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1 Canada: Dispensaries Count Down To LegalizationSat, 22 Apr 2017
Source:Globe and Mail (Canada) Author:Hager, Mike Area:Canada Lines:156 Added:04/24/2017

A siege-like atmosphere pervades cannabis shops still in operation as they contend with threats from armed thieves, and the city

After the battering ram smashed through the front door, the officers quickly rounded up everyone and handcuffed them inside the small shop at Yonge and Wellesley.

The customers were soon let go, but Neev Tapiero, the owner of Cannabis As Living Medicine (CALM), Toronto's oldest dispensary, was held under arrest for three hours and charged with drug trafficking as part of a one-day crackdown on 43 marijuana dispensaries last May. Federal drug prosecutors have since stayed or withdrawn charges on 36 of the people nabbed in the citywide sweep while another 10 still face trial for selling marijuana outside Ottawa's mail-order system for registered medica lcannabis patients.

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2 CN QU: Editorial: Legal Pot? Are We Tripping, Or What?Tue, 18 Apr 2017
Source:Record, The (CN QU) Author:Black, Peter Area:Quebec Lines:91 Added:04/19/2017

"Far out, man!" That's likely what teenaged me would have said if a visitor from the future had said Prime Minister Trudeau had legalized marijuana in 2018. Then I might have said "What? Trudeau is still prime minister?" Then, "Wow, this is some boss weed if I'm talking to some dude from the future." I might have added "Hey, visitor, when did the Leafs win their next Cup?"

Truth be told, your scribe was not much of stoner in his youth, though he effected some of the look and lifestyle. Long hair. Check. Tie-dyed shirts. Check. Bare-foot summers. Check. But a regular consumer of marijuana products? Pas a mon gout. Didn't really have the mental constitution for it. In fact, it's always been a mystery, and the subject of mountains of research, how people react differently when tetrahydrocannabinol hits their bloodstream.

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3CN ON: Fighting Fire With FireMon, 17 Apr 2017
Source:Ottawa Citizen (CN ON) Author:Miller, Jacquie Area:Ontario Lines:Excerpt Added:04/19/2017

Medical marijuana may assist in keeping addicts off dangerous opioids.

The patients at Dr. Mark Ujjainwalla's methadone clinic are trying to beat their addiction to heroin, narcotic painkillers and other opioid drugs, but most of them still smoke pot.

He estimates that 90 per cent of his patients at the Recovery Ottawa clinic on Montreal Road already use marijuana, and he's begun writing prescriptions so they can buy it legally.

Medical marijuana, used appropriately, can reduce insomnia, anxiety and cravings for opioids, says Ujjainwalla. Marijuana cannot replace methadone or suboxone, the drugs he uses to treat addicts, he says.

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4CN BC: One Year Later, 919 More DeathsSun, 16 Apr 2017
Source:Victoria Times-Colonist (CN BC) Author:Petrescu, Sarah Area:British Columbia Lines:Excerpt Added:04/19/2017

Health officer says situation is worsening despite bold initiatives, partly due to rise in carfentanil in B.C.

It's been a year since provincial health officer Dr. Perry Kendall declared the spike in overdose deaths a public health emergency.

But despite major efforts and resources, there is no end in sight.

"I had hoped for a different outcome," Kendall said. "Tragically, in that 12-month period, we have seen an additional 919 deaths."

A total of 922 people died from illicit drug-related overdoses in B.C. last year, compared with 513 in 2015 and 366 in 2014. This year could be even worse: In January and February alone, 219 people died.

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5CN AB: 'There Wasn't This Escalation In Crime'Fri, 14 Apr 2017
Source:Calgary Herald (CN AB) Author:Cole, Yolande Area:Alberta Lines:Excerpt Added:04/19/2017

Calgary's police chief is backing calls for a local site where drug users could consume substances under medical supervision. Roger Chaffin said preliminary discussions are underway about what a supervised consumption site in the city will look like. He added that police will work to ensure that community members feel safe.

