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Brazil Becomes UN Center for Alcohol and Other Drugs Treatment

Brazzil Magazine

Feature: New Study Rips Canadian "Tough on Drugs" Policy, Funding

Despite formally adopting harm reduction as part of a national drug strategy in 2003, the Canadian government continues to spend the vast majority of its anti-drug funds on unproven and probably counterproductive law enforcement measures, according to a study published Monday. The report was released the same day as a Vancouver Sun poll that found two-thirds of Canadians support treating drug use as a public health issue. Together, the study and the poll are a clear shot across the bow for the Conservative government of Prime Minister Steven Harper, which has promised a tough new national drug strategy with a heavy emphasis on law enforcement.

Produced by the BC Center for Excellence in AIDS, which is partially funded by the British Columbia provincial government, "Canada's 2003 renewed drug strategy -- an evidence-based review," offers a blistering critique of what its authors call the "Americanization" of Canadian drug policy. The study warns that continued reliance on such policies would be a "disaster."
Canadian Parliament, Ottawa (courtesy Library of Parliament)
The study found that of the $368 million the Canadian federal government spent on drug programs in 2004-05, some $271 million, or 73%, went to law enforcement measures such as Royal Canadian Mounted Police investigations, border control, and federal drug prosecutions. Another $51 million (14%) went to treatment programs, and $26 million (7%) was spent on "coordination and research," while prevention and harm reduction programs were on a starvation diet with $10 million (2.6%) each.

Canada has little to show for all that money spent on drug law enforcement, the study suggested. The report showed Canada's Drug Strategy has failed to stem the numbers of Canadians trying illicit drugs. In 1994, 28.5% of Canadians reported having consumed illicit drugs in their life; by 2004, that figure had jumped to 45%.

The proportion of federal anti-drug spending devoted to law enforcement activities has decreased from 95% in 2001 after the former Liberal government began emphasizing harm reduction and prevention in the face of criticism from the federal auditor-general and other critics. But for the authors of the study released Monday, the portion of the budget devoted to law enforcement remains unacceptably high.

"While the stated goal of Canada's Drug Strategy is to reduce harm, evidence obtained through this analysis indicates that the overwhelming emphasis continues to be on conventional enforcement-based approaches which are costly and often exacerbate, rather than reduce, harms," the report concluded.

"Current federal spending on scientifically proven initiatives which target HIV/AIDS and other serious harms is insignificant compared to the funds devoted to law enforcement," said Dr. Julio Montaner, director of the BC Center for Excellence in HIV/AIDS and one of the report's senior authors. "However, while harm-reduction interventions supported through the drug strategy are being held to an extraordinary standard of proof, those receiving the greatest proportion of funding remain under-evaluated or have already proven to be ineffective."

That comment was a direct shot at the Harper government's reluctance to reauthorize Insite, the Vancouver facility that is North America's only safe injection site for hard drug users. On September 1, when Health Minister Tony Clement gave the facility only a one-year reauthorization (it had asked for three), he publicly questioned research showing the site is effective, save lives, and does not increase drug use or crime rates in the neighborhood. More research was needed, Clement said.

That same day, the Canadian Police Association, representing rank and file officers, publicly condemned harm reduction measures. Association vice-president Tom Stamatakis told the media then that harm reduction was sucking too much money from law enforcement. "This harm-reduction focus has led to unprecedented levels of crime in our city," he said, calling for a new national strategy that focuses on treatment, prevention and enforcement.

But that is precisely what is not needed, the BC Center study found. "The proposed Americanization of the drug strategy towards entrenching a heavy-handed approach that relies on law enforcement will be a disaster," said Dr. Thomas Kerr, a study coauthor. "It is as if the federal government is willing to ignore a mountain of science to pursue an ideological agenda."

"I think it's great that this study has been released," said Donald McPherson, drug policy coordinator for the city of Vancouver. "It clearly shows that while there has been some movement since 2001, there is still not a very balanced drug strategy. This week's polling shows that the public gets it, that people understand this is primarily a health issue," he told Drug War Chronicle. "My hope is that people in the federal government will look at the evidence and eventually realize that evidence-based approaches are preferable to ideologically war on drugs-type approaches. The fact that the public gets it will help the politicians get it."

