Canada’s Opioid-Related Deaths Predicted to Rise in 2018

Canada’s Opioid-Related Deaths Predicted to Rise in 2018

The ongoing death toll from the opioid crisis continues to rack bodies up, fellow Canadian citizens across the spectrum with some vulnerable populations hurt more than others.

The Public Health Agency of Canada reported that more than 4,000 people died from overdoses in 2017. That was the worse year in Canadian records. The rates continue to rise. It should be noted that the overdoses – the “vast majority” – link to the synthetic opioid fentanyl.

Fentanyl kills people. Take, for an example of comparison, the 4,400 deaths by suicide in 2015. That means, the 2017 rate of opioid-related deaths become an analogue for he 2015 suicide statistics throughout the country.

Half that 2017 opioid-related death numbers would be the motor vehicle accident number with 611 by homicide. The provincial, territorial, and federal governments continue to pour millions of dollars in response to the crisis because Canadians are dying.

The main aim is to expand the harm reduction methodologies based on the evidence in place the decades-long methodology that is more punitive – shown to cause more harm over the long-term. The harm reduction philosophy in practice would incorporate “expanded treatment and harm-reduction services, such as supervised drug-use sites… [and expanded] access to prescription heroin and methadone.”

These harm reduction measures have been implemented and helped with the reduction of the harm to individual Canadians.

References

Hannay, C., Alam, M., & Keller, J. (2018, March 28). Politics Briefing: Federal dollars not slowing pace of opioid deaths. Retrieved from https://www.theglobeandmail.com/politics/article-politics-briefing-federal-dollars-not-slowing-pace-of-opioid-deaths/.

Scott Jacobsen

Scott Jacobsen

Member-at-Large/Writer

(Last Update: September 28, 2016)

Scott Douglas Jacobsen researches and presents independent panels, papers, and posters, and with varied research labs and groups, and part-time in landscaping (lifting, mowing, and raking) and gardening (digging, planting, and weeding). He is the Founder of In-Sight: Independent Interview-Based Journal and In-Sight Publishing. UCI Ethics Center awarded him with the distinction of Francisco Ayala Scholar (2014) for mentoring, presenting, researching, and writing. If you want to contact Scott, you may inquire or comment through e-mail: Scott.D.Jacobsen@Gmail.com.

He published in American Enterprise InstituteAnnaborgiaConatus NewsEarth Skin & EdenFresh Start Recovery CentreGordon Neighbourhood HouseHuffington PostIn-Sight: Independent Interview-Based JournalJolly DragonsKwantlen Polytechnic University Psychology DepartmentLa Petite MortLearning Analytics Research GroupLifespan Cognition Psychology LabLost in SamaraMarijuana Party of CanadaMomMandyNoesis: The Journal of the Mega SocietyPiece of MindProduction ModeSynapseTeenFinancialThe PeakThe UbysseyThe Voice MagazineTransformative DialoguesTreasure Box KidsTrusted Clothes.

 

A First-of-Its-Kind Facility for Edmonton Soon

A First-of-Its-Kind Facility for Edmonton Soon

A novel facility will be opening in Edmonton, Alberta. The Royal Alexandra Hospital will open it second supervised consumption site for patients to do hard substances while at the hospital.

Of the acute-care hospitals in North America, it is the first of its kind. Dr. Hakique Virani in an interview on CBC’s Edmonton Am did not agree that safe injection sites encourage or enable hard drug users.

“At the Royal Alex hospital, if you were to remove everybody who was there because they smoke cigarettes” Virani said, “drink alcohol, eat too much, drive too fast, don’t take their medications properly, don’t wash their hands, don’t get vaccinated, it would be a very, very quiet hospital.”

United Conservative Party Leader Jason Kenney disagreed with some harm reduction methodologies. If elected premier of Alberta, Kenney would not expand the program, e.g. supervised injection site or supervised consumption sites.

Many Boyle-McCauley residents oppose safe injection sites in the neighbourhood. In fact, the Chinatown and Area Business Association called for a judicial review.

“It’s interesting that you hear that from politicians but you don’t hear that from experts,” Virani explained, “That’s not because of political differences, that’s because of a difference in understanding.”

The Royal Alex site will be the second site alongside the Boyle Street Community Services site. There will be more men using the programs than women as there are more men than women substance users.

References

Riebe, N. (2018, March 28). Edmonton addictions specialist wants stigma taken out of safe consumption sites. Retrieved from http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/edmonton/edmonton-safe-injection-site-opioid-1.4598086.

Scott Jacobsen

Scott Jacobsen

Member-at-Large/Writer

(Last Update: September 28, 2016)

Scott Douglas Jacobsen researches and presents independent panels, papers, and posters, and with varied research labs and groups, and part-time in landscaping (lifting, mowing, and raking) and gardening (digging, planting, and weeding). He is the Founder of In-Sight: Independent Interview-Based Journal and In-Sight Publishing. UCI Ethics Center awarded him with the distinction of Francisco Ayala Scholar (2014) for mentoring, presenting, researching, and writing. If you want to contact Scott, you may inquire or comment through e-mail: Scott.D.Jacobsen@Gmail.com.

He published in American Enterprise InstituteAnnaborgiaConatus NewsEarth Skin & EdenFresh Start Recovery CentreGordon Neighbourhood HouseHuffington PostIn-Sight: Independent Interview-Based JournalJolly DragonsKwantlen Polytechnic University Psychology DepartmentLa Petite MortLearning Analytics Research GroupLifespan Cognition Psychology LabLost in SamaraMarijuana Party of CanadaMomMandyNoesis: The Journal of the Mega SocietyPiece of MindProduction ModeSynapseTeenFinancialThe PeakThe UbysseyThe Voice MagazineTransformative DialoguesTreasure Box KidsTrusted Clothes.

Federal Government Eases Access to Methadone

Federal Government Eases Access to Methadone

According to VICE News, The federal health minister for Canada made a recent announcement about the measures being made for the easier access to pharmaceutical heroin and methadone.

These are treatments for opioid addiction. There is concern about the ways that methadone is a growing industry for the private sector. The updated regulatory measures would permit the healthcare practitioners to administer and prescribe methadone without the need for a federal exemption.

Diacetylmorphine, a pharmaceutical grade heroin, will be easier to access as well. 3,000 people died of opioid-related deaths in 2016. That number is extrapolated on trend lines to be over 4,000 in 2018.

The opioid epidemic is an increasing problem in Canada. The illicit drugs can be laced with “highly toxic bootleg versions of fentanyl and carfentanil.” Those doing the trench work on the frontlines of the opioid epidemic need the expanded access to methadone, which is good news with this updated set of measures.

All of this is in line with the harm reduction philosophy and methodology. The increased access for trained professionals to deal with the ongoing epidemic throughout the country in order to reduce the associated harms with drugs.

There has been scrutiny about the increase access when some patients do not get sufficient care and counselling. The clinics want to optimize the number of patients seen each day. One Texas-based company bought Canada’s largest methadone treatment facility.

A Women’s College Hospital in Toronto doctor, Meldon Kahan, said, “It should make OHIP [the Ontario Health Insurance Plan] really wonder about the fact that this chain of clinics is so profitable that an American company thought that there was an investment opportunity here.”

An Edmonton-based medical doctor and addictions specialist, Hakique Virani, was happy to see the removal of barriers to methadone access. He thinks Canadian citizens from the province of Alberta will benefit from the opioid agonist therapy – methadone or suboxone.

“I hope that making the treatment of opioid use disorder something that can happen in primary care might demystify this treatment area… And in Alberta, we’ve got several clinics that charge patients clinic fees in order to be on evidence-based therapy [methadone]… I think that we have to pay some attention to how much we take advantage of populations that are already on the margins.”

References

Browne, R. (2018, March 27). Canada sees dramatic rise in methadone patients as the opioid crisis worsens. Retrieved from https://news.vice.com/en_ca/article/ywxv7g/canada-sees-dramatic-rise-in-methadone-patients-as-the-opioid-crisis-worsens.

Scott Jacobsen

Scott Jacobsen

Member-at-Large/Writer

(Last Update: September 28, 2016)

Scott Douglas Jacobsen researches and presents independent panels, papers, and posters, and with varied research labs and groups, and part-time in landscaping (lifting, mowing, and raking) and gardening (digging, planting, and weeding). He is the Founder of In-Sight: Independent Interview-Based Journal and In-Sight Publishing. UCI Ethics Center awarded him with the distinction of Francisco Ayala Scholar (2014) for mentoring, presenting, researching, and writing. If you want to contact Scott, you may inquire or comment through e-mail: Scott.D.Jacobsen@Gmail.com.

He published in American Enterprise InstituteAnnaborgiaConatus NewsEarth Skin & EdenFresh Start Recovery CentreGordon Neighbourhood HouseHuffington PostIn-Sight: Independent Interview-Based JournalJolly DragonsKwantlen Polytechnic University Psychology DepartmentLa Petite MortLearning Analytics Research GroupLifespan Cognition Psychology LabLost in SamaraMarijuana Party of CanadaMomMandyNoesis: The Journal of the Mega SocietyPiece of MindProduction ModeSynapseTeenFinancialThe PeakThe UbysseyThe Voice MagazineTransformative DialoguesTreasure Box KidsTrusted Clothes.

Boy Stuck by Needle and Father Starts Petition

Boy Stuck by Needle and Father Starts Petition

One man in Kamloops, British Columbia is working petition on behalf of his son and others for the improvement of needle safety. The father, Jeff Arlitt, was called by his fiancé to find that his son Landon, who is 12-years-old, was pricked by an already-used needle.

Arlitt immediately went to create a petition to ensure better needle safety in the future. The traditional syringes are cheaper, but will be replaced with the VanishPoint syringes known to retract after use. It is safer.

Arlitt is the outreach supervisor for New Life Community. He said, “Obviously working in this field, I’ve dealt with many overdoses and I just see the problem out there with the needles.”

He notes that some of the public including himself have a fear when walking in parks. That you might be poked by a needle. If the needles retract after use, then the pokes are less likely to happen to passersby in the park.

The son, Landon Arlitt, was playing with siblings in spring break in the Kamloops neighbourhood when the group of kids found a bunch of needles simply lying around on the ground.

Landon said, “We grabbed the bag, tied it tight and we walked back and as I was walking back, I got pricked in the leg… I was worried… I thought we would have to go to the hospital.” They wanted to bring the bag home and tell his parents.

Landon went in to have a tetanus shot. He had blood tests too. His state will be monitored through April and May to make sure he is healthy.

References

Norwell, J. (2018, March 26). Kamloops dad starts petition after son poked by used needle. Retrieved from http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/british-columbia/kamloops-needle-1.4594266.

Scott Jacobsen

Scott Jacobsen

Member-at-Large/Writer

(Last Update: September 28, 2016)

Scott Douglas Jacobsen researches and presents independent panels, papers, and posters, and with varied research labs and groups, and part-time in landscaping (lifting, mowing, and raking) and gardening (digging, planting, and weeding). He is the Founder of In-Sight: Independent Interview-Based Journal and In-Sight Publishing. UCI Ethics Center awarded him with the distinction of Francisco Ayala Scholar (2014) for mentoring, presenting, researching, and writing. If you want to contact Scott, you may inquire or comment through e-mail: Scott.D.Jacobsen@Gmail.com.

