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REPORT: Drug Policy in Portugal: The Benefits of Decriminalizing Drug Use | Global Drug Policy Program | Open Society Foundations - OSF

REPORT: Drug Policy in Portugal: The Benefits of Decriminalizing Drug Use | Global Drug Policy Program | Open Society Foundations - OSF | Drugs, Society, Human Rights & Justice | Scoop.it
Drug Policy in Portugal: The Benefits of Decriminalizing Drug Use is the second in a series of reports by the Open Society Foundations' Global Drug Policy Program that documents positive examples of drug policy reform around the world (the first being From the Mountaintops: What the World Can Learn from Drug Policy Change in Switzerland).
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Reason, rationale and evidence are the way forward. Please share and recommend the site!
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VIDEO 29mins: Julian Buchanan The Social Construction of Drugs: Stigma, Discrimination & the Drug Apartheid

This paper 'Barriers to Recovery: Stigma & Discrimination' given at the New Zealand Drug Policy Symposium 'Through the Maze: Making Treatment Better' https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=scoqktXn52Q


I argue that the social context is much overlooked in drug dependence, and in this paper I illustrates how problem drug use is to a large extent a social problem, exacerbated by criminalisation, exclusion, stigma and discrimination.

 

If you want to follow the PREZI Slide Presentation (which you are free to copy and use) click here:
http://prezi.com/p3fuglzqymmg/barriers-to-recovery-stigma-discrimination/

 

 

 

Julian's insight:

Time to end stigma & discrimination of people who use illegal drugs 

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PhD Thesis: A mixed-methods study of online drug discussion by @monicabarratt

PhD Thesis: A mixed-methods study of online drug discussion by @monicabarratt | Drugs, Society, Human Rights & Justice | Scoop.it

"Internet technologies have changed the context within which illicit drug use occurs. Scholars have demonstrated how the internet and digital technologies can be used to better respond to drug problems and how people who use drugs utilise the internet to access drug information and to purchase drugs (mainly so-called legal highs) through web vendors. The limitations of this body of work are that it generally conceptualises the internet only as a tool, and the potential for internet use resulting in positive outcomes for drug users is only discussed in relation to formal online interventions and treatments. This thesis goes beyond this assumption of ‘technology as tool’ to frame the internet as (1) a tool (enabling people to consume and produce information), (2) a place (online sites within which discourses and meanings are reproduced, reappropriated and negotiated), and (3) a way of being (online sites that are incorporated into everyday/offline life and practices). Through these lenses, this thesis explores how internet use shapes drug practices in both positive and negative ways. I focus upon the lives of people who engage in the recreational use of psychostimulants and hallucinogens (‘party drugs’) and their use of public internet forums where drugs are discussed through the exchange of asynchronous text-based messages (‘internet forums’). I pose the following question: How has internet use shaped drug practices among an Australian sample of people who use party drugs and participate in public internet forums?"

Julian's insight:

Full text download available  -thanks Monica!

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A majority want cannabis legalization in USA for first time #PowerOfPursuadingThePublic

A majority want cannabis legalization in USA for first time #PowerOfPursuadingThePublic | Drugs, Society, Human Rights & Justice | Scoop.it

For the first time, the General Social Survey -- a large, national survey conducted every two years and widely considered to represent the gold standard for public opinion research -- shows a majority of Americans favoring the legalization of marijuana.

Julian's insight:

The Drug Apartheid is ideological it’s never been based on science, reason or evidence. Yet  for around 50years, since it’s inception in the 1960s, drug reformers have tried to end the Drug War by engaging politicians in inquiries, research, evidence and reason. This resulted in virtually no change in any major advanced western capitalist country.

Between 1970 & 2007 interest in legalising cannabis in the US fluctuated between 16-33%, but interestingly since 2007 it has risen steadily to 52%. Global and widespread access to the internet and the use of social media, has in recent years played a significant part in enabling  the public to learn and gain access to dreadful truth about the the Drug Policy Sham. Drug reform change in the US is occurring not because of 50yrs of research evidence and debate that has persuaded politicians it was a mistake, no, its occurring because of a significant public awareness since 2007, that has resulted in growing electoral pressure for reform.

This is where the leverage for change is for global drug reform for ALL drugs.

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Ziggi Ivan Santini's curator insight, Today, 7:07 AM

Prohibition of marijuana makes absolutely no sense, both scientifically and economically!

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End Discriminatory Language to Change The Conversation About Drugs

End Discriminatory Language to Change The Conversation About Drugs | Drugs, Society, Human Rights & Justice | Scoop.it
The negative words we use to describe drug addiction -- "clean" vs. "dirty," "patient" vs. "addict" -- can drive some individuals away from the very help they so desperately need. To reduce that stigma, we need...
Julian's insight:

Wonderful to see the ONDCP acknowledge and list all the discriminatory words

Nice one!

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Should scientists work with industry on alcohol policy? #ConflictofInterest #HiddenAgenda

Should scientists work with industry on alcohol policy? #ConflictofInterest #HiddenAgenda | Drugs, Society, Human Rights & Justice | Scoop.it
It’s undeniable that there’s an irreconcilable conflict of interest in the alcohol industry being involved in developing health policy. And by participating in meetings involving industry representatives…
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ARTICLE: The Andalusian trial on heroin-assisted treatment: a 2 year follow-up.

Patients who received HAT showed better outcomes compared with those not on HAT. The results of this study strengthen the evidence showing that HAT can improve and stabilise the health of long-term heroin users with severe comorbidities and high mortality.

