IOC Monthly Bulletin

Welcome to the SSDP International Organizing Committee’s August Bulletin! Here you will find updates on some of the major SSDP activities happening around the world, as well as news and updates from the United Nations. This month’s bulletin will cover SSDP activities from the month of August.

SSDP’s International Organizing Committee (IOC) is dedicated to supporting youth-led drug policy activism all over the world. Any active member of SSDP or member of the Alumni Association is welcome to join. If you’re interested in getting involved, please e-mail Jake Agliata at jake@ssdp.org and he’ll put you on the IOC mailing list.

UN Updates

  • In a memo to the UN Secretary General, the World Health Organization announced that based on its critical review of cannabidiol (CBD), they are recommending pure CBD not be scheduled within the International Drug Control Convention. The committee also stated it is ready to proceed with a similar critical review of the full cannabis plant and resin. This could potentially be a huge victory for cannabis legalization; if the WHO decides to recommend descheduling cannabis at the international level, it could trigger similar reviews of federal cannabis laws in countries such as the United States. The critical review is currently scheduled for November.

Regional Updates

Europe

  • Members of SSDP Austria participated in harm reduction certification trainings with PsyCare and DAATH (a Hungarian psychedelic society). To conclude their training, members volunteered at a music festival in Austria conducting first aid and psychedelic counseling.

Latin America

  • EPSD México was added to the first ever Mexico City Youth Council, which was created for youth to give recommendations on public policy to the Mexico City Government. The chapter members want to use this platform to fund better health services for people who use drugs.

South Asia

  • Kawal Deep Kour (Assam Don Bosco University, India) worked with SSDP Delhi to successfully execute their first ever “High Tea” event, which succeeded in fostering a comfortable environment to have a non-judgemental discussion about drug use and policy in India. The event had a fantastic turnout and even made the local news.

West Africa

  • Members of SSDP Nigeria, SSDP Ghana, and SSDP Gambia attended the 5th West Africa Executive Course on Drug Policy in Accra, Ghana. Moronfolu Adeniyi ‘14 and Juana Boateng ‘16 both spoke on panels during the course.
  • SSDP Gambia, in collaboration with RAID-THE GAMBIA, organized a late Support Don’t Punish event by hosting an educational mini-conference about harm reduction and public health approaches to drug policy. About 65 people across the country’s northern region participated, including the Regional Governor, Regional Youth Chairman, and senior staff members from the Drug Law Enforcement Agency.
  • West Africa Global Fellow Moronfolu Adeniyi ‘14 along with SSDP Ghana founder and Board member Juana Boateng ‘16 spoke at the 5th West Africa Executive Course on Human Rights and Drug Policy in Accra. Moronfolu gave his thoughts on the current status of Nigerian drug policies while also noting some of SSDP Nigeria’s current efforts to provide more evidence-based drug education in schools. Juana gave a similar evaluation of Ghana’s drug policies along with an assessment on the success of youth-driven activism in her country.
  • SSDP Ghana successfully executed their second National Open Forum on Drugs in Accra. During the forum, Mr. Yaw Akrasi-Sarpong, a former Executive Secretary of the Narcotics Control Board, called for a review of Ghana’s national policies on narcotics, stating that reform is needed to ensure people with substance use disorder can receive crucial medical services. The forum itself had a great turnout and focused on proposing innovations to current drug laws that will have a greater positive impact on children and young people.

Calls to Action

Fill out the Support Don’t Punish Feedback Form

The campaign has designed this short feedback form addressing organisers of Global Day of Action activities to encourage reflection, help promote your fantastic activities and identify learning opportunities that could help our collective efforts grow. This form is also available on a Word format at: http://supportdontpunish.org/day-of-action-2018/

Apply to Join the VNGOC Nominations Committee

Deadline: 14 September 2018.

