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August 9, 2012
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Do drug policies of some countries violate basic human rights?

 
News of the new academic course comes from the Global Drug Policy Program, of the Open Society Institute - a group that is behind the initiative.

Jodhpur National University in Rajasthan, India has announced a call for applicants to their upcoming course on the Asian Human Rights and Drug Policy Program. The program investigates standing drug policies on a global level and how they do or do not uphold tenets of human rights. This multidisciplinary course focused on learning and exploring these topics through discussion and interactive learning, and is designed to evaluate these questions of national and international drug policies and the ways they violate the fundamental human rights of the citizens they govern.

"Applications are invited from high-achieving MA and PhD students, junior faculty, research staff in universities and other institutions and professionals from the field of Public Health. (Undergraduates without a university degree will not be considered.) No prior knowledge of Human Rights and Drug Policy is required of participants. A key objective of the course is to emphasise the interdisciplinary both of learning and of problem solving. It is thus an important objective that non-standard disciplines are represented, and that new skills and capacities are applied to this area of public policy."

Language of instruction: English
Financial aid is available!
Application deadline: August 20, 2012

Please send the filled application forms to jharsh@hivatlas.org along with a brief statement of interest: This should contain a statement ( Maximum 1 Page) of why the course is seen as relevant to their current activities [employment, research, teaching] and what they expect to get out of the course which will enhance their professional skills.

 
The extreme consequences to violating drug laws in certain areas are being called into question by professionals, researchers, and academics in a variety of fields including Human Rights, public health, public policy, and other interdisciplinary fields.
Now there's a call for academics, for admission into a new course discussing these issues.
 
Read More.

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May 22, 2012
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New 'Drug War Hero' Video Game Aims To Teach Youth

 

The game was developed in flash for the web by mito.hu, in order to educate youth about the real consequences of the war on drugs - to explain why it's not working.

Along with the new video game, the HCLU hopes to raise awareness about the Count the Costs campaign.

What do you think of the game? Share your feedback on our Facebook Page, and we'll pass it along to the HCLU.

http://drugwarhero.org

Here are a few screen captures of the game, in action:

The first-person shooter in Mexico:

The crop dusting mission in Colombia:

 
Recently the Hungarian Civil Liberties Union and their drug policy program, Drug Reporter, released a video game called Drug War Hero.

Will this new approach to teaching youth about the war on drugs work?
 
Read More.

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May 2, 2012
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Celebrities Weigh in on Drug Policy: Russell Brand & Sir Richard Branson

 
Russell Brand told MPs at the House of Commons, Home Affairs Select Committee, in the UK that he thinks addiction needs to be treated as an illness and dealt with in the public health system, rather than primarily in the criminal justice system. Prior to his recovery, Brand himself had been arrested no fewer than 12 times for drugs. Now he's working to promote a rehabilitation program called Focus12, headed by Chip Somers.
 
Check out what he had to say to the committee, in this video:
 

 
Meanwhile, Sir Richard Branson, who is also outspoken about the failure of the war on drugs, answered readers questions at the Canadian newspaper, The Globe and Mail.

Here's a sample of what he said:

Who benefits from a continued war on drugs?

Sir Richard Branson: The cartels making hundreds of billions of dollars a year benefit the most. They are able to establish monopolies on products that have high demand, and they are flourishing. After this, especially in the United States, there is a major private prison industry that depends on drug convictions - each prisoner costs over $40K a year, while treatment is under $10K.

Read the full Q&A with Branson, here.

 
At the end of April two notable celebrities, Comedian (and former addict) Russell Brand and Businessman (and representative of the Global Commission on Drug Policy) Sir Richard Branson, both made their opinions known about drug policy.


 
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April 24, 2012
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New Study in Toronto and Ottawa Assessed Feasibility of Supervised Drug Consumption Sites

According to NOW Magazine:

Despite the authors’ assertion that three T.O. safe injection sites would reduce overdose deaths and HIV and hepatitis C infections, Health Minister Deb Matthews quickly declared that the province has no intention of pursuing the matter at this time because “experts continue to be divided on [their] value.”

...

Councillor Gord Perks, who represents Parkdale, an area seen by many as the logical place for a supervised program, says council needs to be open to the study’s findings. 

“It’s very clear that these facilities would save lives, reduce health care costs and reduce harm to our neighbourhoods,” he says. “So I think that from a good policy perspective but also from a moral perspective we have to try to find a way to meet the recommendations.”

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You can read NOW Magazine's article on their website.
You can read the study on the Toronto and Ottawa Supervised Consumption Assessment Study website.

 
A recent study done by St. Michael's Hospital and the University of Toronto's Dalla Lana School of Public Health found that supervised drug consumption sites, such as Insite in Vancouver, could also save lives and reduce the risk of HIV and Hepatitis infection amongst urban users in Toronto and Ottawa.

However, as NOW Magazine reported, officials have been very quick to dismiss the study.
 
Read More.

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April 20, 2012
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Recent News Echoes Evidence Presented in Raw Opium

 
Last week all 31 delegate leaders at the Summit of the Americas agreed (some to greater or lesser extents) that the war has failed and that it's time for new approaches.

As The Globe and Mail's editorial reported from the Summit of the Americas, Guatemalan President Otto Perez urged other leaders to "stop being dumb witnesses to a global deceit” and consider treatment, harm reduction and decriminalization as viable alternatives.

Meanwhile, The Economist Magazine reported a part of the deceit going on, on the other side of the world in Tajikistan, which is a location also featured in Raw Opium.

Indeed, as Raw Opium shows there is a lot of speculation about high level officials being embroiled in the drug trade, and there are known incidents of corruption.
 

If you'd like to read more, check out The Economist Magazine article here.

You can read The Globe and Mail's article here.

 
The recent Summit of the Americas, the mounting pressure for evidence-based policies and the growing death toll as a result of the drug wars in Latin America, all point toward the growing widespread acknowledgement that the war on drugs has failed on a global scale.
 
Read More.

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April 16, 2012
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Canadian PM Stephen Harper Concedes The War On Drugs Isn't Working

 
During the Summit of the Americas in Cartagena, Colombia, on the weekend, Stephen Harper conceded that the war on drugs is a failure, after listening to Latin American leaders explain how costly the largely US-led war is. However, Harper still appears hardline on his criminal justice approach to drugs, insisting on mandatory minimum sentences in his Omnibus Crime Bill (a bill that has been critiqued by many drug policy reform advocates).
 
Watch CBC's Newscast to find out more:
 

Files from: http://www.cbc.ca/news/politics/story/2012/04/15/pol-milewski-harper-war-on-drugs.html

 
During the Summit of the Americas in Cartagena, Colombia, on the weekend, Stephen Harper conceded that the war on drugs is a failure, after listening to Latin American leaders explain how costly the largely US-led war is. However, Harper still appears hardline on his criminal justice approach to drugs, insisting on mandatory minimum sentences in his Omnibus Crime Bill (a bill that has been critiqued by many drug policy reform advocates).
 
Watch CBC's Newscast to find out more:
 

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