TNI co-signed a letter that was sent to the Dutch Prime Minister and relevant parliamentary commissions, stressing the need for an active Dutch involvement in the UNGASS review process and specifically to use the moment to open the discussion about the UN conventions that are an obstacle to further developments in Dutch cannabis policy.
The number of cannabis plantations uncovered by the Belgian judiciary has been rising steadily, and the relocation of cannabis production to the Low Countries (i.e. Belgium and the Netherlands) has often been associated with a growing professionalisation of its cultivation and the involvement of organised crime, and with a more noxious and hazardous product compared with cannabis imported from elsewhere (due to a higher concentration of the most psychoactive chemical in cannabis, delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol or THC, and thus a stronger potency, and to the presence of remnants of pesticides and other toxic chemicals).
This report, based on a household survey conducted in 2006, discusses options for discouraging qat consumption in Yemen. It draws on a survey - the first representative data collection exercise aimed specifically at assessing the qat consumption phenomena - which confirms that the use of this drug is widespread. Qat is consumed by men, women and children; its use is extremely time consuming; it drains the family budget; has adverse health effects; negatively affects work performance and thus contributes to poverty.
Clinical observations and scientific evidence - The use of some drugs in Chile remains silenced in official discourses, making it important to clinically observe the various ways those drugs requiring more attention appear, and which are not seen as a priority in mental health. Specifically, this is the case with cocaine paste, widely used by people living in poverty.
David Nutt, Leslie A King, William Saulsbury, Colin Blakemore
24 March 2007
Drug misuse and abuse are major health problems. Harmful drugs are regulated according to classification systems that purport to relate to the harms and risks of each drug. However, the methodology and processes underlying classification systems are generally neither specified nor transparent, which reduces confidence in their accuracy and undermines health education messages.
Economists have been among the leading critics of current drug policies, but this criticism does not mean they have reached a consensus about specific reforms. Although drug-policy researchers and economists in general seem opposed to prohibition, they are timid in their advocacy of decriminalization and even less supportive of legalization.
This IDPC Briefing reviews the data in the latest report from the UN Office on Drugs and Crime on the state of the global market, criticises the claims made in the report that international action is successfully controlling the market, and questions the political objectivity of the UNODC as we approach the review of the global objectives set in 1998.
Lynne Leonard, Emily DeRubeis, Linda Pelude, Emily Medd, Nick Birkett, Joyce Seto
30 April 2007
Among injection drug users (IDUs) in Ottawa, the capital of Canada, prevalence rates of HIV (20.6 percent) and hepatitis C HCV (75.8 percent) are among the highest in Canada. Recent research evidence suggests the potential for HCV and HIV transmission through the multi-person use of crack-smoking implements. On the basis of this scientific evidence, in April 2005, Ottawa's needle exchange programme (NEP) commenced distributing glass stems, rubber mouthpieces, brass screens, chopsticks, lip balm and chewing gum to reduce the harms associated with smoking crack.
The global trade in khat is controversial. The United States and most countries in Europe have banned it, considering it a psychotropic substance. But it contributes significantly to farmers’ livelihood in Eastern Africa. Though public officials in the region denounce its consumption, they benefit from the foreign exchange and tax revenues that it generates. So, how should this contradiction be resolved?
Danish drug policy has been reversed from liberal to more repressive, especially in 2003, when the Danish liberal-conservative government that had been in office since 2001 launched their official policy on drugs, The Fight Against Drugs: action plan against drug misuse. This action plan emphasised a more repressive drug policy in which priority was given to law enforcement, although an expansion of treatment facilities and prevention initiatives was also planned. The overall aim was to tighten the laws on drug dealing and drug use and to increase the penalties for these offences. The plan explicitly stated that the policy was to take a zero tolerance approach towards any kind of drug dealing.
The 50th Commission on Narcotic Drugs (CND) was the last such event before the watershed year of 2008, when the international community will review progress against the objectives set at the General Assembly Special Session on Drugs (UNGASS), held in New York in 1998. This CND was notable for a significant improvement in civil society involvement in the proceedings – there were a record 81 civil society delegates and NGO representatives included in government delegations. On the other hand, there were repeated moves by some country delegations to marginalise NGO involvement. The global consultation with NGOs to feed in to the UNGASS review process as formally launched.
The fourth informal drug policy dialogue took place in Rome in cooperation with the Italian Ministry of Social Solidarity. The two-day dialogue had seven sessions focused on (1) New developments in the field of Harm Reduction; (2) Drugs and prisons; (3) Social spending of confiscated criminal assets; (4) Access to controlled medications; (5) Evaluating the UN drug control system and the 1998 UNGASS review; (6) Towards another control model for cannabis and a reassessment of the coca leaf?; and (7) What to expect from the UNGASS review process.
The first meeting of the Informal Dialogue on Drugs Policy in Latin America took place in Montevideo, Uruguay. The meeting had the support of the National Drugs Council in Uruguay (Junta Nacional de Drogas or JND). Twenty-five people took part from eight countries in Latin America, Europe and the US. Three sessions centred around: (1) Consumption of base paste and crack in the South of Latin America; scientific and political responses. (2) Overview of the UNGASS review and evaluation process for the period 2008/2009, and discussion of the contributions from the point of view and practices of Latin American countries. (3) The prison problem in the region associated with drug related crimes: realities, problems and proposals.
The INCB, rather than making harsh judgements based on a selective choice of outdated treaty articles, should use its mandate more constructively and help draw attention to the inherent contradictions in the current treaty system with regard to how plants, plant-based raw materials and traditional uses are treated.
Substances that contain ephedra are known to aid weight loss and enhance athletic performance. Until April 2004 in the Netherlands, products containing this substance were available in pharmacies but also in so-called 'smart shops' (establishments where legal psychoactive substances are sold, usually for leisure purposes), where they were marketed as drugs for recreational use. On 6 April 2004, the Dutch government classified ephedra alkaloids as a medical drug in the Act on the Provision of Medical Drugs.