The VNGOC is seeking nominations of three representatives from member organizations in good standing to join the Nominations Committee for 2019. The role of the Nominations Committee, as enshrined in the VNGOC Statutes and Rules of Procedure, is to oversee the nominations and election processes – which will take place at the 2019 Annual General Assembly in Vienna (expected to be in March 2019).

Apply to speak at CND Thematic Discussions

Deadline: 26 September 2018. PLEASE E-MAIL JAKE@SSDP.ORG BEFORE YOU FILL OUT THE APPLICATION

In preparations for the ministerial segment of the 62nd session of the Commission of Narcotic Drugs  (CND), to be held in 2019, the Commission will host a number of thematic discussions. The second round of discussions will take place October 22-25, in Vienna, Austria. For each thematic segment 4-5 NGOs will have the possibility to present their work and positioning. In order to ensure an inclusive, comprehensive and meaningful civil society participation NGOs will work through the Civil Society Task Force (CSTF) to coordinate contributions.

Submit an Abstract to the 26th Harm Reduction International Conference

The abstract deadline is 28 September 2018.

All are welcome to send in their proposals in English or Portuguese to help HR19 to advance the discussion on best practices in harm reduction. Past submissions have covered innovative harm reduction services, new or ground-breaking research, effective advocacy campaigns, peer-driven programmes and key drug policy discussions or debates.

Drug Policy News

Bangladesh

Are Bangladesh Activists Being Killed Amind the War on Drugs?

“According to statistics from the Dhaka-based human rights organisation Odhikar, from May 15 to July 31, 2018, 211 people have been killed in the government’s so-called war on drugs. They have also arrested nearly 20,000 people.”

Canada

Decision to Halt Overdose Prevention Sites ‘Horrifying’, Advocates Say

Warning: article contains a photo of a used syringe

In a letter sent late Friday to local health integration networks and health units across the province, Roselle Martino, assistant deputy minister of the population and public health division, said the halting of the approval process was effective immediately.

The decision means that for now, the Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care will not give the green light to new overdose prevention sites and is officially pausing the process for sites that are not open yet.”

Indonesia

Harm Reduction in Indonesia Failing Women who Use Drugs

Compared to their male counterparts, Women who use drugs (WUDs) face increased stigma, threats of violence, social exclusion and gender discrimination. This hostile environment can often deter women from accessing the small number of services that are available and push them to riskier drug use practices, heightening their chances of contracting blood-borne viruses like HIV and Hepatitis C.”

Lebanon

Climate Change is Turning the Middle East’s Breadbasket into a Cannabis Farm

As in many parts of the region, the country’s farmlands have been disproportionately affected by global warming. The Bekaa Valley, nestled between Mount Lebanon and Syria, is stricken with droughts, and many wells are drying up. Growing potatoes, onions and other produce native to the region has been harder than ever before, experts and farmers say. But cannabis is a drought-resistant crop, requiring little water and no pesticides. And it flourishes in the high altitudes of the Bekaa plains.”

Philippines

Philippine Senator Defies Duterte’s Arrest Order in Standoff

“Aside from Trillanes, another opposition senator, Leila de Lima, has been detained after being accused by Duterte of involvement in illegal drugs, a crime she has vehemently denied. A former human rights commission chief, de Lima investigated Duterte’s alleged role in extrajudicial killings in a yearslong anti-drug crackdown when he served as mayor of southern Davao city for years.”

Upcoming Events/Opportunities

25-28 September, Vienna: CND Intersessional

18-21 October, New Orleans: 12th National Harm Reduction Conference 

24 October, Vienna: VNGOC General Meeting

22-25 October, Vienna: CND Intersessional

5 November, Brussels: Civil Society Involvement in Drug Policy Conference

7-9 November, Vienna: CND Intersessional

10-11 November, Vienna: SSDP European Regional Conference

14-15 March (tentative), Vienna: High Level Ministerial Segment

18-22 March (tentative), Vienna: 62nd Commission on Narcotic Drugs

29 – 31 March, Chicago: #SSDP2019