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

Advisor

A sociology and anthropology undergraduate student at Simon Fraser University, Alex was on the board of directors with CSSDP since November 2013, was Co-Chair of CSSDP SFU chapter since September 2013, and his interests in drug policy revolve around how drug policy directly impacts individuals, as well as the larger electronic dance subculture. Find out more.

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

Advisor

A sociology and anthropology undergraduate student at Simon Fraser University, Alex was on the board of directors with CSSDP since November 2013, was Co-Chair of CSSDP SFU chapter since September 2013, and his interests in drug policy revolve around how drug policy directly impacts individuals, as well as the larger electronic dance subculture. Find out more.

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.

Dr. Anne Wagner on the Psychedelic Career Day Panel and Her Work

Dr. Anne Wagner on the Psychedelic Career Day Panel and Her Work

Image Credit: Anne Wagner/Evidence-Based Therapy, Training & Testing.

Scott Douglas Jacobsen: What was the outcome of the panel for Psychedelic Career Day?

Dr. Anne Wagner: It was an interesting and well-received conversation. Lots of different questions in terms of the folks taking part and attending on diverse ways in which careers can be had in the field.

There was a lot of interest on clinical applications within the field, e.g. becoming a clinical psychotherapist in the field. We were there for 3.5 hours. We had a presentation by Dr. Ben Sessa and then answered folks’ questions.

Jacobsen: With respect to your own presentation, what were some of the questions asked of you in particular?

Wagner: Unfortunately [Laughing], I did not take notes, so this will be a bit harder to answer. Folks were asking me about the training to be a psychedelic researcher, the opportunities available regarding the research, the trajectory to becoming involved in this area, and so on.

I talked about how I am a PTSD development researcher. As a clinical psychologist, primarily, we were invited – my mentor and I – to develop this protocol that combined Cognitive Behavioural Conjoint Therapy with MDMA to see if that would yield helpful results.

The idea being that I did not seek this out but landed in this area. I was very clear that if this area is of interest, develop a skill-set that will support the work that you want to do in this area, therapist training or training in some other area that might be helpful, e.g., lots of lawyers work in this area or other folks with different skill-sets like project management.

I gave an overview of my trajectory.

Jacobsen: When it comes to some of the MDMA research in a clinical setting, what are some of the more cutting-edge aspects of the research that may be of interest to undergraduates looking into that area and even high school students?

Wagner: One area that is interesting is the combination of MDMA with psychotherapies that are already stand-alone psychotherapies. A lot of the work with MDMA and psychotherapy up until now has been with non-directive supportive psychotherapies, which would draw upon the skill sets and the best clinical skills of the providers – but they are not based on a treatment in and of itself that would be, for example, used to treat PTSD.

The theorizing I am doing is about combining things we know that work for a good segment of the population and adding MDMA into that as an adjunct to see if we can improve outcomes. It is to deepen and create breadth in our understanding how MDMA and other compounds work in terms of the psychotherapeutic process.

With MDMA, the offer of the opportunity to have this optimal zone of arousal, where you are activated enough to be able to experience emotion and sit with it and so that you are not fearful of those emotions, which is helpful with PTSD.

PTSD is clearly linked with avoidance, so to be able to feel your feelings and to have that experience in an MDMA session potentially adds something important to a trauma-focused treatment. I think that is a particularly interesting way forward for the treatment.

We did this pilot trial of this couple’s treatment, Cognitive Behavioural Conjoint Therapy for PTSD. I will be doing another pilot study with Cognitive Processing Therapy, which is an individual treatment for PTSD, with MDMA.

Then there is team in the US lead by Barbara Rothbaum who is going to be combining prolonged exposure with MDMA. All three of those protocols with Cognitive Behavioural approaches will be interesting to triangulate the data to show how these different interventions that we already use in practice that do have effects: what will happen when we combine with MDMA?

Jacobsen: What are the common variables or factors – I guess we can precisely say – positively correlate with preceding PTSD – or more colloquially – cause PTSD? What are those pathways for someone ending up with PTSD? With MDMA in particular, what are the pathways in the brain to reduce those symptoms of that disorder?

