Safe space for illegal drug consumption in Baltimore would save $6 million a year

Eurekalert, 25 May 2017
Source: Johns Hopkins University Bloomberg School of Public Health
“A new cost-benefit analysis conducted by the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health and others suggests that $6 million in costs related to the opioid epidemic could be saved each year if a single “safe consumption” space for illicit drug users were opened in Baltimore. It would also reduce overdose deaths, HIV and hepatitis C infections, overdose-related ambulance calls and hospitalizations – and bring scores of people into treatment, they found.”
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New laws in UK ‘stifling vaping’s success’ in curbing smoking

The Guardian, 20 May 2017
Author: Jamie Doward
“Britain’s burgeoning vaping industry is warning of a rise in homemade versions of the liquids used in the devices as new laws governing their strength take effect this weekend. Vape shops warn that the health of consumers will be put at risk because people will end up buying stronger products from the black market or the internet that do not meet safety standards. The new rules include restrictions on the size of the e-cigarette tanks and refill containers that vapers can use.”
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Plea for treatment lodged 16 times before NT substance abuser died, inquest hears

ABC, 23 May 2017
Author: Tom Maddocks
“Health authorities could not find a mandatory treatment service in the Northern Territory for a man who died from petrol sniffing, despite numerous requests over several years by family, police, nurses and doctors, a coronial inquest has been told.”
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The Voluntary Nature of Decision-Making in Addiction: Static Metaphysical Views Versus Epistemologically Dynamic Views

Bioethics, 31: 349–359. 2017. doi:10.1111/bioe.12356
Authors: Racine, E. and Rousseau-Lesage, S.
“The degree of autonomy present in the choices made by individuals with an addiction, notably in the context of research, is unclear and debated. Some have argued that addiction, as it is commonly understood, prevents people from having sufficient decision-making capacity or self-control to engage in choices involving substances to which they have an addiction. Others have criticized this position for being too radical and have counter-argued in favour of the full autonomy of people with an addiction. Aligning ourselves with middle-ground positions between these two extremes, we flesh out an account of voluntary action that makes room for finer-grained analyses than the proposed all-or-nothing stances, which rely on a rather static metaphysical understanding of the nature of the voluntariness of action.”
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Canada eases steps to open supervised drug injection sites amid opioid crisis

The Guardian, 21 May 2017
Author: Ashifa Kassam
“Canada’s government has made it easier to open supervised drug injection sites across the country, offering communities a lifeline as they battle an opioid crisis that has claimed thousands of lives in recent years. New legislation passed this week streamlines the more than two dozen requirements previously needed to launch these facilities, which offer a medically supervised space and sterile equipment for people who use drugs intravenously.”
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Drug testing welfare recipients raises questions about data profiling and discrimination

The Conversation, 12 May 2017
Author: Bronwen Dalton
“The Australian government’s proposed random drug test trial for welfare recipients is not so random. Announced as part of the 2017 federal budget, Treasurer wants 5,000 people on Newstart or Youth Allowance in three locations to undergo random drug testing from January next year. If drugs are detected, the user could find their welfare quarantined. But rather than doing people “a big favour” such data-based programs often disproportionately target those of low socio-economic status. The use of data tools to profile people seeking help only adds to the problem.”
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Duterte Orders Strict Smoking Ban in Philippines, and Asks Citizens to Help

NYT, 18 May 2017
Author: Felipe Villamor
“President Rodrigo Duterte, who has overseen a deadly campaign to eradicate drug use in the Philippines, has now ordered a strict public ban on smoking and called on citizens to help the local authorities apprehend smokers. The executive order, signed this week and made public on Thursday, forbids the use of tobacco, including electronic cigarettes, in all public spaces, even sidewalks. It also prohibits anyone under 18 from “using, selling or buying cigarettes or tobacco products.” More than a quarter of Filipinos smoke, according to a 2015 World Health Organization report, including 11 percent of minors.”
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Cigarette packaging likely to remain plain

Lexology, 8 May 2017
Author: Griffith Hack
“It appears from leaked material that the World Trade Organisation (WTO) Dispute Settlement Body (DSB) has dismissed a challenge initiated by Ukraine, Cuba, Honduras, Indonesia and Dominican Republic against Australia’s tobacco plain packaging laws. A leaked draft of the WTO DSB’s ruling has shown that it believes Australia’s laws are a legitimate public health measure, dismissing the challenges. However, the DSB’s decision is not final.”
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Australia wins landmark WTO tobacco packaging case

Reuters, 4 May 2017
Author: Tom Miles, Martinne Geller
“A landmark Australian law on restrictive tobacco packaging has been upheld at the World Trade Organization after a five-year legal battle. Such a ruling from the WTO has been widely anticipated as giving a green light for other countries to roll out similar laws, not only on tobacco but also on alcohol and unhealthy foods. The rules, introduced in 2010, ban flashy logos and distinctive-coloured cigarette packaging in favour of drab olive packets that look more like military or prison issue, with brand names printed in small standardised fonts.”
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Where medical marijuana is legal, illegal use climbs

Reuters, 26 April 2017
Author: Andrew M. Seaman
“Where medical marijuana is legal, adults are more likely to use the drug illegally and are at an increased risk of cannabis use disorder, according to a new study. Researchers found that illegal use of marijuana and rates of cannabis use disorder rose to a greater extent in U.S. states that adopted laws legalizing marijuana for medical purposes than in states that didn’t adopt such laws.”
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