Tag: drug use

US: Disastrous Toll of Criminalizing Drug Use

The massive enforcement of laws criminalizing personal drug use and possession in the United States causes devastating harm, Human Rights Watch and the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) said in a joint report released today. Enforcement ruins individual and family lives, discriminates against people of color, and undermines public health. The federal and state governments should decriminalize the personal use and possession of illicit drugs.

The 196-page report, “Every 25 Seconds: The Human Toll of Criminalizing Drug Use in the United States,” finds that enforcement of drug possession laws causes extensive and unjustifiable harm to individuals and communities across the country. The long-term consequences can separate families; exclude people from job opportunities, welfare assistance, public housing, and voting; and expose them to discrimination and stigma for a lifetime. While more people are arrested for simple drug possession in the US than for any other crime, mainstream discussions of criminal justice reform rarely question whether drug use should be criminalized at all.

The Stigmatised Intersection between Sex Work and Drug Use

Recent events have reignited the debate around prostitution laws in the UK. Sex workers and human rights groups are calling for policy change, as well as an end to stigmatisation – an issue that particularly harms sex workers who use drugs.

In July 2016, the Home Affairs Select Committee (HASC) published its interim report on prostitution, which advocates the decriminalisation of sex workers soliciting clients and sharing premises. Despite the report being lauded by sex worker rights groups, the validity of its conclusions became shrouded in uncertainty when the HASC Chairman, Keith Vaz, was alleged to have had clandestine involvement with sex workers, including offering to pay for cocaine for them.

How the Nation’s Opioid Epidemic Is Morphing — and Growing

The nation’s opioid epidemic shows no signs of abating—and in fact may be headed in a far more dangerous direction.

That’s the conclusion of journalist David Armstrong, who has been chronicling the scourge this year for STAT, a new health and medicine website. Armstrong has written about how heroin and, increasingly, fentanyl have overtaken narcotic painkillers as the drugs of choice for addicts — presenting new challenges for law enforcement and health professionals.

Drugsand.me: A New Harm Reduction Guide to Safer Drug Use

Gone are the days of furtively Googling “how long does MDMA take to wear off” in the university library whist angling your computer so that no one else can see the screen. And the familiar, daunting sensation of scrolling through a forum discussion where everyone seems to know far more about drugs than you do, and is sharing stories about the highs and comedowns of a mystery character called “SWIM” (a popular acronym, commonly used with a wink in online forums to chronicle the wide-ranging drug-related experiences of “Someone Who Isn’t Me”).

Seattle Proposes Supervised, Arrest Exempt ‘Safe Spaces’ For Heroin Addicts To Use

In 2014, a Pew Research Center study revealed something perhaps viewed as impossible 10 years ago. Two-thirds of Americans felt that people shouldn’t be prosecuted for possession of heroin and cocaine. That trend has only spread, with even some police departments proposing radical new drug reforms. Seattle just raised the bar, however, and proposes safe spaces for addicts to use, and even get help.

City officials across the country are finding “radical” ideas like safe spaces more mainstream. Simply put, the body count of America’s opioid epidemic is ungodly staggering. In Gloucester, Massachusetts for example, police experimented with not sending addicts to jail. Instead, addicts are offered option to seek rehabilitation through it’s Angel Program.