HIV/AIDS
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81 CN BC: Illegal Dispensaries Seen As Safe, Reliable: StudyWed, 12 Jul 2017
Source:Globe and Mail (Canada) Author:Hager, Mike Area:British Columbia Lines:92 Added:07/14/2017

Medical-cannabis patients who use illegal cannabis dispensaries instead of turning to other legal and black-market sources do so because they feel safe at these shops and like that they have reliable supplies of the specific strains they want, according to new research from the University of British Columbia.

Rielle Capler, a PhD student and the study's lead author, said the results can help give Ottawa and provincial governments an idea of what consumers want as they look toward legalizing the drug some time next year.

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82 CN ON: Column: Closing Needle Exchange Makes For Bad BusinessWed, 12 Jul 2017
Source:North Bay Nugget (CN ON) Author:Hunt, John R. Area:Ontario Lines:57 Added:07/14/2017

Life for the police in North Bay is going to become at least a little more difficult. The city is going to lose its primary needle exchange program.

Police Chief Shawn Devine has warned that this will put the public and others at risk. The Nipissing Detoxification and Substance Abuse Program is slated to close in September. The North Bay Regional Health Centre is cutting the program.

The report carried some alarming or amazing statistics about needle exchanges. The ordinary citizen may wonder where or who are the people using all these needles.

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83CN BC: Oped: Community-Agency Workers, Street Family Hit Hard ByTue, 11 Jul 2017
Source:Province, The (CN BC) Author:Stajduhar, Kelli Area:British Columbia Lines:Excerpt Added:07/14/2017

In the years when hundreds of British Columbians were dying from AIDS, we would have been hard-pressed to imagine a worse health crisis.

We know otherwise now. With deaths from illicit drug overdoses killing an average of four British Columbians a day, we're in the midst of a crisis that's claiming more than three times the lives lost to HIV/AIDS in the peak years of the early 1990s. Our province is in unprecedented territory, grappling with a per-capita overdose rate that's double the Canadian average and increasing dramatically with each passing year.

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84 CN ON: Police Chief Voices Safety ConcernWed, 05 Jul 2017
Source:North Bay Nugget (CN ON) Author:Hamilton-McCharles, Jennifer Area:Ontario Lines:58 Added:07/10/2017

Losing needle exchange program will be 'devastating'

Losing the city's largest needle exchange program will put the public and police at risk, North Bay Police Chief Shawn Devine said Tuesday at the monthly police board meeting.

Devine said the closure of the Nipissing Detoxification and Substance Abuse Program on King Street July 31, as it prepares to shut down in September, will impact community safety and well-being on many levels.

"Losing the services … is going to be devastating and will only lead to unsafe situations for the general public and our front-line officers," he said in his report to the board.

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85 US FL: Medical Marijuana Bill Passes In Florida LegislatureThu, 06 Jul 2017
Source:Orlando Sentinel (FL) Author:Sweeney, Dan Area:Florida Lines:148 Added:07/10/2017

The medical marijuana industry officially has its guidelines with the passage of a bill out of the Florida Legislature on the last day of a three-day special session.

The votes were 29-6 in the Senate and 103-9 in the House. The few no votes were mostly Democrats who wanted fewer restrictions in the bill, but also a few Republicans who remain against the idea of medical marijuana on principle.

Gov. Rick Scott said he "absolutely" will sign the bill. That means big changes for patients, caregivers, doctors and growers, compared with the far more limited medical marijuana law passed by the Legislature in 2014, which resulted in seven grower/dispensers in the state.

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86US FL: Pro-Pot Forces Calm Waters As Uss Maryjane Sails ThroughThu, 06 Jul 2017
Source:Tampa Tribune (FL) Author:Morgan, Philip Area:Florida Lines:Excerpt Added:07/06/2017

TEMPLE TERRACE -- Dropping a giant joint in favor of the "USS Maryjane" seemed to smooth the waters for a pro-marijuana entry in this year's Temple Terrace Fourth of July Parade.

The new float designed by the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws featured the flag-festooned ship crewed by some military veterans and painted with the slogan, "Hemp for Victory."

The theme plays off a World War II film from the Department of Agriculture that praised the nation's hemp farmers for their work in creating strong ropes from the stalks of marijuana plants for the armed forces.

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87 US PA: Why Medical Marijuana Shops In Pa. Won't ReekTue, 04 Jul 2017
Source:Philadelphia Daily News (PA) Author:Wood, Sam Area:Pennsylvania Lines:113 Added:07/05/2017

Walk into a medical marijuana dispensary in New Jersey and the first thing to hit you is the stink.

Weed's scent is a sour blast that seems to reek of citrus, diesel, and skunk. At the Garden State Dispensary in Woodbridge, Middlesex County, charcoal air purifiers -- encased in gleaming steel and larger than jet engines -- are strategically placed through the facility. It's hard to say whether their presence tempers the odor, which is generated by thousands of cannabis plants growing under lights in the same building.

