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  • Fentanyl use drove drug overdose deaths to a record high in 2017, CDC estimates

    Every eight minutes, someone in America died of a drug overdose last year
    The Washington Post (US)
    Wednesday, August 15, 2018

    Drug overdose deaths surpassed 72,000 in 2017, according to provisional estimates recently released by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. That represents an increase of more than 6,000 deaths, or 9.5 percent, over the estimate for the previous 12-month period. That staggering sum works out to about 200 drug overdose deaths every single day, or one every eight minutes. The increase was driven primarily by a continued surge in deaths involving synthetic opioids, a category that includes fentanyl. There were nearly 30,000 deaths involving those drugs in 2017, according to the preliminary data, an increase of more than 9,000 over the prior year.

  • Constellation spends $4bn to lift stake in cannabis group Canopy

    Brewer of Corona doubles down on its bet on marijuana ahead of Canadian legalisation
    The Financial Times (UK)
    Wednesday, August 15, 2018

    Beer maker Constellation Brands doubled down on its bet on the budding marijuana industry, pumping just under $4bn into a Canadian group that has sought to capitalise on the spreading legalisation of weed. The company said it would buy 104.5m shares of Canopy Growth at C$48.60 apiece, lifting its stake to 38 per cent. The investment, which also includes warrants that could lead to it increasing its stake by a further $3.4bn, follows Constellation’s acquisition of 10 per cent of Canopy last year. The transaction between Constellation and Canopy is the latest in a wave of pot deals, as traditional makers of beer and spirits eye what they believe is the next big market where consumers will get their buzz.

  • Mexico’s new president has a radical plan to end the drug war

    Mexico’s drug war has devastated communities for more than a decade
    Vox (US)
    Wednesday, August 15, 2018

    Since the military took to the streets to fight the increasingly powerful and violent cartels producing and trafficking drugs north to consumers in the United States, tens of thousands of Mexicans have died. And a broken police and judicial system means perpetrators are almost never held accountable for a disappearance or murder. But Mexico’s next president, a leftist named Andrés Manuel López Obrador, has promised national reconciliation and peace and an end to more than a decade of the drug war. If the incoming president gets his way, this will be Mexico’s first major split from the US on crime-fighting and drugs in decades. But the obstacles are many, and it remains to be seen if the new president has the lasting support and the resources to end the drug war.

  • The people left behind by Philippines' brutal war on drugs

    Duterte’s war on drugs has left thousands of children living as orphans or in single-parent families struggling to put food on the table
    The Guardian (UK)
    Tuesday, August 14, 2018

    One year after visiting the Philippines to document the impact of President Rodrigo Duterte’s crackdown on drugs, photographer James Whitlow Delano returns to the city of Navotas, Metro Manila, to assess the impact. More than 4,500 people have been killed in the Philippines in what the authorities claim to be lawful anti-drug operations carried out in the two years since President Rodrigo Duterte came to power. Human rights groups say the actual number of deaths could be up to three times higher, with police officers routinely executing unarmed suspects and, in many instances, planting drugs or weapons on their victims to justify the killings.

  • Ontario will rely on private sector to sell recreational cannabis

    The turnaround on retail sales was welcomed by the cannabis industry as a more practical solution
    The Toronto Star (Canada)
    Monday, August 13, 2018

    Premier Doug Ford is giving up Ontario’s monopoly on weed, opening sales of recreational cannabis to private stores by April 1 in a dramatic shift that will make this province the biggest prize for Canada’s emerging legal marijuana industry. The move scraps the defeated Liberal government’s plan for 150 brick-and-mortar Ontario Cannabis Stores, modelled on LCBO outlets, by 2020. However, until a private retail system is in place, the OCS website will be the only legal source for recreational pot smokers in Ontario after cannabis use is legalized nationwide on Oct. 17. The Ontario Cannabis Store will also keep its standing as the sole wholesale distributor for private marijuana retailers who make the grade.

