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  1. Global Commission on Drug Policy Report

    02 June 2011

    The global war on drugs has failed, with devastating consequences for individuals and societies around the world. Fifty years after the initiation of the UN Single Convention on Narcotic Drugs, and 40 years after President Nixon launched the US government’s war on drugs, fundamental reforms in national and global drug control policies are urgently needed.

     

  2. ecstacy-pils

    Ecstasy does not wreck the mind, study claims

    20 February 2011
    Other news

    There is no evidence that ecstasy causes brain damage, according to one of the largest studies into the effects of the drug. Too many previous studies made over-arching conclusions from insufficient data, say the scientists responsible for the research, and the drug's dangers have been greatly exaggerated. The study was carried out by a team led by Professor John Halpern of Harvard Medical School and published in the journal Addiction last week.

  3. Aide-Memoire on the Bolivian Proposal To Amend Article 49 of the 1961 Single Convention on Narcotic Drugs

    Government of Bolivia
    13 January 2011
    Other news


    In 2009, the President of Bolivia, Evo Morales Ayma, sent a letter to the General Secretary of the United Nations, Ban Ki Moon, in which the Government of Bolivia proposed to amend article 49 paragraphs 1 c) and 2 e) of the Single Convention on Narcotic Drugs of 1961. From Bolivia´s point of view, the international community holds in its hands a historic opportunity to correct a misconception regarding coca leaf chewing by eliminating  both paragraphs of the Single Convention.

  4. The concept of ‘drug harms’

    • Peter Cohen
    28 December 2010
    Paper

    In my view, perceived harms associated with drugs are vulnerable to so many restrictions on reliability and validity that, for the time being, a serious estimate of drug harm per drug is impossible. In my view, it is even invalid to associate harms to drugs alone. Drugs are used by humans, under individual, social and legal conditions, in certain purities and dosages. Whatever the 'effects' of drugs, harmful or not, they cannot be estimated or even discussed without associating the drug with a particular user or user culture. Drugs per se do not meaningfully exist.

  5. Proposals for banning drugs are more draconian than they seem

    Drevan Harris
    08 December 2010
    Other news

    The plan to remove the requirement for scientists or experts on the Advisory Council on the Misuse of Drugs (ACMD) as proposed in the Police Reform and Social Responsibility Bill is controversial for the reasons set out on this blog yesterday. But further study of the bill reveals more cause for concern. Another shocking proposal in its pages seeks to shift the target of selective drugs prohibition from a duty to protect society from the harmful effects of drugs, to the goal of directly limiting the freedom of the individual.

  6. David Nutt: 'The government cannot think logically about drugs'

    Decca Aitkenhead
    06 December 2010
    Other news

    If someone were to invent a perfectly safe ecstasy pill, what would be done about it? It's the sort of scenario clubbers like to speculate about, usually at around 6am, a little the worse for wear after a big night out. It's less common to hear it from a neuropsychopharmacologist and former government scientist – but it is, Professor David Nutt says earnestly, "the key question". So what does he think the government would do?

  7. Government proposes to scrap need for scientific advice on drugs policy

    05 December 2010
    Other news

    Ministers will not be required to seek the advice of scientists when making drug classification policy in future, under new government proposals. The police reform and social responsibility bill, published last week, contains an amendment to the constitution of the Advisory Council on the Misuse of Drugs (ACMD) that would remove the requirement on the home secretary to appoint at least six scientists to the committee.

  8. Prop. 19 Failure Means Advocates Have Clean Slate

    Allison Margolin
    16 November 2010
    Other news

    Drug use and abuse are social and pubic health issues. But these drug laws started as purity laws in a progressive effort to stop pharmaceutical companies from addicting their unknowing customers to substances like heroin and cocaine added to common products like cough medicine and soft drinks. We have lost sight of these original goals.

  9. Alcohol 'more harmful than heroin' says Prof David Nutt

    01 November 2010
    Other news

    Alcohol is more harmful than heroin or crack, according to a study published in medical journal the Lancet. The report is co-authored by Professor David Nutt, the former UK chief drugs adviser who was sacked by the government in October 2009. It ranks 20 drugs on 16 measures of harm to users and to wider society.

  10. Drug harms in the UK

    • David J Nutt, Leslie A King, Lawrence D Phillips, on behalf of the Independent Scientific Committee on Drugs
    01 November 2010
    Paper

    To provide better guidance to policy makers in health, policing, and social care, the harms that drugs cause need to be properly assessed. This task is not easy because of the wide range of ways in which drugs can cause harm. This study undertook a review of drug harms with the multicriteria decision analysis (MCDA) approach. This technology has been used successfully to lend support to decision makers facing complex issues characterised by many, conflicting objectives.