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88CN BC: Overdose Risks 'Remain Extreme' As Crisis WorsensSun, 02 Jul 2017
Source:Victoria Times-Colonist (CN BC) Author:Petrescu, Sarah Area:British Columbia Lines:Excerpt Added:07/04/2017

Seven deaths recorded in Victoria in May, bringing total to at least 41 this year

Seven people died from illicit-drug overdoses in Victoria in May, in a year that is already on track to surpass 2016 for deaths, according to statistics from the B.C. Coroners Service.

In the first five months of 2017, at least 41 Victorians died from overdoses. In all of 2016, the year overdoses were declared a public health emergency, 68 people died in the city.

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89CN AB: Beltline Cautiously Welcomes Supervised Consumption SiteWed, 28 Jun 2017
Source:Calgary Herald (CN AB) Author:Potkins, Meghan Area:Alberta Lines:Excerpt Added:07/03/2017

Some local residents against proposed facility, fear impact on property values

Maintenance staff and volunteers at First Baptist have gotten used to finding needles and other drug paraphernalia while tidying the flower beds belonging to the historic Beltline church.

"All the time. We have a lot of needles. Now we've got special devices to pick them up because it's not safe," said Jose Gongora, head of maintenance for the church.

"Our volunteers are very worried and concerned because these guys use needles and just drop it everywhere."

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90 CN BC: Groundbreaking Aids Clinic Turns Attention To Opioid CrisisTue, 27 Jun 2017
Source:Globe and Mail (Canada) Author:Woo, Andrea Area:British Columbia Lines:96 Added:07/01/2017

A renowned HIV/AIDS clinic in Vancouver that helped pave the way in harm reduction by first offering supervised-injection service 14 years ago now wants to treat opioid addiction with injectable drugs.

Maxine Davis, executive director of the Dr. Peter AIDS Foundation, submitted a proposal to the Ministry of Health, Vancouver Coastal Health and Providence Health Care in March to offer injectable opioid-assisted treatment at its facility in Vancouver's downtown West End neighbourhood, according to documents obtained by The Globe and Mail under Freedom of Information legislation.

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91 US CA: Editorial: Safe Injections Centers Are Not Opium DensSat, 24 Jun 2017
Source:Los Angeles Times (CA) Author:Rycroft, Rick Area:California Lines:96 Added:06/24/2017

Government-sanctioned and supported "supervised injection centers," where addicts can bring their illicitly obtained drugs and shoot up with little fear of arrest or a fatal overdose, have been in service in Europe for decades.

There's only one in all of North America, though. It's in Canada -- a Vancouver, Canada, center called Insite. Research found that after the center opened in 2003 fatal drug overdoses decreased by 35% in the nearby community. Earlier this month Canadian officials authorized injection centers in Montreal, Toronto and other cities.

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92 CN AB: Supervised Drug Consumption Site Sought For CityFri, 23 Jun 2017
Source:Lethbridge Herald (CN AB) Author:Villeneuve, Melissa Area:Alberta Lines:168 Added:06/23/2017

Opioid overdoses higher in South Zone than elsewhere in the province

A Lethbridge coalition on opioid use is preparing an application to establish supervised drug consumption services in the city to reduce harm and help save lives.

Supervised consumption services provide a clean, safe space for people who use drugs to do so under the supervision and care of health professionals without fear of arrest or overdose. They also provide access to support services such as counselling, education and treatment for drug addictions.

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93 Canada: Researchers Implore Ottawa To Make It Easier To StudyTue, 20 Jun 2017
Source:Globe and Mail (Canada) Author:Hager, Mike Area:Canada Lines:94 Added:06/20/2017

With cannabis legalization on the horizon next year, the federal government must make it easier to study the potential medical benefits of the drug and evaluate how ending prohibition might affect society, according to an open letter to politicians from dozens of the country's leading academics and public-health researchers who study the drug.

"Under widespread global prohibition, cannabis research has been limited by the criminalization and stigmatization of cannabis use and users, leading to substantial gaps in knowledge around the harms and benefits of both medical and non-medical cannabis," reads a letter sent Monday to federal lawmakers on the letterhead of the BC Centre on Substance Use, an organization funded by the provincial government to study drugs.

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94CN QU: Drug Users Are In Safe Hands At CactusTue, 20 Jun 2017
Source:Montreal Gazette (CN QU) Author:Wilton, Katherine Area:Quebec Lines:Excerpt Added:06/20/2017

After years of lobbying for safe injection sites, outreach workers at Cactus Montreal have opened a facility that will allow people to use intravenous drugs under medical supervision.

Drugs users began entering the site on Berger St. in downtown Montreal on Monday afternoon, injecting drugs in the presence of a nurse and staff member.

"This is an important tool to reduce deaths and avoid infections," said Sandhia Vadlamudy, the executive director of Cactus. "We have been waiting for this for a long time."

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95CN 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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96CN 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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97 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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98CN 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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99 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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100 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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