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  1. Four of the major fear campaigns that helped create America's insane war on drugs

    08 February 2015
    Other news

    If moral entrepreneurs and interest groups manage to whip up enough fear and anxiety, they can create a full-blown moral panic, the widespread sense that the moral condition of society is deteriorating at a rapid pace, which can be conveniently used to distract from underlying, status quo-threatening social problems and exert social control over the working class or other rebellious sectors of society.

  2. "Just say no" is not an "alternative approach" to the drug problem

    George Murkin (Transform Blog)
    30 May 2014
    Other news

    Dr Hans-Christian Raabe, who was removed from the Advisory Council on the Misuse of Drugs after one month, this week wrote two rather provocative articles on the Conservative Woman website. Raabe’s main argument is that a better, “alternative approach to the drug problem” would be to create a “drug-free society”. Punitive, zero-tolerance, abstinence-based approaches have been the dominant drug policy model in most parts of the world for over half a century now – and they haven’t worked. They've caused a great deal of harm and haven’t really stopped people taking drugs.

  3. No rehab for Russia's drug addicts

    24 June 2014
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    As the world marks the United Nations' International Day Against Drug Abuse and Illicit Trafficking, millions of drug addicts in Russia have nowhere to go for treatment, and specialists are in despair over the lack of progress in the country's rehabilitation system. The Federal Drug Control Service, or FSKN, recently announced plans to create a system of communes to treat drug addicts, but drug counselors dismiss such statements as empty promises.

  4. The war on drugs killed my daughter

    21 June 2014
    Other news

    Martha Fernback, 15, died from taking 91% pure ecstasy. The response of her mother, Anne-Marie Cockburn was unusual. She refused to blame her daughter, her friends, or the dealer or the manufacturer. Cockburn, a single mother, focused on a greater target: the government. "It quickly became obvious that prohibition had had its chance but failed," she said. "Martha is a sacrificial lamb under prohibition. The question is: how many more Marthas have to die before we change our approach? It's not acceptable to allow the risks to remain."

  5. Spice overdoses on the rise in Sweden

    18 November 2014
    Other news

    The statistics were released after six teenagers in Gothenburg were rushed to hospital after taking the drug in excessive quantities. Police have opened an investigation into the matter, while two of the teens remain in a serious condition in the hospital. National broadcaster SVT asked young people in Gothenburg for their feedback on the rise of Spice. Many reported that the drug was cheap and relatively easy to get a hold of.

  6. The Guardian view on overdue overhauling of US and global drug laws

    Icaria Editorial
    27 July 2014
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    The war on drugs has been a losing fight for 40 years.

  7. Khat and mouse

    28 June 2014
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    On June 24, 2014, the sale of khat was prohibited in Britain, almost a year after home secretary Theresa May told the House of Commons that she intended to ban it. The government argues that since the leaf has been banned elsewhere, Britain risks turning into a distribution point if it remains legal; that khat is a dangerous intoxicant that harms its users and that the “marfashes” where men go to chew are breeding radicalism. Both the government’s advisory council on the misuse of drugs and the House of Commons Home Affairs Committee advised against the crackdown.

  8. France plans to stub out e-joints

    15 December 2014
    Other news

    France has sought to stamp out a new electronic cigarette containing cannabis, launched with the claim that it provides all of the relaxation but none of the mind-altering effects of the drug. The health minister, Marisol Touraine, said the product would incite the consumption of cannabis and she intended to approach the courts to ban it. “I am opposed to such a product being commercialised in France,” she told RTL radio. The product was launched by a French-Czech company called Kanavape which said it hoped to offer millions of people a legal and flavourful way to consume cannabis.

  9. Qat ban: UK police officers told to use their discretion in enforcement

    22 June 2014
    Other news

    Police have been officially advised to use their discretion in deciding how to enforce the ban on qat, a mild herbal stimulant, that has been widely used in Britain's Somali, Yemeni and Ethiopian communities. Official guidelines from the Association of Chief Police Officers tells constables that in applying a "three strikes" enforcement policy they should take into account that qat has "historically not been a controlled drug and was part of the culture of certain communities linked to the Horn of Africa." (See also: Stimulant khat banned as illegal class C drug in UK)

  10. Let's look again at Sweden's 'successful' drug policies

    25 June 2014
    Other news

    Sweden is often portrayed as a success story in relation to drugs policy, not least by its own diplomats on the international stage and by the UN.