He published in American Enterprise InstituteAnnaborgiaConatus NewsEarth Skin & EdenFresh Start Recovery CentreGordon Neighbourhood HouseHuffington PostIn-Sight: Independent Interview-Based JournalJolly DragonsKwantlen Polytechnic University Psychology DepartmentLa Petite MortLearning Analytics Research GroupLifespan Cognition Psychology LabLost in SamaraMarijuana Party of CanadaMomMandyNoesis: The Journal of the Mega SocietyPiece of MindProduction ModeSynapseTeenFinancialThe PeakThe UbysseyThe Voice MagazineTransformative DialoguesTreasure Box KidsTrusted Clothes.

The Globe and Mail on Cannabis Legalization

The Globe and Mail on Cannabis Legalization

The Federal Liberal government has made it past the second reading in the Senate. One Tory senator argued that the marijuana legalization bill “doesn’t protect people.”

The Globe and Mail editorial continued that the ethical implications of the “wrongness” in criminalization of cannabis is no more harmful than alcohol. Prime Minister Trudeau disagreed with the Tory consideration, where the focus is on the protection of the people.

Trudeau focused on the outcome of alcohol prohibition and state coercion in the prohibition of cannabis as well. With legalization, he argues, this can prevent illicit forms of the substance, uncontrolled and unregulated types, from entering the hands, mouths, and bodies of children and adolescents.

“The political appeal of this message is obvious. It’s a savvy way to get nervous parents and cops on board,” The Globe and Mail opined, “And squeezing money out of organized crime is a happy side-effect of legalization that the government has every right to tout.”

The editorial talked about the narrow focus on harm reduction as potentially risking incoherence with legalization magically reducing the consumption of cannabis as potentially successful or worse as making a wish on a penny and throwing it in a fountain at the local park.

One Deloitte study reported that 17% more adult Canadians would use pot once if legalized. They pose a tacit question: How can we be sure kids and adolescents will not do the same? Children and adolescents should not use cannabis. What will stop them? The black market could still be extant post-legalization.

The restriction of the sale of pot to “austere government-run stores” may not work based on a proposal described by the editorial coming from the province of Ontario. “Premier Kathleen Wynne tells us, that parents don’t want weed sold next to candy bars in corner stores (unlike, say, cigarettes?),” the editorial opines.

The main critique is around narrow focus on safety and harm reduction and how this may impede the progress and potential success of the federal Liberal government of Trudeau et al.

“This kind of scare-mongering rhetoric is enabled by a federal position that has made a fetish of safety and restricted access, even as it legalizes the sale and use of a popular drug. No wonder it’s stumbling.”

References

The Globe and Mail. (2018, March 25). Globe editorial: Federal pot law pushes harm reduction at the expense of coherence. Retrieved from https://www.theglobeandmail.com/opinion/editorials/article-globe-editorial-federal-pot-law-pushes-harm-reduction-at-the-expense/.

Scott Jacobsen

Scott Jacobsen

Member-at-Large/Writer

(Last Update: September 28, 2016)

Scott Douglas Jacobsen researches and presents independent panels, papers, and posters, and with varied research labs and groups, and part-time in landscaping (lifting, mowing, and raking) and gardening (digging, planting, and weeding). He is the Founder of In-Sight: Independent Interview-Based Journal and In-Sight Publishing. UCI Ethics Center awarded him with the distinction of Francisco Ayala Scholar (2014) for mentoring, presenting, researching, and writing. If you want to contact Scott, you may inquire or comment through e-mail: Scott.D.Jacobsen@Gmail.com.

He published in American Enterprise InstituteAnnaborgiaConatus NewsEarth Skin & EdenFresh Start Recovery CentreGordon Neighbourhood HouseHuffington PostIn-Sight: Independent Interview-Based JournalJolly DragonsKwantlen Polytechnic University Psychology DepartmentLa Petite MortLearning Analytics Research GroupLifespan Cognition Psychology LabLost in SamaraMarijuana Party of CanadaMomMandyNoesis: The Journal of the Mega SocietyPiece of MindProduction ModeSynapseTeenFinancialThe PeakThe UbysseyThe Voice MagazineTransformative DialoguesTreasure Box KidsTrusted Clothes.

The First Harm Reduction Symposium in Saint John

The First Harm Reduction Symposium in Saint John

With the continued increase in the number of deaths due to the opioid epidemic throughout Canada, there are increased calls for proactive and assertive, and evidence-based, measures to deal with it.

Those measures tend to be harm reduction methodologies. That means that the main means by which an the experts and public can work together to reduce the overall harm of drugs in society while acknowledging these are simply part of the country.

Saint John hosted the first Harm Reduction Symposium to bring together doctors, former addicts, nurses, and social workers in order to converse on the opioid crisis in a group setting.

Public health nurse Penny Higdon said, “A multi-disciplinary approach, not one program or one department can solve some of these issues, we really have to work together.”

A pediatrician for Horizon Health, Sarah Gardner, said that there is a shift from an abstinence perspective and expectation of drug users or potential drug users to the idea that we can, instead, meet people where they are at and then provide harm reduction practices to them.

The Public Health Agency of Canada reports that 90 opioid-related deaths happened in Atlantic Canada. The total number for the country in 2016 was 2,861, which increase in 2017 and will continue to increase, or is extrapolated based on trend lines, in 2018.

Julie Dingwell of Avenue B Harm Reduction in Saint John has seen this growth from professional work. She said, “We’ve certainly seen more overdose deaths and our number of needles that we are providing has increased by almost 100,000 in a year and a half period.”

Harm reduction methodologies have been put in place in order to reduce the associated problems and public health concerns that come from opioid-related overdoses and potential deaths. These measures have included safe injection sites, Naloxone, and so on.

References

CTV Atlantic. (2018, March 24). Saint John conference discusses Canada’s growing opioid crisis. Retrieved from https://atlantic.ctvnews.ca/saint-john-conference-discusses-canada-s-growing-opioid-crisis-1.3857278.

Scott Jacobsen

Scott Jacobsen

Member-at-Large/Writer

(Last Update: September 28, 2016)

Scott Douglas Jacobsen researches and presents independent panels, papers, and posters, and with varied research labs and groups, and part-time in landscaping (lifting, mowing, and raking) and gardening (digging, planting, and weeding). He is the Founder of In-Sight: Independent Interview-Based Journal and In-Sight Publishing. UCI Ethics Center awarded him with the distinction of Francisco Ayala Scholar (2014) for mentoring, presenting, researching, and writing. If you want to contact Scott, you may inquire or comment through e-mail: Scott.D.Jacobsen@Gmail.com.

He published in American Enterprise InstituteAnnaborgiaConatus NewsEarth Skin & EdenFresh Start Recovery CentreGordon Neighbourhood HouseHuffington PostIn-Sight: Independent Interview-Based JournalJolly DragonsKwantlen Polytechnic University Psychology DepartmentLa Petite MortLearning Analytics Research GroupLifespan Cognition Psychology LabLost in SamaraMarijuana Party of CanadaMomMandyNoesis: The Journal of the Mega SocietyPiece of MindProduction ModeSynapseTeenFinancialThe PeakThe UbysseyThe Voice MagazineTransformative DialoguesTreasure Box KidsTrusted Clothes.

A Call for More Calgary Supervised Consumption Sites

A Call for More Calgary Supervised Consumption Sites

One doctor made a public call for supervised consumption sites. The call is for more of them in suburbanite Calgary.

One of the centers opened in the downtown core of Calgary, Alberta. It is at the Sheldon M. Chumir Health Centre. The goal is to react to the opioid crisis in order to reduce the number of overall overdoses associated with fentanyl.

Dr. Hakique Virani, an addictions specialist, explained, “There’s not a silver bullet to solving this epidemic… It’s a combination of a number of very strongly evidenced-based public health interventions.”

The Alberta Health Services published a Safeworks Supervised Consumptions Services report for the month and found more people use illicit drugs now with the professional medical supervision of the Sheldon M. Chumir Health Centre.

470 people, some repeat attendees and others not, have come to the site to mostly use meth/crystal or fentanyl. If divided by sex, the majority of the people in attendance are men with a mean age of 36, which would amount to a young middle aged population of men.

However, those are the ones who placed an address. Others live in a homeless shelter or do not have a fixed address. Based on available data, the call for more supervised consumption sites is justified because these will improve the health outcomes of individual Calgarians.

fentanyl and opioid crisis afflicting Alberta, Virani told the Calgary Eyeopener.

Virani said, “We miss certain populations with this type of service… One of the characteristics of this epidemic is that it’s affecting a lot of people in the suburbs who use substances alone… Harm reduction outside of inner cities, there’s no reason why we can’t do that… If geography is one of the barriers to people accessing that type of site, then offering it in multiple places would be wise.”

Happily, the overall visits to the Sheldon Chumir supervised consumption site are increasing, which will, in the short and long term, improve the health outcomes, as a statistical average, of the Calgarians, mostly ~36-year-old men, having addiction problems.

References

Alberta Health Services. (2018, March 14). Safeworks Monthly Report – February 2018: Supervised Consumption Services. Retrieved from https://www.albertahealthservices.ca/assets/healthinfo/mh/hi-amh-sup-con-chumir-2018-02.pdf.

Bell, R. (2017, May 24). Little pills, big trouble How Alberta’s fentanyl crisis escalated despite years of warnings. Retrieved from http://www.cbc.ca/news2/interactives/fentanyl-crisis-alberta/.

CBC News. (2017, November 7). Calgary’s new supervised consumption site already catching drug overdoses, co-ordinator says. Retrieved from http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/calgary/safe-supervised-consumption-sheldon-chumir-centre-calgary-alberta-1.4391235.

Ward, R. (2018, March 23). ‘No silver bullet’ but suburban supervised consumption sites would help, addiction specialist says. Retrieved from http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/calgary/calgary-supervised-consumption-sites-suburbia-1.4590400.

 

Scott Jacobsen

Scott Jacobsen

Member-at-Large/Writer

 

(Last Update: September 28, 2016)

Scott Douglas Jacobsen researches and presents independent panels, papers, and posters, and with varied research labs and groups, and part-time in landscaping (lifting, mowing, and raking) and gardening (digging, planting, and weeding). He is the Founder of In-Sight: Independent Interview-Based Journal and In-Sight Publishing. UCI Ethics Center awarded him with the distinction of Francisco Ayala Scholar (2014) for mentoring, presenting, researching, and writing. If you want to contact Scott, you may inquire or comment through e-mail: Scott.D.Jacobsen@Gmail.com.

He published in American Enterprise InstituteAnnaborgiaConatus NewsEarth Skin & EdenFresh Start Recovery CentreGordon Neighbourhood HouseHuffington PostIn-Sight: Independent Interview-Based JournalJolly DragonsKwantlen Polytechnic University Psychology DepartmentLa Petite MortLearning Analytics Research GroupLifespan Cognition Psychology LabLost in SamaraMarijuana Party of CanadaMomMandyNoesis: The Journal of the Mega SocietyPiece of MindProduction ModeSynapseTeenFinancialThe PeakThe UbysseyThe Voice MagazineTransformative DialoguesTreasure Box KidsTrusted Clothes.

