Studies show controlled drug use can reduce consumption of street
As the opioid crisis rages on across North America, a number of recent
studies are pointing to cannabis and prescription heroin as viable
options in curbing the consumption of lethal street opiates, reducing
long-term medical and policing costs and extending the lives of users.
An analysis of opioid prescriptions in the U.S.published on Monday by
the American Medical Association showed a significant decrease in
opioid prescriptions in states that have adopted some sort of cannabis
legislation. Using data from 2010 to 2015, the analysis counted 3.7
million fewer daily doses of opioids prescribed in states that allow
weed dispensaries, while states that allow only home cultivation saw a
decrease of 1.8 million daily prescribed doses.
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LIHUE - Kauai police have seen an increase in the use of black tar
heroin over the last two years.
The Kauai Police Department seized less than a gram of black tar
heroin in 2015. But in 2017, the department seized a total of 526
grams, the Garden Island reported Sunday.
The department has already amassed 80.8 grams this year, said Bryson
Ponce, Kauai Police Department's Investigative Services Bureau
Ponce said the increase is a serious concern because heroin use is
linked to violent crime.
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Every morning, Kevin Thompson takes a short stroll from his apartment
to the Crosstown Clinic, where he signs in, gets his prescription
medicine, then sits in a small room and injects it before heading off
He follows this routine up to three times a day and has done so
virtually every day for more than a dozen years.
The medicine is diacetylmorphine, the medical term for prescription
"It saved my life. No question, it saved my life," Mr. Thompson, 47,
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A Philly nurse on safe injection sites
"You want me to do what?" "Where's your compassion?" "What a waste of
resources!" "I have an obligation to help people stay healthy."
These are conflicting responses I imagine nurses and health-care
professionals may have when asked to provide care at safe injection
sites, places where people can use drugs under medical supervision.
There aren't any such sites right now. But the City of Philadelphia
announced that it will encourage setting them up. Should health-care
professionals participate? It's a dilemma wrought with ethical, moral,
legal, and regulatory issues and more questions than answers. As a
nurse, I can understand and appreciate both sides.
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My hope is that the supervised injection sites recently approved at
four locations in Edmonton will become a jumping-off point for
heroin-assisted treatment (HAT) in our province.
In my opinion, it is the only way to tackle the opioid scourge that is
leaving a trail of bodies in its wake. Countries like Switzerland have
experienced rates of homelessness and property crime associated with
problematic drug use approaching zero per cent after approving the use
of HAT by qualified doctors.
This approach is counter-intuitive to many, but the numbers speak for
themselves. The health authority in the United Kingdom figures that
for every dollar spent on harm reduction, it saves $3 in health
services and enforcement.
Steven Zerebeski, Beaumont
Democrat Larry Krasner, the front-runner to become Philadelphia's next
district attorney, says he supports city-sanctioned spaces where
people addicted to heroin can inject drugs under medical supervision
and access treatment, a move advocates see as a promising step toward
making the city the first in the U.S. to open such a site.
His Republican opponent, Beth Grossman, says she's open to discussions
on the matter.
For those on the front lines of the heroin crisis in Philadelphia,
both are encouraging stances in a political arena where the idea can
still be dismissed out of hand. But recently, cities across the
country have begun to consider the possibility of instituting
supervised injection sites; several nations, including Canada, have
used the approach for years.
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The Taliban in Afghanistan is now running significant heroin
production lines in the war-torn country to provide jihadists and
insurgents with billions of dollars, western law enforcement officials
And much of that heroin is flowing into Canada.
"More than 90 per cent of all heroin consumed in the US is of Mexican
origin. But in Canada more than 90 per cent of the heroin consumed is
of Afghan origin," said William Brownfield, US Assistant Secretary for
Drugs and Law Enforcement when addressing reporters in the Afghan
capital Kabul recently.
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The deadly painkiller fentanyl, thrust under a spotlight by a rare
warning by three health agenices and city police, isn't the only
dangerous street drug raising eyebrows in London.
Heroin is also showing up, in levels-those who work with addicts say
they haven't seen before.
One agency blames the spike on the province tightening the
prescription drugs it covers under a program for people on social
assistance and seniors, which has driven some users to heroin instead.
"I've never known it (heroin) here. Now it is," said Karen Burton,
needle and syringe program coordinator at Regional HIV/AIDS Connection
in London, whose work includes a drug needle exchange program. "Heroin
is here and I don't see it disappearing anytime soon."
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NEW YORK -- A safe haven where drug users inject themselves with
heroin and other drugs has been quietly operating in the United States
for the past three years, a report reveals.
None were known to exist in the US until the disclosure in a medical
journal, although several states and cities are pushing to establish
these so-called supervised injection sites, where users can shoot up
under the care of trained staff who can treat an overdose if necessary.
In the report released Tuesday, two researchers said they've been
evaluating an underground safe place that opened in 2014. As a
condition of their research, they didn't disclose the location of the
facility -- which is unsanctioned and potentially illegal -- or the
social service agency running it.