 
Julian's insight:

It illustrates how the set and the settings are the main issues not the substance.

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U.S. Push for Abstinence in Africa Is Seen as [another] Failure Against H.I.V.

U.S. Push for Abstinence in Africa Is Seen as [another] Failure Against H.I.V. | Drugs, Society, Human Rights & Justice | Scoop.it
The government’s $1.3 billion program to stop HIV infection in Africa is not cost effective, a new study by a Stanford student shows.
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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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Safe injection facilities: More than just a place to shoot drugs by @miriamboeri

Safe injection facilities: More than just a place to shoot drugs by @miriamboeri | Drugs, Society, Human Rights & Justice | Scoop.it
Not only can they improve public health and decrease treatment costs, but they can also address one of the root causes of addiction: loneliness.
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Michelle Alexander: Roots of Today’s Mass Incarceration Crisis Date to Slavery, Jim Crow

Michelle Alexander: Roots of Today’s Mass Incarceration Crisis Date to Slavery, Jim Crow | Drugs, Society, Human Rights & Justice | Scoop.it
As the Justice Department sheds new light on the racist criminal justice system in Ferguson, legal scholar Michelle Alexander looks at the historical roots of what she describes as "the new Jim Crow." From mass incarceration to police killings to the drug war, Alexander explores how the crisis is a nationwide issue facing communities of color. "Today we see millions of poor people and folks of color who are trapped, yet again, in a criminal justice system which are treating them like commodities
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UK should begin decriminalising drugs, say Richard Branson and Nick Clegg

UK should begin decriminalising drugs, say Richard Branson and Nick Clegg | Drugs, Society, Human Rights & Justice | Scoop.it
Virgin founder and deputy prime minister argue that ‘war on drugs’ has failed and urge UK to follow Portuguese example
Julian's insight:

Good to see decriminalisation as the first stage of reform as I’ve argued elsewhere https://julianbuchanan.wordpress.com/2014/08/31/the-demons-in-drug-law-reform/

 
But Jerry Dorey offers a good critique:

"This article presents itself as pointing out the path to reform - what do other people think? It says, for example, that [In Portugal] " Drugs remain illegal and socially unacceptable, AS THEY SHOULD BE" [my emphasis]. Er, why? And which 'drugs', exactly? To be clear: The article seems in some ways to be progressive, but for me, it is essentially backward-looking, since it perpetuates a number of myths - among them: 
 

that 'drugs' are in some way different from things like coffee, alcohol, etc., and that 'drug users' are therefore not like ordinary people;

that efforts to disrupt supply can be pursued without inevitably persecuting the poor and the marginalised;
 

that preventing 'drug' use is an intrinsically positive goal, which is morally justified;


that creating a link between the threat (or reality) of criminal sanctions, and coercive treatment, is medically justified, ethical, or effective.


The fact, as far as I'm concerned, is that there is no moral or social justification for governments attempting to control the contents of citizens' minds and bodies, and that this clearly immoral goal has only ever produced (and can only ever produce) immoral results. The drug war - whether in its traditional guise, or presented here as touchy-feely reform - is a massive crime against humanity.”  see

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VIDEO: Drugs Live - From Undercover Cop to Drug Triallist

VIDEO: Drugs Live - From Undercover Cop to Drug Triallist | Drugs, Society, Human Rights & Justice | Scoop.it
A former undercover cop describes his previous life, how he's since changed his career, and why he wants to participate in the cannabis trials
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[Addict High on Drugs] forces flight from Melbourne to Perth to turn back

[Addict High on Drugs] forces flight from Melbourne to Perth to turn back | Drugs, Society, Human Rights & Justice | Scoop.it
DOMESTIC passengers exploiting a regulatory loophole that allows them to carry unsealed bottles of booze onto flights are causing fresh grief for Australian airlines.
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DEA warns of stoned rabbits if Utah passes medical marijuana #NowTheyArePullingRabbitsOutTheHatToKeepProhibition

DEA warns of stoned rabbits if Utah passes medical marijuana #NowTheyArePullingRabbitsOutTheHatToKeepProhibition | Drugs, Society, Human Rights & Justice | Scoop.it
Utah is considering a bill that would allow patients with certain debilitating conditions to be treated with edible forms of marijuana. If the bill passes, the state's wildlife may "cultivate a taste" for the plant, lose their fear of humans, and basically be high all the time. That's according to testimony presented to a Utah Senate panel (time stamp 58:00) last week by an agent of the Drug Enforcement Administration.
Julian's insight:

How did nature and the human race possibly survive before the the Drug Wars?

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Hello, my name is Tired, and I’m addicted to energy drinks

Hello, my name is Tired, and I’m addicted to energy drinks | Drugs, Society, Human Rights & Justice | Scoop.it

Confession: I’ve got a stash of empty 5-Hour Energy bottles behind my desk and several two-packs tucked in my cupboard. I grabbed a bottle at the grocery store the other day, and when I reached for my wallet, I found three partially drained ones already in my purse. Someone saw an energy drink in my editor’s office and knew right away it was mine. “I thought Lonnae had given those up,” he said.

 
Julian's insight:

Caffeine is a drug

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Sales of ADHD meds are booming. Here's why. #BigPharmaBigBusiness

Sales of ADHD meds are booming. Here's why. #BigPharmaBigBusiness | Drugs, Society, Human Rights & Justice | Scoop.it
Obamacare and new diagnostic criteria for adults could mean a major windfall for the makers of ADHD drugs.
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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, February 28, 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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