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  1. mark-golding

    Summary of Drugs & Democracy Activities, April - June 2015

    15 July 2015
    Article

    Drug law reform continues developing in the right direction in several Latin American and Caribbean countries. In Jamaica, for example, a law legalizing the cultivation and consumption of ganja for medicinal, religious and research purposes came into force, as well as the decriminalisation of possession for personal use.  Jamaica also spoke out at the UN Thematic Debate in New York. On May 7th, the minister addressed the UN High Level Thematic Debate on international drug policy, highlighting Jamaica’s perspectives on drug control policies and participating in a debate that encourages open and inclusive discussions. Amongst the outcomes Jamaica would like to see from UNGASS is “the establishment of an Expert Advisory Group to review the UN drug policy control architecture, its system-wide coherence, its treaty inconsistencies and its legal tension with cannabis regulations.”

  2. Ketamine produced in China

    The Ketamine Connection

    10 July 2015
    Other news

    For decades, ketamine was only manufactured by pharmaceutical companies. Technically, it was too complicated to be made by amateur chemists. But in the past five years, that has changed. Chinese drug gangs have cracked the code, figuring out how to manufacture large batches of cheap ketamine. Drug traffickers don't bother to steal ketamine from legal sources anymore. Instead, they're making their own. It's largely a Chinese breakthrough.

  3. The 2015 Commission on Narcotic Drugs

    • International Drug Policy Consortium (IDPC)
    14 June 2015

    The international drug control regime is facing the most profound challenge of its existence. Member states have for some time been experimenting with new responses to the ‘world drug problem’; however, the advent of legally regulated cannabis markets has resulted in a ratcheting up of these challenges to expose the system to new levels of strain. With the 2016 UN General Assembly Special Session (UNGASS) on the world drug problem fast approaching, how will the international community make use of the opportunity it provides for a free and open debate?

  4. The new drug warriors

    01 May 2015
    Other news

    The war on drugs is edging towards a truce. Half of Americans want to lift the ban on cannabis. America’s change of heart has led many to wonder if the UN conventions might be reformed to legalise some drugs and treat the use of others as a problem requiring health measures, not criminal or military ones. But as America has drawn back from prohibition, new drug warriors are stepping up to defend it. Russia is foremost among them. “The Russians have taken over the hard-line role that the US used to play,” says Martin Jelsma of the Transnational Institute.

  5. Video report of the UN drug debate

    Drugreporter HCLU
    08 April 2015
    Multi-media

    This March, our video advocacy team attended the 58th session of the Commission on Narcotic Drugs, the largest drug policy gathering in the world, to find out how governments and NGOs feel about the prospects of drug policy reform. We produced a series of short thematic videos, to give you an overview of the current state of political debate on the burning issues of international drug control.

  6. Summary of Drugs & Democracy Activities, January - March 2015

    08 April 2015
    Article

    With the 2016 UNGASS on drugs in one year, it is time to recognize the policy landscape is shifting while  tensions within the UN drug control system continue to grow. A slowly increasing number of governments is expressing their frustrations with the current international drug control framework, particularly Mexico and Colombia, countries that are suffering from violence related to drug markets, are calling for reflection and analysis in order to consider new options, some of which include regulatory measures.

     

  7. "There must be no new thinking and no new ideas"

    Ann Fordham
    01 April 2015
    Other news

    "There must be no new thinking and no new ideas." This statement is not necessarily one that you might expect from an intergovernmental forum on a hot topic of international policy - except perhaps when that policy is about drugs. This statement sadly, but also neatly, encapsulates the sense of frustration that I can often feel at the UN Commission on Narcotic Drugs (CND) - the annual meeting of the UN on all matters related to drug control, which took place last month in Vienna.

  8. Dr. Lochan Naidoo - A frank conversation about drugs

    29 March 2015
    Multi-media

    The President of the International Narcotics Control Board (INCB), Dr Lochan Naidoo, became a member of International Doctors for Healthier Drug Policies (IDHDP) while attending CND 2015 in Vienna and calls his colleagues to assume a core role in drug policy, which should be considered a health issue.

  9. ketamine

    Ketamine: why not everyone wants a ban

    Rachel Wright
    13 March 2015
    In the media

    China is proposing there should be a worldwide ban on ketamine - the class B 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.

  10. ketamine

    Ketamine: why not everyone wants a ban

    13 March 2015
    Other news

    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.

  11. The judge who allowed ecstasy and ketamine to be legalised explains why he did it

    09 March 2015
    Other news

    Judge Gerard Hogan made an unexpected decision to allow for the possession of some drugs in a ruling on an appeal with the backing of two of his judicial colleagues at the Court of Appeal who agreed with his assessment of Ireland’s drug laws. His 30-page ruling can be read in full here. The Dáil will sit late tonight to pass emergency legislation in order to reclassify drugs – including ecstasy, ketamine and magic mushrooms.

  12. The 2016 UNGASS: Challenges and Opportunities

    09 March 2015
    Article

    The UN General Assembly Special Session (UNGASS) on drugs is fast approaching 2016 and is an important opportunity to conduct a thorough and objective assessment of the international drug control system. This session will discuss remaining challenges, as well as opportunities for the way forward – in particular towards rebalancing current drug policies towards the core UN values of public health, human rights and development

  13. The war on ketamine

    08 March 2015
    Other news

    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.

  14. WMA warns against making essential anaesthetic a controlled drug

    06 March 2015
    Other news

    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.

  15. The ketamine controversy, continued

    Martin Jelsma
    06 March 2015
    Opinion

    The Commission on Narcotic Drugs (CND) in Vienna will decide next week between two opposite proposals by China and the WHO about international control of ketamine, an essential anaesthetic in human and veterinary medicine. China originally proposed bringing ketamine under the 1971 Convention’s most severe control regime of Schedule I, which would dramatically affect its availability for surgery in poor rural settings and emergency situations. The WHO Expert Committee reviewed all the evidence and advised against any international control of ketamine, arguing it would trigger a public health disaster.

  16. Why ‘Special K’ is good medicine

    02 March 2015
    Other news

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

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

    27 February 2015
    Other news

    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.

  18. The UK needs common sense about ketamine

    17 February 2015
    Other news

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

  19. CND decision to schedule ketamine would undermine WHO treaty mandate

    Martin Jelsma
    16 February 2015
    Article

    The UN Commission considers to bring ketamine under the control of the 1971 Convention on Psychotropic Substances contrary to WHO recommendations. The 58th Session of the UN Commission on Narcotic Drugs (CND) in March 2015 has been asked to consider a Chinese proposal to place ketamine – an essential medicine used for anaesthesia – in Schedule I of the 1971 Convention (E/CN.7/2015/7 and E/CN.7/2015/81). Ketamine is the only available anaesthetic for essential surgery in most rural areas of developing countries, home to more than 2 billion of the world’s people. Scheduling ketamine under any of the 1971 treaty schedules will reduce its availability and further deepen the already acute crisis of global surgery.

  20. Fact Sheet on the Proposal to Discuss International Scheduling of Ketamine at the 58th CND

    14 February 2015

    Ketamine is an essential medicine used for anaesthesia. It is the only available anaesthetic for essential surgery in most rural areas of developing countries, home to more than 2 billion of the world’s people. Scheduling ketamine will leave these populations with no alternative anaesthesia for essential surgery, and will further deepen the already acute crisis of global surgery.

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