Wagner: We conceptualize PTSD as a disorder of impeded recovery. The idea is that when someone experiences a traumatic event, many people will develop symptoms that look like PTSD right away if the event is severe enough. Many will continue on this course of natural recovery, and will go back to baseline. Some will not follow that natural recovery as a trajectory. The idea is that conceptually, especially with Cognitive Behavioural treatment, is that there have been difficulties with memory reconsolidation but also making meaning of the event.

There is something that has gotten stuck in terms of that recovery trajectory. The idea with our current best treatments is that they are both exposure-based like CBCT (that offers approach assignments to things that people avoid when they have PTSD) and prolonged exposure (which offers an exposure literally to the memory of the event), and use cognitive approaches that make meaning of the trauma and associated thoughts that might be associated with it: blame, acceptance, trust, control, power, intimacy, and the like. The idea with combining the treatments with MDMA is that MDMA has strong effects on the brain with the release of certain neurotransmitters that allow a more easeful experience.

As well, there is activation of the prefrontal cortex and a quieting, if you will, of the amygdala. The amygdala is very heightened in PTSD. It is the fight, flight, freeze response that goes alongside a traumatic event or stimuli.

It is like this alarm system that does not go off afterward with PTSD. When that is quieted with the help of MDMA, it is experiencing and feeling what it is to not have that alarm system go off at quite the same rate and to experience the feelings that go alongside the trauma.

We facilitate this with treatments without MDMA. But the question is, “Can you help more people or others who have not been helped with these treatments using MDMA as well?”

Jacobsen: Thank you for the opportunity and your time, Dr. Wagner.

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.

Ontario Expansion of Addiction and Harm Reduction Services

Ontario Expansion of Addiction and Harm Reduction Services

Cn Tower Canada Toronto Skyline Ontario

The province of Ontario is beginning to expand the axis to harm addiction and addiction services throughout the province. The latest data does represent the increase in opioid-related deaths. Year-by-year, the number of opioid-related deaths continues to rise in not only Ontario but across this large, underpopulated nation.

From January to October 2017, there were 1,053 opioid-related deaths. It was an increase of 52% from same range of time in 2016. In order to combat the opioid crisis, over 85 addiction and mental health providers throughout Ontario have begun to enhance the supports and treatment services for those with an opioid use disorder, or more properly a misuse disorder.

12 of those more than 85 are directed towards youth. More than 20 of those more than 85 are devoted to help with withdrawal management services. As well, more than 30 communities will be benefitting from expanded Rapid Access Addiction Medicine (RAAM) clinics in their communities.

As part of the Ontario’s Strategy to Prevent Opioid Addiction and Overdose, there will be a collaboration with Health Quality Ontario on three new opioid-related quality standards based on the most up-to-date evidence, and has been developed by people who have had addictions as well as clinical experts.

There will be a naloxone nasal spray as well as injectable kits available for free at participating pharmacies. There will be expanded public education on the access to naloxone as well as posters and brochures with various information about the prescription opioids.

More details from the release below:

Ontario has approved nearly $7 million in funding for seven supervised injection services. Five of these sites (three in Toronto and two in Ottawa) opened between August 2017 and February 2018. The province continues to accept applications.

Overdose prevention sites provide core harm reduction supports and services such as supervised injection and access to harm reduction supplies and naloxone.

On February 12, 2018, the first Overdose Prevention Site (OPS) opened in London, Ontario. The province continues to accept applications.

Health Quality Ontario and the Council of Academic Hospitals are helping to support the provincial rollout of the Rapid Access Addiction Medicine model, with funding from the province.

Over the next three years, Ontario is investing more than $222 million to combat the opioid crisis in Ontario, including expanding harm reduction services, hiring more front-line staff and improving access to addictions supports across the province.

References

Government of Ontario. (2018). Recognize and temporarily reverse an opioid overdose. Retrieved from https://www.ontario.ca/page/get-naloxone-kits-free?_ga=2.77091733.1855539337.1512070906-126235441.1484859155.

Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care. (2018, March 7). Ontario Moving Quickly to Expand Life-Saving Overdose Prevention Programs. Retrieved from https://news.ontario.ca/mohltc/en/2018/03/ontario-moving-quickly-to-expand-life-saving-overdose-prevention-programs.html.

Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care. (2016, October 12). Ontario Taking Action to Prevent Opioid Abuse. Retrieved from https://news.ontario.ca/mohltc/en/2016/10/ontario-taking-action-to-prevent-opioid-abuse.html.

Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care. (2018, January 11). Applications Now Open for Overdose Prevention Sites. Retrieved from http://www.health.gov.on.ca/en/news/bulletin/2018/hb_20180111.aspx.

Public Health Ontario. (2018, March 7). Opioid-related morbidity and mortality in Ontario. Retrieved from https://www.publichealthontario.ca/en/dataandanalytics/pages/opioid.aspx.

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.

Radical Harm Reduction Out of the Woods

Radical Harm Reduction Out of the Woods

According to the University of Victoria, some radical harm reduction practices have begun to be brought into the public eye.

For examples, and a contrast, one methodology of harm reduction can be considered non-radical, which is the provision of safe needle exchange programs in specific areas of a neighbourhood. Another aspect could include on-site trained staff and Naloxone in case of overdoses for those in need of it.

The other, or as is called radical harm reduction in some reportage, is the use of the substance, at least in the case of alcohol, to curb the negative side effects of the substance in an individual’s unfortunate addiction.

A peer-reviewed academic journal has been compiling, and is reported to have completed the task, a list of the peer-reviewed literature on MAPs or Managed Alcohol Programs, which amount to the provision of measured doses of alcohol throughout the day in individuals with severe addiction to alcohol.

Given the descriptor “radical,” this, of course, does amount to a controversial program of action or branch of harm reduction methodology. But this goes back to a question about the evidence, especially the high quality peer-reviewed evidence. What does it say about MAPs in particular and radical harm reduction methodologies in general?

Drug and Alcohol Review published a special issue with four papers by researchers “at the University of Victoria’s Canadian Institute for Substance Use Research (CISUR, formerly CARBC) from the Canadian Managed Alcohol Program Study(CMAPS), which looks at data from approximately 380 individual MAP participants and controls across the country—the largest study ever conducted.”

Bernie Pauly and Tim Stockwell at the University of Victoria, the CMAPS Principal Investigators, reported that these amount to the most significant set of publication findings in relation to the work of MAPs.

They wrote, “It’s intended to stimulate debate and focus future research on strategies to improve outcomes for this vulnerable and often under-serviced population.”

Pauly said, “The initial results are promising in reducing acute and social harms as well as economic costs… We also need to take a closer look at how we can better provide culturally appropriate care to Indigenous people and more relevant services for women.”

The work by CISUR through MAPs is seen as a “made-in-Canada harm-reduction approach,” which continues to gain recognition in the local and global arenas. Community partners are assisting with their work.

References

Canadian Institute for Substance Use Research. (2018). Canadian Institute for Substance Use Research. Retrieved from https://www.uvic.ca/research/centres/cisur/.

The Canadian Managed Alcohol Program Study (CMAPS). (2018). The Canadian Managed Alcohol Program Study (CMAPS). Retrieved from https://www.uvic.ca/research/centres/cisur/projects/map/index.php.

Shore, R. (2018, February 20). Radical harm reduction for illicit alcohol may save lives, studies find. Retrieved from http://vancouversun.com/news/local-news/radical-harm-reduction-for-illicit-alcohol-may-save-lives-studies-find.

University of Victoria News. (2018, February 19). Radical harm reduction: coming out from under the radar. Retrieved from https://www.uvic.ca/news/topics/2018+cisur-managed-alcohol-programs+media-release.

Scott Jacobsen

Scott Jacobsen

Member-at-large

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 founded In-Sight: Independent Interview-Based Journal and In-Sight Publishing. He is a Tobis Fellow (2016) at the University of California, Irvine’s (UCI) Interdisciplinary Center for the Scientific Study of Ethics and Morality (Ethics Center). He researches in the Learning Analytics Research Group, works as the Gordon Neighbourhood House Community Journalist/Blogger, researches and writes for the Marijuana Party of Canada, and is a contributor for The Voice Magazine. 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.

