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Is the INCB Dangerous to Your Health? 5 Ways the UN’s Drug Watchdog Fails on Health and Human Rights

Is the INCB Dangerous to Your Health? 5 Ways the UN’s Drug Watchdog Fails on Health and Human Rights | Drugs, Society, Human Rights & Justice | Scoop.it
The INCB describes itself as a “quasi-judicial” group of experts monitoring compliance with international drug control treaties, but the annual report’s drug war bias and omissions make us wonder who’s judging the judges.
Julian's insight:

When Stephen Lewis addressed the International Harm Reduction Conference this year he spoke bluntly and scathingly about the damage done by the International Narcotics Control Board (INCB). Have a listen http://sco.lt/8Ri1cf

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PODCAST 60mins Ending Prohibition With a Hangover by Julian Buchanan

PODCAST 60mins Ending Prohibition With a Hangover by Julian Buchanan | Drugs, Society, Human Rights & Justice | Scoop.it

This socially constructed bifurcation of substances established a Drugs Apartheid that outlawed particular drugs so what we have is a 'War between Drugs' that ultimately became a war on people who used substances that didn't have government approval.

Black and Minority Ethnic groups and the discarded working class have been major casualties in this war. Radical drug law reform rooted in scientific evidence and human rights is needed to end the oppressive and unjust drug laws that have caused more harm than good.

 

Julian's insight:

While there is some understandable excitement and celebration at seeing prohibition begin to crumble - these are critical, if not dangerous times of change. Using international examples this lecture will outline the need for change, critically evaluate the risks of particular drug policy changes and explore principles to underpin drug law reform.

 

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In USA a Louisiana Man Got Life in Prison for Selling $20 of Cannabis

In USA a Louisiana Man Got Life in Prison for Selling $20 of Cannabis | Drugs, Society, Human Rights & Justice | Scoop.it
Homeless at the time, he sold a little pot to get something to eat.
Julian's insight:

Illustrates how drug policy is more dangerous than drugs an abuse of Human Rights

 

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Ziggi Ivan Santini's curator insight, Today, 8:01 AM

If I was a tax payer in the U.S., I would feel SO screwed over..

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New report on failing War on Drugs by Health Poverty Action

New report on failing War on Drugs by Health Poverty Action | Drugs, Society, Human Rights & Justice | Scoop.it

Health Poverty Action has launched a report calling for the global development sector to rethink its approach to the failing War on Drugs.

Entitled ‘Casualties of War: How the War on Drugs is harming the world’s poorest’, the report emphasises how drugs policy is very much a development issue.

Since the mid-twentieth century, global drug policy has been dominated by strict prohibition, which tries to force people to stop possessing, using and producing drugs by making them illegal.

This approach, which has come to be known as the ‘War on Drugs’, has not only failed to achieve its goals – it is fuelling poverty, undermining health, and failing some of the poorest and most marginalised communities worldwide.

 

Julian's insight:

Good to see a broad cross section of people recognising the damage and devastation caused by the drug wars: Reform is coming.

17 years ago I argued:

‘The more you prohibit drugs and push them underground, the more conducive the economic and social environment for a lucrative illegal drug trade ...It is difficult to understand how waging ‘war on drugs’ can continue to be justified ...Sooner or later an influential western nation will have to lead the way in a radical rethink of international and national drug policy ...Sooner rather than later, the government must address decriminalisation ...authorities have effectively been waging war against their own socially excluded communities...drug users will continue to be forced into criminal activity, ...a continued policy of prohibition will lead to more dangerous and hostile environments. The illegal drug industry will thrive and becoming increasingly more established and organisationally more business-like.’ (p220-222)

 Buchanan, J. & Young L (1998) ‘Failing to Grasp the Nettle: UK Drug Policy’ Probation Journal Vol. 45 No. 4
 

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Ireland Takes Steps Toward First Drug Consumption Room

Ireland Takes Steps Toward First Drug Consumption Room | Drugs, Society, Human Rights & Justice | Scoop.it

Switzerland opened the world's first such center in 1986, and has been followed by other countries including the Netherlands, Spain, Canada, Australia and Denmark. Not only do these centers help tackle the rate of HIV and other blood-borne viruses among injecting drug users (IDUs) -- from 1993-2006 new cases of HIV among IDUs in Switzerland fell from 498 to 61 -- they virtually eliminate the risk of fatal overdose; in Canada's MSIC in Vancouver (opened in 2003), there has never been an overdose death, for example. 

