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20 items
  1. Junk policy

    08 May 2015
    Other news

    A century ago, in 1914, the United States banned heroin and cocaine, and it then gradually used its diplomatic might to impose this ban across the world. 

  2. Drug users should be able to get heroin from the health system

    13 April 2015
    Other news

    No fewer than six randomised controlled trials – in Switzerland, the Netherlands, Germany, Spain, Canada, and England – concluded that heroin assisted treatment is more effective than conventional treatments in a subgroup of heroin users. 

  3. An injecting room worked for heroin. Let's have one to help beat ice

    30 March 2015
    Other news

    In its report on the methamphetamine market, the Australian Crime Commission identified ice as the illicit drug posing the highest risk to Australia. Perhaps it’s time to establish a safe place for ice users along the lines of the heroin injecting centre: a place where users can be monitored, where adverse physical and mental reactions to the drug can be professionally dealt with.

  4. Global State of Harm Reduction 2014

    • International Harm Reduction Association (IHRA)
    04 March 2015
    Report

    In 2008, Harm Reduction International released the Global State of Harm Reduction, a report that mapped responses to drug-related HIV and hepatitis C epidemics around the world for the first time.(1) The data gathered for the report provided a critical baseline against which progress could be measured in terms of the international, regional and national recognition of harm reduction in policy and practice. Since then, the biennial report has become a key publication for researchers, policymakers, civil society organisations and advocates, mapping harm reduction policy adoption and programme implementation globally.

  5. Why Canada is no longer a leader in global drug policy

    26 February 2015
    Other news

    Prime Minister Stephen Harper’s statement about the failures of Canada's drug policy is mostly on point. It’s just the last bit he gets wrong: “I think what everyone believes and agrees with, and to be frank myself, is that the current approach is not working, but it is not clear what we should do.” He’s wrong, because we know what we should do: Supervised injection sites; prescription heroin; medical cannabis dispensaries; crack pipe distribution; drug testing kits; Naloxone for reversing opioid overdose.

  6. Crises and radical thinking on drug policy

    Kasia Malinowska-Sempruch, director of Open Society Foundations Global Drug Policy Program
    16 August 2012
    Article

    It’s sad that drug policy reform must always be wrapped tragedy but alas – in the context of drugs – crisis has historically been the mother of invention. It was in the face of thousands of overdoses and the highest HIV prevalence in Western Europe that Switzerland introduced effective heroin-prescription programmes, safe injection facilities, needle and syringe-exchange programmes and low-threshold methadone services.

  7. The War on Drugs and HIV/AIDS

    24 June 2012

    The global war on drugs is driving the HIV pandemic among people who use drugs and their sexual partners. Throughout the world, research has consistently shown that repressive drug law enforcement practices force drug users away from public health services and into hidden environments where HIV risk becomes markedly elevated. Mass incarceration of nonviolent drug offenders also plays a major role in spreading the pandemic. Today, there are an estimated 33 million people worldwide living with HIV – and injection drug use accounts for one-third of new HIV infections outside of sub-Saharan Africa.

     

  8. New heroin-assisted treatment

    • John Strang, Teodora Groshkova, Nicola Metrebian
    31 March 2012

    The prescription of substitution drugs, such as methadone and buprenorphine, has become a mainstream, first-line treatment for opioid dependence, with around 700 000 of Europe’s 1.3 million problem opioid users receiving substitution treatment today. But a small minority of entrenched opioid users repeatedly fails to respond to interventions of this kind. Findings from international trials now suggest that the supervised use of medicinal heroin can be an effective second-line treatment for this small, and previously unresponsive, group. In this latest EMCDDA Insights report, experts describe the development as ‘an important clinical step forward’. 

    Download the report (PDF)

  9. Needle Park remembered

    02 February 2012
    Other news

    The Platzspitz or “Needle Park” in Zürich was one of the world’s most notorious open drug scenes, attracting users from all over Europe. After its closure, a new drugs policy was introduced in Switzerland to better protect drug addicts. Dr André Seidenberg was a pioneer of this approach. Swiss TV took him back to the Needle Park, along with a heroin addict who was heavily involved in the scene at that time. (See also: Ten years of heroin handouts fixes drug crime, Swissinfo, January 24, 2004)

  10. The State of Harm Reduction in Europe

    Peter Sarosi
    02 November 2011
    Article

    The film crew of the Hungarian Civil Liberties Union (HCLU) attended the first meeting of the European Harm Reduction Network (EuroHRN) in Marseille, France. We interviewed professionals and activists from several countries to give you an overview of the current state of harm reduction in Europe – please watch and share our movie!