Dr. Thomas Kerr is the co-director of the Addiction and Urban Health Research Initiative at the British Columbia Centre for Excellence in HIV/AIDS and the principal investigator of several large cohort studies involving people who inject drugs and people living with HIV/AIDS. He spoke to Postmedia about community concerns when supervised injection facility Insite was established in Vancouver's Downtown Eastside in 2003.

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6 CN BC: Edu: Column: Deadly DopingMon, 10 Apr 2017
Source:Capilano Courier, The (CN BC Edu) Author:Beyleveldt, Christine Area:British Columbia Lines:138 Added:04/13/2017

Knowing the signs of an overdose can save someone's life, especially with inconspicuous opioids like Fentanyl lurking in common street drugs. It begins with high-like symptoms - euphoria, relaxation and drowsiness, and cedes to shortened breath, a slowed heart rate and unconsciousness. The effects of Fentanyl set in quickly. The trouble is, anyone can fall prey because the opioid often goes undetected until it's too late.

Fentanyl is laced into illicit street drugs to enhance their effect. Originally a pain medication used as an anaesthetic, it's 50 to 100 times stronger than Morphine. Because it's so potent, the drug comes in small doses, often concealed in silica gel sachets discreetly marked that can't be seized at the Canadian border.

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7 Canada: Column: Why Stop With Pot? Let's Decriminalize All DrugsTue, 11 Apr 2017
Source:Globe and Mail (Canada) Author:Picard, Andre Area:Canada Lines:106 Added:04/13/2017

Canada is preparing to legalize and regulate possession of marijuana - with a target date of July 1, 2018.

It's a long overdue public policy with sound economic and health arguments to back it up, notably: More harm is caused by criminal prohibition and prosecution than the use of marijuana itself; Criminal laws prohibiting possession do not deter use; Decriminalization of possession does not lead to greater use; Decriminalization frees up resources for police and the courts to deal with more serious crimes;

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8CN BC: Opioid Crisis Has Gone ProvincewideThu, 13 Apr 2017
Source:Province, The (CN BC) Author:Fumano, Dan Area:British Columbia Lines:Excerpt Added:04/13/2017

In 2016, 11 regions have gone beyond 15 overdose deaths, medical officials say

Health experts painted a grim picture Wednesday morning as they updated Vancouver's mayor and council on an ongoing opioid crisis that has spread from its "epicentre" in the Downtown Eastside to touch every part of the province.

Provincial health officer Dr. Perry Kendall addressed a sombre Vancouver council chamber Wednesday, almost a year to the day after he announced a public health emergency in response to what he called at the time, "the recent surge of overdoses."

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9 CN BC: Pending Cuts Could Cripple Fentanyl FightThu, 13 Apr 2017
Source:Castlegar News (CN BC) Author:Novak, Chelsea Area:British Columbia Lines:205 Added:04/13/2017

In the midst of the fentanyl crisis, a local organization that provides overdose training and harm reduction is bracing for the loss of a major chunk of its funding.

ANKORS (AIDS Network Kootenay Outreach and Support Society) was founded in 1992 at the height of the HIV/AIDS crisis and provides services around HIV and Hepatitis C, harm reduction and prevention education. Originally established in Castlegar, the organization now has offices in Cranbrook and Nelson, and between the two may soon lose five employees and a significant part of its funding.

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10 Canada: Science Is Still Hazy As Legal Pot LoomsSun, 09 Apr 2017
Source:Toronto Star (CN ON) Author:Allen, Kate Area:Canada Lines:316 Added:04/12/2017

As Ottawa readies legislation, researchers say there are gaps in understanding its effect on brain

After punching a string of numbers into a bolted-down, fireproof, alarm-protected safe - the location of which can't be divulged for security reasons - Steven Laviolette pulls out a tiny vial. Inside that vial is an even tinier dab of dark tar. The tar is purified THC, the mind-altering compound in marijuana.

