Gendered drug policy: Motherisk and the regulation of mothering in Canada
سیاست مواد مخدر جنسیتی: Motherisk و تنظیم مادرانگی در کانادا-2019
Background: Due to misinformation and enduring discourses about pregnant women and mothers suspected of using drugs, these women continue to experience systemic discrimination. In 2014, this fact was once again made public in Canada when the Ontario government established an independent review of hair testing practices conducted by Motherisk Drug Testing Laboratory (MDTL) at Torontos Hospital for Sick Kids. Between 2005 and 2015, MDTL tested the hair of more than 16,000 individuals for drug consumption. The results were introduced as evidence in court and resulted in both temporary and permanent loss of custody of children. Tragically, it was later discovered that the hair testing results were unreliable. This paper provides an analysis of child protection policies and practices directed at pregnant women and mothers suspected of using drugs, with a focus on the Motherisk tragedy in Ontario. Methods: Informed by feminist and critical drug perspectives, this study draws from findings in the 2015″Report of the Motherisk Hair Analysis Independent Review," produced by Honourable Susan Lang, and provides a Bacchi-informed critical analysis of Commissioner Beamans 2018 report of the Motherisk Commission, "Harmful Impacts: The Reliance on Hair Testing in Child Protection" (HI). Results: The HI report is quite sympathetic to the plight of families and it acknowledges systemic issues and unequal power relations between families, social workers and the courts. Even though drug testing is an inadequate measure of parenting capacity, the HI report does not recommend banning the practice. In the HI report, the themes of harm reduction and drug prohibition are notably absent — while the use of gender-neutral terms, such as "parent" and "families," render mothers invisible. Conclusions: The Motherisk tragedy cannot be understood as an isolated event, rather it is part of a continuum of state and gendered violence against poor, Indigenous, and Black women in Canada. The HI report fails to consider how prohibitionist discourses about drugs, addiction, mothering, and risk lead to institutional practices such as drug testing and child apprehension.
Keywords: Motherisk | Women | Race | Drug testing | Child apprehension
“It’s about bloody time”: Perceptions of people who use drugs regarding drug law reform
"این در مورد زمان خونین است": درک افرادی که از مواد مخدر برای اصلاح قانون مواد مخدر استفاده می کنند-2019
Background: In Australia and elsewhere, the impacts of drug prohibition have sparked a critical dialogue about the state of current drug laws. While a range of ‘experts’ have offered their opinion and participation in these deliberations, the voices of the affected community have largely been excluded. This study aimed to gather the opinions and preferences of people who use drugs about the current or alternative models of drug laws, in addition to how they think drug laws could be changed Author Conflict of Interest Declaration. Methods: In March 2018, four focus groups (n=37) were conducted with people who were in receipt of social welfare services in Sydney, Australia, where participants were encouraged to share their views about the current drug laws, drug law reform options, and important messages to politicians. Several themes were identified through a thematic analysis. Results: Models of drug law reform were often understood and expressed in language and constructs different to those commonly used by researchers. Opinions were diverse and there was no consensus on a preferred model, although discussions flowed around decriminalisation, legalisation, and a medical/prescription model; the latter being the preferred approach. Participants shared pessimistic views of the drug laws ever changing, and argued that public opinion would need to adjust for reform to succeed. Furthermore, they argued that the views of the affected community are vital to any drug law reform campaign. Conclusions: Participants affinity towards a medical/prescription approach to drug regulation was an unexpected finding. This study serves as an important example of the opinions and experiential knowledge of the affected community and this knowledge could be solicited alongside other forms of ‘expertise’ in drug law reform campaigns.
Keywords: People who use drugs | Drug law reform | Drug laws | Drug policy | Qualitative | Consumer participation
Producing the vulnerable subject in English drug policy
تولید موضوع آسیب پذیر در سیاست مواد مخدر انگلیسی-2019
The concept of vulnerability is now deeply embedded in English drug policy, influential in governing practices such as prevention and treatment activity but yet to be subject to critical scrutiny. In this article, we offer an appraisal of the vulnerability zeitgeist in contemporary drug policy, drawing upon insights from similar endeavours across a range of policy areas to consider the underlying assumptions and various effects of this conceptual logic. Using an approach to policy analysis which supports the questioning of deep-seated assumptions and implications of particular representations of ‘problems’ in social policies (often referred to as the ‘What’s the Problem?’ [WPR] approach, Bacchi & Goodwin, 2016), we analyse the 2017 Drug Strategy to facilitate a close perspective on the texture of governance in relation to people who use drugs in England. We explore how vulnerability and drug use are in Bacchi’s (2018; 6) terms ‘problematized’ and ‘made ‘real’’ as a specific kind of phenomenon, drawing attention to the presuppositions and potential effects of being labelled (or not) as vulnerable. We argue that alongside bolstering targeted support, the current problematisation of vulnerability in English drug policy supports the operation of subtle disciplinary mechanisms to regulate the behaviour of those deemed vulnerable, underplaying the role of material inequalities and social divisions in the unevenness of drug-related harms. We then use the WPR approach to guide a discussion of the burgeoning multidisciplinary literature on vulnerability, exploring orientations and effects of alternative representations of the ‘vulnerable’ drug users. Producing the ‘vulnerable’ subject in these alternative ways creates a different and deeper understanding of the ‘problem’ and consequently its ‘solutions’, allowing more space for human agency to be considered and directing attention beyond drug policy towards tackling the diverse multiple social marginalisations which make some people more likely than others to experience drug-related harms.
