 2012 election, analysts and activists are glum about the prospects for passing reform bills and even gloomier about the prospects for blocking new prohibitionist bills.

But while drug reform in the remainder of the 112th Congress may take on the aspect of slow-moving trench warfare, there is work to be done and progress to be made, advocates interviewed by Drug War Chronicle said. And intensely expressed congressional concern over federal budget deficits could provide opportunities to take aim at the federal drug war gravy train.

Bills to reform drug policy or of relevance to drug policy reform this session run the gamut from hemp legalization, medical marijuana reforms, and marijuana legalization to various sentencing reform and ex-offender re-entry measures, as well as a pair of bills aimed at protecting public housing residents from eviction because a family member commits a drug offense. Also worth mentioning is Sen. Jim Webb's (D-VA) National Criminal Justice Commission Act of 2011, which, if it were to pass, would be a feather in the soon-to-be-retiring senator's cap. To learn more please follow this link

Source: Stop the Drug War

United States Congress launches new bi-partisan caucus to strengthen the US’s response to AIDS 

The United States Congress has launched a new bi-partisan caucus to strengthen the US’s response to AIDS both at home and around the world and maintain its position as a global leader on AIDS. The launch of the bipartisan Congressional HIV/AIDS Caucus was announced at an event in Washington DC by the three Caucus co-chairs; Congresswoman Barbara Lee; Congressman Trent Franks and Congressman Jim McDermott.

The co-chairs were joined, among others, by the Executive Director of UNAIDS, Michel Sidibé, who commended the US on its continued commitment to HIV. "The United States' global leadership and the generosity of the American people have made a profound and positive difference in the AIDS epidemic. This sustained commitment, across political administrations for more than a decade, has saved millions of lives. And I am counting on the Congressional HIV/AIDS Caucus to continue to play a critical role in shaping the future of the AIDS response."

The United States has played a leading role in the global responding to HIV and its commitment is the largest by any country for a single disease. In 2003 President George W. Bush launched the U.S. President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR) which now has partnerships in 30 countries worldwide and has committed nearly US$ 39 billion to HIV and TB since its inception. To learn more please follow this link

Source: UNAIDS

What to Make of Sarah Palin's Alleged Cocaine Use

A forthcoming unauthorized biography about former vice presidential candidate Sarah Palin is generating news around the country. The two items getting the most ink so far are the claims that Palin had a fling with NBA star Glen Rice while she was a sports reporter in Alaska - and that Sarah Palin used cocaine while snowmobiling with friends. Palin has previously admitted to using marijuana, making her part of an ever growing group of elected officials, from both the GOP and the Dems, who have used illicit drugs or have substance abuse issues in their immediate families.

President Obama broke new ground when he admitted to not only marijuana use, but to expermenting with cocaine when was a young man. John McCain and his family know about substance abuse, with his wife Cindy's well-known addiction to prescription pain pills. George Bush dodged questions about his cocaine and marijuana use and would only admit to "youthful indescretions." Al Gore was a known marijuana smoker. President Clinton famously addressed the issue with the bizarre I-smoked-it-but-didn't-inhale line. Jeb Bush's daughter Noelle was busted with Xanax and crack. I could go on and on with those who've admitted to or have been outted for illict drug use: Newt Gingrich, yes. Mayor Bloomberg, check. To learn more please follow this link

Source: Alternet

A Decade After 9/11, Police Departments Are Increasingly Militarized 

New York magazine reported some telling figureslast month on how delayed-notice search warrants -- also known as "sneak-and-peek" warrants -- have been used in recent years. Though passed with the PATRIOT Act and justified as a much-needed weapon in the war on terrorism, the sneak-and-peek was used in a terror investigation just 15 times between 2006 and 2009. In drug investigations, however, it was used more than 1,600 times during the same period.

