Thursday, October 29, 2009

Submission to the UN Human Rights Council on Kazakhstan

The Canadian HIV/AIDS Legal Network (on behalf of a number of local and international durg policy organizations) made a recent submission to the UN Human Rights Council on the state of human rights and HIV in Kazakhstan.

The report "describes several key human rights priorities and provides recommendations for Kazakhstan’s Government to better respect, protect and fulfill human rights, consistent with its international obligations, in areas of particular relevance to an effective response to HIV."

This is an excellent read for anyone interested in the protection of human rights in the context of HIV public health activities. It is critical that project implementers be aware of potential and existing human rights violations and, where possible, advocate for policies that protect the human rights of people living with HIV and at high risk of HIV infection.

Friday, October 23, 2009

Wider distribution of Naloxone

Australian experts have called for the removal of barriers that prevent the drug naloxone from being easily available for peer administration after heroin overdose.

In a letter to the MJA, Professor Simon Lenton, Deputy Director of the National Drug Research Institute, along with colleagues from Melbourne’s Burnet Institute and the National Drug and Alcohol Research Centre, said that naloxone administration by peers has been shown to be a “remarkably safe” intervention to prevent deaths from heroin overdose. “We call on all Australian states and territories to immediately enact Good Samaritan legislation to legally protect laypeople using naloxone in emergency situations,” they said. They also called for the drug to be reclassified from a Schedule 4 (S4) to S3 or S2 to make it available over the counter. “Heroin overdose deaths are preventable. We need to take action now to enable peer-led intervention to reduce this serious outcome.” Nine years ago there had been a push to trial the distribution of naloxone to the peers of people at risk of a heroin overdose, but, as the heroin market was disrupted and use declined, the trials did not proceed, the authors said. However, they noted that overseas trials have shown that fears about naloxone, such as that it would be unsafe to administer or would encourage more risky drug use, had been proved to be unfounded. By December 2008 there were 52 programs in the United States that distributed naloxone to the peers of heroin users which had caused over 1000 documented overdose reversals, they said. MJA 2009; 191 (8): 469.

More at the site below:

Monday, October 19, 2009

Vending Machines for Safe Injection

An interesting AP article came out last week describing the efforts of a harm reduction organization operating in Puerto Rico. Because the needle and syringe exchanges in that area operate only during daylight, vending machines with safe injection equipment cater to IDUs who may need access to clean equipment in the evening hours. This is an interesting and innovative way of getting the clean equipment to IDUs, and one which may be particularly effective in certain settings.

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Calculate your needle coverage

Harm Reduction Works has created an on-line calculator to help you estimate the extent to which the number of syringes being distributed to illicit drug users within an area compares to an estimate of the potential need for sterile injecting equipment.


This could hel you think through your "Universe of Need" for IDUs, regarding needles/syringes.


Wednesday, October 7, 2009

A cocaine vaccine?

Immunization with an experimental anti-cocaine vaccine resulted in a substantial reduction in cocaine use in 38 percent of vaccinated patients in a clinical trial supported by the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA), a component of the National Institutes of Health. The study, published in the October issue of Archives of General Psychiatry, is the first successful, placebo-controlled demonstration of a vaccine against an illicit drug of abuse.

For more information on this ground-breaking finding, please see below.

The vaccine is not ready for widespread use yet. But this could become one way for PSI to do product-based drug demand reduction, wherever cocaine use is prevalent and widespread.