November International Bulletin

November International Bulletin

Welcome to the SSDP International Organizing Committee’s November 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 November.

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

  • The Paradigma Global Youth Coalition, of which SSDP is a member, has released a document outlining three key asks for the upcoming 2019 High Level Ministerial Segment.
  • The Commission on Narcotic Drugs (CND) met for another intersessional meeting from 7 – 9 November. Topics discussed included implementation of the drug control conventions, inter-agency cooperation, synthetic opioids, and preparations for the 2019 High Level Ministerial Segment. Several SSDP members were in attendance to observe the meeting. Check out the transcripts from the meeting on the CND Blog.
  • The UNODC released their guidelines to submit side events at the 62nd CND meeting in March.

Regional Updates

European Regional Conference

Hosted by SSDP Austria in Vienna, our first ever regional conference in Europe brought together 30 people representing 7 different countries for a weekend of workshops, educational talks, and networking. We discussed topics such as regional drug policies, international drug policy, harm reduction, and the opioid crisis. Thank you to all who came and made it possible!

Bolivia

EPSD Bolivia chapter leader Patricia Chulver ‘17 was invited to participate in a three day course on the Gendered Impacts of Drug Policy at Central European University in Budapest.

Czech Republic

Simon Kozak, chapter leader of SSDP Czech Republic, organized a panel discussion at this school to talk about cannabis legalization. The speakers were the head commander of the national anti-drug headquarters, a therapist, a prevention lecturer, and an academic who advocates for full legalization. The panel featured a lot of discussion on student activism and Simon introduced SSDP. 80 people were in attendance.

Ecuador

The leader of the new EPSD Ecuador chapter attended the first National Congress of Cannabis in his country.

Israel

SSDP Israel met with members of the Israeli Knesset as part of a stakeholders meeting regarding harm reduction at music festivals. Knesset member Tamar Zandberg initiated the meeting after two high profile deaths at a music festival over the summer. At the meeting they discussed drug checking at festivals, funding and institutionalizing safe spaces, investing in the education of safe use, cooperation between safe spaces and medics, and why police intervention is more harmful than helpful.

Mexico

EPSD Mexico members attended a forum on Sacred Plants at the National Anthropology University where they had the opportunity to share information about the work of EPSD. They attended a meeting with activists at the forum where they discussed how they can modify legislation around medical marijuana so it is more accessible to low income patients.

Nigeria

Moronfolu Adeniyi ’14 visited the Ministry of Health in Ogun State and met with the Director of Pharmaceutical Services. They discussed possible collaborations between the government and SSDP in Ogun State on educational events surrounding health programs for people who use drugs as well as access to pain medication.

SSDP Nigeria also hosted a Twitter chat regarding the topics of public health and drug policy, with a focus on discussing health impacts from policy on people who use drugs. They received over 30,000 impressions from the chat.

Calls to Action

Drug Policy News

Canada

Drugs in Jails: Ministry Says it Doesn’t Keep Track of Overdoses and Naloxone Use

“Ontario’s corrections ministry says it does not track the number of opioid overdoses in its jails, even though prisoners have died and staff are routinely treating inmates for overdoses.”

Egypt

Egypt MP Proposes Law to Decriminalise All Drug Use

“John Talaat, an independent MP and deputy governor of Cairo, has put forward draft legislation which would end the criminalisation of drug use, and offer people “treatment” instead. Talaat said this reform was necessary because “treatment is better” than “the cost that the state spends on [imprisonment]”. He also noted that many of those currently prosecuted for drug offences are young people, meaning that criminalisation is “wasting their future”.

Greece

Greece Health Ministry Plans Drug Consumption Rooms

The drug consumption rooms (DCRs) – if approved – will provide a hygienic environment and sterile equipment for people to consume drugs with under the supervision of trained medical staff, according to Greek newspaper, I Kathimerini. Staff will keep a record of the service users, Health Minister Andreas Xanthos has said.

Luxembourg

Luxembourg next to legalise recreational cannabis use

“Luxembourg will become the first country in the EU to actually legalise cannabis, as the Czech Republic, Portugal, or the Netherlands either tolerate or decriminalise it,” said Bill Wirtz, policy analyst at the CCC. “This sends a strong message to other countries in the EU. The ice is broken.”

Mexico

Mexico Supreme Court Says Ban on Recreational Marijuana Unconstitutional

“Announcing it had found in favor of two legal challenges filed against prohibition of recreational marijuana use, Mexico’s top court crossed the threshold needed to create jurisprudence: five similar rulings on the matter.”

Thailand

Pot approved for research, medical use

The cabinet on Tuesday approved a draft amendment to the 1979 Narcotics Act to legalise cannabis for medical and research purposes. However, all use of the drug will be kept under strict control.

Upcoming Events/Opportunities

5-7 December, Vienna: CND Reconvened session

7-9 December, Vienna: International Cannabis Policy Conference 2018

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

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

29 – 31 March, Chicago: #SSDP2019