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

Tuesday, April 18, 2006

Causality, the harm reduction determinate?

Psychological and social sequelae of cannabis and other illicit drug use by young people:
a systematic review of longitudinal, general population studies.

John Macleod, Rachel Oakes, Alex Copello, Ilana Crome, Matthias Egger, Mathew Hickman, Thomas Oppenkowski, Helen Stokes-Lampard, George Davey Smith

BACKGROUND: Use of illicit drugs, particularly cannabis, by young people is widespread and is associated with several types of psychological and social harm. These relations might not be causal. Causal relations would suggest that recreational drug use is a substantial public health problem. Non-causal relations would suggest that harm-reduction policy based on prevention of drug use is unlikely to produce improvements in public health. Cross-sectional evidence cannot clarify questions of causality; longitudinal or interventional evidence is needed. Past reviews have generally been non-systematic, have often included cross-sectional data, and have underappreciated the extent of methodological problems associated with interpretation.

METHODS: We did a systematic review of general population longitudinal studies reporting associations between illicit drug use by young people and psychosocial harm.

FINDINGS: We identified 48 relevant studies, of which 16 were of higher quality and provided the most robust evidence. Fairly consistent associations were noted between cannabis use and both lower educational attainment and increased reported use of other illicit drugs. Less consistent associations were noted between cannabis use and both psychological health problems and problematic behaviour. All these associations seemed to be explicable in terms of non-causal mechanisms.

INTERPRETATION: Available evidence does not strongly support an important causal relation between cannabis use by young people and psychosocial harm, but cannot exclude the possibility that such a relation exists. The lack of evidence of robust causal relations prevents the attribution of public health detriments to illicit drug use. In view of the extent of illicit drug use, better evidence is needed.

Lancet. 2004 May 15;363:1579-88

No Causality, No Harm Reduction 
(Stick that up the National Drug Policy Review and smoke it - doh!)
 
Blair Anderson
Techno Junk and Grey Matter

50 Wainoni Road.
Christchurch, New Zealand 8006

ph (++643) 389 4065 cell/TXT 027 2657219 car-phone 025 2105080
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