 

West Virginia Health Right Distributes Retractable Needles

West Virginia Health Right Distributes Retractable Needles

There was a brief news article about an American harm reduction programs. It talked about the West Virginia Health Right in Charleston, West Virginia.

The West Virginia Health Right will be distributing retractable needles to further its harm reduction program. This was weeks before the final Charleston City Council vote that made syringes illegal within Charleston.

During emergencies, there is the possibility of dirty needles sticking to firefighters and police, according to the concerns expressed in the report. This proposal stemmed from the concerns there.

West Virginia Health Right wanted to distribute the needles in order to keep the city safe. They wanted safety for the general West Virginia public through the implementation of harm reduction methodologies.

They began some of the harm reduction work in 2011. Its harm reduction program began with the requirement of patients to receive a full medical examination, HIV and Hepatitis screenings, and drug counseling prior to receiving clean needles.

So Health Right says they’re responding with a measure to keep the city safe. Health Right began their Harm Reduction in 2011 after seeing patients asking for insulin prescriptions but simply walking out with the needles.

The CEO of Western Virginia Health Right, Angie Settle, said that the needles cost the clinic three time more than the regular syringes.

References

Meisner, A. (2018, March 22). Health Right Announces Retractable Needles in Harm Reduction Program. Retrieved from http://www.wowktv.com/news/local-news/health-right-announces-retractable-needles-in-harm-reduction-program/1066587437.

Scott Jacobsen

Scott Jacobsen

Member-at-Large/Writer

(Last Update: September 28, 2016)

Scott Douglas Jacobsen researches and presents independent panels, papers, and posters, and with varied research labs and groups, and part-time in landscaping (lifting, mowing, and raking) and gardening (digging, planting, and weeding). He is the Founder of In-Sight: Independent Interview-Based Journal and In-Sight Publishing. UCI Ethics Center awarded him with the distinction of Francisco Ayala Scholar (2014) for mentoring, presenting, researching, and writing. If you want to contact Scott, you may inquire or comment through e-mail: Scott.D.Jacobsen@Gmail.com.

He published in American Enterprise InstituteAnnaborgiaConatus NewsEarth Skin & EdenFresh Start Recovery CentreGordon Neighbourhood HouseHuffington PostIn-Sight: Independent Interview-Based JournalJolly DragonsKwantlen Polytechnic University Psychology DepartmentLa Petite MortLearning Analytics Research GroupLifespan Cognition Psychology LabLost in SamaraMarijuana Party of CanadaMomMandyNoesis: The Journal of the Mega SocietyPiece of MindProduction ModeSynapseTeenFinancialThe PeakThe UbysseyThe Voice MagazineTransformative DialoguesTreasure Box KidsTrusted Clothes.

Update Opioid Guidelines to Help More Patients

Update Opioid Guidelines to Help More Patients

More than 4,000 people have died from opioid-related overdoses in 2017. The expectation is the same or more in 2018. After the United States of America, Canadians dominate in the consumption of opioids. The Canadian Medical Association Journal publication produced a set of new guidelines for doctors to follow in order to reduce addiction.

The opioids epidemic is a problem throughout the country with more deaths in city centres than in the outlying regions, as far as I know. The deaths seen with the HIV epidemic are surpassed by those in the modern opioid epidemic.

The older guidelines were written by the experts in addictions. Only 20% of those people who need addiction treatment will receive it, the Canadian guidelines should be for the family doctors and nurse practitioners rather than the experts.

As noted in the reportage by Dr. Brian Goldman (2018):

The guidelines say that medications that are readily available are the most effective treatment for addiction. The drug of choice is a combination of buprenorphine and naloxone, which is sold under the brand name Suboxone. Buprenorphine is an opioid medication, and naloxone blocks the effects of opioid medication. When Suboxone doesn’t work or is not recommended, the next option is methadone. If these two drugs fail, the next best option is for the doctor or nurse practitioner to prescribe a slow-release form of oral morphine prescribed as a daily dose that the patient swallows in front of a witness.

The medications reduce the craving in order to assist patients with the withdrawal symptoms and to permit the patients the ability to begin to restart their lives. Methadone has been extant for decades and is riskier for the health of patients than Suboxone.

“Instead of trying [to] reduce or eliminate drug use, harm reduction tries to reduce its negative consequences,” Goldman said, “Dr. Mark Tyndall of the B.C. Centre for Disease Control is setting up a pilot program in which the province will provide the narcotic hydromorphone in vending machines to registered drug users.”

It should be noted that not all addiction experts are in favour of harm reduction with a preference for non-harm reduction methodologies. The fear is the users will be high and sell Suboxone on the street. The problem: little evidence, according to Goldman, exists for this fear-based claim. I do not want to dismiss it, but the evidence supports harm reduction rather than fear. Although, granted, these fears and concerns are not the ideological ones some might find with individuals such as Jason Kenney or other politicians when they denounce some harm reduction measures such as safe injection sites.

References

Bruneau, J. et al. (2018, March 5).  Management of opioid use disorders: a national clinical practice guideline. Retrieved from http://www.cmaj.ca/content/190/9/E247.

Donroe, J.H. & Tetrault, J. M. (2018, March 5). Narrowing the treatment gap in managing opioid use disorder. Retrieved from http://www.cmaj.ca/content/190/9/E236.

Goldman, B. (2018, March 5). New opioid guidelines may help more patients get treatment. Retrieved from http://www.cbc.ca/radio/whitecoat/new-opioid-guidelines-may-help-more-patients-get-treatment-1.4562082.

The Canadian Press. (2017, December 18). Opioid deaths in Canada expected to hit 4,000 by end of 2017. Retrieved from http://www.cbc.ca/news/health/opioid-deaths-canada-4000-projected-2017-1.4455518.

Ubelacker, S. (2018, March 6). Doctors develop national opioid guidelines. Retrieved from http://www.timescolonist.com/life/health/doctors-develop-national-opioid-guidelines-1.23191514.

Wilhelm, T. (2018, March 6). New guidelines released to combat opioid epidemic call on doctors, hospitals to join fight. Retrieved from http://windsorstar.com/news/local-news/new-guidelines-released-to-combat-opioid-epidemic-call-on-doctors-hospitals-to-join-fight.

Scott Jacobsen

Scott Jacobsen

Member-at-Large/Writer

(Last Update: September 28, 2016)

Scott Douglas Jacobsen researches and presents independent panels, papers, and posters, and with varied research labs and groups, and part-time in landscaping (lifting, mowing, and raking) and gardening (digging, planting, and weeding). He is the Founder of In-Sight: Independent Interview-Based Journal and In-Sight Publishing. UCI Ethics Center awarded him with the distinction of Francisco Ayala Scholar (2014) for mentoring, presenting, researching, and writing. If you want to contact Scott, you may inquire or comment through e-mail: Scott.D.Jacobsen@Gmail.com.

He published in American Enterprise InstituteAnnaborgiaConatus NewsEarth Skin & EdenFresh Start Recovery CentreGordon Neighbourhood HouseHuffington PostIn-Sight: Independent Interview-Based JournalJolly DragonsKwantlen Polytechnic University Psychology DepartmentLa Petite MortLearning Analytics Research GroupLifespan Cognition Psychology LabLost in SamaraMarijuana Party of CanadaMomMandyNoesis: The Journal of the Mega SocietyPiece of MindProduction ModeSynapseTeenFinancialThe PeakThe UbysseyThe Voice MagazineTransformative DialoguesTreasure Box KidsTrusted Clothes.

Safe Injection Sites are Evidence-Based and Should Trump Ideology

Safe Injection Sites are Evidence-Based and Should Trump Ideology

According to The Gateway, (DeCoste, 2018). Jason Kenney was condemning safe injection sites on March 2. He considered “helping addicts inject poison into their veins is not a solution to the problem of addiction (Karim, 2018).

DeCoste argues that the comments represent how Kenney lacks knowledge and potentially concern “about addiction, mental illness, and the cycle of poverty.” Safe injection sites have reduced the number of addiction-related deaths.

DeCoste sees the main disagreement with Kenney in criminality versus health, where DeCoste views this as a health issue and Kenney sees this as a criminality issue. The health perspective considers drug problems more to do with the environment.

The criminality perspective thinks the problems associated with substances come more from the person. That is, Kenney is wrong by the analysis of DeCoste to view substance abuse as a personality or moral flaw rather than an illness with associated addiction and withdrawal symptoms.

DeCoste reminds the readers that addiction requires long-term solutions with safe injection sites as part of them in contrast to the statements by Kenney. The safe injection sites provide clean needles and professional medical attention at the sites.

Two public health concerns are reduced through safe injection sites with HIV infections and overdoses rates going down. Correlation is not causation, however, since 2003, British Columbia’s HV infections went from the highest to nearly the lowest in the country.

Also, around Insite – a harm reduction facility, the number of overdoses has decreased by 35% (Picard, 2017). In short, the claims about the safe injections sites improving societal outcomes, by which I mean individual Canadian citizens across the board health outcomes, are well-supported.

The larger umbrella term for the philosophy and the methodology is harm reduction. Harm reduction is a methodology in which to reduce harm, as the title implies. In fact, MacQueen reported on 40 peer reviewed research studies that supported harm reduction as a legitimate strategy to improve the health outcomes of individuals, and so families, communities, and society.

To deny this is to deny evidence, to deny this evidence is to worsen the health outcomes of those same individuals and potential others as well, this is the implication with the science when ideological and political differences are put to the side.

As DeCoste said, “On April 14, 2016, B.C. declared a Public Health Emergency — one which has little to do with criminal activity, but lots to do with the physical wellbeing of its citizens.”

References

DeCoste, K. (2018, March 19). Jason Kenney’s anti-harm reduction stance helps nobody. Retrieved from https://www.thegatewayonline.ca/2018/03/jason-kenney-anti-harm-stance/.

Karim, M. (2018, March 2). Jason Kenney criticized over safe consumption site comments. Retrieved from https://globalnews.ca/news/4059919/jason-kenney-criticized-supervised-consumption-sites/.

MacQueen, K. (2015, July 20). The science is in. And Insite works.. Retrieved from http://www.macleans.ca/news/canada/the-scientists-are-in-insite-works/.

Picard, A. (2017, March 26). Vancouver’s safe injection site cuts overdose deaths. Retrieved from https://www.theglobeandmail.com/life/health-and-fitness/vancouvers-safe-injection-site-cuts-overdose-deaths/article577010/.

Scott Jacobsen

Scott Jacobsen

Member-at-Large/Writer

(Last Update: September 28, 2016)

Scott Douglas Jacobsen researches and presents independent panels, papers, and posters, and with varied research labs and groups, and part-time in landscaping (lifting, mowing, and raking) and gardening (digging, planting, and weeding). He is the Founder of In-Sight: Independent Interview-Based Journal and In-Sight Publishing. UCI Ethics Center awarded him with the distinction of Francisco Ayala Scholar (2014) for mentoring, presenting, researching, and writing. If you want to contact Scott, you may inquire or comment through e-mail: Scott.D.Jacobsen@Gmail.com.