Keywords: Drug policy | England | Problematisation | Responsibilisation | Risk | Vulnerability
The Philippines’ anti drug campaign: Spatial and temporal patterns of killings linked to drugs
مبارزه با مواد مخدر فیلیپین: الگوهای مکانی و زمانی قتل های مرتبط با مواد مخدر-2019
Background: As soon as President Rodrigo Duterte assumed office in 2016, the Philippine government launched a nationwide antidrug campaign based on enforcement-led anti-illegal drugs policies primarily implemented by the national police. This was followed by a spate of killings resulting from both acknowledged police operations and by unidentified assailants. This study assembles a victim-level dataset of drug-related killings covered by the media during the Philippine government’s antidrug campaign, and presents a spatial and temporal analysis of the killings. Methods: The dataset covers information on 5021 people killed from May 10, 2016 to September 29, 2017. Data collected systematically through online search procedures and existing listings of media organizations detailing information about incidences of drug-related police operations and drug-related killings in vigilante-style manner reveal patterns for who were being killed, where, and how. Results: Over half of the killings were due to acknowledged police operations, and the rest were targeted in socalled vigilante-style killings. The first three months after Mr. Duterte was sworn in were the deadliest months. Those who were killed were mostly low-level drug suspects. The analysis of temporal pattern reveals the scale of killings in the country, with rapid escalation starting in July 2016 and lasting throughout the rest of that year. Observable declines occurred during periods when the drug war was suspended and operations were moved to a non-police enforcement unit and rose again when police were brought back into operations. The spatial analysis indicates a large concentration of deaths in the National Capital Region (40%) compared to the rest of the country with wide variations across cities and regions. Conclusions: Overall, the Philippine drug war exhibits similarities with violent wars on drugs waged in other countries such as Thailand, with heavily police-led interventions leading to fatalities in the thousands over a span of under two years. Findings of this study point to important policy adjustments that need to be made, including the role that local governments play in drug policy implementation, the disproportionate negative impacts of enforcement-led policies against drugs on urban and poor areas, the targeting of low-level suspected drug dealers and users, and the importance of proper data monitoring and transparency by the government to inform policy adjustments in the face of high costs to human life. We also discuss the importance of independent monitoring systems when the government reports conflicting information.
Keywords: Drug war | Antidrug campaign | Killings | Philippines | Dataset
Big data on a big new market: Insights from Washington State’s legal cannabis market
داده های بزرگ در یک بازار بزرگ جدید: آمار بین المللی از بازار شاهدانه قانونی واشنگتن-2018
Introduction: Voters in eight U.S. states have passed initiatives to legalize large-scale commercial production of cannabis for non-medical use. All plan or require some form of “seed-to-sale” tracking systems, which provide a view of cannabis market activity at a heretofore unimagined level of detail. Legal markets also create a range of new matters for policy makers to address. Data: Publicly available data were obtained on approximately 45 million individually priced items purchased in the 35 million retail transactions that took place during the first two and a half years of Washington State’s legal cannabis market. Records include product type (flower, extract, lotion, liquid edible, etc.), product name, price, and potency with respect to multiple cannabinoids, notably THC and CBD. Items sold can be traced back up the supply chain through the store to the processor and producer, to the level of identifying the specific production batch and mother plant, the firm that tested the product, and test results. Method: Data visualization methods are employed to describe spatial-temporal patterns of multiple correlated attributes (e.g., price and potency) broken down by product. Text-analytic methods are used to subdivide the broad category of “extracts for inhalation” into more homogeneous sub-categories. To understand the compe titiveness of the legal cannabis market in Washington we calculate the Herfindahl-Hirschman index (HHI) for processors and retailers. Results: Cannabis prices fell steadily and proportionally at the processor and retailer levels. Retail and wholesale price maintained a roughly 3:1 ratio for multiple product types after some initial fluctuations. Although a wide range of edibles are sold, they account for a modest share of consumer spending; extracts for inhalation are a larger and heterogeneous market segment. The HHI indicates the cannabis market is highly competitive at the processor level, but less so for retail markets at the county level. Conclusions: Washington’s state-legal cannabis market is diverse and rapidly evolving in terms of pricing, pro ducts, and organization. Post-legalization, researchers and policy makers may need to think in terms of a family of cannabis products, akin to how we think of new psychoactive substances and amphetamine-type stimulants, not a single drug “cannabis.”
Keywords: Cannabis ، Extracts ، Potency ، Prices ، Legalization ، Drug policy
Shaping Drug Policy in Poland
شکل دهی سیاست مواد مخدر در لهستان-2016
Poland, a post-socialist democracy with a high interest in successful integration into the European Union (EU) and a strong Catholic tradition, currently has some of the most restrictive drug laws in Europe. Since 2000, when Article 62 was introduced, any drug possession is criminalized. In 2011, Article 62a, gave the prosecution service and courts the option to discontinue a criminal procedure against those in possession of small amounts of illicit substances for personal use, however this option has yet to be fully implemented.