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18 items
  1. Safe injection site still not safe

    Tom Blickman
    30 May 2008
    Article

    Ignoring all the scientific evidence, Canada Health Minister Tony Clement will move to close Canada's only sanctioned safe-injection site, announcing it will appeal a British Colombia court ruling that Vancouver's Insite should stay open because reducing the risk of drug overdoses is a vital health service.

  2. Voters agree heroin scheme, but throw out dope

    30 November 2008
    Other news

    The Swiss look set to approve the government's drugs policy, including the prescription of heroin to addicts, but will reject a plan to decriminalise cannabis. More than two-thirds of voters approved a plan to enshrine the government's four-pillar drugs policy in law. The official drugs strategy is based on prevention, harm reduction, therapy and repression. It was devised in response to the open drugs scene in Zurich and other Swiss cities during the 1990s.

  3. Costa in Amsterdam

    Tom Blickman
    02 June 2008
    Article

    The head of the UN Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC), Antonio Costa, recently visited Amsterdam on 24 April. Accompanied by some officials of the Netherlands Ministry of Health and of the City of Amsterdam and UNODC staff, he dropped in on the coffeeshop De Dampkring (the Atmosphere) and a user room (for inhalation and injection of heroin and cocaine). He wrote his personal account for his blog Costa’s corner but it was never published. Apparently it proved to be too controversial with his Dutch host. It now has popped up on the Transform drug policy blog and the ENCOD website.

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    Resources

    01 February 2008
    Other news

    Other resources on the United Nations and Harm Reduction

  5. Beyond 2008 – a truly remarkable event

    Martin Jelsma
    12 July 2008
    Article

    Earlier this week, 7-9 July, 300 delegates met in Vienna for the Beyond 2008 NGO Forum meant to provide civil society input for the 10-year UNGASS review. It was the culmination of a series of regional NGO consultations that took place over the past six months all across the globe. Given the wide range of views held by NGOs many – including myself – were sceptical about the outcomes of the process. Would it really be possible to agree by consensus on a joint declaration and resolutions? Well, we did it…

  6. INCB out of step with the United Nations

    Tom Blickman
    03 June 2008
    Article

    The United Nations should overhaul the operations of the International Narcotics Control Board (INCB), the quasi judicial body that monitors states’ implementation of their obligations under the UN drug conventions. The Board ignores UN policies and conventions which recognize the need to provide humane treatment to people addicted to injection drugs, according to a recent commentary in medical journal The Lancet.

  7. Humane drug policies

    Tom Blickman
    13 June 2008
    Article

    At the UN High Level Meeting on AIDS, a group of civil society organisations collaborated to draft an open letter to senior UN officials to raise concerns about the UN-sponsored International Day against Drug Abuse and Illicit Trafficking on June 26th. Many governments use the day to highlight repressive drug control efforts by publicising executions, arrests and drug seizures.

  8. Latin America needs a new drug policy approach

    02 May 2008
    Article

    TNI’s Martin Jelsma participated in the inaugural meeting in Rio de Janeiro of the Latin American Commission on Drugs and Democracy on April 30, 2008. Prominent members of the Commission are three Latin American former presidents: Fernando Henrique Cardoso from Brazil, César Gaviria from Colombia and Ernesto Zedillo from Mexico.

    "It is time to develop a proper Latin American response that is detached from the ideology from the United States that has been common in the past decade," Martin Jelsma told the meeting. "It is potentially a good time to try because politically there is now more distance to US policies in a growing part of Latin America and to US domination in general."

  9. Commenting Mr. Costa's opening remarks

    Tom Blickman
    21 March 2008
    Article

    The Hungarian Civil Liberties Union (HCLU) made some interesting video news items on the Commission on Narcotic Drugs. In this one leading civils society spokespersons comment Mr. Costa, the UNODC Executive Director, opening speech. Costa's opening speech was somewhat surprising in that he coincided on some points that have been raised by civil society groups over the past years. He stressed that too many people in prison, and too few in health services; that there are too few resources for prevention, treatment, and rehabilitation; and that there is too much eradication of drug crops, and not enough eradication of poverty.

  10. Beyond 2008: Final Declaration and Resolutions

    23 July 2008
    Article

    The "Beyond 2008" NGO Forum was held in Vienna, Austria from July 7-9, 2008.  It was the final step in the global consultation of NGOs involved in responding to drug related problems and to provide civil society input for the 10-year UNGASS review.
    Three draft resolutions and the draft declaration were subject to a line by line examination and intense debate. At the end of the Forum the Declaration and three Resolutions were adopted by consensus by all those participating in the Forum.  This was an historic achievement and reflected the maturity and commitment of the global NGO community. 

  11. Cannabis debate in Australia

    Tom Blickman
    04 June 2008
    Article

    In Australia a vicious debate on cannabis policy started when Alex Wodak, the head of the Sydney drug and alcohol clinic at St Vincent's Hospital, suggested that marijuana be regulated like alcohol or tobacco. He proposed to sell cannabis legally in post offices in packets that warn against its effects.

  12. Canada drug law contributes to the harm it seeks to prevent

    Tom Blickman
    28 May 2008
    Article

    In a surprise ruling yesterday, the British Colombia Supreme Court supported Vancouver's experimental supervised injection clinic Insite - North America's first legal supervised injection site - and halted federal attempts to close the facility. That is very good news, but the ruling went even further.

  13. Image of UN Flag

    Statements at 2008 CND

    17 March 2008
    Article

    Several government and UN officials as well as civil society organisations made interesting statements at the 51st session of the Commission on Narcotic Drugs (CND) on March 10-14, 2008.

  14. Unique in International Relations?

    • Damon Barrett
    21 February 2008

    In a new report released in February 2008 by the International Harm Reduction Association (IHRA), the INCB comes in for some heavy criticism for being overly secretive, closed to external dialogue with civil society, and out of kilter with similar agencies in other UN programmes. IHRA also debunks the INCB’s defence that it is ‘unique in international relations’. 

    Download the full report (PDF)

  15. Civil Society Events at 2008 CND

    02 March 2008
    Article

    NGOs of different background organise events during the Commission on Narcotic Drugs (CND) in March 2008. Some of the main events are listed here.

  16. Characterization of the crack cocaine culture in the city of São Paulo: a controlled pattern of use

    • Lúcio Garcia de Oliveira, Solange Aparecida Nappo
    01 July 2008

    In the city of São Paulo, the culture of crack use has undergone considerable changes over these 11 years since it was first described. The sociodemographic profile of the users is practically the same and most use is still compulsive, with significant physical, moral and social impairment among them. Sole use of crack has overwhelmingly been replaced by associations between crack and other drugs, thus characterizing users in the city of São Paulo as multiple drug users.

     

  17. Flexibility of treaty provisions

    20 February 2008
    Article

    In a confidential and authoritative memorandum to the INCB, UNODC legal experts argue that most harm reduction measures are in fact acceptable under the conventions. According to the Legal Affairs Section "it could easily be argued that the Guiding Principles of Drug Demand Reduction provide a clear mandate for the institution of harm reduction policies that, respecting cultural and gender differences, provide for a more supportive environment for drug users."

  18. The INCB on Harm Reduction

    07 March 2008
    Article

    As in years past, the International Narcotics Control Board (INCB) highlights the problem of HIV epidemics fuelled by injection drug use in its 2007 annual report. The phrase harm reduction is used in the report without scare quotes but the Board cannot refrain from sounding cautionary notes.