He published in American Enterprise InstituteAnnaborgiaConatus NewsEarth Skin & EdenFresh Start Recovery CentreGordon Neighbourhood HouseHuffington PostIn-Sight: Independent Interview-Based JournalJolly DragonsKwantlen Polytechnic University Psychology DepartmentLa Petite MortLearning Analytics Research GroupLifespan Cognition Psychology LabLost in SamaraMarijuana Party of CanadaMomMandyNoesis: The Journal of the Mega SocietyPiece of MindProduction ModeSynapseTeenFinancialThe PeakThe UbysseyThe Voice MagazineTransformative DialoguesTreasure Box KidsTrusted Clothes.

Fort McMurray First Nation #468 Signs MOU with RavenQuest

Fort McMurray First Nation #468 Signs MOU with RavenQuest

 

RavenQuest signed an MOU with Fort McMurray #468 First Nation. Rvenquest BioMed Inc. signed a Memorandum of Understanding with Fort McMurray #468 First Nation or FM 468.

The MOU is the basis for the collaboration in the creation, maintenance, and financing of a facility for the production of cannabis lands to be controlled by FM 468.

The sales of the produced cannabis will be on the sovereign land. RavenQuest will provide technical expertise, resources for the staff, and financial opportunities relation to the production facility with an initial size of 24,000 square feet.

RavenQuest will receive about thirty percent ownership interest in the production facility. The original development, over time, will grow from 24,000 square feet to 250,000 square feet.

“We intend to emerge as the trusted provider of choice for Indigenous Peoples’ Cannabis industry partnerships across Canada. Our work in this area reflects a high level of understanding of the concerns and issues facing Indigenous communities across Canada,” he CEO of RavenQuest, George Robinson, said, “With the right partners, we see cannabis as a tremendous opportunity for economic diversification, self-reliance, employment and harm reduction within Indigenous communities.  This agreement is designed to deliver on all of these fronts, providing for a mutually beneficial arrangement for FM 468 and RavenQuest moving forward.”

Chief Ron Kreutzer stated: “By participating in the cannabis sector, it will allow Fort McMurray #468 First Nation to take one step closer to being a self-sufficient Nation for the next seven generations and providing world-class services to the Citizens.”

References

Nasdaq Global Newswire. (2018, March 19). RavenQuest Signs MOU With Fort McMurray #468 First Nation. Retrieved from https://globenewswire.com/news-release/2018/03/19/1441816/0/en/RavenQuest-Signs-MOU-With-Fort-McMurray-468-First-Nation.html.

Scott Jacobsen

Scott Jacobsen

Member-at-Large/Writer

(Last Update: September 28, 2016)

Scott Douglas Jacobsen researches and presents independent panels, papers, and posters, and with varied research labs and groups, and part-time in landscaping (lifting, mowing, and raking) and gardening (digging, planting, and weeding). He is the Founder of In-Sight: Independent Interview-Based Journal and In-Sight Publishing. UCI Ethics Center awarded him with the distinction of Francisco Ayala Scholar (2014) for mentoring, presenting, researching, and writing. If you want to contact Scott, you may inquire or comment through e-mail: Scott.D.Jacobsen@Gmail.com.

He published in American Enterprise InstituteAnnaborgiaConatus NewsEarth Skin & EdenFresh Start Recovery CentreGordon Neighbourhood HouseHuffington PostIn-Sight: Independent Interview-Based JournalJolly DragonsKwantlen Polytechnic University Psychology DepartmentLa Petite MortLearning Analytics Research GroupLifespan Cognition Psychology LabLost in SamaraMarijuana Party of CanadaMomMandyNoesis: The Journal of the Mega SocietyPiece of MindProduction ModeSynapseTeenFinancialThe PeakThe UbysseyThe Voice MagazineTransformative DialoguesTreasure Box KidsTrusted Clothes.

Justin Trudeau Approach Differs from NDP and the Greens

Justin Trudeau Approach Differs from NDP and the Greens

According to The Georgia Straight, the Liberal Federal (Trudeau) government has been keeping on its path of a war on hard drugs, which contrasts with the approaches of the Greens and the NDP (Lupick, 2018).

The government of Canada will not consider the decriminalization of all drugs based on the opioid crisis throughout Canada, which killed about 4,000 people throughout the country last year. More than 80% of the 2017 deaths were linked to fentanyl.

Fentanyl is a synthetic opioid that is far more toxic than heroin. The advocates for decriminalization suggest the removal of criminal penalties for the personal possession of drugs. They argue that it would reduce the stigma and encourage those who have an addiction to seek treatment for the personal problem.

André Gagnon, a spokesperson for Health Canada, stated, “We are not looking to decriminalize or legalize all illegal drugs; but there are important steps we can take to treat problematic substance use as a public health issue—not as a criminal issue.”

Donald MacPherson, the Executive Director of the Canadian Drug Policy Coalition, argues that people in the public are now beginning to understand that the opioid crisis is more serious than they have known before.

Mayor of Vancouver, Gregor Robertson, “We are witnessing a horrific and preventable loss of life as a poisoned drug supply continues to kill our neighbours, friends, and family… More action is urgently needed.”

MacPherson noticed that the NDP and Greens were supportive of the decriminalization while the Liberals will be debating the issue at a party convention in April.

“People are really beginning to understand that the crisis is demanding a more serious look at a more radical shift in our thinking,” MacPherson said, “Municipalities are starting to say, ‘Look, this isn’t working for us anymore.’”

He argues that with the discussion happening at such a large scale in the public, and increasingly more and more in the public, the federal Liberal government will have to look into potential for drug decriminalization.

References

Lupick, T. (2018, March 14). Trudeau government maintains its war on hard drugs as Greens and NDP consider alternatives. Retrieved from https://www.straight.com/news/1044336/trudeau-government-maintains-its-war-hard-drugs-greens-and-ndp-consider-alternatives.

Scott Jacobsen

Scott Jacobsen

Member-at-Large/Writer

(Last Update: September 28, 2016)

Scott Douglas Jacobsen researches and presents independent panels, papers, and posters, and with varied research labs and groups, and part-time in landscaping (lifting, mowing, and raking) and gardening (digging, planting, and weeding). He is the Founder of In-Sight: Independent Interview-Based Journal and In-Sight Publishing. UCI Ethics Center awarded him with the distinction of Francisco Ayala Scholar (2014) for mentoring, presenting, researching, and writing. If you want to contact Scott, you may inquire or comment through e-mail: Scott.D.Jacobsen@Gmail.com.

He published in American Enterprise InstituteAnnaborgiaConatus NewsEarth Skin & EdenFresh Start Recovery CentreGordon Neighbourhood HouseHuffington PostIn-Sight: Independent Interview-Based JournalJolly DragonsKwantlen Polytechnic University Psychology DepartmentLa Petite MortLearning Analytics Research GroupLifespan Cognition Psychology LabLost in SamaraMarijuana Party of CanadaMomMandyNoesis: The Journal of the Mega SocietyPiece of MindProduction ModeSynapseTeenFinancialThe PeakThe UbysseyThe Voice MagazineTransformative DialoguesTreasure Box KidsTrusted Clothes.

Overdoses in Hamilton, Ontario, and Beyond

Overdoses in Hamilton, Ontario, and Beyond

Ontario has been hit, as well, by the opioid crisis sweeping across the nation. Prime Minister Justin Trudeau spoke to one of Ontario’s city about it.

Trudeau has described this as an important goal for his federal government. One municipal officer made a call for more concrete measures to deal with addiction at its source.

Out of the city of Hamilton, there were 70 opioid-related deaths between January and October alone, the situation for the crisis is becoming worse an worse. Only 41 occurred in 2016 in Hamilton.

How many more will happen in 2018? Trudeau was giving a tour of speeches on the various steel-producing communities with commentary on the opioid crisis destroying lives, families, and, some communities.

Trudeau said, “We know that we have to address this. This is getting to be more and more of a problem… We have always put this at the top of our preoccupations as we deal with this public health crisis here in Hamilton and right across the country.”

The Medical Officer for Health for Hamilton, Dr. Elizabeth Richardson, explained the Hamilton area has an unusually or atypical rate of deaths associated or linked with opioid overdoses.

Richardson said, “There needs to be continued focus on what do we do to stop people from being in a position where they are finding drugs as a way of managing their physical and emotional pain… We do need that fundamental support from the get-go … around housing, around income support, around civil society that are really important pieces to underpin it all.”

The province of Ontario had a total of 1,053 opioid-related deaths between January and October of 2017 with only 694 between January and October of 2016. Ottawa will be dispersing $150 million in emergency funding for all provinces and territories in Canada in order to combat the opioid crisis.

The money is in the new federal budget. “The balance will go toward public-education campaigns, better access to public-health data and new equipment and tools to allow border agents to better detect dangerous opioids such as fentanyl before they enter the country,” McQuigge reported, “The Ontario government has pledged to spend more than $222-million over three years to tackle the issue, with money earmarked to expand harm-reduction services and hire more frontline staff.”

Opioids will kill is predicted to kill more than 4,000 lives in 2018 based on projections from the Public Health Agency of Canada.

References

McQuigge, M. (2018, March 13). Trudeau says addressing opioids a top priority as Hamilton sees spike. Retrieved from https://www.theglobeandmail.com/canada/article-hamiltons-opioid-related-deaths-78-per-cent-higher-than-ontario/.

Scott Jacobsen

Scott Jacobsen

Member-at-Large/Writer

(Last Update: September 28, 2016)

Scott Douglas Jacobsen researches and presents independent panels, papers, and posters, and with varied research labs and groups, and part-time in landscaping (lifting, mowing, and raking) and gardening (digging, planting, and weeding). He is the Founder of In-Sight: Independent Interview-Based Journal and In-Sight Publishing. UCI Ethics Center awarded him with the distinction of Francisco Ayala Scholar (2014) for mentoring, presenting, researching, and writing. If you want to contact Scott, you may inquire or comment through e-mail: Scott.D.Jacobsen@Gmail.com.

He published in American Enterprise InstituteAnnaborgiaConatus NewsEarth Skin & EdenFresh Start Recovery CentreGordon Neighbourhood HouseHuffington PostIn-Sight: Independent Interview-Based JournalJolly DragonsKwantlen Polytechnic University Psychology DepartmentLa Petite MortLearning Analytics Research GroupLifespan Cognition Psychology LabLost in SamaraMarijuana Party of CanadaMomMandyNoesis: The Journal of the Mega SocietyPiece of MindProduction ModeSynapseTeenFinancialThe PeakThe UbysseyThe Voice MagazineTransformative DialoguesTreasure Box KidsTrusted Clothes.

A Brief Note on Fredericton, New Brunswick and Finances

A Brief Note on Fredericton, New Brunswick and Finances

The Government of New Brunswick will be contributing $250,000 to the Cannabis Education and Awareness Fund. The New Brunswick government is looking for an advisory committee set of members in order to determine how best to spent the finances.

