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

Thursday, March 16, 2006

Jim Anderton no expert, Judy Turner, no credibility

Too many drugs labelled Class A, experts say

15.03.06 1.00pm

Jim Anderton, the Minister in charge of drug strategy, is asking the Expert Advisory Committee on Drugs to explain comments it made about use of Class A classification.

National Radio reported today that in minutes to a recent meeting the committee was concerned there was a 'drift' to include more and more drugs as Class A -- and one member suggested capping it.

In its minutes the committee, made up of police, health experts and Customs representatives, said: 'The committee discussed their concern there was a drift towards classifying substances as Class A. One member suggested there should be no more than 10 substances in Class A at any one time otherwise it's validity was undermined.'

Penalties for Class A drugs are higher than for other categories.

Mr Anderton told National Radio the only drug that had recently been added to the Class A category was methamphetamine, or P. 'There's only been one single occasion in six years where a Class A recommendation has been made to me, I accepted it on methamphetamine it would have been a no-brainer not to, it's a dangerous drug, and I'd hardly call that a drift towards substances of the Class A schedule.'

He said putting a cap on the classification did not make sense. There were 38 drugs in the classification at the moment which all met statutory criteria.

'There's a very clear set of criteria for judging whether a drug fits the Class A category.'

United Future MP Judy Turner added: 'I think if the expert advisory committee keep discussing things in this vein they are going to lose their credibility.

'There should never be a cap on a category of drug.'

Drug Foundation executive director Ross Bell suggested the committee was highlighting the importance of keeping only the most serious of drugs classified as Class A.

'We shouldn't take any knee-jerk approach to drug issues and try to put all substances higher up in the schedule. They are saying different drugs have different levels of risk.'

The committee had been meeting to discuss a review of LSD, which has become a less popular drug.

It will meet later in the month to consider a paper on LSD that compares and contrasts it to P.

Ms Turner said even if LSD was less widely used it was still as dangerous.

- NZPA
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