European Monitoring Centre for Drugs, Drug Addiction (EMCDDA)
01 August 2000
Treatment for drug addiction was seen as a measure to reduce drug abuse as early as 1961 when the UN Single Convention was signed. However, the only recognised concept of drug treatment mentioned by the Convention concerned the detoxification of the individual through ‘drug-free treatment’. Therapeutic measures aimed at treating drug addictions through maintenance and related distributions of alternative substances are not expressly mentioned by the UN Conventions of 1961, 1971 and 1988.
State-controlled public injection rooms are not expressly referred to in any of the relevant international conventions. It is thus necessary to determine, by way of a preliminary factual enquiry, the exact characteristics of such institutions that fall within the ambit of one or more of the conventions. The rather superficial provisions concerning drug addicts stand in stark contrast to the stated primary aims of the conventions, which are formulated in the preambles as preventing and combatting abuse of narcotic drugs and psychotropic substances and the public health and social problems which such abuse engenders.
An ethnographic study of women and drug use in inner city neighborhoods in Kingston, Jamaica, revealed that cannabis is commonly used in conjunction with crack cocaine to minimize the undesirable effects of crack pipe smoking, specifically paranoia and weight loss.
Recent developments in drug policy can be regarded as taking place in stages based on certain changeable paradigms: the abstinence paradigm, the medicalization paradigm and the acceptance paradigm. For the time being there seems to be a slow transition from the first to the latter, implying that elements of all three are presently active in a diversity of policies and strategies, differing between states and regions of the German federal state and the European Union as well as between different levels of drug policy and drug care.
James Shearer, John Sherman, Alex Wodak, Ingrid van Beek
31 May 2002
The illicit use of amphetamines continues to be a growing problem in many countries around the world, yet treatment responses remain in need of further development. This is particularly true with regards to pharmacotherapy for amphetamine dependence. In this Harm Reduction Digest four authors who bring together considerable research and clinical experience in this area describe the nature of amphetamine-related problems and consider the role of amphetamine agonists in substitution therapy for amphetamine dependence.
En la última década ha crecido la polarización entre dos tendencias divergentes en la política global de drogas. Por un lado, el escalamiento de la Guerra a las drogas de EEUU, que ha creado un gulag de drogas doméstico y ha intensificado y militarizado erradicaciones forzadas en otros países. Por otra parte, en Europa y otros países gana terreno un enfoque más flexible y pragmático para las políticas de drogas domésticas, que se distancia de la represión indiscriminada y la tolerancia cero. En estos países, la tendencia hacia una mayor indulgencia es irreversible, y una actitud racional reemplaza gradualmente los dogmas del pasado. Estos enfoques han alcanzado sus límites legales en el marco de las convenciones sobre drogas de la ONU.
En un categórico memorando confidencial dirigido a la JIFE, expertos legales de la ONUDD aducen que la mayoría de las medidas para la reducción del daño se ajustaría a las convenciones. Según la Sección de Asuntos Legales: “Se podría argüir fácilmente que los principios rectores de la reducción de la demanda de drogas proveen un mandato claro para la institución de políticas de reducción del daño, que, respetando las diferencias culturales y de género, ofrecen un entorno de mayor apoyo a los consumidores de drogas”.
El presidente de la Junta Internacional de Fiscalización de Estupefacientes (JIFE), Dr. Philip O. Emafo de Nigeria, lanza en el prólogo del informe anual 2002 de dicha agencia un fuerte ataque contra los grupos que abogan por la legalización o la despenalización de los delitos relacionados con drogas, así como contra los grupos "que preconizan una cruzada" centrada únicamente en la reducción del daño.
The first drug consumption room for opiate-dependent persons in Germany was opened in Frankfort on the Main in December 1994. In March 2003 there were 19 drug consumption rooms in the Federal Republic of Germany: These institutions provide several hundred drug injecting places; they are used every day by several thousand addicts several times a day.
Besides the classic approaches (drug counselling centres, therapy for substance abuse) there exist reform and pilot projects to develop alternative ways of helping. These are intended for longtime drug users who have undergone several therapies unsuccessfully or could not be reached by existing resources. Amongst those alternative services is the treatment with substitution therapy as well as the establishment of drug consumption rooms.
This report breaks new ground in the HIV/AIDS prevention literature by reviewing harm reduction initiatives and programmes in the context of Russian and international law. The intention is to guide the reader through the complexities of the laws governing HIV and drug misuse and to determine the various legal difficulties relating to these initiatives. The policy options that appear to be available to address them and to allow harm reduction programmes to become an integral part of Russia’s response to its HIV/AIDS epidemic are set out. With the intensification of the “harm reduction versus drug supply/demand reduction” debate there is a need to ensure that policy makers have a thorough understanding of the concept of harm reduction, related terminology and relevant aspects of the law.
Drug consumption rooms have been established in several countries, where confirmed drug users are allowed to consume their drugs in hygienic conditions and without fear of arrest. These facilities, which mostly operate in big cities, emerged because of serious health and public order problems associated with drug use, especially drug injecting in public places. In 2004, there were about 60 consumption rooms in 36 European cities and two pilot projects of medically supervised injecting centres in Australia and Canada.
The conventions do not contain, refer to or define “harm reduction”. The three conventions refer to measures against drug abuse. Article 38 of the 1961 Convention refers to the need for a State to take measures for the prevention of drug abuse and for the early identification, treatment, aftercare, rehabilitation and social reintegration of drug abusers. Article 14 of the 1988 Convention requires parties to adopt appropriate measures aimed at eliminating or reducing illicit demand for narcotic drugs and psychotropic substances, with a view to reducing human suffering. The ultimate aim of the conventions is to reduce harm.
Evan Wood, Patricia M. Spittal, Will Small, Thomas Kerr, Kathy Li, Robert S. Hogg, Mark W. Tyndall, Julio S.G. Montaner, Martin T. Schechter
10 May 2004
Law enforcement is often used in an effort to reduce the social, community and health-related harms of illicit drug use by injection drug users (IDUs). There are, however, few data on the benefits of such enforcement or on the potential harms. A large-scale police “crackdown” to control illicit drug use in Vancouver’s Downtown Eastside provided us with an opportunity to evaluate the effect.
Los diferentes puntos de vista sobre reducción del daño que se enfrentan al interior del sistema de la ONU se han vuelto un problema serio. La coherencia en los mensajes es crucial especialmente cuando se trata de programas globales conjuntos, como las iniciativas para disminuir la epidemia de VIH/SIDA, en los que las prácticas de reducción del daño, como el intercambio de jeringuillas y el tratamiento de substitución, juegan un rol central.
The widespread legal, social and political ramifications of the HIV/AIDS epidemic make it necessary to review and reform a broad range of laws. Some countries have adopted national HIV/AIDS laws, but these laws often ignore crucial policy issues, as well as human rights abuses that perpetuate the HIV epidemic. This is particularly true with respect to illegal drug use.
The primary objective of this paper is to evaluate whether the drug conventions permit states to experiment with alternatives to the punitive prohibitionist policies that have typified the global approach to combating the negative effects of personal drug use. Because harm minimization encompasses most policies providing alternatives to punitive prohibition, the analysis that follows will focus on comparing the two strategies, in an effort to frame the current debate on drug policy.
Este número de Drogas y Conflicto presenta dos investigaciones desarrolladas en en Buenos Aires y en Montevideo para buscar respuestas, aunque sean parciales, al origen y las características de la explosión en el consumo de pasta base de cocaína o "paco".