The street price for a gram of weed is about $10. A gram of this stuff costs about $2,000, not counting the cost of the researcher's time acquiring it. Laviolette, a professor in the departments of anatomy and cell biology and psychiatry at Western University's Schulich School of Medicine and Dentistry, studies the effects of marijuana on the brain. His lab is investigating the troubling brain changes associated with THC, and also - a rapidly growing avenue of research - the very different and perhaps protective brain changes associated with cannabidiol, or CBD, another compound found in the plant.

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11 CN ON: Questions Abound On Legalized PotMon, 03 Apr 2017
Source:Sudbury Star (CN ON) Author:Leeson, Ben Area:Ontario Lines:124 Added:04/08/2017

Excuse James Gough if he's more cautious and less optimistic about the federal government's plans to legalize marijuana by July 2018.

The 54-year-old Sudburian has grown his own marijuana for years as part of his treatment for HIV and believes anyone else should be able to do the same.

"I don't know why these dispensary busts are still happening," said Gough, pointing to recent raids on store-front facilities in southern Ontario. "What a total waste of taxpayer resources.

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12US GA: Compromise Reached On Medical PotFri, 17 Mar 2017
Source:Atlanta Journal-Constitution (GA) Author:Torres, Kristina Area:Georgia Lines:Excerpt Added:03/17/2017

Lawmakers appear to have reached a compromise Thursday that would expand Georgia's medical marijuana law.

The agreement over Senate Bill 16 would add six illnesses and conditions eligible for treatment with medical marijuana in Georgia to include Alzheimer's disease, AIDS, autism, epidermolysis bullosa, peripheral neuropathy and Tourette's syndrome. It would additionally allow use for patients in hospice care, according to both state Sen. Ben Watson, R-Savannah, and state Rep. Allen Peake, R-Macon.

It would also keep the maximum allowable THC percentage in the form of cannabis oil allowed here at 5 percent.

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13CN AB: Column: If Scourge Of Opioid Deaths Isn't An Emergency, ThenTue, 07 Mar 2017
Source:Calgary Herald (CN AB) Author:Braid, Don Area:Alberta Lines:Excerpt Added:03/09/2017

Some columns are hard to write because it's almost impossible to stop watching the events that propel them.

That's the way it was with Monday's emergency legislature debate on opioid addiction and deaths.

It was fascinating, emotional, moving and very informative. It might have surprised many Albertans who think politicians have no clue about real life.

MLAs on all sides - Wildrose, PC, Alberta Party, Liberal and NDP - have seen the carnage close up.

Progressive Conservative MLA Rick Fraser, a former EMS worker, recalled arriving at a residence to find a 14-year-old boy who'd seemed perfectly normal when he arrived home, only to die shortly afterward in the basement.

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14 CN BC: PM Attends Roundtable On Opioid CrisisSat, 04 Mar 2017
Source:Globe and Mail (Canada) Author:Woo, Andrea Area:British Columbia Lines:103 Added:03/06/2017

Attendees at the meeting urged Trudeau to consider extra funding and expanded access to injectable opioid treatment

Canada's Prime Minister and Minister of Defence met with people on the front lines of B.C.'s overdose crisis on Friday, listening as they spoke candidly about the urgent need to scale up treatment options, the province's record death toll and the emotional impact it's had on first responders.

But while those who attended the meeting in the Downtown Eastside clinic said the visit by Justin Trudeau and Harjit Sajjan was appreciated and deeply meaningful, the Prime Minister offered no promises on specific requests, such as dedicated funding for, and reduced barriers to, heroin-assisted treatment.

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15 CN ON: 'Where's The Fent?'Sat, 04 Mar 2017
Source:Ottawa Sun (CN ON) Author:Gillis, Megan Area:Ontario Lines:65 Added:03/06/2017

AIDS Committee of Ottawa offering strips to test urine

A project launched this week by the AIDS Committee of Ottawa is offering urine test strips that reveal to people who have used drugs whether they've been unwittingly exposed to the powerful opioid fentanyl.

"We're hoping to give community members a free and simple way to find out whether or not they've been exposed to fentanyl through recent substance use and we're also hoping, if we can, to collect a bit of data on what those results might be," explained ACO harm reduction co-ordinator Caleb Chepesiuk.