Julian's insight:

A good example of an evidenced based approach to significantly reduce drug policy harm!

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Alaska Becomes 3rd State to Legalize Cannabis

Alaska Becomes 3rd State to Legalize Cannabis | Drugs, Society, Human Rights & Justice | Scoop.it
A ballot measure approved by Alaska voters to legalize the recreational use of marijuana took effect on Tuesday. Adults 21 and older are now allowed to possess up to an ounce of pot and up to six plants. Smoking
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Radical legislation to allow for supervised injecting centres for heroin users in Ireland

Radical legislation to allow for supervised injecting centres for heroin users in Ireland | Drugs, Society, Human Rights & Justice | Scoop.it
New legislation in Ireland to allow for medically-supervised injecting centres for heroin users to reduce harm for users and the general public.
Julian's insight:

Evidenced based drug policy!

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Nick Clegg to decry prison numbers as Lib Dems lay out justice policy

Nick Clegg to decry prison numbers as Lib Dems lay out justice policy | Drugs, Society, Human Rights & Justice | Scoop.it
Deputy prime minister expected to outline party’s new plans in speech on Monday, condemning the current system as ‘a litany of despair’
Julian's insight:

It is a disgrace that between 10-50% of prisoners in anglophile countries are locked up for drug defined crime (possession, supply, cultivation etc) - essentially victimless crimes.

The problem is - Nick Clegg talked good before the last election.
 Will he walk the walk if elected?

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These astonishing maps show how hard drugs are produced and sold around the world

Despite drastic punishments for drug dealing...
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VIDEO 2hrs: The Culture High

From Director/Writer Brett Harvey comes “The Culture High”, a riveting story that tears into the very fibre of modern day marijuana prohibition to reveal the truth…
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Federal Government Set To Crack Down On Failing Drug Courts

Federal Government Set To Crack Down On Failing Drug Courts | Drugs, Society, Human Rights & Justice | Scoop.it
WASHINGTON -- The federal government is cracking down on drug courts that refuse to let opioid addicts access medical treatments such as Suboxone, said Michael Botticelli, acting director of the White House’s Office of National Drug Control Pol...
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Rose Jones's comment, February 20, 1:42 AM
I think people should be able to use medicine to ween themselves off more destructive drugs that they are addicted to in hopes of regaining control of their life.
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U.S.: No evidence marijuana leads to higher crash risk

U.S.: No evidence marijuana leads to higher crash risk | Drugs, Society, Human Rights & Justice | Scoop.it
Study found no evidence that marijuana use is significant in raising crash rates.
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INCB warns against weakening the international drug control legal framework

INCB warns against weakening the international drug control legal framework | Drugs, Society, Human Rights & Justice | Scoop.it
The INCB invites States to consider "the consequences that [flexibility] may have in imperilling the broad consensus the [drug control] treaties represent." [file filename="INCB warns against weakening the international drug control legal framework" path="http://dl.dropbox.com/u/64663568/alerts/press_release.pdf" mime="application/pdf" size="25.5 KB" label=""]
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VIDEO: Coffee shops and compromise: The success of the dutch model

VIDEO: Coffee shops and compromise: The success of the dutch model | Drugs, Society, Human Rights & Justice | Scoop.it
This movie supplementing the report of the Open Society Foundation, tells the story of the Dutch cannabis market model and highlights its successes, as well as the challenges ahead of it.
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Is Alcoholism a Disease?

Is Alcoholism a Disease? | Drugs, Society, Human Rights & Justice | Scoop.it

It has been observed that "not only does the disease theory of alcoholism fail to correspond with mainstream medicine's concept of a disease, but alcoholism itself resists medical intervention."54 Using a faulty theory and the "treatment" that flows from it is a recipe for failure. AA's self-claimed success rate of 5% represents a failure because about one-third of alcoholics achieve success completely on their own. Attending AA is less effective than not doing so.

