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90 items
  1. Fact Sheet: Coca leaf and the UN Drugs Conventions

    02 October 2012
    Primer

    10 Facts about the Coca leaf and the UN Drugs Conventions in chronological order

             
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    Chewing over Khat prohibition

    • Martin Jelsma, Pien Metaal, Axel Klein
    16 January 2012
    Policy briefing

    Khat has been consumed for thousands of years in the highlands of Eastern Africa and Southern Arabia.Strict bans on khat introduced in Europe ostensibly for the protection of immigrant communities have had severe unintended negative consequences.

  3. Chewing over Khat prohibition

    • Martin Jelsma, Pien Metaal, Axel Klein
    10 January 2012

    In the context of a fast changing and well documented market in legal highs, the case of khat (Catha edulis) provides an interesting anomaly. It is first of all a plant-based substance that undergoes minimal transformation or processing in the journey from farm to market. Secondly, khat has been consumed for hundreds if not thousands of years in the highlands of Eastern Africa and Southern Arabia. In European countries, khat use was first observed during the 1980s, but has only attracted wider attention in recent years.

  4. Roadmaps for Reforming the UN Drug Conventions

    • Robin Room, Sarah MacKay
    30 December 2012
    Report

    The three UN Drug Conventions of 1961, 1971 and 1988 currently impose a ‘one-size-fits-all’ prohibitionist approach to drug policy throughout the world. This new report explains in detail how the Conventions could be amended in order to give countries greater freedom to adopt drug policies better suited to their special needs.

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    Accounting for carbon, depoliticising plunder

    • Les Levidow
    30 November 2012

    The EU aspires to global leadership in developing ‘sustainable biofuels’, arguing they can substitute for fossil fuels, but the result has been dispossession of rural communities throughout the South.

  6. women-prisons

    Cause for Alarm

    • Eka Iakobishvili
    04 April 2012

    The new report is the first to calculate the total number of females in prisons on drug offences in Europe and Central Asia. It provides an analysis of developments related to women drug offending and the criminal justice system in Europe and Central Asia, and also largely focuses on numbers of women convicted for drug offending (violation of drug laws) that are in prisons.

     

  7. Possession of cannabis for personal use

    12 January 2012
    Policy issue

    The legal status of cannabis for personal use is one of the most controversial policy issues in the European Union. Although cannabis is a classified narcotic drug placed under control by the United Nations and by all EU Member States, the measures adopted to control it at national level vary considerably, as shown in the table, click here to access the information country by country.

  8. Prescribing Cannabis for Harm Reduction

    • Mark Collen
    05 January 2012

    Neuropathic pain affects between 5% and 10% of the US population and can be refractory to treatment. Opioids may be recommended as a second-line pharmacotherapy but have risks including overdose and death. Cannabis has been shown to be effective for treating nerve pain without the risk of fatal poisoning. The author suggests that physicians who treat neuropathic pain with opioids should evaluate their patients for a trial of cannabis and prescribe it when appropriate prior to using opioids. This harm reduction strategy may reduce the morbidity and mortality rates associated with prescription pain medications.

     

  9. The Death Penalty for Drug Offences

    • Patrick Gallahue, Ricky Gunawan, Fifa Rahman, Karim El Mufti, Najam U Din, Rita Felten
    19 November 2012

    Executions for drug offences have escalated in countries such as Iran and Saudi Arabia against a trend towards abolition globally, reveals a new Harm Reduction International (HRI) report The Death Penalty for Drug Offences, Global Overview 2012: Tipping the Scales for Abolition. The report reveals that over 540 people were executed for drug offences in Iran in 2011, a trend that continues in 2012 and represents a five-fold increase since 2008. At least 16 people were executed for drugs in Saudi Arabia in the first six months of 2012, compared with one person in 2011.

     

  10. A breakthrough in the making?

    • Amira Armenta, Pien Metaal, Martin Jelsma
    25 June 2012

    Remarkable drug policy developments are taking place in Latin America. This is not only at the level of political debate, but is also reflected in actual legislative changes in a number of countries. All in all there is an undeniable regional trend of moving away from the ‘war on drugs’. This briefing ex­plains the background to the opening of the drug policy debate in the region, summa­rises the most relevant aspects of the on­going drug law reforms in some countries, and makes a series of recommendations that could help to move the debate forward in a productive manner.