The study also won applause from New Democratic Party (NDP) Vancouver East Member of Parliament Libby Davies, who in a message to eNDProhibition, the party's anti-prohibitionist wing, said she agreed that "the Conservative government must stop relying on a law-enforcement approach to address problems associated with illegal drug use in Canada. My NDP colleagues and I have long supported a harm reduction, education, and prevention approach to illegal drug use in Canada," she added.

"Prohibitionists have never been called on to justify prohibition, and this report is saying they can't justify these policies," said Eugene Oscapella of the Canadian Foundation for Drug Policy. "This comes from a very credible organization, and it will help to sway public opinion," he told Drug War Chronicle. "It will resonate with Canadians in general, but I doubt it will make the Conservatives shift gears. These guys are quite willing to overlook the facts in pursuit of their ideological goals."

While Monday's Vancouver Sun poll showed only one-third of Canadians favoring tougher, law enforcement-based approaches, Oscapella noted, that one-third is the Conservative Party's base. "The Conservatives will go with their base on this, but to the extent this report educates the public, it could have an impact on the margins."

Drug War Chronicle contacted the Canadian Department of Justice for comment, but its press people referred us to Health Canada, which has not responded to the query.

Europe: Scottish Labor Politician Fights for Harm Reduction as Party Turns Hard-Line on Drugs

On the eve of a major conference on new approaches to Scottish drug and alcohol policy Monday, outgoing Member of the Scottish Parliament (MSP) Susan Deacon, blasted her party's increasingly hard-line approach to drug policy, defended harm reduction approaches, and called drug prohibition "the product of a bygone age." The harsh critique of the Scottish Labor Party's disdain for methadone maintenance, push for abstention-based drug treatment, and enthusiasm for taking children from drug-using parents came in an opinion piece published in the Sunday Herald, "The Political Addiction to Tough Talking on Drugs Has Failed Us All."
Susan Deacon
Deacon, the MSP for Edinburgh East and Musselburgh, is a member of the Scottish Royal Academy's RSA UK Commission on Illegal Drugs, Public Policy and Communities, which will issue a report in March. She is also a former Labor health minister who will retire after the next elections. And she is increasingly at odds with her bench-mates on drug policy. The party's recent moves toward abstinence-based "contracts" for addicts and away from previous support for methadone maintenance prompted Deacon to respond with vigor.

"The fact is," she wrote, "it's time to get real. 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, to help those whose lives are affected. Here in Scotland, we have seen too many knee-jerk responses and blanket solutions. Policy and practice should not be framed by immediate reactions to the latest tragic incident or research report. We need a pragmatic approach to drugs policy -- not a moralistic one."

The notion that methadone maintenance had failed was "nonsense," Deacon wrote. "What about the people for whom methadone has helped them to move away from criminal activity, to hold down a job or to look after their children?" Deacon called proposed moves to restrict treatment options "utterly perverse" and said the idea of taking children from drug-using parents was "paternalistic and simplistic."

But while she explicitly defended harm reduction as a policy approach to drug problems, Deacon also attacked drug prohibition. "UK drugs control laws are more than 30 years old, a product of a bygone age," she wrote. "A growing number of voices, both at home and abroad, are raising questions about whether the current national and international legal framework is fit for purpose -- this discussion cannot be a no-go area."

Oddly enough, Deacon's intra-party foe on drug policy, MSP Duncan McNeil called her critique "conservative." McNeil, who first proposed the idea of "contracts" for drug users, said of Deacon: "The harm reduction policy was well meant and necessary, but things move on. Susan has her views on this subject but she has become very conservative.
"The Labor Party has gone through an extensive consultation on this, but Susan didn't take part in the debate on it at conference."

While her own Labor Party was one target of Deacon's opinion piece, she also aimed to inoculate Monday's Scottish parliament's Futures Forum from more reflexive drug fighter chest-beating. The forum brought together more than 250 senior police officers, academics, community leaders, and health professionals seeking a "fresh perspective" on Scotland's approach to drugs and alcohol.

According to one account of the forum, Deacon may have found a more receptive audience there than within her own party. That account found leading police official and drug policy experts talking bluntly about the need to get beyond "macho posturing" and how the Misuse of Drugs Act was "not fit for contemporary purpose."

With endemic heroin and alcohol abuse, and now, the newfound popularity of cocaine, Scotland is in need of new approaches to drug policy. With politicians like Deacon fighting regressive tendencies in her own party and ongoing efforts like the Futures Forum and the RSA UK Commission on Drugs underway, Scottish politicians will have the knowledge base to act. Whether they will have the political will to apply that knowledge remains to be seen.