Moderate, Regulate Alcohol Doses Help Severe Alcoholics

Moderate, Regulate Alcohol Doses Help Severe Alcoholics

The regulated doses provided to severe alcoholics may be a solution to help the individuals suffering from alcoholism. The methodology is part of radical harm reduction, associated with harm reduction in general, and can assist in the stabilization of the lives of the alcoholics.

Four studies published by researchers from the Canadian Institute for Substance Use Research at the University of Victoria showed that radical harm reduction through the highly structured managed alcohol programs (MAPs) program can help patients in residential facilities with doses given hourly or every hour and a half.

The CISUR Director, Tim Stockwell, said, “(MAPs) can achieve significant harm-reduction objectives for this very vulnerable population… These people are experiencing a lot of harm and creating a lot of cost.”

Those who use alcohol products that are cheap tend to be the homeless, where they can fail to access the shelters available in their locale due to the extreme intoxication at times. There have been reduced harms from the MAPs methodology including “violence, alcohol poisoning and death due to exposure.”

Stockwell continued, “This solution is for a small population of people who are without housing, who can’t keep housing due to explosive drinking patterns… The program must include strategies to manage outside drinking to maximize harm reduction.”

The participants should be in the facility for an hour before receiving a dose. There is support, but highly structured access and delivery. It discourages supplementation by the severe alcoholic with “outside sources of alcohol.”

Canada has 14 MAP programs with numerous probably informal setups throughout the country. Vancouver has a formal MAP program on Station Street and an informal one several blocks away through the Vancouver Area Network of Drug Users.

There are many programs like this, formal and informal, throughout the country structured within a harm reduction and, less often, a radical harm reduction provision methodology.

References

Shore, R. (2018, February 20). Radical harm reduction for illicit alcohol may save lives, studies find. Retrieved from http://vancouversun.com/news/local-news/radical-harm-reduction-for-illicit-alcohol-may-save-lives-studies-find.

Scott Jacobsen

Scott Jacobsen

Member-at-large

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 founded In-Sight: Independent Interview-Based Journal and In-Sight Publishing. He is a Tobis Fellow (2016) at the University of California, Irvine’s (UCI) Interdisciplinary Center for the Scientific Study of Ethics and Morality (Ethics Center). He researches in the Learning Analytics Research Group, works as the Gordon Neighbourhood House Community Journalist/Blogger, researches and writes for the Marijuana Party of Canada, and is a contributor for The Voice Magazine. 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.

Harm Reduction Effective and Incomplete

Harm Reduction Effective and Incomplete

In terms of the overdose crisis, some experts claim that the innovations in the harm reduction methodology in practice do not suffice in order to reduce the opioid crisis efficiently or are limited. 
 
Of course, harm reduction policies save far more lives and reduce the harm caused from the drug misuse throughout the country, especially, in contrast, stark contrast, to the punitive approach currently in vogue within the country akin to the American system. 
 
British Columbia is host to some of the more progressive policies and practices of harm reduction including the distribution of prescription grade heroin in addition to supervised injection sites tied to vending machines. 
 
However, British Columbia is also facing one of the highest rates of death if not the highest rate of death due to overdose out of all provinces or territories with more than 1,400 people dying of illicit drug use in 2017 alone.
 

Donald MacPherson is the director of the Canadian Drug Policy Coalition. He said, “The envelope is being pushed because of the desperate situation and no one really knows what to do, because we’ve never seeing anything like this before… But if we had another public policy that had failed as dramatically as our drug policy over the past few years, we’d say this is a catastrophic failure.”

The toxicity of the drug supply is one major concern. Another major concern is the stigma attached to the drug use and misuse throughout the country. 
 
It makes the discussion difficult. It makes public action also difficult. But harm reduction, especially in British Columbia, has been a direct reaction, proactive reaction, to these for deaths in the province.
 