     

  11. Cannabis as a substitute for alcohol and other drugs

    • Philippe Lucas, Amanda Reiman, Mitch Earleywine, Stephanie K. McGowan, Megan Oleson, Michael P. Coward, Brian Thomas
    19 November 2012

    This article examines the subjective impact of medical cannabis on the use of both licit and illicit substances via self-report from 404 medical cannabis patients recruited from four dispensaries in British Columbia, Canada. The aim of this study is to examine a phenomenon called substitution effect, in which the use of one product or substance is influenced by the use or availability of another.

     

  12. Considering New Strategies for Confronting Organized Crime in Mexico

    • Eric Olson
    29 March 2012

    Mexico has experienced an unprecedented rise in crime and violence over the past five years with over 47,000 people killed in crime related violence during this period. For some, the increase in violence is a tragic by-product of President Calderón’s full frontal assault on criminal organizations. For others, the government’s actions, while well intended, have only marginally impacted trafficking while exacerbating the violence.

     

     

  13. A breakthrough in the making?

    • Martin Jelsma, Pien Metaal
    13 July 2012
    Policy briefing

    There is an undeniable regional trend of moving away from the ‘war on drugs’ in Latin America. This briefing ex­plains the background, summa­rises the state of on­going drug law reforms, and makes recommendations to move the debate forward.

  14. Expert Seminar on the Future of the UN Drug Conventions

    26 January 2012
    Report

    As the debate on drug policy and law reform gathers momentum on the international stage, the failings of the three UN drug control conventions (1961 , 1971  and 1988 ) have come into stark relief. Criticisms of the global drug control regime established by the drug treaties have now entered the mainstream public discourse and political debate.

  15. Expert Seminar on the Future of the UN Drug Conventions

    22 June 2012
    Report

    As the debate on drug policy and law reform gathers momentum on the international stage, the failings of the three UN drug control conventions (1961, 1971  and 1988) have come into stark relief. Criticisms of the global drug control regime established by the drug treaties have now entered the mainstream public discourse and political debate. The discussions around treaty reform that would allow or facilitate a wider spectrum of approaches to drugs are assuming a degree of urgency.

  16. Cannabis as an Adjunct to or Substitute for Opiates in the Treatment of Chronic Pain

    • Philippe Lucas
    31 May 2012

    There is a growing body of evidence to support the use of medical cannabis as an adjunct to or substitute for prescription opiates in the treatment of chronic pain. When used in conjunction with opiates, cannabinoids lead to a greater cumulative relief of pain, resulting in a reduction in the use of opiates (and associated side-effects) by patients in a clinical setting. Additionally, cannabinoids can prevent the development of tolerance to and withdrawal from opiates, and can even rekindle opiate analgesia after a prior dosage has become ineffective.

     

  17. Letter to the International Narcotics Control Board on Capital Punishment for Drug Offences

    14 March 2012
    Report

    On several recent occasions, the International Narcotics Control Board (INCB) has refused to offer an opinion on sanctions that violate international law – even if those sanctions are imposed in order to comply with the drug control treaties. This struck many as odd. As a quasi-judicial entity, one would have expected the INCB to know that the death penalty for drug offences is not permitted in international law. Or that the UN Human Rights Committee, another UN quasi-judicial mechanism which oversees the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, had already called for its abolition in Thailand. Apparently not. In response to emails and letters of concern, the INCB said that criminal sanctions are the 'exclusive prerogative' of States.

    Letter to the International Narcotics Control Board on Capital Punishment for Drug Offences

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    Fracking and the Democratic Deficit in South Africa

    • David Fig
    11 July 2012
    Paper

    When citizens are left out of debates confined to government and the business community, the only means of influencing policy is to petition, protest, or litigate, usually after the horse has bolted. Will fracking be the latest technology introduced without any public debate?

  19. Commanding general confidence?

    11 March 2012
    Policy briefing

    This note provides an overview of human rights and international law concerns raised by the 2011 Annual Report of the International Narcotics Control Board. These include questionable legal reasoning by the Board; the absence of broader human rights norms; problematic statements on specific issues; unqualified comments and support for policies despite human rights risks; and stigmatising language unbecoming a UN entity. These are patterns that are evident in previous Annual Reports.

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    Latin America Drug Policy Dialogue 2012 Lima

    12 February 2012
    Report

    The eighth Informal Dialogue on Drug Policies in Latin America was held in Lima, focusing on the following topics: Drug policy in Peru and its challenges; alternative development theory and practice; harm reduction policies for the drug market; the future of reforms: decriminalization of possession and cultivation for personal consumption; the legal market for coca leaves; and, options and debate in international bodies.

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