Could mild herbal stimulants such as the coca leaf, khat, kratom or ephedra offer alternatives to the more concentrated substances that now dominate the market? Could the recreational stimulants market be steered towards a less harmful direction over time through differentiating the control mechanisms between plants and synthesized derivatives? Different legal regimes are currently implemented between countries and vary greatly for the different plants, some of which are erroneously classified as new psychoactive substances (NPS).

  • Speeding up the response

    A global review of the harm reduction response to amphetamines
    Sophie Pinkham
    International Harm Reduction Association (IHRA)
    April 2010

    Despite heavy media coverage of amphetamines and increased research attention in some countries, the harm reduction response remains underdeveloped when compared with the response to opiates and injecting-related harms. Programmes do exist and new guidance is being compiled, but there is a need for evaluation, further documentation of experiences and expansion of effective interventions. This chapter will discuss the emerging responses to amphetamines-related harms and consider the next steps for the international harm reduction community.

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  • The fast and the furious

    Cocaine, amphetamines and harm reduction
    Jean-Paul Grund, Philip Coffin, Marie Jauffret-Roustide, Minke Dijkstra, Dick de Bruin and Peter Blanken
    European Monitoring Centre for Drugs and Drug Addiction (EMCDDA)
    April 2010

    Harm reduction programmes targeting stimulants like cocaine and (meth)amphetamines in several countries have shown positive results. However, these programmes are limited to Australia and North America. As the effectiveness of pharmacological and psycho­social interventions for stimulant users is limited, interventions to stabilise and mini­mise the negative consequences of ongoing meth­ampheta­mine use are of paramount importance. A wide range of health and social problems associated with stimulant use are largely unaddressed by current services.

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  • Regulating khat

    Dilemmas and opportunities for the international drug control system
    Axel Klein, Susan Beckerleg & Degol Hailu
    International Journal of Drug Policy, Volume 20, Issue 6
    November 2009

    The regulation of khat, one of the most recent psychoactive drugs to become a globally traded commodity, remains hotly contested within different producer and consumer countries. As regimes vary, it has been possible to compare khat policies in Africa, Europe and North America from different disciplinary perspectives. The research established the significance of khat for rural producers, regional economies, as a tax base and source of foreign exchange. At the same time, khat as a psychoactive substance is associated with health and public safety problems that in turn are met with often ill-informed legislative responses. Bans have in turn lead to the criminalisation of users and sellers and illegal drug markets.

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  • Randomized controlled trial of dexamphetamine maintenance for the treatment of methamphetamine dependence

    Marie Longo, Wendy Wickes, Matthew Smout, Sonia Harrison, Sharon Cahill & Jason M. White
    Addiction 105, pp. 146–154
    June 2009

    This study tested the impact of a long-acting form of amphetamine as medication to help control dependent use of the closely allied stimulant, methamphetamine. Prescribed usually for the treatment of pathological sleepiness or attention deficit/hyperactivity disorder, effects of the amphetamine tablets prescribed in the study take several hours longer to emerge than normal amphetamine and last three to six hours longer, giving it a 'smoothing' profile similar to methadone for heroin users; non-rapid onset make it less intensely pleasurable, and longer duration suits it to once-daily administration.

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  • Submission to the House of Commons Select Committee on the cocaine trade

    Memorandum on the coca leaf
    Martin Jelsma
    Transnational Institute (TNI)
    June 12, 2009

    The attached summary report addresses the myths that surround the coca leaf and is presented to the Committee members in order to allow them to make an evidence-based judgement on its current legal status and on the potential usefulness of coca in its natural form, including in the UK context.

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  • Coca Myths

    Anthony Henman Pien Metaal
    TNI Drugs & Conflict Debate Paper 17
    June 2009

    The coca leaf has been used and misused for many ends, each of them suiting different interests and agendas. Even its very name has been appropriated by a soft drinks producer, which still has difficulties in admitting that the plant is used to produce its "black gold". Every day press accounts around the world use the word coca in their headlines, when they refer in fact to cocaine.

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  • Legal Responses to New Psychoactive Substances in Europe

    Brendan Hughes and T Blidaru
    European Legal Database on Drugs
    February 2009

    This paper starts from the premise that, when a new psychoactive substance appears on the licit/illicit market in a country in Europe, legislators need to choose whether to bring it under control of the drug laws, and for public health reasons they may need to do so quickly. A comparative study of the systems and procedures finds that there are a variety of control methods available in the different countries, including the analogue and generic systems, as well as temporary emergency and rapid permanent scheduling procedures.

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  • The ATS Boom in Southeast Asia

    Tom Blickman
    Transnational Institute (TNI)
    January 2009

    In the 1990s, Southeast Asia experienced a boom in the production and consumption of amphetamine-type stimulants (ATS), in particular methamphetamines (meth). At the same time, the region has seen a declining opium market, although the downward trend may well be versing now. How exactly these two phenomena interrelate is still an unresolved question. The ATS market seems to have its own distinct dynamics; for users, the availability and accessibility of opium and heroin have an impact on ATS use and vice versa, and some former heroin producers have moved to producing ATS.

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  • Risk assessment of khat use in the Netherlands

    A review based on adverse health effects, prevalence, criminal involvement and public order
    E.J.M. Pennings, A. Opperhuizen & J.G.C. van Amsterdam
    Regulatory Toxicology and Pharmacology 52 (2008) 199–207
    August 2008

    In preparing a decision about the legal status of khat in the Netherlands, the Dutch Minister of Health requested CAM (Coordination point Assessment and Monitoring new drugs) to assess the overall risk of khat in the Netherlands. The present paper is a redraft of a report which formed the scientific basis of the risk evaluation procedure (October 2007). This report reviews the scientific data about khat available in the international literature. In addition, the report contains some information specific for the Netherlands (prevalence, availability of khat and public order aspects).

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  • Should Khat Be Banned?

    The Development Impact
    Degol Hailu, Policy Specialist, UNDP, Caribbean
    International Poverty Centre (IPC)
    July 2007

    The global trade in khat is controversial. The United States and most countries in Europe have banned it, considering it a psychotropic substance. But it contributes significantly to farmers’ livelihood in Eastern Africa. Though public officials in the region denounce its consumption, they benefit from the foreign exchange and tax revenues that it generates. So, how should this contradiction be resolved?

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