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1CN BC: Music Festivals Arm For Overdose RiskFri, 02 Jun 2017
Source:Victoria Times-Colonist (CN BC) Author:Petrescu, Sarah Area:British Columbia Lines:Excerpt Added:06/06/2017

'The new reality': Fentanyl test strips and naloxone kits are part of the mix

Vancouver Island music festivals are stepping up harm-reduction measures with fentanyl test strips, more naloxone kits and outreach in light of B.C.'s drug overdose crisis.

"If you're a festival organizer, it's imperative to have this on your radar. This is the new reality," said Emmalee Brunt, communications manager for the Tall Tree Music Festival.

The festival takes place in Port Renfrew from June 23 to 26 and is expected to draw about 3,000 people.

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2CN BC: OPED: Our Approach To Opioid Addiction Isn't WorkingFri, 26 May 2017
Source:Province, The (CN BC) Author:Oviedo-Joekes, Eugenia Area:British Columbia Lines:Excerpt Added:05/29/2017

"Yes, and how many deaths will it take till he knows, That too many people have died?" - Bob Dylan, Blowin' in the Wind

Beginning in 1993, Justice Horace Krever led a Royal Commission of Inquiry into the tainted-blood scandal in Canada. Inquiries were held in other countries. One of the key questions was why people with hemophilia were forced to continue to inject blood products that were not screened for HIV, when newer and safer products were already available.

Criminal charges were laid in a number of settings. The Canadian Red Cross pleaded guilty to the crime of distributing a contaminated drug and made a large donation in exchange for six criminal charges being dropped.

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3 CN BC: VANDU Names First Aboriginal PresidentThu, 25 May 2017
Source:Georgia Straight, The (CN BC) Author:Lupick, Travis Area:British Columbia Lines:73 Added:05/29/2017

At her office in the Downtown Eastside, Lorna Bird argued that Canada's drug laws actually hurt people a lot more than the drugs themselves.

"I lost two daughters to the war on drugs," she told the Georgia Straight.

The first one died of AIDS in 1994. Bird explained that at the time, Vancouver needle-exchange programs operated with a strict one-for-one requirement. That forced intravenous drug users to share dirty needles, spreading HIV.

In 2008, another daughter died of an overdose. Bird maintained that if she had been able to purchase drugs legally, from a supply that was regulated and, therefore, clean, she would still be alive today.

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4CN BC: Canada Urged To Set Up More Drug ClinicsSun, 28 May 2017
Source:Province, The (CN BC) Author:Bains, Camille Area:British Columbia Lines:Excerpt Added:05/28/2017

European experts say facilities like Vancouver's Crosstown can save lives, money in battling opioid crisis

Addiction experts from five European countries say their experience with prescription heroin programs have provided overwhelming evidence to suggest Canada should expand its one clinic to tackle the deadly opioid crisis.

Researchers from the Netherlands, Denmark, Germany, Switzerland, the United Kingdom and Canada held a symposium in Vancouver on Friday to share lessons they've learned from multiple clinical trials and years of treatment.

Wim van den Brink of the Netherlands told a news conference that some European programs started as a way to deal with the public nuisance of drug use but the medical health benefits improved people's quality of life and saved money in the criminal justice system.

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5 CN ON: OPED: Don't Criminalize Drug UsersSat, 27 May 2017
Source:Observer, The (CN ON) Author:Lester, Brian Area:Ontario Lines:76 Added:05/27/2017

The article Needles the cause, cure (May 23) postulates possible reasons for higher rates of HIV and hepatitis C virus in London.

As an organization that advocates with and for people who inject drugs ( PWID), we note that, while unsafe injection practices may be a potential driver of these increased rates, it is probably not the only influence. There are multiple social and systemic influences that may not only contribute to the increase of disease, but also contribute to overall diminished health of those who inject drugs.

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6 CN SN: PUB LTE: No Need For Deaths By Drug OverdoesSat, 27 May 2017
Source:StarPhoenix, The (CN SN) Author:Sailor, Ken Area:Saskatchewan Lines:47 Added:05/27/2017

"'It's a try-and-die drug': Fentanyl is suspected in weekend overdose death" (SP, May 9) documents our cruel and ineffective drug policy.

Overdose deaths are completely avoidable, as is the spread of AIDS and hepatitis C through drug use. These problems are caused by prohibition of drugs, not the drugs themselves.

Drug policies other than prohibition have been tried, studied, and shown to have great success, if success means fewer addicts and far less crime and corruption.

When prescription heroin was provided in Manchester, England, crime fell in some neighbourhoods by 80 per cent.

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7 Canada: Supervised-Injection Sites ExpandedSat, 27 May 2017
Source:Globe and Mail (Canada) Author:Woo, Andrea Area:Canada Lines:102 Added:05/27/2017

Ottawa broadens overdose-prevention program, approving three more locations for Vancouver region, one for Montreal

The federal government has approved four more supervised-injection sites - three in the Vancouver region and one in Montreal - in its latest effort to combat an escalating overdose crisis across the country.