It's a familiar storyline. In the 10 years since the terror attacks of September 11, 2001, the government has claimed a number of new policing powers in the name of protecting the country from terrorism, often at the expense of civil liberties. But once claimed, those powers are overwhelmingly used in the war on drugs. Nowhere is this more clear than in the continuing militarization of America's police departments. To learn more please follow this link

Source: Huffington Post

Drug deaths now outnumber traffic fatalities in U.S., data show

Propelled by an increase in prescription narcotic overdoses, drug deaths now outnumber traffic fatalities in the United States, a Times analysis of government data has found. Drugs exceeded motor vehicle accidents as a cause of death in 2009, killing at least 37,485 people nationwide, according to preliminary data from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

While most major causes of preventable death are declining, drugs are an exception. The death toll has doubled in the last decade, now claiming a life every 14 minutes. By contrast, traffic accidents have been dropping for decades because of huge investments in auto safety. Public health experts have used the comparison to draw attention to the nation's growing prescription drug problem, which they characterize as an epidemic. This is the first time that drugs have accounted for more fatalities than traffic accidents since the government started tracking drug-induced deaths in 1979.

Fueling the surge in deaths are prescription pain and anxietydrugs that are potent, highly addictive and especially dangerous when combined with one another or with other drugs or alcohol. Among the most commonly abused areOxyContinVicodinXanax and Soma. One relative newcomer to the scene is Fentanyl, a painkiller that comes in the form of patches and lollipops and is 100 times more powerful than morphine.Such drugs now cause more deaths than heroin and cocaine combined. To learn more please follow this link

Source: LA Times

Reclaiming Futures: Improving Treatment for Youth Involved with the Juvenile Justice System 

Our mantra at Reclaiming Futures sums up our goals for youth in the juvenile justice system: more treatment, better treatment, and beyond treatment.  

While not every young person who uses or abuses drugs and alcohol is addicted, we know that addiction is a disease that usually has its onset in adolescence, so intervening early is important. But the problem is particularly acute in the juvenile justice system, which refers nearly half of all teens who enter publicly-funded substance abuse treatment.  We also know that nearly one in five youth at the door of the juvenile justice system have diagnosable substance abuse disorders-- and that the percentage goes up, the deeper youth penetrate the system. Of youth in post-adjudication placements, 47%  have alcohol and drug disorders.  Furthermore, the groundbreaking Pathways to Desistance research on serious juvenile offenders found that substance use was strongly related to their continued criminal activity.

The good news is that substance abuse programs that involve an individual’s family in the intervention are one of the few things that reduced recidivism. That's why, in the communities we work with, we promote the expansion of treatment – more treatment – and the implementation of evidence-based screening and assessment tools, such as the Global Appraisal of Individual Needs (GAIN) – better treatment.  Many times, trauma or other unmet needs can be a contributing factor in a youth's negative behavior choices and need to be addressed.  But evidence-based practices aren't enough. Treatment isn't enough. To learn more please follow this link

Source: The White House Office of National Drug Control Policy

US Congress must pass sentencing reform 

In 1986, Congress enacted severe mandatory minimum sentences, condemning thousands of mostly low-level, mostly nonviolent drug offenders to years, sometimes decades in prison. In part because of these and similar "sentencing guideline" penalties, the United States now suffers from an incarceration rate unprecedented in the history of our own country or any other.
 
Last year Congress took a modest step in the right direction, unanimously passing the Fair Sentencing Act -- raising the quantities of crack cocaine needed to trigger certain infamous five- and ten-year sentences, and eliminating mandatory minimums for crack possession. But much, much more is needed to address these unjust and exorbitantly expensive sentencing laws. Please write Congress today to call for passage of the following important bills:

  • H.R. 2303, the "Major Drug Trafficking Prosecution Act," sponsored by Rep. Maxine Waters (D-CA) -- eliminates mandatory minimums to reduce the incentive prosecutors have to go after large numbers of low-level offenders.
  • H.R. 2316 and H.R. 2242, sponsored by Rep. Bobby Scott (D-VA), bills to make last year's crack sentencing reforms retroactive; and to continue the reform by eliminating "cocaine base" from the federal code entirely, thereby reducing penalties further to reach the same level as powder cocaine offenses. To learn more please follow this link

Source: IDPC

Teenagers in New York could face annual drug tests 

A proposed law for New York state would require parents to give their children drug tests. State politician Joe Saladino says it would help parents know if their teenagers have a problem.

