Australia could learn a lot from the fact that a number of American cities are successfully reducing the role of criminalisation in their drug policies.

Debates about harm reduction follow the same pattern: relentless hostility, proof that it works, then more relentless hostility. This is the ‘drug problem’ problem.

New HIV infections and HIV/AIDS-related mortality have plummeted to record lows. But we must not forget the past when the high mortality rate was so visible, so tragic, so preventable, and so harmful to households, communities, and society as a whole.

Globally, new HIV infections among adults and children were reduced by 40% since the peak in 1997. However, new analysis from UNAIDS shows that new HIV infections among adults have stalled, failing to decline for at least five years. The report outlines what is needed to step up prevention efforts

Global Drug Survey finds that legal highs are not seen as safer and will most likely be used in long term by marginalised people

An international commission of medical experts is calling for global drug decriminalisation, arguing that current policies lead to violence, deaths and the spread of disease, harming health and human rights.

A leading global public health commission is calling for new policies that would transform our approach to drug use, addiction and control worldwide, including the decriminalization of minor and non-violent drug offenses. According to a report released this morning by the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health and The Lancet, the war on drugs and zero-tolerance policies have undercut public health across the globe and have directly contributed to many of today’s most urgent public health crises, while doing little to affect drug markets or drug use.

According to a recent report by U.K.-based NGO Harm Reduction International, “The Case for a Harm Reduction Decade: Progress, Potential and Paradigm Shifts,” new HIV infections among people who inject drugs could be virtually eliminated by 2030 if a small percentage of global drug control spending is redirected toward harm reduction programs.

Ecstasy is making a comeback as the drug of choice for young people in the UK and across Europe – and it is much stronger than before, the EU’s drug agency has warned.

Last month, the United Nations General Assembly met for the first time in history to reconsider international drug prohibition with an eye toward policies focused on health and human rights.

Worldwide, about 246 million people use illicit drugs, and 1 in 10 of these users suffer from disorders related to drug use. Of the estimated 12 million people who inject drugs, at least 1.6 million are also living with HIV, while slightly more than half suffer from hepatitis C. Each year, 200,000 people suffer drug-related deaths, such as overdoses.

Doctors struggling to deal with potentially deadly new psychoactive substances (NPS) have begun collecting the pills when patients are at casualty. The drugs are then being analysed by the Scottish Police Authority’s forensic services in the hope of creating an archive of legal highs, which will provide a reference point for medical professionals and those working in police forensics.

Seattle could become the first city in the U.S. with a site providing medical supervision for people using illegal drugs like heroin and cocaine.

According to the 2016 EU Drugs Market Report, published by Europol and released earlier this month, nine percent of 15- to 24-year-olds in Ireland have tried a "new psychoactive substance" (NPS) at least once in the last 12 months, followed by eight percent of young people in both Spain and France. Three percent of users had purchased the drugs online, the Irish Times reports.

The immediate goal of harm reduction is not to help addicts lead a drug-free, productive life, but rather to make drug use safer. By establishing relationships with people who are reluctant to give up drugs, LEAD staffers say they can build a bridge to treatment and eventually a job. LEAD doesn’t pressure addicts to stop using or hold them accountable in anyway.

The overdose crisis has touched almost every corner of the United States. According to the CDC over 47,000 people died from overdoses in 2014, most from opioids like heroin, hydrocodone, OxyContin, morphine and fentanyl. These deaths are usually preventable with access to naloxone and education about overdose prevention and harm reduction. Most states have passed naloxone access and 911 medical amnesty (or “Good Samaritan”) laws in recent years. But that’s only the first step, and there are critical gaps in implementing those laws on the ground.

Leading global public health experts have urged for reform in the global blueprint on drug policy, saying prevailing policies that put drug users through the criminal justice system have had “serious detrimental effects” on health and human rights and led to lethal violence.

Non-violent, minor drug offences such as possession and petty sale should instead be decriminalised, while health and social services should be strengthened, a major new report led by The Lancet and Johns Hopkins University in the United States recommended.

Naloxone has become a key tool in curbing overdoes resulting from the nation’s opioid abuse epidemic. The class of drug that includes prescription painkillers and heroin was involved in a record 28,648 deaths in 2014, and opioid overdoses have more than quadrupled since 2000, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Recently released inmates are particularly vulnerable.

Naloxone supporters say the opportunity to save potentially thousands of lives outweighs any fears that the promise of a nearby antidote would only encourage drug abuse. Officials already widely distribute the drug to police, paramedics, drug users and their families.