 

It's not surprising that the disease theory of alcoholism has proved to be such a disappointing failure. Those few people who achieve their goal of not drinking (or of drinking in moderation) while attending disease theory 12-step programs such as AA do so in spite of those programs.

 

The good news is that alternative approaches exist that have been proven to be very effective in helping people reach their goal of either reducing or eliminating their drinking.

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Failing global war on drugs disastrous for low-income farmers, claims study

Failing global war on drugs disastrous for low-income farmers, claims study | Drugs, Society, Human Rights & Justice | Scoop.it
Hardline drug policies exploit farmers and have negative implications for environment, healthcare and women’s rights, says report
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Call for new UK laws on legal highs #SoundLikeTheyllFollowNZAndBanAll

Call for new UK laws on legal highs  #SoundLikeTheyllFollowNZAndBanAll | Drugs, Society, Human Rights & Justice | Scoop.it

"We'd be constantly chasing a bouncing ball, because the products would constantly evolve and change to fall outwith the banning orders," he said.

"All they (the suppliers) do is to change the molecular structure of the compound by the slightest bit."

He said police would like to see the burden of proof altered so suppliers were obliged to show their drugs were safe.

Julian's insight:

Sounds very similar to what they were saying in New Zealand - who ended up devising a new law that banned every NPS past, present and future - albeit with a hypothetical pathway to approve some substances if proved safe.

If drugs are dangerous - then reduce those dangers, by regulating them, testing them so people know what they are taking, and through social and health education - let people know what the risks are.

Prohibition is the government reneging responsibility while masquerading as intervention, and perversely it makes drug taking much more dangerous for the user and the wider community.

Making personal possession of any drug a criminal offence, is in my view, a breach of the principle of human rights. 

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How scientists rank drugs from most to least dangerous — and why the rankings are flawed (UK) #YouMeanContested?

How scientists rank drugs from most to least dangerous — and why the rankings are flawed (UK) #YouMeanContested? | Drugs, Society, Human Rights & Justice | Scoop.it

There's a very common drug-policy talking point that's meant to convey the absurdity of the war on drugs: alcohol is more dangerous than marijuana, even though alcohol is legal and marijuana is not.


Via ReGenUC
Julian's insight:

Nutt et al’s study is one of the first scientific based assessment of the harms posed by drugs legal and illegal (Although I wish they’d have included caffeine). Whereas in contrast the present legal - illegal separation, and the scheduling of drugs by the UN Single Convention seriously lacks any scientific credibility, indeed if there ever was any science to support it.

 

So the work published in the Lancet (2007 & later in 2010) is a much needed start scientific - it’s not as this article suggests flawed, it is contested. There will never be a definitive scale of impact/harm, it depends upon the person and their environment, and not just the drug. But Nutt et al’s work is welcomed as a shift towards evidence, reason and science - rather than propaganda, racism and politics.

 

Also the graph presented within the article above provides an indication of cannabis induced car accidents, and I suspect that data is flawed! I suspect it is showing fatal car accidents where cannabis was present. Cannabis may have been in the bloodstream, but whether the driver was under the influence of cannabis was not established. That data probably misleadingly showed presence as impairment.

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ReGenUC's curator insight, February 25, 6:45 PM

A response to Prof David Nutt's study. 

Julian's comment, February 25, 7:15 PM
shame Nutt et al didn’t include caffeine
ReGenUC's comment, February 25, 7:43 PM
Agreed but, as you said, in your post, it's a 'much needed start'.
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Weed is 114 times less deadly than alcohol Study Finds

Weed is 114 times less deadly than alcohol Study Finds | Drugs, Society, Human Rights & Justice | Scoop.it
It's easy to imagine what would happen were alcohol discovered today, with reports of 'NEW KILLER DRUG' plastered all over the tabloids as terrified witnesses reported seeing "addicts" staggering around the streets, falling down, wailing and vomiting in the gutter.
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VIDEO 26mins: Inside Out: Indigenous imprisonment in Australia

Filmed on the plains of north-western New South Wales, this documentary looks at one man's fight against the scourge of indigenous imprisonment in his community
Julian's insight:

Australia’s First Nation People endure Alienation, Poverty, Inequality, Systematic Institutionalised Discrimination so inevitably unemployment, crime, prison, alcohol, drug dependence, suicide, mental health issues, poor life expectancy become endemic problems ...this is essentially a structural problem not a pathological problem. 