References
 
CBC News. (2018, January 31). More than 1,420 people died of illicit-drug overdoses in B.C. in 2017, the ‘most tragic year ever’: coroner. Retrieved from http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/british-columbia/overdose-deaths-bc-2017-1.4511918.
 
Ghoussob, 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
 
Turner, G. (2017, July 31). City, On Drugs. Retrieved from http://www.cbc.ca/radio/ondrugs/city-on-drugs-1.4230969?autoplay=true
 
Wilson, D. (2017, December 20). Could vending machines help solve B.C.’s opioid overdose crisis?. Retrieved from http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/british-columbia/dilaudid-vending-machine-solution-opioid-overdose-tyndall-1.4458358.
Scott Jacobsen

Scott Jacobsen

Member-at-Large

Scott Douglas Jacobsen is the Founder of In-Sight: Independent Interview-Based Journal and In-Sight Publishing. He 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). The 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.

Naloxone Training Provided By UFV in Chilliwack and Abbotsford (BC)

Naloxone Training Provided By UFV in Chilliwack and Abbotsford (BC)

The University of the Fraser Valley is offering a harm reduction initiative with provisions of naloxone training as well as take-home naloxone (THN) kits . This initiative’s training in Naloxone use will happen in Abbotsford and Chilliwack.

The Opioid and Naloxone Awareness Day event will take place on March 5. The University of the Fraser Valley Project is a student-driven Project grounded in harm reduction philosophy and practice.

This is becoming an increasing phenomenon throughout the country. The event will include interactive educational booths. UFV Social Work students will help with the event. One of their social work students, Amanda Ellsworth, considers this the most important time in order to equip and educate undergraduate peers.

“Students are coming out of high schools, or from international schools,” Ellsworth explained, “who have never been trained on recognizing the signs of an opioid overdose. If they see one happening, and have a naloxone kit with training, we might save lives.”

There has been prior naloxone training on campus through the UFV Peer Resource and Leadership Centre in addition to guidance from Bethany Jeal who is a UFV Nursing faculty member. Jeal hopes this event will provide training and reduce stigma as well.

The general public is allowed to attend, but the emphasis is on university of the Fraser Valley faculty, staff, and students. Preference is for RSVPs. However, people that want to drop in can do so as well. RSVPs will simply amount to a courtesy. The naloxone training will happen with trained UFV nursing students.

Event information here:

“Monday, March 5 at 11:30 a.m. and 1:30 p.m. in B121 on the Abbotsford campus, 11:30 a.m. in A0014 on the Chilliwack Canada Education Park campus, and 1:30 p.m. in Room 1001 on the Chilliwack Trades and Technology campus.”

If you would like to RSVP, please go to the link here:

mycampuslife.ufv.ca

If you would like to contact the PRLC coordinator, please send an email here:

Ashley.WardHall@ufv.ca or thn@ufv.ca

References

The Chilliwack Progress. (2018, March 2). UFV harm reduction initiative offers free Naloxone training and kits. Retrieved from https://www.theprogress.com/news/ufv-harm-reduction-initiative-offers-free-naloxone-training-and-kits/.

Scott Jacobsen

Scott Jacobsen

Member-at-large

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 founded In-Sight: Independent Interview-Based Journal and In-Sight Publishing. He is a Tobis Fellow (2016) at the University of California, Irvine’s (UCI) Interdisciplinary Center for the Scientific Study of Ethics and Morality (Ethics Center). He researches in the Learning Analytics Research Group, works as the Gordon Neighbourhood House Community Journalist/Blogger, researches and writes for the Marijuana Party of Canada, and is a contributor for The Voice Magazine. 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.

The Death of Raffi Balian

The Death of Raffi Balian

There was the death of a harm reductionworker. T​he man was Raffi Balian who died, recently. T​here was the Drug Users’ Memorial on Friday February 16th at the South Riverdale Community Health Center or SRCHC.

Many spoke about the impact of this harm reduction worker and lifelong advocate for those who are users and even misusers of drugs. Balian was one of the founders and the coordinator of the SRCHC award-winning COUNTERfit harm reduction program.