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Cleanup of the Gurney Street railroad gulch in Fairhill, a campground
for heroin users and a dumping site for needles and garbage, didn't
start Monday as was initially planned.
The city came to an agreement with Conrail last month to fence and
clean up the property. A contract calls for work to start by July 31,
but Conrail planned to start work Monday.
Jocelyn Hill, a spokeswoman for Conrail, said that fabricating the
fencing that will secure the area took longer than anticipated and
that the company had hired a second contractor to speed things up. She
said the work still will begin before July 31.
[continues 167 words]
Colby Wilde and Lacey Christenson welcomed their third child into the
world on April 9 at Utah Valley Hospital.
The doctors, nurses and medical staff eventually cleared out of the
room, giving the parents a few moments alone with their new daughter.
Unlike most new parents, they did not hold the newborn child, overcome
Instead, Wilde quickly crushed pills of Suboxone, an FDA-approved drug
used to treat heroin addiction and withdrawal, police say.
He moistened his finger and dipped it in the resulting powder. Then he
stuck his finger in his daughter's mouth, smearing it along her tiny,
tender gums. Though she had been in the world less than half a day,
the baby, like thousands others in the United States, was already
addicted to opioids.
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A special legislative task force formed to examine the effect of the
opioid addiction scourge on Long Island and elsewhere throughout the
state is scheduled to meet Wednesday in Mineola.
The State Senate's Joint Task Force on Heroin and Opioid Addiction
meeting will be held at 4 p.m. at the NYU Winthrop Hospital Research
and Academic Center in Mineola, a hospital spokesman said.
Similar meetings have been held around the state as the task force
seeks to understand how the increase in overdoses and addiction
connected to heroin and other opioids is impacting
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LOWELL, Mass. -- They hide in weeds along hiking trails and in
playground grass. They wash into rivers and float downstream to land
on beaches. They pepper baseball dugouts, sidewalks and streets.
Syringes left by drug users amid the heroin crisis are turning up
In Portland, Maine, officials have collected more than 700 needles so
far this year, putting them on track to handily exceed the nearly 900
gathered in all of 2016. In March alone, San Francisco collected more
than 13,000 syringes, compared with only about 2,900 in the same month
[continues 709 words]
Heroin, cocaine and other illegal drugs remain widely available
throughout Ohio, often at bargain prices, a new state report reveals.
If that isn't bad enough, the quality of the drugs is "is really good,
too good. We've lost 12 friends in the past year (to overdoses)," said
one respondent in the just-released Ohio Substance Abuse Monitoring
Network Report. The semi-annual statewide report of drug availability
trends is done by the Ohio Department of Mental Health and Addiction
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Chris and I were texting Dec. 11, 2016, when at 3:50 p.m. he went
I assumed it was because we were arguing. We were always arguing, ever
since his addiction had taken over his life. The signs were there: The
man who would write beautiful songs on his guitar became sluggish and
angry. He wouldn't spend time with the people who lifted him up and
instead sneaked out to see those who enabled his addiction. He stopped
going to Narcotics Anonymous meetings and group therapy.
[continues 812 words]
Investigators found more than 87 pounds of suspected heroin Monday
during a raid at a Novi apartment, according to a federal criminal
DEA agents and the Oakland County Narcotics Investigation Team entered
the Brownstones apartment complex unit shortly after 9:30 a.m. on the
42200 block of Joyce Lane to find three men inside, along with eight
bricks of a light-brown substance on a table in plain sight, according
to the complaint from special agent Michael Reamer in U.S. District
[continues 228 words]
Alfred LubranoWest Chester addiction psychologist Drew Alikakos dials
a number for a local addiction treatment center that he suspects has
been illicitly re-routed to a Florida facility. His own phone number
was "hijacked" in such a manner.
Alfred Lubrano works for the enterprise team. Previously, he wrote
about poverty, and before that, he was a feature writer and columnist.
Last September, West Chester addiction psychologist Drew Alikakos made
a jarring discovery: His patients were disappearing.
Philly and Conrail to clean up 'heroin hellscape'
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In the ongoing battle to stem the heroin and opiate epidemic in
Maryland, the newest focus is a state law that mandates teaching
students in elementary schools through college about the dangers of
Public schools are tweaking drug-education lessons and colleges are
preparing sessions for incoming students to comply with the Start
Talking Maryland Act, which becomes law July 1.
The act, passed by state lawmakers and signed by Gov. Larry Hogan
earlier this year, requires public schools to offer drug-education
that includes the dangers of heroin and opiates starting in elementary
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VANCOUVER - 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
in the midst of a 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
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.
[continues 310 words]
BLANCHESTER, Ohio - A life of farming taught Roger Winemiller plenty
about harsh twists of fate: hailstorms and drought, ragweed
infestations and jittery crop prices. He hadn't bargained on heroin.
Then, in March 2016, Mr. Winemiller's daughter, Heather Himes, 31,
died of an opioid overdose at the family farmhouse, inside a
first-floor bathroom overlooking fields of corn and soybeans. Mr.
Winemiller was the one who unlocked the bathroom door and found her
slumped over, a syringe by her side.
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