LONDON - Homeless drug users in Scotland will be allowed to inject
pharmaceutical-grade heroin twice a day under the supervision of
medical officials as part of a new program intended to reduce drug
deaths and H.I.V. infection.
From 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. seven days a week, a $1.5 million facility in
Glasgow that opened on Tuesday will allow a handful of drug users to
receive doses of the drug alongside other treatment for their physical
and psychological health, according to Glasgow City Council.
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LONDON - Cannabis-based medicines were approved on Monday for use by
the National Health Service in England and Wales, a milestone decision
that could change the lives of thousands of patients.
Three treatments using medicinal cannabis were authorized by the
National Institute for Health and Care Excellence, a public body that
provides guidance on health care practices. The decision comes a year
after Sajid Javid, then the British home secretary, said that some doctors
could legally prescribe the drug in special cases.
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Drug laws should be designed to minimise damage. This might sound
obvious. But the UK's drug laws - along with those of most other
countries - arguably do not have this effect. Indeed there is a
strong argument that in many respects the blanket prohibition, under
criminal statutes, of substances from cannabis to heroin along with
the myriad synthetic substances now widely used to mimic their
effects, does more harm than good.
This is not a novel point of view. Drug experts in the UK and around
the world have been pointing out the flaws and inconsistencies in
current policies for ages, with former Colombian president, Juan
Manuel Santos, among those who have argued for a new approach focused
on human rights and public health. In the UK, polls show a majority
supports liberalisation of the law on cannabis, following the example
of countries including Portugal. But since this shift in public
attitudes has so far been ignored by the Home Office, which instead
brought in a sweeping ban on so-called "legal highs"=9D in 2016, this
week's call for reform by a cross-party trio of MPs is refreshing.
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New trials have shown the drug psilocybin to be highly effective in
treating depression, with Oakland the latest US city to in effect
decriminalise it last week. Some researchers say it could become
'indefensible' to ignore the evidence - but how would it work as a
Lying on a bed in London's Hammersmith hospital ingesting capsules of
psilocybin, the active ingredient of magic mushrooms, Michael had
little idea what would happen next. The 56-year-old part-time website
developer from County Durham in northern England had battled
depression for 30 years and had tried talking therapies and many types
of antidepressant with no success. His mother's death from cancer,
followed by a friend's suicide, had left him at one of his lowest
points yet. Searching online to see if mushrooms sprouting in his yard
were the hallucinogenic variety, he had come across a pioneering
medical trial at Imperial College London.
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