As recreational cannabis will be legalized later in the year, the Finance Minister Cathy Rogers wants a harm reduction, socially responsible approach in order to keep cannabis away from the hands and bodies of children and youth.

Four cannabis producers and the New Brunswick government signed agreements where 2% of the gross earnings will enter the Cannabis Education and Awareness Fund.

Rogers stated the monetary injections into the fund are starting in order for the education to be jumpstarted. Also, it will take time before sales begin to trickle in more funds.

The Chairman o the Cannabis Management Corporation will be one of the, and senior civil servants will be three of the seven members of the, advisory committee for New Brunswick.

The other members will come from the general public.

References

The Canadian Press. (2018, March 13). New Brunswick funding cannabis education and seeking advisors from public. Retrieved from https://atlantic.ctvnews.ca/new-brunswick-funding-cannabis-education-and-seeking-advisors-from-public-1.3841091.

Scott Jacobsen

Scott Jacobsen

Member-at-Large/Writer

(Last Update: September 28, 2016)

Scott Douglas Jacobsen researches and presents independent panels, papers, and posters, and with varied research labs and groups, and part-time in landscaping (lifting, mowing, and raking) and gardening (digging, planting, and weeding). He is the Founder of In-Sight: Independent Interview-Based Journal and In-Sight Publishing. UCI Ethics Center awarded him with the distinction of Francisco Ayala Scholar (2014) for mentoring, presenting, researching, and writing. If you want to contact Scott, you may inquire or comment through e-mail: Scott.D.Jacobsen@Gmail.com.

He published in American Enterprise InstituteAnnaborgiaConatus NewsEarth Skin & EdenFresh Start Recovery CentreGordon Neighbourhood HouseHuffington PostIn-Sight: Independent Interview-Based JournalJolly DragonsKwantlen Polytechnic University Psychology DepartmentLa Petite MortLearning Analytics Research GroupLifespan Cognition Psychology LabLost in SamaraMarijuana Party of CanadaMomMandyNoesis: The Journal of the Mega SocietyPiece of MindProduction ModeSynapseTeenFinancialThe PeakThe UbysseyThe Voice MagazineTransformative DialoguesTreasure Box KidsTrusted Clothes.

Update from the 61st Commission on Narcotic Drugs

Update from the 61st Commission on Narcotic Drugs

Written by Ailish Brennan, chapter founder/leader of University College Dublin SSDP

While the inherently frustrating nature of the United Nations and the Commission on Narcotic Drugs has been particularly prevalent throughout my time in Vienna, the inspirational nature of the civil society groups and young people present this week has shone throughout.

Positivity

The work by NGOs and other individual activists has kept me sane and motivated throughout all of these processes.

I had the pleasure of writing this blog post the same day some of the main youth-led NGO groups held their side events. Our own SSDP side-event entitled Youth, Drugs and the 2030 Sustainable Development Goals allowed young people to lead the discussion for once instead of merely having our presence tokenized. The side event discussed why young people need to be meaningfully included in conversations around their health and well-being, specifically in the case of achieving the 2030 SDGs. Panelists Alex Betsos and Nazlee Maghsoudi presented the peer-led cannabis education model being developed by CSSDP, while Penny Hill of SSDP Australia discussed how youth inclusion in drug education makes it more likely several of the SDGs can be met on time. The very personal nature with which Orsi Fehér, chapter leader of SSDP Österreich, spoke was refreshing as she discussed her personal experience using drugs. In a space like the UN, hearing someone “come out” as a drug user can raise quite a few eyebrows. The discussion, co-sponsored by the Government of Canada, enabled civil society groups to speak from a position of genuine experience and discuss the importance of a movement towards a harm reduction model. Stressing the importance of a peer-based education model over the police-delivery model of the DARE program puts value in the voices of young people.

The event by YODA and YouthRISE directly after our event, titled Law Enforcement and Youth, brought a diverse panel of people again sharing their own experiences, from getting arrested as a young drug user in different parts of the world, to the other side of the handcuffs and having to deal with the arrest of your own brother as chief of police. A critical analysis of policies from Portugal to Australia showed that the problem of ineffectively dealing with drug use is present across the globe. Regardless of how the policies are labeled, the prohibitionist nature present in even the Portuguese “decriminalization” model invariably leads to unnecessary suffering.

Youth Voices

The need for the voices of young people has been brought into stark focus this week as we have been constantly reminded of the importance of “protecting youth” from the “scourge of drugs”, without input from people who use these drugs. The UNCND Youth Forum is an event which takes place coinciding with the main Convention and invites young people from member states to join the discussion and compile a statement to be made at the Plenary Sessions. This is a fantastic opportunity for young people to take part in the processes of the UN but it is one which anti-prohibitionist voices have been consistently excluded. Many of the young people I’ve spoken to from NGOs and Civil Society groups have recounted their stories of being denied entry to the discussion based on their views on decriminalization. The token use of youth voices to strengthen the argument against legalization should be condemned and has proven to be another motivating factor for many of the people we talk to in confronting the groups and delegations pushing for a “Drug-Free World.”

They Talk, We Die

A discussion on the frustrating nature of some of the processes at CND by our board member and International Liaison, Alex Betsos.

Back in 2017 the Canadian Association of People Who Use Drugs held a protest of Jane Philpott when she spoke at the Harm Reduction International Conference in Montreal. Canadian activists held up signs that said: “They Talk We Die”. The protest was to note that while Canada has made progress and done some good work in responding to the opioid crisis, any attempt by the government to pat themselves on the back was not only premature but disingenuous. While I appreciated the response from other drug policy reformers that the Canadian government was rather progressive in contrast to other countries, the sharp distinction between Canada and some other countries at the UN puts that discussion into better perspective. The Canadian Government has been pushing for a fairly progressive resolution on stigma*. Some civil society members I have met here have called the resolution on stigma, which notes that stigma can be a barrier for people who use drugs to access services, as a bold resolution*.

What is unfathomable is that while the Canadian government’s resolution on stigma has been stuck in private sessions (known as “informals”), with a lot of arguments from member states, it took less than an hour to schedule several fentanyl analogues, synthetic cannabinoids, and 4-fluoroamphetamine (4-FA) with nothing more than a few words from the World Health Organization. For a group of member states that have fought tooth and nail over the most minute details throughout the CND, not a single member state made comments about making any of these drugs illegal on an international level.

What impact will scheduling fentanyl analogues have on access to fentanyl when fentanyl has been internationally scheduled since the 1990s? From talking to a few people in Canada and also in the Netherlands (both of which have 4-FA scheduled), there is still interest from some people who use drugs in accessing 4-FA. To date, there have been no direct overdoses from 4-FA. Since 4-FA has been scheduled, other New Psychoactive Substances have come onto the market, including 4-fluoromethamphetamine, 2-Fluoramphetamine, and 3-fluoroamphetamine to name a few.

The Commission on Narcotic Drugs reflects the reality that all people who use drugs know to be true. For five days, they talk: they talk to people who use drugs, about them, rarely with them, and while they do, our friends and love one’s continue to die.

Reprinted with permission from Students for Sensible Drug Policy.

Toronto’s Riverdale Riverside Ralph Thornton Centre Hosting Harm Reduction Event

Toronto’s Riverdale Riverside Ralph Thornton Centre Hosting Harm Reduction Event

In Toronto, Ontario, in the Riverdale community, there will be a harm reduction event entitled Community Matters.

On March 19th from 6:30 pm to 8:30 pm, the gathering will take place at the Ralph Thornton Community Centre, 765 Queen St. E., which is east of Broadview Avenue.

The conversation for the neighbourhood event will be on the effects of the ongoing crisis. Its impacts on individuals, families, communities, and the wider society as a result of the severity, and increasing problems, associated with it.

There is a reported increase in fear and concerns (Toronto.Com: News, 2018) around the health crisis with drugs in the country. The conversation on the 19th will involve some discussion on the adaptations of “harm reduction, healthcare strategies, and public health policy.”

The South Riverdale Community Health Centre will take part in the event/conversation. The community health centre is the place of the first Canadian supervised injection service as such a neighbourhood centre.

“Those interested in attending should be aware that this meeting may not be accessible due to the replacement of the centre’s elevator,” the news note stated.

References

Toronto.Com: News. (2018, March 14). East Toronto centre hosts talk on harm reduction, overdose crisis. Retrieved from https://www.toronto.com/news-story/8325453-east-toronto-centre-hosts-talk-on-harm-reduction-overdose-crisis/.

Scott Jacobsen

Scott Jacobsen

Member-at-Large/Writer

(Last Update: September 28, 2016)

Scott Douglas Jacobsen researches and presents independent panels, papers, and posters, and with varied research labs and groups, and part-time in landscaping (lifting, mowing, and raking) and gardening (digging, planting, and weeding). He is the Founder of In-Sight: Independent Interview-Based Journal and In-Sight Publishing. UCI Ethics Center awarded him with the distinction of Francisco Ayala Scholar (2014) for mentoring, presenting, researching, and writing. If you want to contact Scott, you may inquire or comment through e-mail: Scott.D.Jacobsen@Gmail.com.

He published in American Enterprise InstituteAnnaborgiaConatus NewsEarth Skin & EdenFresh Start Recovery CentreGordon Neighbourhood HouseHuffington PostIn-Sight: Independent Interview-Based JournalJolly DragonsKwantlen Polytechnic University Psychology DepartmentLa Petite MortLearning Analytics Research GroupLifespan Cognition Psychology LabLost in SamaraMarijuana Party of CanadaMomMandyNoesis: The Journal of the Mega SocietyPiece of MindProduction ModeSynapseTeenFinancialThe PeakThe UbysseyThe Voice MagazineTransformative DialoguesTreasure Box KidsTrusted Clothes.

Day 1 of CND 2018

Day 1 of CND 2018

Before UNGASS 2016, some organizations and people involved in drug policy believed that the UNGASS document may change the game when it came to international drug policy. If those dreams were dampened somewhat, a fresh coat of water was necessary for CND 2018. Many of the opening I watched contained language such as “the scourge of drugs,” “the world drug problem” and “protecting the youth” (without noting any youth in the discussion). Yet, there were glimmers of hope. Before CND started we were told that there were two main camps at CND, those who support the “drug free world” document of 2009, and those that supported the more progressive UNGASS document. The European Union came out in strong support of the UNGASS 2016 document, and also noted their continued support for ending the death penalty.

“We Can Live With That”

A side event with a name like: “Responding to new methods of synthetic drug trafficking,” clearly provides no angle for drug reform, yet there were some noteworthy points that came out of it. For example, drug sniffing dogs can now find fentanyl packages in the mail. Yet, even with those drug sniffing dogs, fentanyl and fentanyl analogues still manage to get into both the United States and Canada. Other discussions included more international cooperation in advancing the data collection, and cooperation in sharing tactics that people who sell drugs use around the world. The question that follows is, if we cannot stop these drugs that are causing so many deaths, to what degree does limiting a few packages of fentanyl, when 2 or 3 packages of fentanyl out of 10 is still a large quantity. Limiting the supply only encourages drug manufacturers to use stronger synthetic opioids; while other packages of drugs that are larger in size being more likely to be caught and making those drug supplies more dangerous for the consumer as well.

