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  1. Bans on legal highs will drive booming trade underground, drug experts warn

    03 June 2015
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    The booming trade in legal highs will go underground in the face of blanket bans, such as that now being debated in Britain, European drug experts have warned in the annual report of the European Monitoring Centre for Drugs and Drug Addiction (EMCDDA). They say online "grey marketplaces" selling new psychoactive substances (NPS) and greater use of social media are emerging as alternatives to the high street "head shops" and public websites likely to be shut down by laws enforcing a blanket ban on the trade. (See also: Legal highs: which drugs will be banned in the UK?)

  2. Jamaica to lead charge to change int'l treaties on marijuana

    17 March 2015
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    Minister of Industry, Investment and Commerce, Anthony Hylton, says Jamaica intends to lead a charge in the United Nations to effect changes to the international treaties concerning marijuana. The aim is to change the schedule class of marijuana in light of scientific studies that have proven its therapeutic benefits and medicinal value. "Jamaica intends to participate, and to lead, if necessary, a process in the United Nations to have those treaties amended," Hylton said.

  3. ketamine

    Ketamine: why not everyone wants a ban

    13 March 2015
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    China is proposing there should be a worldwide ban on ketamine - the drug that can lead to users needing to have their bladders removed. But ketamine is used as an anaesthetic drug in much of Africa, and there are fears further international controls could affect medical usage too. The Chinese say that they are requesting the lowest level of restriction - known as schedule four - which would not affect its use for medical purposes. But Dr Kabwe in Lusaka's main hospital says any restriction will create a level of bureaucracy that will prohibit its use.

  4. The war on ketamine

    08 March 2015
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    In a dispute that pits the war on drugs against global health needs — and one UN agency against another — a pair of Canadian researchers is spearheading a last-ditch bid to keep a widely used anesthetic from being declared an illicit narcotic.

  5. WMA warns against making essential anaesthetic a controlled drug

    06 March 2015
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    Scheduling ketamine would restrict its availability worldwide, which  would lead to harmful impact on animal health and welfare, as well on public health. The World Medical Association is urging its 111 member associations to lobby their governments to oppose scheduling the anaesthetic agent Ketamine as a controlled drug.

  6. Why ‘Special K’ is good medicine

    02 March 2015
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    In the global world of illicit drug policies, the granddaddy of them all is the United States.

  7. Ketamine control plan condemned as potential disaster for world's rural poor

    27 February 2015
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    A proposal that is about to come before the UN to restrict global access to ketamine, a drug abused in rich countries, would deprive millions of women of lifesaving surgery in poor countries, according to medicines campaigners.

  8. Marijuana may be even safer than previously thought, researchers say

    23 February 2015
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    Compared to other recreational drugs -- including alcohol -- marijuana may be even safer than previously thought.

  9. The UK needs common sense about ketamine

    17 February 2015
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    Ketamine is a unique anaesthetic and analgesic that has unfortunately become a popular recreational drug.

  10. FDA to review marijuana safety

    20 July 2014
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    The United States federal government is considering easing its position on marijuana, reclassifying it as a less dangerous drug in what marijuana advocates say reflects the changing attitudes nationwide. But drug specialists fear the watershed moment for marijuana research could be a slippery slope for addicts. The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is reviewing marijuana’s classification to consider changing it from a Schedule I drug. (See also: FDA to evaluate marijuana for potential reclassification as less dangerous drug)

  11. FDA to evaluate marijuana for potential reclassification as less dangerous drug

    23 June 2014
    Other news

    The US Food and Drug Administration is reviewing the medical evidence surrounding the safety and effectiveness of marijuana, a process that could lead to the agency downgrading the drug's current status as a Schedule I drug, the most dangerous classification. "FDA conducts for Health and Human Services a scientific and medical analysis of the drug under consideration," FDA Press Officer Jeff Ventura said. "HHS then recommends to DEA that the drug be placed in a given schedule. DEA considers HHS’ analysis, conducts its own assessment, and makes a final scheduling proposal in the form of a proposed rule." (See also: Scheduling in the international drug control system)