The new round of approvals brings the number of federally sanctioned sites to nine, significantly expanding what was once a radical intervention limited to a single location in Vancouver's Downtown Eastside. Such facilities, run by local health agencies, allow users to consume illicit drugs in the presence of health workers who can intervene in the event of an overdose.

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8 CN ON: OPED: Don't Criminalize Drug UsersSat, 27 May 2017
Source:London Free Press (CN ON) Author:Lester, Brian Area:Ontario Lines:77 Added:05/27/2017

The article Needles the cause, cure (May 23) postulates possible reasons for higher rates of HIV and hepatitis C virus in London.

As an organization that advocates with and for people who inject drugs (PWID), we note that, while unsafe injection practices may be a potential driver of these increased rates, it is probably not the only influence. There are multiple social and systemic influences that may not only contribute to the increase of disease, but also contribute to overall diminished health of those who inject drugs.

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9 CN PI: OPED: Time To Focus On PreventablesSat, 20 May 2017
Source:Journal-Pioneer, The (CN PI) Author:Colohan, Desmond Area:Prince Edward Island Lines:92 Added:05/24/2017

In a recent Canadian Public Health Association discussion paper, "A New Approach to Managing Illegal Psychoactive Substances in Canada," the point was made emphatically that our current approach to managing risk is not working.

Here are some of its highlights:

- - A psychoactive substance is a chemical that changes brain function and results in alterations in perception, mood, consciousness or behaviour. Societies mitigate the health, social, and economic consequences of the use and misuse of psychoactive substances such as alcohol, tobacco, cannabis, opioids, amphetamines, cocaine, tranquillizers and sleeping pills in a variety of ways with varying degrees of success. Their effects on population health, however, are often overshadowed by our fascination with the direct effects of substance misuse on individuals [e.g. recent rise in the opioid death rate due to adulteration of the drug supply with fentanyl and its analogues]. Currently, western societies manage illegal psychoactive substances largely through prohibition and criminalization and legal drugs, like tobacco and alcohol, through regulation, restricted availability and price control. The laws and systems initially introduced to control these substances reflected the times ! and prevalent issues of the day, but no longer reflect current scientific knowledge concerning substance-related harms to individuals, families, or communities.

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10CN BC: For Cannabis Crusader, Time To Call It A DaySun, 21 May 2017
Source:Victoria Times-Colonist (CN BC) Author:Watts, Richard Area:British Columbia Lines:Excerpt Added:05/24/2017

With major marijuana changes in the air, Ted Smith says moment is right to bow out

Ted Smith, Victoria's longtime cannabis crusader, is calling an end to his activist career.

On Saturday, the 47-year-old got together with friends in Beacon Hill Park to offer thanks, share memories and, of course, enjoy a few joints.

The time, 4:20 p.m. - once a release time from high school detentions - - was selected in remembrance of past misadventures with the rules.

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11 CN BC: Richard's Rant Is Over Aids Activist DiesSat, 20 May 2017
Source:Daily Courier, The (CN BC) Author:Plant, Don Area:British Columbia Lines:75 Added:05/24/2017

Richard's rant is over. Richard Babcock, the tell-it-like-it-is AIDS activist who started the Okanagan's first compassion club, was penniless and living in a storage locker shortly before he died of pneumonia last month. He was 57. He chose to buy a vehicle instead of pay rent so he could get to his doctors' appointments, said his sister, Melody Kelly.

As a young man in the '90s, Babcock visited prostitutes and used needles to inject the cocaine he craved. Soon after he was diagnosed with AIDS, he became clean and started advocating for others afflicted with the disease. He could be abrasive, but at his core he was "just another human being - not as self-centred or as ignorant as I was," he said in a 2005 interview.

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12 Canada: Editorial: Declare A Health Emergency, YesterdayTue, 23 May 2017
Source:Globe and Mail (Canada)          Area:Canada Lines:111 Added:05/23/2017

In 2015, more Canadians were killed by opioid-related overdoses than lost their lives at the height of the HIV/AIDS epidemic. In 1995, at the peak of that earlier public-health disaster, 1,764 Canadians were killed by the blood-borne virus. The latest estimates are that opioids claimed the lives of more than 2,000 Canadians in 2015.

And all indications are that the death toll is rising, not falling. Part of the problem may have to do with this: Doctors are not just prescribing opioids, but prescribing them widely and liberally. For example, the number of prescriptions for opioids and their derivatives increased 5 per cent in Ontario over the three years ending 2015-16. Last year, Ontario doctors wrote 9.1 million orders for opioid painkillers.

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13 CN ON: OPED: Fentanyl Crisis Mistakes Echo Response To HIV/AidsSun, 21 May 2017
Source:Toronto Star (CN ON) Author:Watt, Jaime Area:Ontario Lines:118 Added:05/21/2017

Abuse of fentanyl, the highly addictive opioid pain medication, is taking a menacing toll across Canada.

Opioid-related overdoses killed 1,400 Canadians last year. To label the situation a coast-to-coast crisis is a massive understatement.

Fentanyl can be found in knock-off prescription painkillers, in party drugs and even in cocaine.

