Just Say Know Drug Education Roundup – February 2020

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This entry has been published on March 4, 2020 and may be out of date.

Welcome to the Just Say Know monthly roundup! Here we will be sharing the latest in drug education and harm reduction each month.


Only a few more weeks until #sensible2020! Hopefully, by now you have registered and made your travel and lodging plans for the conference! Be on the lookout for program updates, and make sure to note our JSK session on Drug Policy of the Future, where we will be visioning what drug education may look like in a post-prohibition world!

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Research Updates

In a recently published randomized controlled trial, authors studied the withdrawal effects of cannabidiol (CBD) and found that “[i]n healthy volunteers, no evidence of withdrawal syndrome was found with abrupt discontinuation of short-term treatment with CBD.”


Authors of another study assessed the impact of cannabis legalization in Oregon on rates of juvenile cannabis criminal allegations and racial disparities. They found that “[c]annabis allegation rates increased 28% among all youth and 32% among cannabis-using youth after legalization. Rates of allegations were highest for American Indian/Alaska Native and black youth. Rates for black youth were double that of whites before legalization, and this disparity decreased after legalization. For American Indian/Alaska Native youth, rates were higher than whites before legalization, and this disparity remained unchanged.”


According to the National Survey on Drug Use and Health, adults over the age of 65 are using cannabis at a significantly higher rate than in the past. Since 2015, the rate of use among this age group has increased by 75%. Researchers believe the increase in the age group is more likely attributed to the fact that older people are more familiar with the drug (were already using it) than it is due to people in that age range becoming new users.


Authors of a literature review published in the Current Opinion in Psychiatry journal reviewed various studies examining the effects of cannabidiol (CBD) on schizophrenia. The authors noted inconsistent evidence that CBD reduces positive symptoms of schizophrenia, with no impact on negative symptoms. They conclude that recent research demonstrates some evidence of the antipsychotic properties of CBD, with more research needed to confirm these benefits.

The first two participants in a phase III clinical trial exploring the treatment of Posttraumatic Stress Disorder with MDMA in Israel have completed their treatment.

Vaping Updates

Michigan recently recalled another marijuana product for containing Vitamin E Acetate.


In a recent publication for the Heartland Institute, the state government relations manager noted that a proposed flavor ban in Oregon ignores evidence that youth use of vaping products has decreased, and notes the harm reduction benefits of e-cigarettes.


The state of Pennsylvania has sued Juul, joining other states already suing the company for misleading consumers about the health risks of their products

Overdose Prevention

The European Harm Reduction network published a two-part series on overdose prevention. The first part of the series focuses on technology-based solutions to overdose prevention and the second part reviews the current status and challenges in overdose prevention. 


Researchers in Ohio found that dispensing of naloxone has increased 2,000 percent since it became available without a prescription in 2015.


The administration of East Carolina University in North Carolina has made narcan available to its students through their Student Health Services pharmacy. All campus police officers will also carry narcan.


A representative from Utah has proposed a bill to legalize overdose prevention sites. 


The United States Office of National Drug Control Policy announced a new round of funding opportunities for up to 200 communities, totaling nearly $25 million. The funding is part of their Drug-Free Communities (DFC) program, aimed at preventing drug use. Including in the Funding Opportunity Announcement was a notice that the management of DFC operations will transition to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).


Ohio State University’s undergraduate student government passed a resolution to increase access to fentanyl test strips on campus. The resolution recommends the school provide the test strips and information on how to use them through the student Wellness Center.


Health officials in rural Tennessee are receiving national attention for their program teaching young children how to use narcan. Despite the rejection of many schools and programs to deliver the training, Sherry Bernett, the overdose prevention specialist for the area, has gotten creative, “providing training at community events like high school basketball games, tailgates and a summer camp. She has trained students at McDonald’s, and in classrooms at the invitation of a sympathetic teacher.”


The mayor of San Francisco will propose legislation to allow for nonprofit run overdose prevention sites to address overdose deaths in the city. 


Safehouse, Philadelphia’s first safe injection facility has hit a snag in their plans to open. The landlord of the building where they were planning to open has denied their tenancy. Safehouse representatives plan to host more community meetings as they determine their next steps.


Michigan recently approved legislation to address the spread of methamphetamine use, and local law enforcement is addressing the issue by “discussing meth abuse through drug awareness presentations, troopers offering drug education programs in schools and further use of “don’t use drugs” messaging.” 


The European Monitoring Centre for Drugs and Drug Addiction recently released its European Prevention Curriculum handbook. The handbook is intended for key decision-makers in science-based prevention of substance use.


Over 40 teens attending a festival for young people under the age of 18 were strip searched without a guardian present, leading many to question the potential rights violations and legality of such searches.


The International Narcotics Control Board (INCB) recently released its annual report. The report includes an entire chapter about the prevention of substance use and treatment for young people, as well as an analysis of global drug control policies and recommendations. Relatedly, in a presentation about the report, the board president noted that international cannabis control treaties are out of date.


The International Drug Control Policy Consortium (ICDP) has released an app in preparation for the 63rd Convention on Narcotic Drugs (CND) in Vienna. The app contains a variety of resources to help attendees and those not able to attend to keep track of debates and discussions throughout the event. Additionally, ICDP has shared a guide to key issues to be discussed at CND this year, as well as a helpful 101 guide for those less familiar with the event. As a reminder, SSDP is participating in CND, representing the youth voice in global drug policy with our youth org friends from around the world via Paradigma. Keep your eyes on the blog in the coming weeks for updates from the event!

Paradigma Group Photo CND 2020

University-based programming

The editorial board of the McGill Tribune from McGill University in Montreal wrote an opinion piece about their school’s drug education resources (ironically also called Just Say Know). The authors critiqued the available resources for students and provided recommendations for harm reduction based alternatives.

Other resources

The Urban Survivor’s Union recently began publishing its new e-zine, Drug Users Think. On its third volume, the e-zine is a great resource of testimonials, recommendations, and information about upcoming events. To read earlier volumes and find more resources, please visit www.ncurbansurvivorsunion.org.

Cover page of the Drug Users Think e-zine, featuring a group photo of Urban Survivors Union members on a white background, under the text "Drug Users Think"

Cover page of the Drug Users Think e-zine, featuring a group photo of Urban Survivors Union members on a white background, under the text “Drug Users Think”

Interested in learning more about how SSDP approaches drug education? Check out our Just Say Know Peer Education program, and contact vilmarie@ssdp.org with questions.