"The use of MC [Medical Cannabis] as an alternative to POMs [Prescription Opioid Medications] for pain management warrants additional empirical attention as a potential harm reduction strategy. NASEM (2017) recommends more clinical trials to elucidate appropriate MC forms, routes of administration, and combination of products for treating pain, but access to MC products to fully evaluate these questions is challenging due to federal regulations.
"The effectiveness of drug consumption facilities to reach and stay in contact with highly marginalised target populations has been widely documented (Hedrich et al., 2010; Potier et al., 2014). This contact has resulted in immediate improvements in hygiene and safer use for clients (e.g. Small et al., 2008, 2009; Lloyd-Smith et al., 2009), as well as wider health and public order benefits.
"Eighteen states had laws that were categorized as least comprehensive related to the prevention of HCV transmission among persons who inject drugs. In particular, these 18 states had no laws authorizing a syringe exchange program, decriminalizing possession and distribution of syringes and needles, or allowing the retail sale of syringes without a prescription.
"In terms of the historical development of this intervention, the first supervised drug consumption room was opened in Berne, Switzerland in June 1986. Further facilities of this type were established in subsequent years in Germany, the Netherlands, Spain, Norway, Luxembourg, Denmark, Greece and France. A total of 78 official drug consumption facilities currently operate in seven EMCDDA reporting countries, following the opening of the first two drug consumption facilities in the framework of a 6-year trial in France in 2016.
"Minister for Health Simon Harris and Minister of State for Communities and the National Drugs Strategy, Catherine Byrne today (Tuesday) welcomed the Government’s decision to approve the publication of the Misuse of Drugs (Supervised Injecting Facilities) Bill 2017.
"The Bill, which was approved by Cabinet at its meeting this morning, will allow the Minister for Health to issue a licence, with conditions, to operate a supervised injecting facility.
Alternative Analysis of the Relative Risk from MDMA Use: "Nutt et al. (2007) attempted to compare the relative dangers of the main types of psychosocial drug, using a series of subjective rating scales. Heroin and cocaine were graded as the two most harmful drugs, whereas Ecstasy/MDMA emerged as one of the least harmful (18th out of 20). Unfortunately, it was unclear how this low harm rating score for Ecstasy/MDMA was given, as they cited no empirical research studies or reviews. Instead, Nutt et al.
Prevalence of HIV Among Injection Drug Users in Australia: "The prevalence of HIV among people who inject drugs in Australia has remained low at 2.1% or less since 1995. The prevalence of HIV in 2011 was 1.2% (Figure 46). HCV prevalence among this group was much higher at 61% to 62% from 2005 to 2008, however this figure was lower at 53% 2011 (Figure 46) (Iversen and Maher, 2012)."
Return on Investment for Needle and Syringe Programs: "Investment in NSPs (2000-2009) has resulted in:
" An estimated 32,050 HIV infections and 96,667 HCV infections averted;
" Substantial healthcare cost savings to government related to HCV and HIV;
" Substantial gains in Disability Adjusted Life years.
Cost Savings from Syringe Exchange in Australia:"In Australia the [Needle and Syringe] Program is the single most important and cost-effective strategy in reducing drug-related harms among IDUs. Australian Governments invested $130 million in NSPs between 1991 and 2000 resulting in the prevention of an estimated 25,000 HIV infections and 21,000 HCV infections, with savings from avoided treatment costs of up to $7.8 billion (Health Outcomes International et al., 2002). In the decade 2000-2009, the gross funding for NSPs was $243 million.
"The heart of the challenge is the possibility that things could be different: overdose is a public health problem that can be solved. Unlike many of the other leading causes of death, death from opioid overdose is almost entirely preventable,21 and preventable at a low cost.22 Opioids kill by depressing respiration, a slow mode of death that leaves plenty of time for effective medical intervention.23 Overdose is rapidly reversed by the administration of a safe and inexpensive drug called naloxone.