  11. The Dutch treatment and social support system for drug users

    • Eberhard Schatz, Katrin Schiffer, John Peter Kools
    15 January 2011

    This paper, written in collaboration with the Correlation Network, briefly describes the history and the basic elements of the Dutch drug dependence treatment policy, including recent trends in drug use and the current drug treatment system implemented in the four largest cities in the Netherlands. Building on more than 30 years’ experience, the Dutch approach focuses on an integrated treatment system, which provides comprehensive support and services to the most vulnerable groups, including homeless people, problematic drug users and chronic psychiatric patients. At the same time, a strong emphasis is given to public order and crime reduction.

     

  12. From the Mountaintops

    • Joanne Csete
    27 October 2010

    Published by the Open Society Foundations, this report looks at how evidence-based services such as heroin treatment, injection rooms, and needle exchange can lower HIV infection rates, improve health outcomes, and lower crime rates.

     

  13. What the World Can Learn from Switzerland’s Drug Policy Shift

    Peter Sarosi
    25 October 2010
    Article

    This short film by the Hungarian Civil Liberties Union (HCLU), a grantee of the Open Society Global Drug Policy Program, outlines how the country successfully resolved these problems through the introduction of an innovative national drug policy based on scientifically proven methods, not rhetoric.

  14. Norway contemplating Heroin Assisted Treatment

    Christopher Hallam
    13 August 2010
    Article

    The recent report of the Stoltenberg Committee, set up by the Norwegian Health Minister to review the country’s drug situation, included a recommendation to begin offering Heroin Assisted Treatment (HAT) to the most marginalised users. The government, while supporting the introduction of new harm reduction measures, is still considering whether to follow the recommendation.

  15. Heroin Assisted Treatment

    • Christopher Hallam
    15 July 2010

    This briefing paper explores the question of Heroin Assisted Treatment (HAT), examines the growing body of evidence emerging from its clinical use in addiction therapies, and makes recommendations for policy makers.

     

  16. The Andalusian trial on heroin-assisted treatment

    • Eugenia Oviedo-Joekes, Joan C. March, Manuel Romero, Emilio Perea-Milla
    31 December 2009

    In 2003, a randomised controlled trial (RCT) comparing injected diacetylmorphine and oral methadone was carried out in Andalusia, Spain. The subsequent follow-up study evaluated the health and drug use status of participants, 2 years after the completion of the trial. This follow-up cohort study was carried out between March and August 2006. Data collected included information on socio-demographics, drug use, health and health-related quality of life. 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.

     

  17. Evaluation of Dutch Drug Policy

    • Margriet Van Laar, Marianne van Ooyen-Houben
    31 May 2009

    The main purpose of this evaluation was to determine to what extent the principal goal of Dutch drug policy has been achieved, as stated in the 1995 Policy Document on Drugs (Drugsnota). This asserts the primacy of protecting public health, and thus gives priority to drugs prevention and to the management of the individual and social risks that arise from drug use.

  18. 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.

  19. publication

    The impact of heroin prescription on heroin markets in Switzerland

    • Martin Killias, Marcelo F. Aebi
    01 January 2000

    A program of heroin prescription was introduced in Switzerland in 1994. This initially targeted 1,000 heavily dependent heroin users, most of whom were also involved in drug dealing and other forms of crime. It has recently been extended to cover 3,000 users. Evaluation of its impact on users shows large reductions in use of illicit drugs and in drug-related crime.

  20. publication

    The impact of heroin prescription on heroin markets in Switzerland

    • Martin Killias, Marcelo F. Aebi
    31 December 1999

    A program of heroin prescription was introduced in Switzerland in 1994. This initially targeted 1,000 heavily dependent heroin users, most of whom were also involved in drug dealing and other forms of crime. It has recently been extended to cover 3,000 users. Evaluation of its impact on users shows large reductions in use of illicit drugs and in drug-related crime.