"It's a simple test done in the privacy of your own home," he said, "and only your parents would see the results."Under the proposal, teens who weren't tested could be banned from attending school.

Supporters are dubbing the plans 'Jonny's Law' after Jonathan Sieczkowski, 22, who died of a heroin overdose two years ago. To learn more please follow this link

Source: BBC 

Europe

French NGOs and authors call for drug law reforms 

On Friday September 23, 2011, the French NGOs AIDESASUD and Fédération Addiction will be organizing a public meeting in Paris dedicated to promoting drug law reform. 

Featured speakers include Stéphane Gatignon (mayor of the city of Sevran), Serge Supersac (former member of the French police forces), Ruth Dreifuss (former president of Switzerland) and Annick Lepetit (First Deputy of the City of Paris).  The French version of the report of the Global Commission on Drug Policy with be released on this occasion. Click here for more information.

Source: IDPC

UK

Evidence based policy? Why banning mephedrone may not have reduced harms to users

The control of mephedrone and related compounds under the Misuse of Drugs Act in April 2010 was largely prompted by the media attention given to numerous alleged mephedrone fatalities. Subsequent toxicology examinations showed that most of those deaths were not caused by mephedrone, a finding now underscored by the latest statistics from the Office for National Statistics (ONS).

In 2010, in England and Wales, there were just 6 deaths where mephedrone was mentioned on the death certificate. By comparison, there were 144 fatalities where cocaine was mentioned. The significance of this comparison can be understood when it is recognised that cocaine is a drug which was often substituted by mephedrone. The number of deaths alone does not tell us much about the intrinsic toxicity of a substance. However, the ratio of the number of deaths to suitable proxy measures of prevalence does provide a useful index.

The British Crime Survey (Drug Misuse Declared) provides one such denominator. For 2010/2011, it was reported that in England and Wales, 4.4% of 16 to 24 year olds used mephedrone in the last year. This was the same as the number using cocaine, a figure only increased to 4.7% if crack cocaine is also included. If we choose instead to look at last year use by 16 to 59 year olds, the respective proportions were: mephedrone = 1.4% and cocaine = 2.1%. Caution may be needed in interpreting the small number of mephedrone deaths in 2010, and it is possible that some cases were missed because not all toxicology laboratories were able to identify this new substance. The mortality statistics also suffer from other confounding issues. To learn more please follow this link

Source: David Nutt’s Blog, Evidence not Exaggeration

UKDPC response to Liberal Democrat Conference motion on drug law reform 

The UK Drug Policy Commission welcomes the commitment in the motion to an evidence-based drug policy and supports the call for the drug legislation to be reviewed. While the Commission supports the general thrust of the motion, it has reservations about some aspects of the proposers’ conclusions and the potential impact of their proposals. To learn more please follow this link

Source: UKDPC

UKDPC/DrugScope response to the draft outcomes for payment by results for drugs recovery 

Both DrugScope and UKDPC have expressed concerns about the practical challenges of developing Drug Recovery PbR pilots, particularly given the time constraints on the codesign process. In other areas of health and social care, PbR models have been developed over a period of several years (for example, PbR for mental health services has been in development for around seven years, with implementation of currencies for mental health PbR now expected in 2012-13).

By contrast, the design of the Drug Recovery PbR pilots – which are arguably even more ambitious - is being attempted in under 12 months. The codesign period began in April 2011, with the intention of launching the pilots in September/October 2011. We are concerned that the planned timetable will result in PBR systems being introduced in the pilot areas before they have been properly developed – in our view, considerably more time is needed if we are to get this right. To learn more please follow this link

Source: UKDPC

Residential rehabilitation (drugs and alcohol) service provider survey

The Recovery Partnership (Recovery Group UK, the Substance Misuse Skills Consortium and DrugScope) is preparing a paper for the Inter-Ministerial Group on Drugs on residential rehabilitation provision and support. We will be producing different surveys to help inform the paper and will be consulting widely with service providers, service users, membership bodies and others. Please complete this survey if you are a provider of a residential rehabilitation service or services. All responses will be confidential.

