GDPO Quarterly News: October 2018 – January 2019
As part of an OSF Global Drug Policy Program funded research project that is examining the gendered impacts of drug policy enforcement, Julia organised a workshop in Accra, Ghana in October that brought together 15 experts from East and West Africa including from the prison service (Kenya), drug policy reform NGOs (Nigeria, Ghana and Liberia), harm reduction organisations (Senegal and Kenya), drug user organisations (Tanzania), and sex workers unions and support organisations (Nigeria, Ghana). The workshop addressed the impacts of punitive enforcement policies on women and girls both directly as drug users and indirectly as partners of drug users. Ahead of the Ghana trip, Julia also delivered sessions on gendered enforcement impacts to colleagues from the region attending the University of Hong Kong’s Human Rights and Drug Policy in East and Southeast Asia workshop. As in Ghana, issues around social and cultural stigma of female drug users were addressed, and the importance of gender-sensitive drug policy research and reform emphasised.
Meanwhile, back in the UK, October saw Martin work with Michala Kowalski, Monica Barratt, and Adam R Winstock to produce the dark net section of Global Drug Survey 2019, Are You Privacy Minded. More details on this can be found here. This was part of a productive month for Martin with him also giving a presentation - as a Civil Society Task Force on Drugs selected speaker - at the Commission on Narcotic Drugs Fourth Intersessional meeting on research into the impact of recent law enforcement operations against crypto drug markets (CDMs) and seeing publication of his contributions on CDMs within the IDPCs’ landmark civil society report Taking Stock: A Decade of Drug Policy
Martin presenting at the Commission on Narcotic Drugs, Vienna, October 2018.
With work on the GDPO’s Africa project progressing in what might be described as a slow and steady fashion, as part of an international initiative organised by the International Association for Hospice and Palliative Care Advocacy Program, the Observatory was one of a range of organisations to submit a formal letter in October to the 41st Expert Committee on Drug Dependence. In it, as with the submissions of other organisations, the GDPO noted with concern yet another critical review of tramadol, a widely used analgesic for the relief of moderate to severe pain in countries where other opioid analgesics are largely unavailable.
During a hectic trip to Australia, Khalid took part (with Sir Richard Branson) in the launch of The Fair Treatment Campaign in Sydney and gave a presentation on the International Drug Control System to the Australian Capital Territory Legislative Assembly, as part of the Canberra Drug Policy Series.
Slightly nearer to home, in November Dave and Martin Jelsma spent time in Rabat, Morocco, working with the GDPO’s new partners at the Institut Scientifique of the University of Mohammad V on the development of a number of exciting projects with Dave’s time in the country also including research in the Rif for the forthcoming second edition of The Rise and Decline of Cannabis Prohibition.
In Budapest Julia convened an executive short course delivered to 23 participants from 18 different countries, with the teaching team including Ian Hamilton (University of York), Fiona Macaulay (University of Bradford), Corina Giacomello (University of Oaxaca) and Giavana Margo (Central European University). The interactive sessions covered the historical foundations of current drug policy and, drawing on the outcomes of the earlier workshop in Ghana introduced the concepts of “gender” and “feminism” in addition to the ways in which these relate to drug policy. The violences faced by women and girls in the drug trade were also discussed as well as tools and processes for mainstreaming gender within drug policy. In Swansea, November also saw Martin guest-lecture on the topic of CDMs for Rick Lines’ undergraduate and MA’s modules on drugs and crime. Towards the end of term in December, Dave also ventured across campus to give a lecture on ‘the War on Drugs’ to Rick’s excellent MA class. At the University of Geneva’s Global Studies Institute, Khalid gave a presentation titled ‘Quel avenir pour les politiques internationales de contrôle des drogues?’ as part of ‘Les Midis de la Recherche’ Series
Dave with Rick’s MA class in December 2018.
Over the course of the Quarter GDPO was involved in a good number of publications, in terms of both Observatory outputs and team authored publications elsewhere. As part of the ongoing work with CEU’s School of Public Policy, October saw the publication of two Situation Analyses: Faryal Sajjad’s, Pakistan’s HIV Epidemic and the Need for Prison-Based Harm Reduction Programmes, and Nicholas Sertich’s, Villainous, Alien, Killable: Narrative and Regulatory Norms Surrounding Drug Users in Video Games. The same month Khalid’s co-authored chapter, ‘Drug Policy in the Russian Federation: Do Control Policies Produce More Harm than Drugs?’ was published in Axel’s co-edited collection Collapse of the Global Order on Drugs: From UNGASS 2016 to Review 2019, as was Dave’s co-authored chapter, ‘Measuring the “World Drug Problem”: 2019 and Beyond’. Axel also published ‘Poly and Tricky Dick: The drug war origins of the term “polydrug use”’ in Nordic Studies on Alcohol and Drugs. In December Martin published the first of a series of pieces for Jane’s Intelligence Review’s new section OSINT Snapshots, ‘US STOP law aims to tackle postal deliveries from dark web drug sales’, while Ross’s Opinion Piece, ‘How revolutionary-minded is Mexico’s new president really?’ was published online by Al Jazeera. Khalid was also busy writing pieces for or being interviewed by news outlets. Activity included ‘Africa’s Time To Shape International Drug Policy’ (OP-ED), Modern Ghana (Ghana), 'Drug policies should be first of all concerned with preserving public health' (interview, Daily Star (Bangladesh) and ‘Légalisation du cannabis au Luxembourg : quelles conséquences pour la France?’ (OP-ED), Les Echos (France).
Martin’s piece for JIR, December 2018