This is grim watching about injustice at an individual, cultural and structural level. 

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Girl needing medical cannabis leaving Texas immediately - only way to get help

Girl needing medical cannabis leaving Texas immediately - only way to get help | Drugs, Society, Human Rights & Justice | Scoop.it
Alexis Bortell's family decided they can't wait any longer for Texas lawmakers to act on legalizing medical cannabis. They're moving to a suburb of Denver next week.
Julian's insight:

Hard to believe this is the state of play in 2015 in an advanced democracy! 

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Slovakia Heading Towards Full Decriminalisation of Personal Possession of all Illicit Drugs

Slovak media have reported on the proposed decriminalisation of illicit substances several times over the past two years. According to this news, the new law would end imprisonment for possession of small amounts of illicit drugs.  Possession of small amounts would instead become a simple misdemeanour. This would apply to all substances presently listed as illicit.

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14 Years After Decriminalizing All Drugs, Here's What Portugal Looks Like

14 Years After Decriminalizing All Drugs, Here's What Portugal Looks Like | Drugs, Society, Human Rights & Justice | Scoop.it
By Zeeshan Aleem for Policy.mic In 2001, the Portuguese government did something that the United States would find entirely alien. After many years of waging a fierce war on drugs, it decided to fl...
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Addiction: The View from Rat Park

Addiction: The View from Rat Park | Drugs, Society, Human Rights & Justice | Scoop.it

The view of addiction from Rat Park is that today’s flood of addiction is occurring because our hyperindividualistic, hypercompetitive, frantic, crisis-ridden society makes most people feel social and culturally isolated. Chronic isolation causes people to look for relief. They find temporary relief in addiction to drugs or any of a thousand other habits and pursuits because addiction allows them to escape from their feelings, to deaden their senses, and to experience an addictive lifestyle as a substitute for a full life.

At this point, it is too early to say conclusively if the Rat Park view of addiction is right or not, but it is not too early to be sure that the old theory that addiction is a problem caused by addictive drugs is far too simple. Huge amounts of research money have been spent researching the idea that addictive drugs are the cause of addiction and treatments based on that idea have been tried over the world. In the meantime, the once-small problem of addiction has globalized. Moreover, it has become absolutely clear that drug and alcohol addiction is only a corner of a much larger addiction problem!

It is definitely time for a fresh direction in the theory of addiction, and I have a hunch – as well as a hope – that Rat Park might provide the starting point. The next steps from this starting point are explained in my book The Globalization of Addiction: A study in poverty of the spirit. (Oxford Univ. Press, 2010).

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Infographic: Where UN Agencies Stand on Drug Decriminalization

Infographic: Where UN Agencies Stand on Drug Decriminalization | Drugs, Society, Human Rights & Justice | Scoop.it
Following the groundbreaking call last month by the World Health Organization (WHO) for countries to
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Senior surgeon calls for drug law relaxation #DrugConsumptionRooms after son dies of overdose

Senior surgeon calls for drug law relaxation #DrugConsumptionRooms after son dies of overdose | Drugs, Society, Human Rights & Justice | Scoop.it
A senior ear, nose and throat specialist has called for drug laws to be relaxed to permit controlled shooting galleries for addicts
Julian's insight:

Long overdue calsl for evidenced based drug policies that reduce rather than increase drug related harm. Sadly the political drive for change seems to coincide with increased drug harm across the privileged white community as we are seeing in the USA with the overdose problem. Nevertheless better drug policy is always welcome!

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ARTICLE: Cannabidiol alleviates psychotic symptoms of schizophrenia

ARTICLE: Cannabidiol alleviates psychotic symptoms of schizophrenia | Drugs, Society, Human Rights & Justice | Scoop.it
Our results provide evidence that the non-cannabimimetic constituent of marijuana, cannabidiol, exerts clinically relevant antipsychotic effects that are associated with marked tolerability and safety, when compared with current medications. Although a plethora of pharmacological mechanisms have recently been suggested relevant for the antipsychotic effect of cannabidiol31 the primary pharmacological mechanism through which cannabidiol exerts this antipsychotic effect in humans is unclear at present.
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