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16CN ON: Test Strips Let Users See If They've Been Exposed To FentanylSat, 04 Mar 2017
Source:Ottawa Citizen (CN ON) Author:Gillis, Megan Area:Ontario Lines:Excerpt Added:03/06/2017

AIDS committee hopes to use results for study

A project launched this week by the AIDS Committee of Ottawa is offering urine test strips that reveal to people who have used drugs whether they've been unwittingly exposed to the powerful opioid fentanyl.

"We're hoping to give community members a free and simple way to find out whether or not they've been exposed to fentanyl through recent substance use and we're also hoping, if we can, to collect a bit of data on what those results might be," ACO harm reduction coordinator Caleb Chepesiuk said.

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17 CN ON: Health Board Hears Of Harm-Reduction StrategyThu, 02 Mar 2017
Source:Northumberland Today (CN ON) Author:MacDonald, Valerie Area:Ontario Lines:65 Added:03/06/2017

PORT HOPE - Naloxone, administered as a nasal spray or by needle, is being distributed to stakeholders in the community (including emergency responder), to temporarily reverse the effects of an opioid overdose, says Peterborough AIDS Resource Network prevention and education co-ordinator, Chris Jardin -a membert of the Harm Reduction Programming Committee of the Haliburton, Kawartha, Pine Ridge District Health Unit.

But Jardin says it should be spread more widely.

Key training is taking place among the key stakeholders of the communities in the tri-county area of the health unit, Hardin said, and the Port Hope-based health unit itself will become a distributing site for Naloxone.

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18 CN BC: Substance Users Lose A Devoted AdvocateSat, 25 Feb 2017
Source:Toronto Star (CN ON) Author:Brait, Ellen Area:British Columbia Lines:122 Added:02/27/2017

A celebration of Balian's life to be held Saturday afternoon

Raffi Balian, a fierce advocate for harm reduction and the rights of drug users, died on Feb.16 in Vancouver, according to the B.C. Coroners Service. He was 60 years old.

Balian was attending a national meeting about supervised drug consumption services at the time. He died from an "accidental overdose," according to a release from the South Riverdale Community Health Centre, but the B.C. Coroners Service said a definite cause of death has not yet been determined.

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19 US: When Older Age Comes With Daily Doses Of Medical MarijuanaMon, 20 Feb 2017
Source:New York Times (NY) Author:Hu, Winnie Area:United States Lines:193 Added:02/25/2017

Ruth Brunn finally said yes to marijuana. She is 98.

She pops a green pill filled with cannabis oil into her mouth with a sip of vitamin water. Then Ms. Brunn, who has neuropathy, settles back in her wheelchair and waits for the jabbing pain in her shoulders, arms and hands to ebb.

"I don't feel high or stoned," she said. "All I know is I feel better when I take this."

Ms. Brunn will soon have company. The nursing home in New York City where she lives, the Hebrew Home at Riverdale, is taking the unusual step of helping its residents use medical marijuana under a new program to treat various illnesses with an alternative to prescription drugs. While the staff will not store or administer pot, residents are allowed to buy it from a dispensary, keep it in locked boxes in their rooms and take it on their own.

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20 Fiji: Counting On The Trendy To Revive Kava, A Traditional DrinkFri, 24 Feb 2017
Source:New York Times (NY) Author:Solomon, Serena Area:Fiji Lines:150 Added:02/24/2017

VATUKALO, Fiji - Before kava makes its way to a new wave of trendy bars in places like Brooklyn and Berkeley, Calif., it must be nurtured and plucked by people like Livai Tavesivesi.

A sun-weathered farmer on the Fijian island of Ovalau, Mr. Tavesivesi, 47, once farmed kava - the main ingredient in a drink long used by residents to attain a mellow buzz - much the way people here did for centuries. First, he washed its gnarled roots in a nearby river. Then he diced them, dried them in the sun and pounded them into powder with a tabili, a supersize mortar and pestle. Finally, he carried it three miles into town to be sold. "If we didn't have a horse or car, we had to carry it," he said.

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