DPA Press Release: Democratic Majority Has Opportunity to Find Exit Strategy for Failed War on Drugs

[A press release from our friends at Drug Policy Alliance] Democratic Majority Has Opportunity to Find Exit Strategy for Failed War on Drugs Access to Treatment, Reduction of HIV and Drug Overdoses and Tackling Inhumane Mandatory Minimums Now Possible with “New Direction” Dems The Democratic takeover of Congress provides the best opportunity to reform our nation’s failed drug war policies in more than a decade, says the Drug Policy Alliance, the nation’s leading organization promoting alternatives to the war on drugs. Moreover, the takeover sets the stage for a showdown between Congress and the Bush Administration over federal raids on medical marijuana patients, military aid to Colombia, and numerous other White House drug policies. “Republicans have incarcerated millions of nonviolent drug law offenders and wasted tens of billions of taxpayer dollars, yet drugs are readily available and the harms associated with them continue to mount,” said Bill Piper, director of national affairs for the Drug Policy Alliance. “Democrats need to step up to the plate and prove to Americans that they can do what Republicans couldn’t do: reduce the harms associated with both drug abuse and the war on drugs.” Over the last decade, Democrats in Congress supported efforts to reform punitive drug laws and expand opportunities for drug treatment at greater numbers than Republicans. For instance, 144 House Democrats voted earlier this year to prohibit the U.S. Justice Department from undermining state medical marijuana laws (73 percent of voting Democrats). Only 18 Republicans supported the measure (just 8 percent of voting Republicans). 169 Democrats voted last year to cut funding to the Andean Counterdrug Initiative (more commonly known as “Plan Colombia”). Only 19 Republicans voted to do so. While former Republican committee chairs, such as Rep. James Sensenbrenner (WI) and Rep. Mark Souder (IN), have been cheerleaders of draconian legislation, the new Democratic chairs in the new Congress are solid drug policy reformers. Many support reforming mandatory minimum drug sentences, legalizing medical marijuana, eliminating the crack/powder cocaine sentencing disparity, diverting nonviolent drug law offenders to drug treatment, and lifting the ban on using federal money for syringe exchange programs. Despite spending hundreds of billions of dollars and incarcerating millions of Americans, illegal drugs remain cheap, potent, and widely available in every community. Meanwhile, the harms associated with drug abuse - addiction, overdose, the spread of HIV/AIDS and hepatitis, etc - continue to mount. The Drug Policy Alliance urges Democrats to set a “new bottom line” in the government’s approach to drugs and to not repeat the mistakes Republicans made. In a five-point agenda the Drug Policy Alliance offered Democrats advice on how to reduce the harm associated with both drug abuse and the war on drugs. Five-point agenda --Hold hearings on the Bush Administration’s failure to protect the American people. President Bush has diverted law enforcement resources away from fighting drug cartels and terrorist cells to arresting medical marijuana patients, doctors, and low-level drug law offenders. His administration’s Reefer-Madness-like obsession with marijuana is largely responsible for our country’s failure to deal adequately with methamphetamine. And the Bush Administration’s radical crop eradication plans in Afghanistan and Colombia are driving poor families into the arms of our enemies, destabilizing those countries and boosting the efforts of those who seek to harm America. --Reprioritize federal law enforcement resources. Democrats should change federal law to prevent the Bush Administration from squandering scarce resources. Most notably, Democrats should prohibit the Justice Department from undermining state medical marijuana laws. They also should raise the threshold amounts of drugs it takes to trigger mandatory minimum drug sentences, in order to encourage the Justice Department to target major drug traffickers. --Make treatment available to all who need it. The quickest, cheapest, and most effective way to undermine drug markets and reduce drug abuse is to make substance abuse treatment available to all who need it, whenever they need it, and as often as they need it. Democrats should increase federal funding for drug treatment (including the Bush Administration’s model voucher treatment program, Access to Recovery), establish policies that divert nonviolent drug law offenders to treatment instead of jail, and increase the number of people who can access substance abuse treatment through their health insurance. --Eliminate the crack/powder cocaine sentencing disparity. The 100-to-1 sentencing disparity between crack and powder cocaine is responsible for