  12. 'Thousands of inmates' can soon be released under drug law

    28 May 2014
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    A new decree that overhauls Italy's drugs laws paves the way for releasing "thousands of convicted smalltime drug dealers from prison". The move follows parliamentary approval of a decree earlier this month that overhauls Italy's drugs laws and reclassifies marijuana as a soft rather than a hard narcotic. The new law also effectively removes jail time as a sentence for smalltime dealers, offering community service and other options in its place. (See also: Council of Europe lauds Italian moves on prison overcrowding)

  13. There's simply no case for banning khat

    30 March 2014
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    Khat is as potent as a strong cup of coffee and has no organised crime involvement – yet the government wants to spend £150m on a ban that would create far more severe problems. When the Advisory Council on the Misuse of Drugs, the government's expert advisors, were asked to consider khat, they said that it would be "inappropriate and disproportionate" to ban it. The cross-party home affairs select committee, on which I serve, produced a unanimous report opposing a ban. And yet the home secretary plans to do it anyway.

  14. Italy's strict drug law goes up in smoke

    16 February 2014
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    On February 12, the Constitutional Court ruled that the Fini-Giovanardi law setting out penalties related to the sale and possession of illegal drugs, was improperly approved, and abrogated the law. Since then, Italy has returned to previous regulations that imposed lighter sanctions on cannabis users. Prisoners' rights organisations argued that harsh drug laws have created a booming prison population in a system that is already overcrowded. Since January 2013, Italy's prisons have been under the scrutiny of the European Court of Human Rights.

  15. Italy relaxes cannabis penalties

    12 February 2014
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    Italy's Constitutional Court struck down an anti-drug law from 2006 that imposed tough sentencing for the sale and possession of cannabis, putting it on the same level as heroin and cocaine.

  16. ‘Club drug’ ketamine lifts depression in hours

    21 May 2013
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    The largest study to date confirms that ketamine — a “club drug” that is also legally used as an anesthetic — could be a quick and effective way to relieve depression. The results were presented at the annual meeting of the American Psychiatric Association and represent growing excitement about ketamine’s potential. The study included 72 patients who had previously failed to respond to at least two other medications.

  17. The real driver behind most drug use is pleasure, not dependence

    18 April 2013
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    Harm minimisation, harm reduction, drug-related harm, drug overdose, addiction: these are the dominant narratives that are used when we talk about drugs. But the discourse almost always fails to explicitly and openly discuss drug-related harms in the context of the real driver behind most drug use, which is not dependence, but drug-related pleasure. (See also: Internet drug dealing on the rise, survey finds)

  18. khat-selling

    Drugs advisory group decides against banning qat in UK

    23 January 2013
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    A clash between the home secretary, Theresa May, and her expert drugs advisory group is looming after it decided against banning qat, a mild herbal stimulant, traditionally used in Britain's Somali, Yemeni and Ethiopian communities. The Advisory Council on the Misuse of Drugs said there was insufficient evidence that Qat caused health or wider societal problems to justify a ban in Britain.

  19. khat_axel_klein

    Khat ban rejected by UK drug advisers

    23 January 2013
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    The Advisory Council on the Misuse of Drugs (ACMD) said there was "insufficient evidence" that khat caused health problems. The stimulant is traditionally used by members of the Somali, Yemeni and Ethiopian communities. It has been outlawed by the US and Canada and in most European countries, most recently by the Netherlands. The review was commissioned by the Home Office. The ACMD said there was "no evidence" khat was directly linked with serious or organised crime. (See also: Chewing over Khat prohibition)

  20. eradication-marijuana

    Marijuana still a drug with no accepted medical use, court says

    23 January 2013
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    Marijuana will continue to be considered a highly dangerous drug under federal law with no accepted medical uses, after a U.S. appeals court refused to order a change in the government's 40-year-old drug classification schedule. The decision keeps in place an odd legal split over marijuana, a drug deemed to be as dangerous as heroin and worse than methamphetamine by federal authorities, but one that has been legalized for medical use by voters or legislators in 20 states and the District of Columbia.

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