Source: Survey Monkey

Drug Training for Free

Kirklees Council http://www.saferkirklees.co.uk/ and its partnership agencies provide local direction and leadership in implementing the Government's National Strategy for substance misuse. An important function of the authority and its partners is to plan what services will be needed by the people of Kirklees, and then commission and monitor that service delivery.

Whilst Kirklees offers classroom based training courses, this e-learning programme provides an ideal start point for anyone wanting to gain a basic understanding and general awareness of legal and illegal drugs (including alcohol), issues relating to young people and adults, safer injecting, assessment and care planning, reducing drug related deaths, motivational interviewing, recognition of signs and symptoms, agencies who can help and how you as an individual can provide support either as a professional or in the home environment.

The course was produced by e-learning WMB from classroom based content supplied by Kirklees Council. To view the course. Please follow this link

Source: Drug Training for Free

Asia

HIV rate among drug users sparks concern

The Global Fund to Fight Aids, Tuberculosis and Malaria has raised concerns over the high prevalence rate of these infections among intravenous drug users, despite continuously supporting harm reduction programmes.

The concern was raised during a recent visit by a Global Fund executive to follow the progress of an Aids prevention programme in Thailand.

The Global Fund is expected to send an official letter on the matter to the Public Health Ministry soon, said Petchsri Sirinirand, director of the National Aids Management Centre, yesterday.About 370 million baht in funding has been granted to the Public Health Ministry and the PSI (Thailand) Foundation between 2010 and 2014 to carry out harm reduction projects, including syringe distribution, methadone maintenance, voluntary counselling and testing, and antiretroviral therapy available in over 20 provinces including Bangkok and Chiang Mai. The aim is to reduce new Aids cases among risk groups.

However, the HIV prevalence rate among intravenous drug users (IDUs) has been as high as 40% over the past two decades and is showing no signs of abating. To learn more please follow this link

Source: Bangkok Post

UN 

ATS: second most commonly abused drug type worldwide 

13 September 2011 - According to the latest report published by UNODC, amphetamine-type stimulants (ATS) such as "ecstasy" and methamphetamine now rank as the world's second most widely abused drug type after cannabis. The report - the 2011 Global ATS Assessment - notes that the expansion of illicit trade in such substances and the high profits generated by that trade pose an increasing threat to security and health worldwide.

Speaking at the release of the publication, UNODC Executive Director Yury Fedotov said: "The ATS market has evolved from a cottage-type industry typified by small-scale manufacturing operations to more of a cocaine or heroin-type market with a higher level of integration and organized crime groups involved throughout the production and supply chain. We are seeing manufacturing shifting to new markets and trafficking routes diversifying into areas previously unaffected by ATS."

In recent years, heroin and cocaine have attracted the most attention. However, rapidly rising ATS seizure figures and the discovery of clandestine ATS laboratories are causing growing concern. For example, between 2005 and 2009, the number of ATS seizures (with the exception of "ecstasy", the number of seizures of which remained constant) rose considerably, while the number of seizures of heroin, cocaine and cannabis all remained largely stable. To learn more please follow this link

Source: UNODC

Synthetic drugs now second most popular drugs 

Synthetic drugs have overtaken heroin and cocaine to become the second most widely consumed drugs in the world, the UN office on drugs and crime (UNODC) reported Tuesday. "After cannabis, ATS (amphetamine-type stimulants) are the second most widely used drugs across the globe outstripping the use of heroin or cocaine," the UN agency said in its annual ATS report.

Amphetamine-type stimulants, which include ecstasy and methamphetamine, came behind only cannabis in terms of world consumption, the report noted. But although a growing matter of concern, they have received less attention than cocaine or heroine, it added."Affordable and easy to manufacture, ATS are attractive drugs of choice for millions of drug users in all regions of the world and offer criminals a new entry into unexploited and fresh markets." "Unlike plant-based drugs such as opiates or cocaine, synthetic drugs can be manufactured anywhere with little initial investment required on the part of criminals," the UNODC said.