During a discussion on the resolution: “Strengthening efforts to prevent drug use in educational settings,” several delegates described their ability to accept certain amendments to paragraphs with the phrase “we can live with that.” While there are people dying because of the failed war on drugs, when youth are largely not consulted in discussions about them and their educational settings, the phrase “we can live with that” carries an underlying acceptability of things that people around the world may be dying from. The discussion itself was rather slow; there was a distinct gap between countries that focused heavily on the sustainable development goals and human rights and other countries. Who can live with the decisions made at the UN. The resolution focuses on helping youth stay away from drugs, a position most drug reformers would agree with.

Canada’s plenary statement was fairly progressive. They reaffirmed their commitment to legalizing cannabis, as well as explicitly noting harm reduction as an important part of Canada’s drug strategy. What was more disappointing is their commitment to add more drugs to the international Scheduling system. While fentanyl analogues, synthetic cannabinoids and 4-FA are all scheduled in Canada under our analogue act, international restrictions could cause more problems for people who use drugs than they would solve. If anything, Canada’s own system, which relies on scheduling drugs by their pharmacological similarity, proves the failure of these systems. Fentanyl and all of its analogues have been scheduled in Canada since 1996, yet it has been the epicenter of the fentanyl crisis in North America.

Side-event: Saving lives by ending the drug war

Here is a discussion of another side panel by our colleague Sara Velimirovic – Students for Sensible Drug Policy

“We are tired of counting the dead.”

This is one of the conclusions of MC, an activist from the Philippines, in addressing the member states delegates and civil society at the side-event of the CND “Saving lives by ending the drug war,” organized by the Government of the Czech Republic, the Transform Drug Policy Foundation and the International Drug Policy Consortium.

She informed the room that since July to September 2017 police has murdered around 2,000 people in Duterte’s drug war campaign. Even more worrying is the fact of over 16,000 murders currently under investigation that, combined with other cases, amount to more than 20,000 extra-judicial killings to this date in the Philippines. She pointed out several cases of lawyers having been murdered for participating in drug court cases, which leads to a situation where lawyers are ‘thinking twice’ before getting involved in future cases.

Jidrih Voboril, progressive national drug coordinator of the Czech Republic, took the floor to offer information on his country’s policy of liberalization – resulting in prisons that are in fact not crowded which stands out compared to the region -, and harm reduction -resulting in a drop in Hepatitis C cases from 70% to 15% among injecting users. Further, Voboril pointed out all countries of the EU, as well as candidate countries where policy tends to spillover, are moving towards decriminalization in operational sense – if not in legislation.

Ann Fordham declared decriminalization as an important and feasible next first step for Member States, defined as removing criminal (including criminal liability, criminal records and prison time), as well as administrative punishment (including a fine) for using drugs. To date some 27 countries have already instituted some form of decriminalization. She pointed out research shows the deterrent effect has failed to produce results intended by the UN conventions, as we are now aware drug use is independent from drug policy of a given country, but the harm bore by drug users is not.

Brun Gonzales spoke as a drug user about how drugs – that we as a global community have relatively recently banned – have enjoyed so important a role in our societies that ancestors have carved them in stone to relate this wisdom and technologies. This idea of traditional uses of these substances, he points out, has been conceptually removed from what we today call international drug policy. He concluded that the “best way to honour the dead of the drug war is to end it.”

In responding to a question from Olga about how to talk to countries that almost completely unreceptive to changing the policy of a drug-free world, J. Voboril, a longtime diplomat, pointed out that involvement of civil society is very important and can make a difference, that media is a very important way to provide names and faces to the victims of the drug war and for the public to hear their voices, and lastly, policy evidence should be consistently used by advocates who argue for reform.

Alex Betsos

Alex Betsos

International Liaison

Alex Betsos is a research masters social sciences student at the University of Amsterdam. Alex Betsos has a joint honours degree in sociology and anthropology from Simon Fraser University. His research interests relate to the creation, contestation and dissemination of drug knowledge by experts and by people who use drugs.

Learn more about Alex.

 

One Woman’s Naloxone Training Mission

One Woman’s Naloxone Training Mission

One woman is on a harm reduction crusade with naloxone kit training sessions. Abby Blackburn is helping the punk community in Edmonton to be informed and safer about the possibility for overdoses from opioids in the midst of the crisis throughout the province.

In a conversation with CBC Radio Active, Blackburn said, “I realized, after seeing statistics online and everything else, that it’s very far reaching… The fentanyl crisis is pretty intense, so I just wanted to reach out to absolutely everybody.”

The training sessions with Blackburn show how to use the naloxone kits. She has trained about 150 people to date and wants the people that she trains to never have to go through the traumatising experience of seeing a friend overdose in front of her.

Blackburn recalled, “The first time that I saw somebody overdose in front of me was one of my close friends, and I hadn’t even heard of naloxone.” The friend did live, but she recollects that it was a terrifying experience to witness an overdose of a loved one in front of her.

“This past January, when I had an event, I was told by someone that their life got saved by the naloxone training, so that was pretty rad,” Blackburn said, “It was affecting me on a personal level from the get-go, and I just wanted to continue helping people and saving people.”

The next event will be April 13, 2018, at the Aviary open to all ages. Her next event on April 13 at the Aviary is for all age groups.

References

CBC News. (2018, March 12). Edmonton woman wants to reach everybody with naloxone training. Retrieved from http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/edmonton/abby-blackburn-naloxone-training-1.4573537.

St-Onge, J. (2018, March 9). Alberta commission recommends more overdose prevention sites across province. Retrieved from http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/edmonton/alberta-opioid-overdose-commission-1.4570399.

Scott Jacobsen

Scott Jacobsen

Member-at-Large/Writer

(Last Update: September 28, 2016)

Scott Douglas Jacobsen researches and presents independent panels, papers, and posters, and with varied research labs and groups, and part-time in landscaping (lifting, mowing, and raking) and gardening (digging, planting, and weeding). He is the Founder of In-Sight: Independent Interview-Based Journal and In-Sight Publishing. UCI Ethics Center awarded him with the distinction of Francisco Ayala Scholar (2014) for mentoring, presenting, researching, and writing. If you want to contact Scott, you may inquire or comment through e-mail: Scott.D.Jacobsen@Gmail.com.

He published in American Enterprise InstituteAnnaborgiaConatus NewsEarth Skin & EdenFresh Start Recovery CentreGordon Neighbourhood HouseHuffington PostIn-Sight: Independent Interview-Based JournalJolly DragonsKwantlen Polytechnic University Psychology DepartmentLa Petite MortLearning Analytics Research GroupLifespan Cognition Psychology LabLost in SamaraMarijuana Party of CanadaMomMandyNoesis: The Journal of the Mega SocietyPiece of MindProduction ModeSynapseTeenFinancialThe PeakThe UbysseyThe Voice MagazineTransformative DialoguesTreasure Box KidsTrusted Clothes.

Vienna Youth Summit: On the Ground

Vienna Youth Summit: On the Ground

Every year in Vienna, 53 member states attend the Commission on Narcotic Drugs (CND). Government bodies, and civil societies flock to the historical city; it’s notably a time where few serious progressive reforms are made. Other than this past year in 2017, CSSDP has sent students involved on the national board to CND since 2014.

This, however, is a special year. For the first time the Canadian delegation is actively supporting civil society at CND. Over the past months, we, the Canadian delegation has helped to co-sponsor an event with CSSDP, SSDP and SSDP Australia on March 14th. Over the next several days we will be writing blog posts covering CND to help Canadian students understand the process of the UN, its impacts on international law, and what exactly happens every year over these five days. While CND actually starts Monday, March 12, students who interested in drug policy had other events planned for the preceding weekend.

Vienna Youth Summit: Sensible Drug Strategies

This year SSDP’s chapter in Austria held its first (and hopefully annual) event titled: “Vienna Youth Summit: Sensible Drug Strategies.” The workshop was meant to cover various aspects of CND for those who could attend and those who couldn’t. The one-day workshop covered various topics, including youth peer education, information about drug laws in Europe and internationally, the economics of the war on drugs, as well as a panel on youth harm reduction, co-hosted by yours truly, and Ailish Brennan from SSDP Ireland. Throughout the day we had a fairly open discussion, explaining the various drug laws, discussing harm reduction, and getting to know the various youth activists, their projects interests and goals.

Understanding international drug treaties

To understand the importance of CND, it is important to understand what helped to create our current international drug regime. There are three major treaties that have helped to establish our current international drug policy, the 1961 Single Convention on Narcotic Drugs, the 1971 Convention on Psychotropic substances and the 1988 Convention Against Illicit Traffic in Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances. Jake Agliata from SSDP noted that the first convention, while in part was intended to consolidate previous drug legislation at the international level, was also intended by the United States to be an international form of control. Pre-1961 some UN member states did not have drugs such as opioids regulated. Canada, however, has long been an adherent to various drug laws, as our own federal laws for opium and cocaine have actually existed since 1908. Interestingly, Agliata and his co-presenter Sara Velimirovic that few countries wish to break consensus on the drug treaties, as they are one of the few documents that have strong support from various member states.

The second panel dug deeper into European politics, specifically in relation to Syrbia, and the farcical interplay between international drug governing bodies and local countries. Irena Molnar, explained to us how countries that wish to join the EU will sometimes create governing bodies that actually have limited capabilities in data collection and impact for people who use drugs. What was interesting was how the particularities of the EU bodies that govern drug-related issues became clearer, and the areas in which Canada is actually lagging behind. While Molnar noted that though the European Monitoring Center for Drugs and Drug Addiction (EMCDDA) has an ‘early-warning system’ in place, the ‘early warning system’ is not particularly early; it can take up to a month for a novel psychoactive substance (research chemical, or NPS) to actually be discussed. In contrast, as far as I am aware, Canada has no such system in place, and our primary method of obtaining data about new drugs on the market is from the police, which may or may not be representative of the actual drug market in Canada.

On the ground and online

There is something fantastic about getting to meet youth activists. Their engagement and passion with ending the war on drugs is always like the first cup of coffee in the morning; that little jolt that pulls one out of their dogmatic slumber. This is not the last event for SSDP’s Vienna Chapter. Tomorrow, they aim to have a rally, with DJs and a drug talk, just another way of showing how students can be involved in so many different projects on the ground-level.

Once CND starts, I will be on the ground at the UN every day. As this is not accessible for all Canadian youth (or Canadians more broadly, as there are a lot of hoops to jump through to even be allowed in), I will be live-tweeting every day at the conference and posting blog articles every second day.

If anyone has specific panels that they would like me to attend you can either contact me by email (alexb@cssdp.org) or on twitter @AlexInNederland.

Alex Betsos

Alex Betsos

International Liaison

Alex Betsos is a research masters social sciences student at the University of Amsterdam. Alex Betsos has a joint honours degree in sociology and anthropology from Simon Fraser University. His research interests relate to the creation, contestation and dissemination of drug knowledge by experts and by people who use drugs.

Learn more about Alex.