  11. Banning Khat is another pointless drug law that will do more harm than good

    24 June 2014
    Other news

    Today, khat joined the range of prohibited substances that fall under the UK Misuse of Drugs Act 1971. Those who distribute this Class C drug can now face 14 years imprisonment – the same maximum sentence that applies to individuals who cause death by dangerous driving, and four years more than the maximum penalty for sexual assault. So what exactly is khat, and why has it attracted such harsh legislation? (See also: Khat: Update - Ban to be implemented on the 24th of June)

  12. Drug possession arrests double in past six years across NSW

    27 November 2014
    Other news

    The number of people arrested for possessing drugs in New South Wales (Australia) has doubled over the past six years, with NSW leading a national trend towards increased law enforcement directed at individual drug users. Yet the spike in arrests appears to have done nothing to stem the tide of drug use, with the state this week hitting the 1 million mark for the number of people who have recently used illicit drugs. The data comes as the NSW Bar Association released a report finding drug prohibition has been a failure and calling for reform. (Fact sheet: Cannabis and the law)

  13. Superman ‘ecstasy’ pill deaths are result of ‘illogical and punitive drugs policy’

    05 January 2015
    Other news

    The deaths of four men who had taken pills they thought were ecstasy are the result of the government’s "illogical and punitive drug policy", says Dr David Nutt, who was sacked as the government’s senior drugs adviser in 2009 after criticising its decision to toughen the law on cannabis. He argues that current policy had targeted the production and sale of MDMA only to see it substituted by a more toxic substance.

  14. Juan Manuel Santos: 'It is time to think again about the war on drugs'

    13 November 2011
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    Santos spelled out the radical ideas which he hopes will create a fresh approach. He said: "A new approach should try and take away the violent profit that comes with drug trafficking… If that means legalising, and the world thinks that's the solution, I will welcome it. I'm not against it." But he is clear that any initiatives need to be part of a co-ordinated international plan of action and he rules out any unilateral action by Colombia. "What I won't do is to become the vanguard of that movement because then I will be crucified."

  15. The federal marijuana ban is rooted in myth and xenophobia

    28 July 2014
    Other news

    The federal law that makes possession of marijuana a crime has its origins in legislation that was passed in an atmosphere of hysteria during the 1930s and that was firmly rooted in prejudices against Mexican immigrants and African-Americans, who were associated with marijuana use at the time. This racially freighted history lives on in current federal policy, which is so driven by myth and propaganda that it is almost impervious to reason.

  16. Repeal Prohibition, Again

    Icaria Editorial
    27 July 2014
    Other news

    It took 13 years for the United States to come to its senses and end Prohibition, 13 years in which people kept drinking, otherwise law-abiding citizens became criminals and crime syndicates arose and flourished. It has been more than 40 years since Congress passed the current ban on marijuana, inflicting great harm on society just to prohibit a substance far less dangerous than alcohol. The federal government should repeal the ban on marijuana. (See also: Why the New York Times editorial series calling for marijuana legalization is such a big deal and Evolving on Marijuana)

  17. Prohibition is not working: the case for sanity in the war on drugs

    29 October 2014
    Other news

    The House of Commons will today debate whether to rethink the war on drugs. While it is only a backbench business debate, and is therefore not binding, it still represents a step towards reviewing the UK’s drug laws. There is a simple reason why the UK’s drug policy is so expensive and ineffective: the law is so old. Policy is still dictated by the 1971 Misuse of Drugs Act, signed into law shortly after the 1971 UN Convention on Drugs. In 43 years since, the approach has failed catastrophically.

  18. How neuroscience reinforces racist drug policy

    Nathan Greenslit
    12 June 2014
    Other news

    A recent neuroscience study from Harvard Medical School claims to have discovered brain differences between people who smoke marijuana and people who do not. Such well-intentioned and seemingly objective science is actually a new chapter in a politicized and bigoted history of drug science in the United States. Different-looking brains tell us literally nothing about who these people are, what their lives are like, why they do or do not use marijuana, or what effects marijuana has had on them.

  19. Canada's 'Prince of Pot' to be released from U.S. prison

    06 July 2014
    Other news

    When the poster child for marijuana legalization is released from a U.S. prison later this week, he'll be re-entering a world where many of his ideas have taken root and in some places have sprouted right up. Marc Emery, Canada’s self-styled “Prince of Pot,” concludes a five-year sentence and will emerge into a lucrative marijuana landscape, where two U.S. states are now issuing recreational pot licences, medical growers are reaping profits and investors aren’t hedging on potential opportunities.

  20. The real reason pot is still illegal

    30 June 2014
    Other news

    The Community Anti-Drug Coalition of America (CADCA), one of the largest anti-legalization organizations in the US has a curious sponsor: Purdue Pharma, the manufacturer of Oxy-Contin, the highly addictive painkiller that has been linked to thousands of overdose deaths nationwide. A familiar confederation of anti-pot interests have a financial stake in the status quo, including law enforcement agencies, pharmaceutical firms, and nonprofits funded by federal drug-prevention grants.

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