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The First World Conference on Medication Assisted Treatment of Opiate Addiction

It is an honour and a pleasure to invite you to The First World Conference on Medication Assisted Treatment of Opiate Addiction with Inaugural Meeting – World Federation for the Associations for the Treatment of Opiod Dependence. We greatly appreciate the honour to organise a three-day interdisciplinary conference with the presentation of practice, drug policy research and evaluation, in the field of medical assisted treatment of opiate addiction (substitution treatment). The Inaugural Meeting of the World Federation of the Associations for the Treatment of Opioid Dependence would be the opportunity to get a partner to other international organisations in dialog for advocating for substitution treatment and a forum for scientific and policy discussion. Every international, national, city and community organisation or individual working in this field is welcome to join federation, so please give us a hand. We are delighted that so many distinguished world experts, clinicians, researchers and other professionals, members of users’ organisations, and others involved in the field have already agreed to attend. We will create every opportunity for a lively debate, from plenary and major meetings to small-scale workshops, and from debating sessions to round tables and forum discussions, so we really count on your participation and would be delighted to hear from you - your thoughts, comments, questions, and suggestions, which will be given proper consideration. You are invited to present different practices: in your country, city, communities, prisons and/or organisations, networks or at your own. You can present your research, good practices or obstacles in developing and scaling up substitution treatment. Slovenia's location between Europe's East and West and its diversity - a touch of the Mediterranean, the Alpine peaks and valleys with clear streams and lush forests, the Pannonian plain opening to the East - as well as its cultural heritage and the proverbial hospitality of the people, can likewise contribute appreciably to a successful acceptance and exchange of different views, and perhaps even to opening new horizons. We know we can make this event a most useful, enjoyable, and memorable experience for you. For registration and more information, see
Sun, 07/01/2007 - 9:00am - Tue, 07/03/2007 - 7:00pm

Mexican alliance drives drug flow

Ciudad Juarez
The Dallas Morning News

African gangs play big role in drugs trade

The Sunday Business Post (Ireland)

Europe: Candidate's Remarks Open Window on Scottish Labor Party Drug Policy Split

After years of embracing what is essentially a harm reduction approach to drug policy, the Scottish Labor Party (SLP) has recently turned toward a hard-line approach, with calls for drug users to embrace abstinence and plans to stop drug users from having children. But that doesn't sit well with Scottish parliament candidate and SLP member Norman Murray, who late last week lambasted his party's new drug policies as "simplistic and wrong."

"I just don't feel my own party's views on the drugs issues are necessarily the right ones," Murray said. "I think they might send out the wrong message to drug users, particularly people who are trying to come off heroin or crack cocaine. It's too simplistic a view to suggest people should go into cold turkey."

Murray took special umbrage at the SLP's embrace of "contracts" with drug users which would bar them from having children. "It is complete and utter nonsense," he said. "I just found that distasteful and it is part of the wrong message we are sending people."

Instead of taking a hard line, the SLP should embrace radical drug policy reform, including decriminalizing marijuana and possibly even harder drugs, said Murray, who is currently head of the East Lothian Council. "Decriminalization of cannabis is something I believe we should be arguing for. My own party isn't arguing that, but it's a view I strongly hold. Such a policy would take cannabis out of the black market," he said. "Criminalization is not working, and the police will tell you that. Cannabis does not lead to class A drugs, but it does allow the dealers to experiment with young people."

Perhaps the same should be done with heroin and cocaine, Murray suggested. "There is a strong argument coming from the police and medical people that says we should maybe be looking at licensing heroin and cocaine, creating a more controlled environment," he said.

Murray is in line to replace retiring Member of the Scottish Parliament Susan Deacon, who has already articulated similar criticisms of the new party line on drug policy. Deacon, a former health minister recently accused the SLP of offering "knee-jerk responses and blanket solutions" to Scotland's drug problems. "The fact is, it's time to get real," she said. "The demonization of drugs and drugs users may make for rabble-rousing speeches and sensationalist headlines, but it does little to promote understanding of what is really going on in our society."

But the reformist views of Murray and Deacon are not party policy, and an SLP spokesman was quick to distance the party from their remarks. "I simply cannot agree with Norman's reported comments," said the spokesman. "I am sure that anyone who has looked at the detail of what Labor is doing in the fight against drugs will see clearly that we have the right policy to tackle the cause and effects of drugs in Scotland."

And so goes the debate within Scotland's ruling political party.