  11. Politics and science in classifying the dangers of drugs

    • Robin Room, Dan I. Lubman
    01 November 2010

    There is a long history of psychoactive substances being regarded as dangerous and subsequently being banned or forbidden. Often the bans were introduced on substances new and unfamiliar to a society, which were viewed as more dangerous than substances which were well known and enculturated. With industrialisation and the globalisation brought by European empires, the growing availability of psychoactive substances was increasingly seen as a problem in the 1800s, setting off social and policy reactions – what we know as the temperance movement against alcohol,
    and initial UK legislation limiting the sale of ‘poisons’.

  12. Cuts prompt police to call for debate on drugs and redirect resources

    18 September 2010
    Other news

    One of Britain's most senior police officers has said youngsters caught carrying personal amounts of drugs such as cannabis should "not be criminalised", in order to allow more resources to be dedicated to tackling high-level dealers. Tim Hollis, chief constable of Humberside police, said the criminal justice system could offer only a "limited" solution to the UK's drug problem, a tacit admission that prohibition has failed.

  13. Drug Law Reform: Lessons from the New Zealand Experience

    • Sanji Gunasekara
    19 August 2010

    In 2007, the Government of New Zealand entrusted an independent agency, the National Law Commission, to review the country’s drug law. The Commission will  present a final report which is likely to feature a new approach to personal pos­session and use of drugs placing less emphasis on conviction and punish­ment and more on the delivery of effective treat­­ment. New Zealand’s approach to drug law reform may provide les­sons for other countries.

     

  14. Mephedrone found not guilty, but the next legal high may be a killer

    06 August 2010
    Other news

    The mephedrone scare started at the end of 2009 when newspapers and the BBC reported that Gabrielle Price, a 14-year-old girl from Brighton, had died after taking the drug. The story was based on rumour and police statements. The hysteria over mephedrone is a classic example of indulgent moral outrage at the expense of a common-sense harm reduction strategy.

  15. A good chew or good riddance

    • Pien Metaal, Axel Klein
    15 July 2010
    The article reviews the status of khat, the most recent plant based psychoactive substance to reach a global market, and considers policy making processes in general and the framework of drug control in particular. The risk assessment and classification of psychoactive drugs is a contested arena where political, economic and moral agendas collide, leaving countries that have banned khat, with significant social costs. To best manage the risks arising from the increasing availability of khat it is therefore suggested to draft a regulatory framework with clear objectives and guiding principles.
  16. Mephedrone: the class D solution

    David Nutt
    17 March 2010
    Other news

    The deaths of two young men in Scunthorpe last Monday that have been linked to the new "legal high" mephedrone (colloquially known as plant food, meow meow, m-cat, or bubbles) has raised a great deal of public concern and loud calls for it to be made illegal. I support the government's position that to rush into controlling mephedrone is premature, as previous claims of fatalities from this drug have turned out to be false alarms. To make it illegal without proper evidence of harm would be wrong and might have unwanted consequences, such as a switch to more dangerous drugs or alcohol.

  17. Image of UN Flag

    Coca chewing out of the UN convention?

    01 March 2010

    This briefing offers some background on the issue to amend the UN Single Convention towards a more coherent and realistic stance on the ancient tradition of coca leaf chewing. The issue was raised by Bolivia and adopted at the July 2009 ECOSOC meeting. Noticing confusion amongst some countries about the motives and impact of such amendment, this briefing aims to shed some light on the case.   

     

  18. IDPC Drug Policy Guide

    01 March 2010

    This is the second edition of the IDPC Drug Policy Guide aimed at national government policy makers. This publication is a collaborative effort by a number of members of the International Drug Policy Consortium (IDPC) and partners, and brings together global evidence and best practices on the design and implementation of drug policies and programmes at national level.

     

  19. Coca chewing out of the UN convention?

    01 March 2010

    This briefing offers some background on the issue to amend the UN Single Convention towards a more coherent and realistic stance on the ancient tradition of coca leaf chewing. The issue was raised by Bolivia and adopted at the July 2009 ECOSOC meeting. Noticing confusion amongst some countries about the motives and impact of such amendment, this briefing aims to shed some light on the case.

  20. Trends in Drug Law Reform in Europe and Latin America

    • Martin Jelsma
    26 January 2010

    This presentation gives a short overview of legislative reforms in Europe and Latin America that provide lessons learned in practice about less punitive approaches intended to reduce drug-related harm to the individual and society.  Evidence suggests that fears that softening drug laws and their enforcement would lead to sharp increases in drug use, have proven untrue.

     

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