 

Is Radical Harm Reduction More in the Spotlight?

Is Radical Harm Reduction More in the Spotlight?

The Times Colonist is reporting on the treatment of alcoholism with bone drink at a time using a radical harm reduction treatment methodology.

Professor Tim Stockwell, a Psychologist at the University of Victoria and the Director of the Canadian Institute for Substance Use Research said, “Alcohol can kill you in more ways… But somehow it doesn’t deserve the same level of respect in harm-reduction treatments as other substances.”

In his research with colleagues on the efficacy of harm reduction methodologies incorporating doses of alcohol for alcoholics at regular intervals has proven effective, Stockwell explains that these managed-alcohol programs continue to be a radical idea 25 years after their inception.

The Executive Director of Our Place in Victoria, Don Evans, described the activities and initiatives of his own organization with managed-alcohol programs.

Evans explained that the group with those kinds of organizations, but failed to have sufficient space in the organization and resources in order to maintain and fully develop the program at Our Place in Victoria.

Evans states that severe alcoholics may resort to mouthwash and rubbing alcohol in order to satisfy the addiction but that these are brain-damaging substances. That makes the manage-alcohol programs as an initiative or program for those “meant for people who have tried everything else, and so it’s a last resort,” Evans explained.

The programs are best given within a therapeutic community with “housing, food and fellowship.” The programs finish within 30 to 60 days. Those programs that have been operational have worked without much notice, according to Stockwell.

The social norms and mores do not permit the allowance of alcohol given in this way. It is taboo, verboten. It is a radical harm reduction program in light of that fact that those with addictions that are homeless or in danger of dying are the ones they are for because abstinence programs simply have not or do not work for them.

If these are programs combined with food and shelter, they can help rebuild the livelihood and potentially family and social networks that these people need. An increase in anxiety is the most noticeable sign of withdrawal in the individual not having their drink.

References

Watts, R. (2018, March 11). Harm-reduction programs help alcoholics one drink at a time. Retrieved from http://www.timescolonist.com/news/local/harm-reduction-programs-help-alcoholics-one-drink-at-a-time-1.23183082.

Scott Jacobsen

Scott Jacobsen

Member-at-Large/Writer

(Last Update: September 28, 2016)

Scott Douglas Jacobsen researches and presents independent panels, papers, and posters, and with varied research labs and groups, and part-time in landscaping (lifting, mowing, and raking) and gardening (digging, planting, and weeding). He is the Founder of In-Sight: Independent Interview-Based Journal and In-Sight Publishing. UCI Ethics Center awarded him with the distinction of Francisco Ayala Scholar (2014) for mentoring, presenting, researching, and writing. If you want to contact Scott, you may inquire or comment through e-mail: Scott.D.Jacobsen@Gmail.com.

He published in American Enterprise InstituteAnnaborgiaConatus NewsEarth Skin & EdenFresh Start Recovery CentreGordon Neighbourhood HouseHuffington PostIn-Sight: Independent Interview-Based JournalJolly DragonsKwantlen Polytechnic University Psychology DepartmentLa Petite MortLearning Analytics Research GroupLifespan Cognition Psychology LabLost in SamaraMarijuana Party of CanadaMomMandyNoesis: The Journal of the Mega SocietyPiece of MindProduction ModeSynapseTeenFinancialThe PeakThe UbysseyThe Voice MagazineTransformative DialoguesTreasure Box KidsTrusted Clothes.

Alberta’s Entrance Into Harm Reduction

Alberta’s Entrance Into Harm Reduction

An Alberta Commission has called for more harm reduction sites in the province (Gerein, 2018). The Government of Alberta released a new report on the level of deaths associated with opioid overdoses (Government of Alberta, 2018a). This has come alongside recommendations as well (Government of Alberta, 2018b).

Indigenous groups have been declaring emergencies in some of their communities due to the overdose crisis (Cameron, 2018). There have been interventions such as fentanyl tests, which have been shown to reduce the number of overdoses (Meuse, 2017).

Alberta’s supervised consumption sites should be permitted to offer drug testing to help users learn what dangers might be lurking in their illicit narcotics, the province’s opioid commission recommended Friday.

Some in the general public continue to question the efficacy of the fentanyl-sensing strips as well as associated devices to detect fentanyl. However, these devices help give insight into the contents of the about-to-be used drugs in the drug user community.

Elaine Hyshka, the Co-Chair of the Minister’s Opioid Emergency Response Commission, said, “Anytime you can give people a bit more understanding than absolutely none about what’s in their drugs, I think that’s a positive.”

Six consumption sites were approved for the province of Alberta with one opened in Calgary, in Lethbridge, and four in Edmonton to be opened. 562 Albertans have died from the fentanyl-related overdoses in 2017 alone.

The problem with fentanyl is that is continuing to show up in methamphetamine and heroin. The users, who may not even be regular misusers, can be caught unaware in a fentanyl overdose because their used substance has been inadvertently laced with fentanyl, potentially leading to an overdose and a death.

British Columbia and Ontario, two provinces with high death tolls associated with the opioid crisis. One prominent place that uses the fentanyl-sensing strips is Insite based in Vancouver. 80% of the substances, in the first year of testing at Insite, were found to contain fentanyl.

Those Insite clients with a positive result were an order of magnitude, 10 times, more probable to reduce the chances of an overdose.

A medical heath officer at Vancouver Coastal Health, Dr. Mark Lysyshyn, noted that the strips can falter in their prediction of fentanyl. In that, they are not foolproof. One other issue is the potential for the strips to be able to detect associated fentanyl substances such as carfentenil.

The first Alberta overdose prevention site opened for the Kainai First Nation in Southern Alberta. The Kainai First Nation declared the first state of emergency based on a recent spike overdoses there.

The site is open for eight hours per day. According to Gerein’s article, there are other recommendations:

  • Ease restrictions for prescribing methadone and medical heroin, which are used as treatments for opioid use disorder.
  • Organize a national conference in Edmonton in October to discuss drug policy and harm reduction.
  • Approve a mobile supervised consumption site in Calgary.
  • Open supervised consumption services in Medicine Hat, Red Deer and Grande Prairie.
  • Develop guidelines around protective clothing and safety practices for workers who may come into contact with fentanyl.
  • Expedite consumer protection legislation, to ensure people seeking mental health and addiction services receive proper care. (2018)

References

Cameron, E. (2018, March 9). Calgary applying to offer mobile supervised consumption services. Retrieved from http://www.metronews.ca/news/calgary/2018/03/09/calgary-applying-to-offer-mobile-supervised-consumption-services.html.

Gerein, K. (2018, March 9). Offer drug testing at safe consumption sites, Alberta opioid commission recommends. Retrieved from http://edmontonjournal.com/news/local-news/test-drugs-at-safe-consumption-sites-alberta-opioid-commission-recommends.

Government of Alberta. (2018b, February 14). Minister’s Opioid Emergency Response Commission Record of Discussion: February 14, 2018. Retrieved from https://www.alberta.ca/assets/documents/opioid-commission-minutes-february-2018.pdf.

Government of Alberta. (2018a, March 2). Opioids and Substances of Misuse Alberta Report, 2017 Q4. Retrieved from https://open.alberta.ca/dataset/1cfed7da-2690-42e7-97e9-da175d36f3d5/resource/78ceedbd-ddc9-4a33-834b-8668a3ad5b31/download/Opioids-Substances-Misuse-Report-2017-Q4.pdf.

Meuse, M. (2017, May 15). Insite fentanyl test reduces overdoses, study finds. Retrieved from http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/british-columbia/insite-fentanyl-testing-1.4115500.

St-Onge, J. (2018, March 9). Alberta commission recommends more overdose prevention sites across province. Retrieved from http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/edmonton/alberta-opioid-overdose-commission-1.4570399.

Scott Jacobsen

Scott Jacobsen

Member-at-Large/Writer

(Last Update: September 28, 2016)

Scott Douglas Jacobsen researches and presents independent panels, papers, and posters, and with varied research labs and groups, and part-time in landscaping (lifting, mowing, and raking) and gardening (digging, planting, and weeding). He is the Founder of In-Sight: Independent Interview-Based Journal and In-Sight Publishing. UCI Ethics Center awarded him with the distinction of Francisco Ayala Scholar (2014) for mentoring, presenting, researching, and writing. If you want to contact Scott, you may inquire or comment through e-mail: Scott.D.Jacobsen@Gmail.com.

He published in American Enterprise InstituteAnnaborgiaConatus NewsEarth Skin & EdenFresh Start Recovery CentreGordon Neighbourhood HouseHuffington PostIn-Sight: Independent Interview-Based JournalJolly DragonsKwantlen Polytechnic University Psychology DepartmentLa Petite MortLearning Analytics Research GroupLifespan Cognition Psychology LabLost in SamaraMarijuana Party of CanadaMomMandyNoesis: The Journal of the Mega SocietyPiece of MindProduction ModeSynapseTeenFinancialThe PeakThe UbysseyThe Voice MagazineTransformative DialoguesTreasure Box KidsTrusted Clothes.

Will Moss Park Volunteers Stay in Place?

Will Moss Park Volunteers Stay in Place?

Trailer houses constructed in the Moss Park in Toronto, Ontario, Canada are illegal and volunteer overdose prevention sites (Gray, 2018).

It will continue to remain open. There are many users anxious to have their fix of substance and volunteers itching to help them. Zoë Dodd, a prominent harm reduction activist and proponent of good repute, has been at the site for about 7 months with a small group of volunteers (Tierney, 2017).

They are working and have been working to reduce the number of overdoses in the park. They started out in flimsy old tents that could not stand tall to a wind storm. Many drug users would use in the community would die alone in the past as they shot up.

Their corpses would be found later. One Health Canada approved supervised injection site has opened at the Fred Victor Centre for the homeless. Many former volunteers of Dodd work there.

Mayor John Tory said that many of the volunteers at Dodd’s illegal site should transfer to the clientele to the legal site simply across the road. Dodd still considers the illegal Moss Park trailer an integral part of the harm reduction efforts there.

Therefore, they will be staying in place. “Even though Fred Victor opened, we’re still so inundated with the need… This is the epicentre of the overdose crisis, Moss Park,” Dodd explained.

The province released the new numbers for the week on the deaths associated with opioids. It was more than 1,000 from January through to the end of October in 2017. Dodd recommends the governments begin to increase the number of injection sites based on the increasing number of overdoses in order to appropriately respond to the opioid crisis.

The St. Stephen’s Community House sent letters off to the Kensington Marker with an announcement that they earned approval for an overdose prevention site on a temporary basis at the community house.

The process began after pressure from activists. The Ontario Ministry of Health obliged them. A similar site is open in London, Ontario. Applications for other temporary harm reduction sites will be emerging, or are predicted to arise, in other parts of Toronto, Ontario.

The Dodd trailer is running without a permit, washrooms, or water. Joe Cressy, a City of Toronto Councillor and the Chairperson of Toronto’s Drug Implementation Panel, said that they were looking to find the Dodd group a new place in the community to continue their work (City of Toronto, 2018).