U.S. says anti-terror allies slip on drugs

Washington, DC
United States
Washington Times

Afghanistan: UN Monitor Cites 'Rapid Deterioration' As Drugs Spread

Radio Free Afghanistan

Europe: Britain to Provide Heroin to Addicts, "Restricted" Home Office Brief Says

The British government is prepared to begin prescribing heroin through the National Health Service to "recidivist veteran users" after a pilot program has proven successful, according to a report in the newspaper The Independent, which cites a "restricted" briefing paper prepared by the Home Office strategic policy team. The briefing paper also suggests the licensing of heroin and cocaine sales, but the government will not go that far, The Independent said.

According to the brief, which The Independent says it has obtained a copy of, "The Home Office should consider wider rolling out of injectable heroin prescription for highly dependent users through the NHS. Given the failure of supply-side interventions to have any significant effect on the drugs market, it is worth considering a greater management of the market by wider rolling out of injectable heroin prescription for highly dependent users through the NHS."

According to the Home Office sources cited by the newspaper, only hard-core users who have not responded to methadone treatment will be eligible. "It is only going to apply to a small number of people," said a Home Office spokesman.

Home Office sources added that in Switzerland, where doctors prescribe heroin rather than methadone to such users, 26% have quit using and criminality and unemployment have decreased. Citing the Swiss experience, the brief says, "Contrary to popular belief, there is evidence that heroin does not necessarily intoxicate the user -- it can be stabilized with people living relatively normal lives."

The brief also warns that Britain is in a losing battle with drug smugglers and suggests legalizing the sale of heroin and cocaine. "There is mounting evidence of the impossibility of winning the war against drugs supply. A system of controlled availability of drugs would allow the Government to exert a much greater degree of influence over the way in which substances are used than is currently possible," the report advised. "There is a strong argument that prohibition has caused or created many of the problems associated with the use or misuse of drugs. One option for the future would be to regulate drugs differently, through either over-the-counter sales, licensed sales or doctor's prescription."

But in an Independent on Sunday editorial, the newspaper noted that the government will not move to license or otherwise regulate drug sales. "Legalising drug supply has been firmly rejected by the government because it would sanction the use of drugs," the newspaper noted. "The policy of targeting drug smugglers and dealers continues, despite the report's warning that reducing the drug supply drives up the price and increases crime."

Home Office backs heroin on the NHS in effort to cut crime

United Kingdom
The Independent (UK)

Europe: British Top Cop Calls for Prescription Heroin for Addicts

The head of the British Association of Chief Police Officers (ACPO) called this week for addicts to be prescribed heroin to prevent them from committing crimes to feed their habits. ACPO head Ken Jones, the former chief constable of Sussex, also admitted that current law enforcement strategies are failing when it comes to a "hardcore minority" of heroin users.
Ken Jones
"You need to understand there is a hard core, a minority, who nevertheless commit masses of crime to feed their addiction," Jones said in remarks reported by The Independent. "We have got to be realistic -- I have looked into the whites of these people's eyes and many have no interest whatsoever in coming off drugs. We have to find a way of dealing with them, and licensed prescription is definitely something we should be thinking about."

Jones is one of the most senior police officials ever to advocate the use of prescription heroin in the effort to reduce the harm from black market use of the drug. According to research in Great Britain, heroin users commit an average of 432 crimes a year.

Studies in Switzerland and the Netherlands, where prescription heroin programs are underway, have found reductions in crimes committed by participants. While Britain has some 40,000 registered heroin addicts using methadone (and an estimated 327,000 "problem drug users" of cocaine or heroin), only a few hundred are currently receiving prescribed heroin as part of a pilot program. That's not enough, said Jones.

"I am not in any shape or form a legalizer, but what I am concerned with is that we have to shape up to some tough realities," he said. "We don't have enough treatment places for those who want to go on them. What we need is a cross-party consensus which considers the overwhelming public view to be tough on the roots of drugs, as well as treating its victims," he argued.

"I was a drugs officer and we have to be realistic," Jones continued. "There is a hardcore minority who are not in any way shape or form anxious to come off drugs. They think 'I am going to go out there and steal, rob, burgle and get the money to buy it'. What are we going to do -- say 'OK we are going to try and contain this by normal criminal justice methods' and fail, or are we going to look at doing something different? Start being a bit more innovative. It is about looking at things in a different way without turning away completely from the current position."

While up until the 1960s, British doctors regularly prescribed heroin to addicts, that practice ended under US pressure and because of scandals related to loose prescribing. It is time to go back to the good old days, Jones said. "There are junkies who are alive today who would have been dead now," he said. "Their lives are stable, yes, their addiction is being maintained, but far better they are being maintained than them trying to get their fix off the street from crime. Heroin is an incredible stimulator of crime and I think we are foolish if we don't acknowledge that."

'Heroin should be made legal'

United Kingdom
The Argus (UK)

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