The new year appears to be off to a great start in the world of harm reduction and drug policy reform. With many of us returning to school for the Spring 2022 semester, we hope this January roundup covers anything you may have missed while getting back into the swing of things!
During a “psychedelic workshop,” co-hosted by the US National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) and the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH), NIDA Director Nora Volkow stated “I think, to a certain extent, with all the attention that the psychedelic drugs have attracted, the train has left the station and that people are going to start to use it […] whether [the Food and Drug Administration] approves or not.”
State lawmakers in Washington recently introduced the Washington Psilocybin Wellness and Opportunity Act, a bill that would legalize psilocybin mushrooms in the state for “therapeutic and creative purposes.” The bill would enable individuals over 21 years old to use psilocybin, under supervision, at registered facilities.
Meanwhile, state legislators in Oregon have filed a psilocybin equity bill in order to ensure “equity and accessibility in Oregon’s developing psilocybin services.” Other psilocybin-related legislation is also being proposed in Oklahoma and Utah.
Thailand has become the first country in Asia to approve the “de facto decriminalization” of cannabis, with the removal of cannabis from the ministry’s list of controlled drugs.
Costa Rica, on the other hand, recently had a medical cannabis legalization bill vetoed by President Carlos Alvarado, citing concerns over health and national security.
CrowdLobby, a crowdfunded lobbying platform, announced their first fully funded campaign, “Notice of Good Samaritan Law in Public Education Settings.” The funds raised have been used to hire a lobbyist who will push New York state lawmakers to co-sponsor legislation that would “require instruction in public senior high schools throughout the state regarding the Good Samaritan Law and the protections it offers.”
A bipartisan group of lawmakers in Maine is pushing to pass a bill titled “An Act to Strengthen Maine’s Good Samaritan Law Concerning Drug-related Medical Assistance,” which would expand legal protections under the Good Samaritan law to cover everyone present at the scene of a drug-related emergency, rather than just the individuals who report the emergency.
Shane Pennington, Counsel at the cannabis law firm Vicente Sederberg LLP, published an article titled “From “Crack Houses” to “Safehouses”: DEA’s Untapped Power to Save Lives,” discussing the Biden-Harris administration’s ability to establish safe-consumption facilities in the US without the approval of congress.
“An Anti-overdose Drug Is Getting Stronger. Maybe That’s a Bad Thing?” by Abdullah Shihipar, a researcher at Brown University’s People, Place & Health Collective, explores two new opioid overdose reversal drugs called Kloxxado and Zimhi. The article argues that the development of stronger opioid overdose reversal drugs is not only unnecessary, but may actually be harmful.
See also: “The Naloxone Arms Race Is Headed Nowhere Good” by Claire Zagorski from June 2021.
The Drug Abuse Resistance Education program, or D.A.R.E., recently released a statement arguing that the HBO show ‘Euphoria’ glamorizes drug use, sex, and violence among teenagers.
“A 13-Year-Old Died of a Fentanyl Overdose. Experts Say the Response Was ‘Theater.’” explores the harms caused by the recent trend of unnecessary, over-the-top responses from law enforcement agencies in their responses to emergency situations involving fentanyl.