We are indebted to the International Doctors for Healthier Drug Policies for our Resources. We will be adding to them over time.

Drugs in the Time of COVID: Interim Report

Since the beginning of the first national coronavirus lockdown, Release has operated a public, online survey designed to monitor how people are buying their drugs. The purpose of this survey, which is open to anyone residing in the UK over the age of 18, is to determine the impact that the COVID-19 pandemic, and corresponding restrictions, have had on buying illegal substances.

Innovation and resilience in times of crisis: Civil society advocacy for drug policy reform under the COVID-19 pandemic

COVID-19 restrictions and their impacts on policymaking processes have not hampered civil society actors from continuing their advocacy work in drug policy and related sectors, albeit with notable adjustments in their ways of working.

Pathways to 'recovery' and social reintegration: The experiences of long-term clients of methadone maintenance treatment in an Irish drug treatment setting

This paper examines the experiences of long-term clients of methadone maintenance treatment (MMT) in one area of Dublin in the context of a recent emphasis on rehabilitation and recovery in Irish drug policy.

Hepatitis C standards of care: A review of good practices since the advent of direct-acting antiviral therapy

This review found 13 well documented HCV good practices that have become the standard of care or that should become the standard of care as soon as possible.

Scottish government review of international approaches to drug law reform

This paper gives an overview of seven case studies in drug law reform approaches from five countries. It aims to support Scottish Government research and policy development regarding drug law and enforcement, and the work of the Drug Deaths Taskforce in identifying successful interventions and locating them within their legal and policing contexts.

Opioid agonist treatment could substantially reduce drug related deaths if used more widely

New evidence that opioid agonists such as methadone and buprenorphine could substantially reduce drug related deaths if more widely used in the community and prison, and for longer, has been published in Lancet Psychiatry.

Association between county jail incarceration and cause-specific county mortality in the USA, 1987–2017: a retrospective, longitudinal study

Mass incarceration has collateral consequences for community health, which are reflected in county-level health indicators, including county mortality rates. County jail incarceration rates are associated with all-cause mortality rates in the USA. We assessed the causes of death that drive the relationship between county-level jail incarceration and mortality.

Accelerated Overdose Deaths Linked With COVID-19

More than 81 000 people died of drug overdoses in the US between June 2019 and May 2020, a record-breaking number that CDC officials suggested is related to the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic.

Harm reduction in Europe: a framework for civil society-led monitoring

Civil society organisations (CSOs) play a vital role in developing and implementing effective measures to reduce the harms of drug use. They are also fundamental actors to monitor and evaluate programmes and policies for improvement. While harm reduction services are subject to monitoring, and international and European indicators exist, a framework for civil society-led monitoring does not exist. This paper analyses the challenges and added values of developing such a framework for the European region.

Association between county level cannabis dispensary counts and opioid related mortality rates in the United States

Higher medical and recreational storefront dispensary counts are associated with reduced opioid related death rates, particularly deaths associated with synthetic opioids such as fentanyl. This study highlights the importance of considering the complex supply side of related drug markets and how this shapes opioid use and misuse.

Association of Medical Stimulants With Mortality in the US From 2010 to 2017

The role of nonopioids in the drug overdose epidemic in the US is frequently overshadowed. From 2015 to 2016, mortality rates involving cocaine and psychostimulants were smaller than opioids, but were rising faster than opioids.1 We examined individual substances listed on death certificates to better understand stimulant-associated mortality and assess rates over time.


This report covers drug trends, explores the drivers behind drug related deaths and gives insight into the impact of the global pandemic and lockdown restrictions.

Methamphetamine overdose deaths rise sharply in USA

Methamphetamine overdose deaths surged in an eight-year period in the United States, according to a study published today. The analysis revealed rapid rises across all racial and ethnic groups, but American Indians and Alaska Natives had the highest death rates overall. The research was conducted at the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA), part of the National Institutes of Health.

Shooting Up: infections among people who inject drugs in the UK, 2019

Drug use in the United Kingdom (UK) is among the highest reported in Western Europe and people who inject drugs (PWID) experience stark health inequalities, with increased morbidity and early mortality. Through this report, we explore infections, associated risks and behaviours among PWID in the UK to the end of 2019, as well as presenting preliminary data on the impact of COVID-19 on PWID and services in 2020.

Covid-19 and the impact on harm reduction in Europe

Launch of the special harm reduction journal edition

The Global State of Harm Reduction 2020

The Global State of Harm Reduction is the only report that provides an independent analysis of harm reduction in the world. Now in its the seventh edition, the Global State of Harm Reduction 2020 is the most comprehensive global mapping of harm reduction responses to drug use, HIV and viral hepatitis.

COVID-19 and people who use drugs; seizing opportunity in times of chaos

COVID-19 holds the world in a tight grip. In these unprecedented times, health and health-system capacities have been on the top of the global agenda for several months. Many countries have rolled out far-reaching prevention measure such as physical distancing and ‘lock-downs’ to prevent (further) overwhelming of health system capacities. In many contexts, people who use drugs are a vulnerable population, prone to poor access to health services compounded by criminalization, and stigmatisation in health-care settings.

80% of Americans can't accurately identify opioids, study finds

While three-quarters of Americans believe they can recognize whether or not they have been prescribed an opioid, only 1 in 5 of these participants could correctly identify seven commonly prescribed opioids.

Report on Opioid-Related Deaths during the COVID-19 Pandemic

The emergence of the COVID-19 pandemic in Ontario led the province to declare a state of emergency on March 17, 2020. Physical distancing measures intended to mitigate the spread of COVID-19 (e.g., reduced hours of operation for pharmacies, outpatient clinics, and harm reduction sites providing care to people who use drugs) may have led to unintended harms in terms of opioid-related deaths.

Making the investment case: Cost-effectiveness evidence for harm reduction

This briefing compiles geographically diverse evidence to enable advocates to make the case for the cost-effectiveness of harm reduction

New study calculates alarming lifetime risk of death from firearms and drug overdoses in the US

A new study appearing in The American Journal of Medicine calculates the lifetime risk of death from firearms and drug overdoses in the United States.

Patients with substance use disorder discriminated against by post-acute care facilities

New study at Boston Medical Center results show high rejection rates based on substance use disorder, medication treatment status

Exaggerating Harmful Drug Effects on the Brain Is Killing Black People

Exaggerations of the detrimental impact of recreational drug use on the human brain have bolstered support for draconian drug policies and have been used to justify police brutality against Black people. This situation has led to disproportionately high Black incarceration rates and countless Black deaths.

Overview: The opioid crisis in America

As the United States—and the world—reel from the COVID-19 pandemic, the epidemic of opioid use disorder continues to ravage the country. It too has cost the lives of hundreds of thousands of Americans, devastated families and local communities, and exposed critical weaknesses in U.S. drug policy as well as in the health and welfare systems available to our low-income population.

Drug Offences and the Death Penalty in Malaysia: Fair Trial Rights and Ramifications

This report considers whether Malaysian death penalty trials for drug-related offences comply with fair trial guarantees, and whether accused persons are provided with the high level of procedural fairness and access to justice required.

Impact of a health system's three-pronged strategy to address the opioid epidemic

Dr. Oralia Dominic, the Chief Medical Officer (CMO), Highmark Inc., Pittsburgh, PA, USA, defined the three-pronged public health strategy that was implemented in Delaware, Pennsylvania, and West Virginia, to curtail the use and abuse of opioid.

Timeline: 25 years of monitoring — selected events from the EMCDDA’s international cooperation history

Follow the timeline and take a walk through some of the key moments in the EMCDDA's 25 years of international cooperation.