 

Tory wants the harm-reduction site removed because of the park. “Look, I believed from Day 1, and you can go back and look at all my prior public statements, that a public park is not an appropriate place to any kind of a harm-reduction site,” Tory stated, “It’s a public park.”

Dodd wants to move people, but there are as many as 40 or more people who come and use her service each night. No one has died of an overdose on her site – a good track record. The Director of Programs for Fred Victor, Jane Eastwood, stated that between 7 and 23 people use her services each night.

References

​City of Toronto. (2018). Councillor Joe Cressy. Retrieved from https://www.toronto.ca/city-government/council/members-of-council/councillor-joe-cressy/.

Gray, J. (2018, March 9). Moss Park harm-reduction volunteers staying put. Retrieved from https://www.theglobeandmail.com/news/toronto/moss-park-harm-reduction-volunteers-staying-put/article38267790/.​

Tierney, A. (2017, April 25). Meet the Harm Reduction Worker Who Called Out Trudeau on the Opioid Crisis. Retrieved from https://www.vice.com/en_ca/article/ez3m5a/meet-the-harm-reduction-worker-who-called-out-trudeau-on-the-opioid-crisis.

Scott Jacobsen

Scott Jacobsen

Member-at-Large/Writer

 

(Last Update: September 28, 2016)

Scott Douglas Jacobsen researches and presents independent panels, papers, and posters, and with varied research labs and groups, and part-time in landscaping (lifting, mowing, and raking) and gardening (digging, planting, and weeding). He is the Founder of In-Sight: Independent Interview-Based Journal and In-Sight Publishing. UCI Ethics Center awarded him with the distinction of Francisco Ayala Scholar (2014) for mentoring, presenting, researching, and writing. If you want to contact Scott, you may inquire or comment through e-mail: Scott.D.Jacobsen@Gmail.com.

He published in American Enterprise InstituteAnnaborgiaConatus NewsEarth Skin & EdenFresh Start Recovery CentreGordon Neighbourhood HouseHuffington PostIn-Sight: Independent Interview-Based JournalJolly DragonsKwantlen Polytechnic University Psychology DepartmentLa Petite MortLearning Analytics Research GroupLifespan Cognition Psychology LabLost in SamaraMarijuana Party of CanadaMomMandyNoesis: The Journal of the Mega SocietyPiece of MindProduction ModeSynapseTeenFinancialThe PeakThe UbysseyThe Voice MagazineTransformative DialoguesTreasure Box KidsTrusted Clothes.

 

Vancouver Calls for Decriminalization of All Drug Possession

Vancouver Calls for Decriminalization of All Drug Possession

 

The rising overdose deaths in Vancouver, British Columbia continue to wreak havoc on communities and families. Vancouver made a call to the federal government to decriminalize the personalized possession of drugs (CBC News, 2018).

Mary Clare Zak, the Managing Director of Social Policy, described the call as new while at the same time consistent with the Four Pillars Drug Strategy of Vancouver. Some have claimed that even harm reduction innovations cannot get rid of the opioid crisis in total (Ghoussoub, 2018).

“What we’ve learned from countries, for example like Portugal, is that when you decriminalize then people are feeling like they’re actually safe enough to ask for treatment,” Zak explained, “People who are dying are more likely to be indoors and struggle with accessing help or assistance because of their illicit drug use.”

Vancouver advocates and users are in agreement with the call for immediate decriminalization of all drug possession (Lovgreen, 2018). Bellefontaine (2018) notes that the decriminalization has been rejected as on the table by Liberal Prime Minister Justin Trudeau based on a town hall held in Edmonton, Alberta.

Here are Zak’s recommendations:

  • Rapidly roll out funding for evidence-based treatment programs.
  • Support the scale up of innovative programs that provide access to safe opioids for those most at risk for overdose.
  • Support the de-stigmatization programs that are co-led by people with lived experience of substance use.
  • Continue to roll out innovative overdose prevention services in areas where users remain isolated. (CBC News, 2018)

In January alone, Vancouver had 33 overdose deaths, which was the highest number since the May of 2017. In short, the number of Canadian citizens in Vancouver dying from the opioid crisis continues to rise as a trend line. People are dying, and more and more by the month.

Zak points to a need for a “clean drug supply for people who are struggling with addiction” and decriminalization, which would likely mean regulation, would be an important part of this. The federal government is already working on the decriminalization and legislation around the legialization of marijuana.

“Decriminalizing harder drugs is not a step that Canada is looking at taking at this point,” Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said. The NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh has been publicly quoted in support of the decriminalization of personal possession of all drugs.

References

Bellefontaine, M. (2018, February 1). Decriminalization won’t be part of opioid fight, PM tells Edmonton town hall. Retrieved from http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/edmonton/decriminalization-not-part-of-opioid-fight-trudeau-edmonton-1.4516177.

CBC News. (2018, March 9). City of Vancouver calls for decriminalization of drug possession. Retrieved from http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/british-columbia/city-of-vancouver-drug-possession-1.4570720.

Ghoussoub, M. (2018, February 3). Innovations in harm reduction can’t curb ‘catastrophic’ overdose crisis, say experts. Retrieved from http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/british-columbia/innovations-in-harm-reduction-can-t-curb-catastrophic-overdose-crisis-say-experts-1.4509136.

Lovgreen, T. (2018, February 20). The answer to Canada’s opioid overdose crisis is decriminalization, say Vancouver drug users and advocates. Retrieved from http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/british-columbia/multimedia/the-answer-to-canada-s-opioid-overdose-crisis-is-decriminalization-say-vancouver-drug-users-and-advocates-1.4544182.

Scott Jacobsen

Scott Jacobsen

Member-at-Large/Writer

(Last Update: September 28, 2016)

Scott Douglas Jacobsen researches and presents independent panels, papers, and posters, and with varied research labs and groups, and part-time in landscaping (lifting, mowing, and raking) and gardening (digging, planting, and weeding). He is the Founder of In-Sight: Independent Interview-Based Journal and In-Sight Publishing. UCI Ethics Center awarded him with the distinction of Francisco Ayala Scholar (2014) for mentoring, presenting, researching, and writing. If you want to contact Scott, you may inquire or comment through e-mail: Scott.D.Jacobsen@Gmail.com.

He published in American Enterprise InstituteAnnaborgiaConatus NewsEarth Skin & EdenFresh Start Recovery CentreGordon Neighbourhood HouseHuffington PostIn-Sight: Independent Interview-Based JournalJolly DragonsKwantlen Polytechnic University Psychology DepartmentLa Petite MortLearning Analytics Research GroupLifespan Cognition Psychology LabLost in SamaraMarijuana Party of CanadaMomMandyNoesis: The Journal of the Mega SocietyPiece of MindProduction ModeSynapseTeenFinancialThe PeakThe UbysseyThe Voice MagazineTransformative DialoguesTreasure Box KidsTrusted Clothes.

Jason Kenney Speaks on Harm Reduction

Jason Kenney Speaks on Harm Reduction

Jason Kenney, the Alberta United Conservative Party, made comments in previous weeks about opposition to the supervised injection sites if he became the premier of Alberta. Of course, this is changing more recently.

Alberta is constructing sites for safe, healthy consumption of drugs in order to deal with the deaths linked to opioids. Kenney has expressed direct opposition to harm reduction methodologies including the aforementioned.

Kenney thinks treatment and enforcement would be a better solution because the other methods, which do amount to harm reduction methods, would assist in the spending of money for more consumption of drugs by Canadian citizens in Alberta.

In a Twitter post, Kenney tweeted, “We absolutely need to show compassion for those suffering with addiction, and we need to help them get off drugs. But helping addicts inject poison into their bodies is not a long-term solution.”

Following this, potentially based on the reaction and feedback from some sectors of the public, he said, “I’m not saying I’m opposed to reasonable harm reduction efforts, but I am saying that we need to be realistic about this… We obviously respect the authority of the court in this respect, with one caveat. I would want properly to consult with local communities about the placement of facilities.”

He is noted to have acknowledged that the Supreme Court of Canada ruled “governments have the obligation to license supervised consumption sites.”

One of the UCP leader’s objections was to the density of the consumption sites in Edmonton, where he says that the local business owners and residents should have the right to decide on the sites being established in their local communities or not.

He does disagree on the harm reduction methodologies as the preferred means to solve the opioid crises, especially the deaths, but has taken, recently and in contrast to prior weeks, a light “tone” on consumption sites in particular.

One of Kenney’s preferred methods would be harsher penalties for drug dealers, more associated with the punitive rather than the harm reduction approaches to substance misuse.

“The notion that this is a panacea for the consumption of some of these really toxic opioids is, I think, a bit naïve,” Kenney opined.

Health Canada approved several consumption sites in Calgary, Edmonton, and Lethbridge as well as needs assessments ongoing in Edson, Fort McMurray, Grande Prairie, Medicine Hat, and Red Deer.

“Activists and public health officials have hailed supervised consumption sites as a life-saving, if stopgap, component in the response to the overdose crisis,” Little reported.

References

Bellefontaine, M. (2018, March 8). Kenney to take his seat as UCP leader, as Alberta legislature starts spring session. Retrieved from http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/edmonton/kenney-seat-ucp-leader-alberta-legislature-spring-sessin-1.4566967.

Bennett, D. (2018, March 2). Alberta government, Opposition clash on ethics of safe drug consumption sites. Retrieved from https://globalnews.ca/news/4059488/alberta-government-safe-consumption-sites-opioids/.

Karim, M. (2018, March 2). Jason Kenney criticized over safe consumption site comments. Retrieved from https://globalnews.ca/news/4059919/jason-kenney-criticized-supervised-consumption-sites/.

Little, S. (2018, March 5). ‘I’m not saying I’m opposed’: Kenney walks back tough talk on supervised consumption sites. Retrieved from https://globalnews.ca/news/4064454/im-not-saying-im-opposed-kenney-walks-back-tough-talk-on-supervised-consumption-sites/.

Scott Jacobsen

Scott Jacobsen

Member-at-Large/Writer

(Last Update: September 28, 2016)

Scott Douglas Jacobsen researches and presents independent panels, papers, and posters, and with varied research labs and groups, and part-time in landscaping (lifting, mowing, and raking) and gardening (digging, planting, and weeding). He is the Founder of In-Sight: Independent Interview-Based Journal and In-Sight Publishing. UCI Ethics Center awarded him with the distinction of Francisco Ayala Scholar (2014) for mentoring, presenting, researching, and writing. If you want to contact Scott, you may inquire or comment through e-mail: Scott.D.Jacobsen@Gmail.com.

He published in American Enterprise InstituteAnnaborgiaConatus NewsEarth Skin & EdenFresh Start Recovery CentreGordon Neighbourhood HouseHuffington PostIn-Sight: Independent Interview-Based JournalJolly DragonsKwantlen Polytechnic University Psychology DepartmentLa Petite MortLearning Analytics Research GroupLifespan Cognition Psychology LabLost in SamaraMarijuana Party of CanadaMomMandyNoesis: The Journal of the Mega SocietyPiece of MindProduction ModeSynapseTeenFinancialThe PeakThe UbysseyThe Voice MagazineTransformative DialoguesTreasure Box KidsTrusted Clothes.