openDemocracy Drug Policy Forum
The British website openDemocracy publishes a regular feature called the Drug Policy Forum that takes a critical look at stories about the "war on drugs" and criminal justice issues.
This week's report includes:
- European blueprint signals way for America to end the war on drugs: "As America's drug war spirals out of control, Europe's reformist organisations offer a view that policymakers must heed..."
- High Society: Wellcome Collection Exhibition: "With the illicit drug trade estimated by the UN at $320 billion (£200bn) a year and new drugs constantly appearing on the streets and the internet, it can seem as if we are in the grip of an unprecedented level of addiction. Yet the use of psychoactive drugs is nothing new, and indeed our most familiar ones - alcohol, coffee and tobacco - have all been illegal in the past (...) 'High Society' will explore the paths by which these drugs were first discovered - from apothecaries' workshops to state-of-the-art laboratories - and how they came to be simultaneously fetishised and demonised in today’s culture."
- Arizona Medical Marijuana Initiative Now Winning!: "After trailing on election day and all the way through most of the late vote counting, Arizona's medical marijuana initiative, Proposition 203, has now pulled ahead. As of Friday evening, the measure was ahead by 4,600 votes and was winning, 50.13% to 49.87%. "
- Drug Addicts Spurn Shooting Up: "England is leading the way on reducing the harm caused by injecting drug use, according to a report from the National Treatment Agency for Substance Misuse (NTA). Continued investment by successive governments in drug treatment over the past 30 years means England now has one of the lowest rates of HIV amongst injecting drug users in Western Europe and comparable developing countries. New NTA figures show the number of people coming into treatment who use syringes and needles to inject illegal drugs (mainly heroin) has dropped to its lowest level since 2005. "
- We face an Addiction Problem of a Titanic Scale: "Scotland ranks sixth in the world for illicit drug use: only Afghanistan, Iran, Mauritius, Costa Rica and Russia have worse problems. This is new. As recently as the 1970s, official reviews concluded there was no major drugs problem in Scotland. The situation with alcohol is similar. The rise in deaths from alcohol took off during the 1990s since when male death rates from alcohol have quadrupled and female rates have more than doubled. What can be done in the face of such profound trends? Scotland’s first independent inquiry into drugs and alcohol, entitled Melting the Iceberg of Scotland’s Drug and Alcohol Problem, argues that the whole Scottish population must be involved if a solution is to be found."
- The Prague Declaration - 7 Principles for Urban Drug Policies: "In the early 1990s the representatives of four European cities, Amsterdam, Frankfurt, Zürich and Hamburg endorsed a document later came to be known as the Frankfurt Resolution. They concluded that 'the present system of criminally prohibiting the use of certain drugs has failed,' and 'drug related problems are not only caused by the effects of the drugs themselves, but are primarily the result of the illegality of drug consumption.' The Resolution promoted a new harm reduction approach to drug problems: it did not aim to eliminate drug use as such but to reduce the negative consequences of drug use and drug policies. Cities signing the document later set up a network called the European Cities on Drug Policy (...) Pavel Bem, the mayor of Prague and a former drug treatment professional himself, recognized this trend and the need to create a new platform to promote evidence-based, pragmatic drug policies among cities. He and his advisers prepared a new statement for the conference Urban Drug Policies in the Globalised World (September 30th – October 2nd, 2010) – the Prague Declaration "