immense racial disparities in the federal criminal justice system. Several Senate Republicans have already introduced a bill to reform the sentences —although the legislation does not go far enough. And President Bush indicated early in his Administration that he would be open to reducing the disparity. Democrats should work to pass bi-partisan legislation eliminating this disparity. --Enact legislation to reduce drug overdose deaths and the spread of HIV/AIDS. Annual drug overdoses have more than doubled under Republican rule, yet not a single federal dollar goes to overdose prevention. Similarly, the transmission of HIV/AIDS and other infectious diseases from the sharing of dirty needles continues to mount; but not a single federal dollar goes to syringe exchange programs. Democrats can save thousands of lives a year by creating a federal grant program to help cities establish overdose prevention programs and lifting the federal ban that prohibits using federal money for syringe exchange. Preventing America’s sons and daughters from dying is a winning issue. “For years Democrats have allowed Republicans to beat them up on drug-related issues. But now they have an opportunity to go on the offensive with a clear reform message that will really impress voters,” said Piper. “The Democrats can distinguish themselves from Republicans and show voters that they can solve complicated problems.” ### The New York Times January 9, 2007 Judges Look to New Congress for Changes in Mandatory Sentencing Laws BYLINE: By LYNETTE CLEMETSON; Sabrina Pacifici contributed reporting. SECTION: Section A; Column 1; National Desk; Pg. 12 LENGTH: 1361 words DATELINE: WASHINGTON, Jan. 8 Federal sentencing laws that require lengthy mandated prison terms for certain offenses are expected to come under fresh scrutiny as Democrats assume control of Congress. Among those eagerly awaiting signs of change are federal judges, including many conservatives appointed by Republican presidents. They say the automatic sentences, determined by Congress, strip judges of individual discretion and result in ineffective, excessive penalties, often for low-level offenders. Judges have long been critical of the automatic prison terms, referred to as mandatory minimum sentences, which were most recently enacted by Congress in 1986 in part to stem the drug trade. Now influential judges across the ideological spectrum say that the combination of Democratic leadership and growing Republican support for modest change may provide the best chance in years for a review of the system. ''With a changing of the guard, there should at least should be some discussion,'' said William W. Wilkins, chief judge of the United States Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit, who was nominated by President Ronald Reagan. The House Judiciary Committee, under the new leadership of Representative John Conyers Jr., Democrat of Michigan, is planning hearings on the laws, starting later this month or in early February. One of the first issues planned for review is the sentencing disparity between offenses involving powder and crack cocaine. The possession or trafficking of crack brings much harsher penalties than those for similar amounts of the powder form of the drug. Mr. Conyers, a longtime critic of mandatory minimum sentences, favors treating both drugs equally. The Senate Judiciary Committee has no immediate plans for hearings. But Senator Jeff Sessions, Republican of Alabama, also supports some changes in the sentencing policy for crack cocaine convictions (though more modest than Mr. Conyers and some other Democrats favor), and Judiciary Committee staff members say a serious Senate review of the issue is likely in the current Congress. Many law enforcement officials support tough, automatic sentences and argue that weakening existing laws will cause an increase in drug trafficking and violent crime. Many judges say current laws have clogged jails and too often punish low-level offenders. Some judges also argue that automatic lengthy sentences give prosecutors an unfair bargaining tool that they can use to tailor charges and press defendants into plea bargains. ''These sentences can serve a purpose in certain types of cases involving certain types of offenders,'' said Judge Reggie B. Walton of Federal District Court in the District of Columbia, who was appointed by President Bush, ''but when you apply them across the board you end up doing a disservice not just to individuals but to society at large.'' Several judges say that broad inclusion in the coming Congressional hearings on sentencing would mark a notable departure from Judiciary Committee activity under the former Republican chairman, Representative F. James Sensenbrenner Jr. of Wisconsin, who many judges say maintained an antagonistic stance toward judges. ''There was no question that judges were targeted under the Sensenbrenner