Recently, it had expanded to include a safe-injection service called KeepSIX. Unfortunately, at the age of 60, Balian died on attending a national about supervised consumption. The day of death was February 16th.

There were about 50 people who mourned the death in the Leslieville centre. There were songs, prayers, a smudge ceremony, as well as the reminiscences of the good times. Carol Lee who is the person who runs the SRCHC Drug Users’ Memorial Project talked about the “ruthless war on drugs.”

Lee read a few lines that Balian wrote in May of 2012 as well. A well-known harm reduction worker in Toronto who co-founded the Moss Park overdose prevention site name is Zoe Dodd talked about the untimely death of Balian as well as the loss of others that she knew and cared for.

Often, there is a focus on the people who misuse drugs, overdose, and even die without appropriate trained care and naloxone present. However, there are the long-term advocates and workers.

Here we are dealing with the death of a highly valued member on the other side, someone who impacted the lives of the users that worked to improve their own livelihood, even hoping to save some lives.

Unfortunately, those who are helping those who misuse substance can die in the midst of their own advocacy at work as well. “Today we are remembering people who have been lost to us. … people who have been prematurely robbed of their lives,” said Lynne Raskin, SRCHC’s executive director. 

References

Lavoie, J. (2014, February 21). Harm reduction worker remembered at Leslieville memorial. Retrieved from https://www.toronto.com/news-story/8145017-harm-reduction-worker-remembered-at-leslieville-memorial/.

Scott Jacobsen

Scott Jacobsen

Member-at-large

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 founded In-Sight: Independent Interview-Based Journal and In-Sight Publishing. He is a Tobis Fellow (2016) at the University of California, Irvine’s (UCI) Interdisciplinary Center for the Scientific Study of Ethics and Morality (Ethics Center). He researches in the Learning Analytics Research Group, works as the Gordon Neighbourhood House Community Journalist/Blogger, researches and writes for the Marijuana Party of Canada, and is a contributor for The Voice Magazine. 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.

Psychedelic Career Day: March 3, 2018

Psychedelic Career Day: March 3, 2018

Psychedelic Career Day is hosted by the Toronto Psychedelic Society on March 3, 2018 via Zoomm in a webinar. There will, in addition to the Zoom webinar, be a live event hosted at the University of Toronto.

The Keynote address will be by Dr. Ben Sessa. After the keynote address by Dr. Sessa, the Psychedelic Career Day will be hosted by Daniel Greig from Canadian Students for Sensible Drug Policy. The panel will include individuals including Rita Kočárová, David Wilder, Dr. Anne Wagner, Trevor Millar, and Alison McMahon.

Many people interested in psychedelia can go by the title “psychonauts.” One reason for this event is to discuss and present the experiences of those who have gone into the world and build a life for themselves in areas less well-trodden. How do you build an academic or professional career in the realm of psychedelia?

Psychdelic Career Day is one effort to bridge that gap and define some paths forward, especially in the university research system for work and investigation in-depth into psychedelics.

You can find more information out about the event here:

Events

Good wishes and see you there!

Scott Jacobsen

Scott Jacobsen

Member-at-large

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 founded In-Sight: Independent Interview-Based Journal and In-Sight Publishing. He is a Tobis Fellow (2016) at the University of California, Irvine’s (UCI) Interdisciplinary Center for the Scientific Study of Ethics and Morality (Ethics Center). He researches in the Learning Analytics Research Group, works as the Gordon Neighbourhood House Community Journalist/Blogger, researches and writes for the Marijuana Party of Canada, and is a contributor for The Voice Magazine. 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.

David Wilder Interview on Psychedelic Career Day

David Wilder Interview on Psychedelic Career Day

Image Credit: Joel Tonyan.

Scott Douglas Jacobsen: How did you become interested in the discipline of psychedelia?

