Canvassing for Opinion - aka "Blairs Brain on Cannabis"

IMHO prohibition sentiment requires inherent addiction to status quo, an incapacity to visualise beyond the here and now and a desperate desire to know others might feel the same... Reform is not revolutionary, rather it is evolutionary. Having survived banging your head against a brick wall the evolutionist relishes having stopped. / Blair

Sunday, July 10, 2005

Defence drug plan slammed 9 Jul05 Press - Dominion

....whinging and prejudiced non-smokers, a policy that is an ass, similar uptake rates as civilians (unsurprising).... wonder whether there will ever be a similar survey of the police.... just another microcosm. /paula

The Press (Christchurch) Sat 9 Jul 2005 Kay Blundell

The Defence Force's drug policy has been slammed as 'a joke' and 'toothless' by staff who claim drug users are given repeated warnings before dismissal because of problems recruiting new people.

The Defence Force's elimination and zero-tolerance drug policy has come under fire in a confidential survey of 1000 army , navy and air force staff. 'Drug users are constantly given four to five chances before they are dismissed, which is due to small unit numbers and unit staff not wishing to lose any further members. The policy is a joke and soldiers are neither worried about being caught nor tested regularly enough to deter them,' an army junior cadet said.

One in five staff had experimented with drugs since enlisting, according to the survey, and nearly two-thirds called for stricter drug-use controls. 'Penalties are not harsh enough, there are no second chances given in battle, so why is it possible for someone to be a user and obtain rank and other privileges, such as overseas tours and postings. The policy is toothless - it states zero tolerance but gives people up to four chances in some cases,' another respondent said. 'We know if we get caught we'll just get told off. So what? We can play the system to our advantage and we have,' another army junior cadet said.

Lack of consistency when dealing with those who tested positive for drugs was the single most significant issue raised by staff. The study says many respondents believe the consequences for staff caught using drugs depends on 'who they are, who their friends are, who will bat for them and whether they are a good rugby player'. 'I know of three servicemen who were tested positive three times and are still serving - another one was discharged after testing positive once,' said one respondent.

Three-quarters believed drug education was important, yet over the past 12 months, only 41 per cent had attended a lecture on drugs. 'Only credible civic agencies should run drug education, not standard 'ex-druggies turned good' or tree huggers,' an army junior officer said.

The survey, by Victoria University's master of public policy student, Andrena Patterson, a former army major, is the first of its kind. 'It shows there is a gap between what the Ministry says it will do, and reality. That gap needs to be addressed,' she said. About half of those surveyed admitted having tried cannabis and about one in 10 said they had used amphetamines or methamphetamines at some time - rates similar to those for civilians. Cannabis was the drug of choice, followed by methamphetamine, according to the survey. About 17 to 19% of low-ranking staff under the age of 25 had tried drugs since they signed up, compared with about 10% of British soldiers.

Victoria University's Institute of Policy Study director, Dr Andrew Ladley, said the comparison should be treated with caution as the British survey of only 500 soldiers was done seven years ago. Ladley praised defence chiefs for supporting the study and their positive response to the findings. Assistant defence chief (personnel), Commodore Bruce Pepperell, said the Defence Force was working on a consistent approach across the services. 'Our intention is to keep the current system where we have one warning and, depending on the nature of the offence, the person may be dischared or given another chance. More than 3000 drug tests had been carried out within the forces this year,' he said. - Dominion Post.
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  • At 3:29 pm, July 10, 2005, Anonymous Kevin said…

    No evidence of impairment or risk. No credibility in claiming there is a problem. I would think bullets and depleted uranium would be a far higher risk on the battlefield, than a bit of pot on Saturday night. Do they test for alcohol impairment. A hangover could be very dangerous, not to mention intoxicated decisions of generals and majors.

    The problem seems to be a rule of law which has not earned the respect of all the troops (as in general population). Solution is to implement a legal context in society (and thus the armed forces) that people respect. Cannabis 'hysteria based' law is notorious for its lack of reason, fairness and credibility.
    Didnt labour promise to review this law?
    also re amphetamine - i heard somewhere germans soldiers used this extensively in World War 1 or 2 ???


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