committee for speaking out,'' said Judge Nancy Gertner, a Federal District Court judge appointed by President Bill Clinton who teaches a course on sentencing policy at Yale Law School. Judge Gertner and others point to the example of Judge James Rosenbaum, a Reagan appointee who, in 2003, faced a Congressional review of his sentencing decisions under a barrage of criticism that he and other federal judges were too lenient. Many in the judicial community argued that Judge Rosenbaum was singled out because he criticized a proposal to increase federal sentences in testimony before the House Judiciary Committee. Most judges shy away from direct formal involvement in legislative matters. But many say private interactions with legislators that do not focus on specific cases but on policy matters of concern to the judiciary are appropriate. Judge Wilkins, a former legislative assistant to Senator Strom Thurmond, said he believed private conversations on mandatory minimum sentences with his own congressman, Representative Bob Inglis, Republican of South Carolina, helped change the legislator's position. Mr. Inglis, once a supporter of tough automatic sentences, said during a 1995 House vote that he would never vote for them again and has since become a Republican leader on sentencing reform. ''I was delighted that he took a principled stand, and I would like to think I was of some benefit to him in getting there,'' said Judge Wilkins, who served as the first chairman of the Federal Sentencing Commission, the body charged by Congress with developing sentencing guidelines and collecting and analyzing statistics. Some judges have expressed displeasure with the system from the bench or in written opinions. At a sentencing last January Judge Walter S. Smith Jr., of the Western District of Texas, was required to add 10 years to the already mandated 10-year sentence in a crack distribution case because a gun was found under the defendant's bed. During the sentencing, the judge stated, ''This is one of those situations where I'd like to see a congressman sitting before me.'' In an impassioned written opinion in 2004, Judge Paul G. Cassell of the Federal District Court in Utah, who was appointed by President Bush, called the mandatory 55-year sentence he was forced to give a low-level marijuana dealer who possessed, but did not use or brandish, a firearm ''simply irrational.'' In the opinion, Judge Cassell recommended a commutation of the sentence by the president, noting that the sentence, with consecutive 25-year terms for firearm possession, was longer than those required for an airport hijacker, second-degree murderer or a rapist. The Supreme Court declined last fall to hear the case. But an amicus brief urging the court to take the case included signatures from legal figures like William Sessions, the former F.B.I. director; Janet Reno, attorney general during the Clinton administration; and Griffin Bell, attorney general under Jimmy Carter. Many opponents of mandatory minimum sentences would like to see a full repeal of the laws. ''After so many years of this, people have forgotten that we should be asking for the whole fix, not just little pieces,'' said Julie Stewart, president of Families Against Mandatory Minimums. But most legal, legislative and judicial experts agree that repeal, or even broad-ranging overhaul of existing laws, is unlikely. More probable is serious review of crack cocaine sentencing laws. Currently, possessing five grams of crack brings an automatic five-year sentence. It takes 500 grams of powder cocaine to warrant the same sentence. Similarly disparate higher amounts of the drugs results in a 10-year sentence. The 100-to-1 disparity, opponents of the law say, unfairly singles out poor, largely black offenders, who are more likely than whites to be convicted of dealing crack cocaine. At a sentencing commission hearing in November, Judge Walton, associate director of the White House Office of National Drug Control Policy under the first President George Bush and a onetime supporter of tough crack cocaine sentences, said it would be ''unconscionable to maintain the current sentencing structure'' on crack cocaine. Mr. Sessions is a co-sponsor of a bill that would change the ratio for the two drugs to 20 to 1, increasing the amount of crack that brings a five-year sentenceto 20 grams from 5, and lowering the powder cocaine trigger from 500 grams to 400 grams. If judges say they are hopeful for new debate on sentencing policy, they are quick to add that they are not naive. After all, many say, even politicians who are critical of current laws fear looking soft on crime. ''Candidly, the Democrats were never particularly courageous on this issue either,'' Judge Gertner said. ''But at least now it seems judges may be encouraged to be a part of the discussion. And if asked to speak up, I think many will.''
United States