David Wilder: I was actually pretty opposed to all drug use when I grew up and it wasn’t until I got to college and began experimenting with drinking alcohol that I loosened up enough to try cannabis a few times. It didn’t have much effect on me the first few times (probably because I wasn’t actually inhaling properly), and eventually the people I was hanging out with bought some salvia divinorum to try. Without any knowledge of what I was getting into, I joined them one time while they were smoking the extract and ended up having an extremely intense out-of-body experience where I was looking down on myself from above. That experience threw me for quite a loop and gave me a lot to think about. Later that summer I traveled to Europe and purchased some psilocybin mushrooms from a smart shop in Amsterdam. I ate them and had a life-changing transformative trip which showed me quite a few things that I needed to work on. When I got back to America, I became somewhat obsessed with learning as much as I could about psychedelics, reading lots of books, watching tons of videos, and listening to podcasts about psychedelics. It’s been over ten years since that summer back in college and I’m still consuming a lot of psychedelic content to learn as much as I can.

Jacobsen: What is the purpose and content of Psychedelic Career Day?

Wilder: This event is designed to facilitate a conversation about how people can create a career related to psychedelics. I’m a freelance writer that spends a significant amount of time writing about psychedelics, and the rest of the panel consists of psychedelic researchers, an event organizer, an entrepreneur, and a ibogaine facilitator. I’m very interested in what these panelists have to say about their own careers, and hope that as a group we are able to give some inspiration to people out there who are wondering what type of psychedelic career they can create.

Jacobsen: You have a wide range of interests including “music, reading and writing, plant-based diets, fitness, meditation and yoga, psychoactive drugs, gardening, alternative economics and self-development.” How does Think Wilder provide an outlet these?

Wilder: My blog Think Wilder is a place where I can write about my interests in an effort to spread information to others. I have a weekly “This Week in Psychedelics” column where I link to a wide variety of psychedelic-related articles that show up each week in the news. Some of these articles focus on the risks that can come from taking psychedelics, while others delve into their benefits. The column is intended to catalogue how psychedelics are presented by the mass media, which includes everything from the latest scientific research to misinformation. I also write a weekly “Weekend Thoughts” column, which briefly talks about some of the things that have happened in the previous week. That column tends to focus a lot on news about technology, which is another topic I’m very interested in. In addition to those two weekly columns, I have published a few “how to” articles about various meditation techniques and several book reviews that cover the topics that you mentioned. Ultimately, my blog is a place for me to work on my writing ability and express the things that I’m thinking about to the wider world.

Jacobsen: What will be your own contribution to the panel?

Wilder: I will be speaking for 5-10 minutes about my personal background and history with psychedelics before diving into some of the tips and tricks that I wrote about in my “Continuing Further Education with Psychedelics” article that is published on Psychedelic Times and then talking about a few psychedelic careers that are options for people who want to create a psychedelic career. Although I don’t have the same wealth of professional experiences with psychedelics that the other panelists have, I’m hoping that talking about my story as a freelance writer will help upcoming psychedelic content creators to think about how they can carve out their own careers.

Jacobsen: How do you hope to help the younger generations explore the world of psychedelia?

Wilder: My hope is that we see a lot of different types of careers bloom out of the psychedelic community. One potential path that younger people can take is to study psychedelics in college and become psychedelic researchers or trained therapists that can help people integrate their psychedelic experiences. In addition, some people may want to get involved with drug policy work, while others could become content creators and help expand the conversation about psychedelics even further. It’s an exciting time to be involved, because although there are a ton of options available to pursue.

Jacobsen: Any final thoughts or feelings in conclusion?

Wilder: I think that about sums it up for me. Thank you for taking the time to speak with me today, and I am looking forward to participating in the webinar!

Scott Jacobsen

Scott Jacobsen

Member-at-large

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 founded In-Sight: Independent Interview-Based Journal and In-Sight Publishing. He is a Tobis Fellow (2016) at the University of California, Irvine’s (UCI) Interdisciplinary Center for the Scientific Study of Ethics and Morality (Ethics Center). He researches in the Learning Analytics Research Group, works as the Gordon Neighbourhood House Community Journalist/Blogger, researches and writes for the Marijuana Party of Canada, and is a contributor for The Voice Magazine. 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.