The number of seizures in southeast Asia was indicative of the growing trend: while 32 million methamphetamine pills were confiscated in 2008, the figure grew to 133 million last year. "The ATS market has evolved from a cottage-type industry typified by small-scale manufacturing operations to more of a cocaine or heroin-type market with a higher level of integration and organised crime groups involved throughout the production and supply chain," UNODC chief Yury Fedotov warned in a statement. To learn more please follow this link

Source: The Independent

UN warns on drugs as Thailand starts new crackdown 

BANGKOK: Thailand's new Prime Minister, Yingluck Shinawatra, is mobilising a crackdown on illegal drugs as a United Nations agency reveals a massive increase in the production and use of amphetamines across Asia.

The crackdown comes eight years after a ''war on drugs'' overseen by Ms Yingluck's older brother Thaksin Shinawatra during which almost 3000 Thais involved with drugs were killed by still unidentified assassins.

But this time Ms Yingluck said drug addicts would be treated as patients so they can later return to society. ''As a mother, I do not want to see children fall victim to drugs,'' she said. To learn more please follow this link

Source: Sydney Morning Herald

Coca bush cultivation in Bolivia remains stable 

14 September 2011 - The 2010 coca survey for the Plurinational State of Bolivia showed no change in coca bush cultivation in the past year, 31,000 hectares (ha) being recorded as under cultivation. Overall, the country accounted for 20 per cent of cultivation in the region in 2010.

"This is encouraging news. Cultivation levels have fallen well below those of the 1990s and that trend looks set to continue," said Cesar Guedes, UNODC Representative in Bolivia. The annual survey is jointly produced by UNODC and the Government of Bolivia.

Looking at individual regions, the annual survey reports slight fluctuations, notably a decrease of 2 per cent in the region of Yungas de la Paz that was offset by an increase of 4 per cent in the Chapare region. Yungas alone was responsible for 66 per cent of cultivation nationwide. The Government stepped up eradication from 6,300 ha in 2009 to 8,200 ha in 2010. To learn more please follow this link

Source: UNODC

Drug control and crime prevention in Kyrgyzstan 

19 September 2011 - While attending the sixty-sixth session of the United Nations General Assembly, UNODC Executive Director Yury Fedotov today met with Roza Otunbayeva, President of the Kyrgyz Republic, to discuss that country's partnership with UNODC. The discussion focused on strategy, activities to counter contemporary challenges and threats and ways in which to strengthen the rule of law, peace and stability in Kyrgyzstan. Speaking on several issues falling under the UNODC mandate, the Executive Director referred to mutual legal assistance, border management, drug dependence treatment and human trafficking and also to the State Drug Control Service of Kyrgyzstan , of which UNODC is a key supporter.

The Office's support for that body, which has recently been reformed, is aimed at helping Kyrgyzstan to build capacity and increase its effectiveness in countering drug trafficking. Located close to Afghanistan, Kyrgyzstan has a key role to play in combating the movement of Afghan opiates to Europe, the Russian Federation and China. "UNODC firmly believes that the formation of this agency is critical in combating the interconnected ills of drug trafficking and organized crime," said Mr. Fedotov. "My Office is proud to be able to work with the Government in assisting the people of Kyrgyzstan and the wider region in reducing the threat of illicit drugs."

The discussion also covered the criminal justice work of UNODC in Kyrgyzstan. With the support of a European Union-funded project, UNODC is assisting in the implementation of a comprehensive prison reform programme in Kyrgyzstan with the aim of improving the quality of prisons in that country and helping the Government to implement reforms relating to the rule of law and criminal justice.

Source: UNODC 

Other News

The War on Drugs: Count the Costs Campaign Update

The Count the Costs campaign has now been running for 6 months, after a successful launch at the Commission on Narcotic Drugs in March. It is now fully up to speed, with the website complete, the resource library filling up, new briefings ready, and more to follow very soon, including translations, and the range and number of supporters growing.

Active outreach to groups in all sectors being harmed by the war on drugs is underway. In addition, the Eurasian Harm Reduction Network have been running their own strand of the Count the Costs project, with many other groups carrying out activities too. There are many opportunities for you to become even more involved if you wish. To learn more please follow this link

Source: IDPC

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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