The Drug War's "Unacceptable Losses"

[This post comes courtesy of Ken Wolski, RN, MPA. He is the executive director of the Coalition for Medical Marijuana -- New Jersey,, [email protected]] "Unacceptable Losses" opened Friday, 1/12/07, at the Woodrow Wilson School's Bernstein Gallery on the Princeton University Campus. This photo-documentary by photgrapher and med student Arthur Robinson Williams examines U.S. drug policy and victims of it. At the exhibit, there are large color and black and white prints that accompany text of interviews that Mr. Williams conducted. The photos Mr. Williams took seemed designed to capture the essential humanity of the subject. (Some of this photographic detail is missing in the web site.) The web site is divided into sections on Treatment on Demand, Sentencing Reform, Syringe Access, Harm Reduction and Medical Marijuana. The stories are very compelling. Though the web site is still a work-in-progess, I highly recommend a look. I was reminded of CMM-NJ member Roberta M., when I read the story of the man with RSD whose pain was so severe he contemplated suicide until he tried marijuana. I consider the War on Drugs the worst policy this country imagined. It combines the worst features of Prohibition and the Vietnam War, in its domestic and foreign components. Lack of medical access to marijuana for legitimate patients is an atrocity in this war. I was one of the first people who was photographed and interviewed by Mr. Williams during his one-year project, though he eventually found more compelling stories for the exhibit and the website. Mr. Williams is looking for additional stories to tell, and he invites submissions via his web site. His web site states: "Although law enforcement is an integral part of the War on Drugs, it is unnecessarily taking resources from effective and complimentary public health strategies. Your stories will form the foundation for that argument." The "Unacceptable Losses" exhibit hopes to tour the country's major universities the way the photo-journalist toured the country collecting subjects for the exhibit. For more, see
Princeton, NJ
United States

Needle exchange bill again introduced in legislature

United States
Bay Area Reporter (CA)

Drug needle machine plan rejected

United Kingdom
BBC News

Minister drops in at injection site

Vancouver, BC
The Vancouver Sun

HRC Press Release: Harm Reduction Experts Urge Feds To Stem Overdose Epidemic

For Immediate Release: December 18, 2006 Media Contact: Dr. Sharon Stancliff Medical Director Harm Reduction Coalition (917) 653-3104 [email protected] Harm Reduction Experts Urge Feds To Stem Overdose Epidemic Deadly Opiate Linked To Hundreds Of Deaths WASHINGTON D.C. – Today over 120 medical experts, drug user health advocates, and urban public health departments issued an urgent call to the federal government to expand efforts to address a deadly wave of overdoses that have plagued injection drug users and their communities this year. The Harm Reduction Coalition (HRC), a national health and human rights advocacy group working to reduce drug-related harm, is leading the effort. Heroin contaminated with fentanyl, an opioid-based pain medication that is 50-80 times stronger than morphine, has killed well over 600 people in at least 8 states this year, including nearly 200 in Chicago, over 200 in the Detroit area, and nearly 200 in the Philadelphia area. Corey Davis, Legal Services Coordinator at Prevention Point Philadelphia, noted, "A client told us she watched her friend die in front of her and there was nothing she could do. If she had naloxone [a legal, non-scheduled prescription medication that reverses an opioid overdose] and was trained to use it, she could have saved her friend's life. We've lost a lot of our people due to fentanyl. This has to stop.” Experts believe that the number of deaths is vastly underreported, as many jurisdictions near these epicenters may lack resources, coordination, or expertise to monitor overdose trends. “This wave of overdose deaths poses an acute public health emergency and immediate threat to the lives of opiate users, while highlighting persistent weaknesses in health officials’ response to the increasing epidemic of both legal and illegal opiate overdose,” said Dr. Sharon Stancliff, HRC's Medical Director. A five-point strategy to reduce death by overdose is detailed in a letter to the Secretary of Health and Human Services, Mike Leavitt. It includes recommendations ranging from surveillance of overdose related deaths, to street drug testing, to increased availability of naloxone for use by laypersons. The letter was sent in conjunction with the 5th anniversary of HRC’s Overdose Project, which began giving drug users training and tools to recognize, prevent and reverse overdoses in December 2001. The five recommendations in the letter call upon Secretary Leavitt to ensure that: 1. The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) create surveillance systems to monitor overdose trends and threats. 2. The National Institute of Drug Abuse (NIDA) provide emergency funds for research projects to answer urgent questions that will allow jurisdictions to immediately and effectively address the overdose epidemic. 3. The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) rapidly replicate existing overdose prevention programs, and fully fund them. 4. The Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) inform CDC of levels of purity and presence of fentanyl and other hazardous contaminants in local drug supplies so CDC can notify the public. 5. The Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) prepare an emergency report of the current overdose epidemic for Congress. This report should make emergency recommendations for prevention measures including: § Supporting community-based responses to overdose, including the use of naloxone by users and their loved ones; § Improving police and emergency medical services responses to overdoses; and § Enhancing the availability of substance abuse treatment. For full text of the letter, with complete list of signatories, see: Overdose is one of the leading causes of accidental death in several cities across the country, including San Francisco, New York, and Portland, Oregon. In response to this public health crisis, several jurisdictions in the United States have developed overdose prevention programs that include education, instruction in mouth-to-mouth resuscitation and the provision of naloxone for use by lay persons. These programs are associated with significant decreases in overdose deaths. # # # # For more information about the Harm Reduction Coalition, visit For more information about overdose prevention, visit
Washington, DC
United States