  • Climate change is turning the Middle East's breadbasket into a cannabis farm

    Cannabis is a drought-resistant crop, requiring little water and no pesticides
    CNN (US)
    Thursday, August 9, 2018

    Heeding the recommendation of international consulting group McKinsey, which was part of a broader development plan, Lebanon's parliament is preparing to legalize medicinal cannabis and its cultivation. It's meant to pave the way to a nearly $800 million industry, according to Economy Minister Raed Khoury, and could serve as a quick fix for some of the country's many economic woes. Lebanon's farmers say the change can't come too soon. As in many parts of the region, the country's farmlands have been disproportionately affected by global warming. The Bekaa Valley is stricken with droughts, and many wells are drying up. Growing potatoes, onions and other produce native to the region has been harder than ever before, experts and farmers say.

  • Norway to give free heroin to 400 addicts: report

    Norway's government is to start providing free heroin to up to 400 hardened addicts as it pushes forward with its drug policy reforms
    The Local (Norway)
    Thursday, August 9, 2018

    Health Minister Bent Høie has asked the Norwegian Directorate of Health to draw up a list of which addicts were most suitable to receive so-called "heroin-assisted treatment", and to assess the economic consequences of developing a heroin treatment program. "We want to help those addicted who are difficult to reach, those who are not part of LAR (drug-assisted rehabilitation) and who are difficult to treat," he said. Høie signaled that he would look into the possibility of introducing heroin-assisted treatment (HAB) attempts back in January. The pilot project will start in 2020 or 2021, with local governments in both Oslo and Bergen reportedly applying to take part. (See also: Christian Democrats attack free heroin plan | Is Norway set to spark a drug policy revolution?)

  • Police chief calls for more cannabis clubs where drug can be used and traded safely

    North Wales police and crime commissioner says ‘war on drugs’ will continue to fail without radical change
    The Guardian (UK)
    Thursday, August 9, 2018

    uk cannabis clubA police chief has called for cannabis users to be allowed to freely grow and sell the drug without fear of arrest in cannabis clubs, saying the “war on drugs” would continue to fail if radical changes were not made. Arfon Jones, the police and crime commissioner for north Wales, has campaigned on the issue for most of his tenure and is now calling for Spanish-style “collectives”, where cannabis users sell homegrown drugs to each other. Hundreds of cannabis clubs are already registered across the UK where the drug is traded and used in a safe and controlled space but not sold to the general public. Club members pay about £35 a year to join and gather on a regular basis, sometimes weekly, to smoke and share the drug.

  • Health Minister David Clark in favour of liberalising drug laws

    Cabinet is seeking urgent advice over the spike in deaths linked to the use of synthetic cannabis use
    New Zealand Herald (New Zealand)
    Tuesday, July 31, 2018

    Peter ClarkHealth Minister David Clark is personally in favour of more liberal drug laws because prohibition has not worked in the past. But Clark would not commit to abiding by the result of any referendum on loosening laws around cannabis use, saying he preferred to wait for advice from his colleagues. "I think it's highly likely that that's the course we would take ... all I've said is I want to wait for advice. I haven't had a conversation with colleagues about how that referendum's going to be framed and what question we're going to be asking the public. Broadly, I favour at a more personal level, more liberal drug laws because I think in the world when prohibition has been tried, it hasn't worked."

  • NACOB calls for decriminalisation of narcotic drug use

    Criminalisation of drug use had not worked for the past century and for that reason, it was important for a paradigm shift
    Graphic (Ghana)
    Tuesday, July 31, 2018

    Michael AddoThe Deputy Executive Secretary of the Narcotics Control Board (NACOB) of Ghana, Mr Michael Addo, has called for the decriminalisation of narcotic drug use. According to him, suppliers and producers of narcotic substances should rather be punished under the law. Mr Addo said the major challenge confronting NACOB was the criminal aspect of the use of narcotic drugs. He stated that the country was wasting human resource through the jailing of able-bodied beings for using narcotic drugs and accordingly called for other sources of punishment besides custodial sentences for such persons. Rather, Mr Addo called for the strengthening of rehabilitation centres to treat drug addicts in order to integrate them into the society.

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