The fact that other drugs are being laced with fentanyl means that drug users often haven't actively sought out the "thrill" of fentanyl and don't even realize what they've done until it's too late.

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14CN QU: OPED: Needle Programs For Prisoners Increase SafetyMon, 15 May 2017
Source:Montreal Gazette (CN QU) Author:Elliott, Richard Area:Quebec Lines:Excerpt Added:05/19/2017

Drug use in jail is a reality and reducing harm is vital, say Richard Elliott and Rick Lines.

Almost one-third of federal prisoners reported using drugs during the past six months.

In December 2016, federal Health Minister Jane Philpott committed her government to a new national drug strategy that reinstates harm reduction as a non-negotiable pillar. It was a welcome announcement, signalling a modest shift away from the last decade's emphasis on prohibition and punishment - policies that continue to kill people who use drugs in Canada.

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15 CN BC: Cannabis May Help Wean People Off Crack, Study FindsTue, 16 May 2017
Source:Globe and Mail (Canada) Author:Hager, Mike Area:British Columbia Lines:92 Added:05/19/2017

Cannabis has been identified as a potential substitute for users of legal or illicit opioids, but a new Vancouver-based study shows the drug may also help reduce people's cravings for another highly addictive substance: crack cocaine.

Scientists at the BC Centre on Substance Use tracked 122 people who consumed crack in and around Vancouver's Downtown Eastside over a three-year period and found they reported using that drug less frequently when they opted to also consume cannabis.

"We're not saying that these results mean everyone will be able to smoke a joint and forget the fact that they are dependent on crack," said M.J. Milloy, an infectious-disease epidemiologist at the centre and senior author of the study. "What our findings do suggest is that cannabinoids might play a role in reducing the harms of crack use for some people.

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16 CN BC: Marijuana MedicineTue, 16 May 2017
Source:Metro (Vancouver, CN BC) Author:Kieltyka, Matt Area:British Columbia Lines:80 Added:05/19/2017

Study finds cannabis can be used to help crack addicts

Marijuana could be used to treat people suffering from addictions to crack cocaine, according to a new study from the BC Centre on Substance Use (BCCSU).

Dr. M-J Milloy, a research scientist at the BCCSU, told Metro that his team has seen "significant declines" in daily crack-cocaine use among a cohort of 122 Vancouver-area people with addictions who reported substituting the drug with cannabis.

Approximately 35 per cent of the people interviewed initially told researchers they would use crack cocaine daily.

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17 CN AB: Safe-Injection Site A Plausible Scenario For Medicine HatFri, 05 May 2017
Source:Medicine Hat News (CN AB) Author:Cranker, Mo Area:Alberta Lines:89 Added:05/08/2017

A safe-injection site could be coming to Medicine Hat.

Though still early in the process, HIV Community Link executive director Leslie Hill says this is something communities around Alberta could be seeing over the course of the next year or so.

"Right now we have a researcher in Medicine Hat working on creating a survey to get to drug users," she said. "We are doing this in response to a rise in opioid use across the province and we are trying to be proactive with this."

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18 CN AB: City Closer To Supervised Consumption SitesWed, 03 May 2017
Source:Metro (Edmonton, CN AB) Author:Simes, Jeremy Area:Alberta Lines:68 Added:05/08/2017

Council votes to approach feds; decision to be made in Ottawa

Edmonton got a step closer to seeing supervised consumption sites in the city, after city council voted Tuesday to ask the federal government to allow the proposed sites to open as soon as possible.

Councillors voted 10-1 to send the letter of opinion to Ottawa, and although the decision is ultimately up to the federal government, the ruling Liberals have previously indicated they support the services.

Couns. Bev Esslinger and Mike Nickel were absent for the vote.

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19 CN BC: Doc Says Pot Can Reduce Opioid DependencyThu, 04 May 2017
Source:Georgia Straight, The (CN BC) Author:Siebert, Amanda Area:British Columbia Lines:138 Added:05/06/2017

Dr. Caroline MacCallum wants doctors to know that cannabis "isn't the taboo medicine" they might think it is. Not only has she used it successfully to treat more than 50 conditions, she has also seen how it has helped her patients stop using prescription opioids.

MacCallum, a specialist in complex pain and cannabinoid medicine, is the medical director at Green Leaf Clinic in Langley, where she assesses patients for their eligibility for Canada's Access to Cannabis for Medical Purposes Regulations program.

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20 CN ON: He Saved 17 People But Police Want To Jail HimSun, 30 Apr 2017
Source:Toronto Star (CN ON) Author:Contenta, Sandro Area:Ontario Lines:394 Added:05/01/2017

Mark Baratta works with drug users on the front lines of Ontario's opioid epidemic. But as deaths mount, Baratta's story illustrates how far society has to go to end the crisis . . . if it so chooses

Like most people who might be called heroes, Mark Baratta shies away from the label. A lean and purposeful man, Baratta has saved 17 people, each on separate occasions. He chalks it up, with a shrug of his shoulders, to keeping his head in the presence of death.

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