Job Listing: Bureau Director of Harm Reduction Programs

Location: Baltimore City Health Department, Baltimore, Maryland This is a position available at the Baltimore City Health Department, a municipal department of the City of Baltimore. Provide administrative oversight and direction for the following six programs: Buprenorpine Program: A drug treatment program that provides drug users with bupernorphine detoxification and initial maintenance on a mobile unit (3 staff persons). Direct Observed Therapy Program: A home visiting program that provides direct observed therapy, needs assessment, and service linkage to HIV-positive individuals. (3 staff persons) Minority AIDS Initiative Non-Traditional Outreach Program: This program links persons who are positive for HIV to primary care and assists persons with making and keeping their medical appointments. (1 staff person) Needle Exchange Program: A mobile, HIV and Hepatitis C prevention program with the focus of providing clean syringes for used syringes; harm reduction education; linkage to drug treatment; HIV, syphilis, and Hepatitis C testing; medical service provision; and service linkage. (8 staff persons) Staying Alive Program: An overdose prevention program that trains opiate users to recognize the signs and symptoms of drug overdose and perform 2-way breathing and administer Narcan in the event of an opiate overdose. (1 staff person) Treatment Options through Education Program: This program conducts HIV testing and counseling, provides HIV education, referrals for primary care, and linkage to pharmacy and medical assistance to HIVpositive individuals. (5 staff persons) Specific responsibilities include, but are not limited to: Providing vision and direction for the above programs and developing relationships with programs in and outside of the Health Department Supervising, hiring, promoting, and terminating staff in above programs Providing clinical support to above programs Creating and managing program budgets and City contracts Preparing bi-weekly and monthly statistical reports for Commissioner of Health and Mayor's Office Regularly identifying funding for all programs Sustaining existing funding by preparing reports to funders and performing other associated duties Developing legislative (City, State, and some Federal) responses and white papers Preparing presentations on programs, as requested Participating in press interviews, as requested Responding to ad hoc requests from Chief Medical Director, Deputy Commissioner, Commissioner, and Mayor's Office Serving on the following Committees and Boards: Commission on HIV/AIDS: The Commission assesses deficiencies in the implementation of HIV/AIDS programs, the adequacy of funding, and the quality of services in Baltimore City. Historic East Baltimore Community Action Coalition: HEBCAC is a non-profit community based organization, established to enhance the quality of life for all who live, work, and visit Historic East Baltimore. Focus Area: Substance Abuse. Mid-Atlantic Syringe Exchange Network: A coalition of syringe exchange and drug overdose prevention programs in the Mid-Atlantic area (DC, MD, DE, PA, NJ) that work together to support each other programmatically and develop legislative strategies. Re-Entry Center Board: An advisory board that assists the ReEntry Center in connecting its clientele (who are primarily individuals reentering society after incarceration) with employment. Serve as the Chair for the Health Sub-Committee and member of the Re-Entry Center Advisory board. Performing other duties as required Minimum Qualifications: Operates independently and with very little oversight. Uses independent judgment and discretion to make decisions affecting programs and staff as it relates to program operations/services and Health Department/City of Baltimore policy. Licensed Nurse Practitioner or physician and/or masters in public health preferred 3+ years of project management and staff supervision experience in public health area Strong organizational skills and ability to manage multiple tasks, priorities, and timelines Experience managing budgets, developing strategic plans Experience supervising staff Strong ability to function both independently and as a member of a team Competency and sensitivity working with drug using, HIV positive, and/or HCV positive populations Strong written and verbal communication skills Computer literate (highly proficient in Microsoft Office) Bilingual (proficient in English and Spanish) is a plus Salary: Commensurate with experience and education. Preferred Start Date: February 1, 2007 If interested in this position, please send a cover letter, resume, and salary history to Monique Rucker ([email protected]) and Dr. Kima Taylor([email protected]).
Baltimore, MD
United States

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