Alcohol, Drugs, Sandals and Footwear.
Media Release - MildGreens
When we remove self will from the equation 'then we get problems' says Blair Anderson of the MildGreens, commenting on the recent ADANZ Helpline report on Scoop and InfoNews
The ADANZ concerns of cannabis problems amongst young people must be laid at the feet of governments abject failure to remove the double standards surrounding drug and alcohol policy. Cate Kearney of the Alcohol Drug Helpline 'user data' highlights what happens when we ask people questions who are suffering the ignominy of prohibitions constraints on informed consent, knowledge and self determination.
Young people are particularily at risk, and here we are amplifying alienation in a society increasingly 'anti-youth'. The youth response to Alcohol Drug Helpline indicates a pattern of labelling teenage behavours, particularily by family and where the existing 'Alcohol Drug' law is so clearly unhelpful, indeed history and evidence shows it to be counter productive.
The distinction between legal and illegal drugs is not justifiable under any scientific, logical or public health criteria and is purely an artefact of quirks in our social and political history.
Ms Kearney and others shouldn't be surprised at youth attitudes to cannabis, it is entirely predictable. What should alarm folk is the prevalent and problematic alcohol consumption with its causative linkage to known health outcomes. Compared to cannabis for which the harms have been long been largely overstated, alcohol, by comparison is an 'all organ' poison. Previous media release (15 April 2007) by Associate Minister of Health, Jim Anderton attributes alcohol costs "in the billions' yet the same release regarding funding and commitment to the Alcohol Drug Helpline says "Although ADANZ hosts the service, funding is a joint arrangement between the Alcohol Advisory Council (ALAC) of New Zealand and the Ministry of Health.".
The MildGreens draws the Honorable Minister and his Health Ministry to this statement from the UN accredited drug policy NGO TRANSFORM:
Both tobacco and alcohol are often talked of as if they are not 'real drugs' - or sometimes not drugs at all, underlined by the frequent use of daft phrases such as 'alcohol and drugs', which is about as logical as saying 'orange juice and drinks' or 'sandals and footwear'. Obviously both alcohol and tobacco are powerful psychoactive drugs; potentially highly toxic, addictive and associated with high mortality rates. Were they to be classified under the current policy regime (the Misuse of Drugs Act 1971 [1975 in NZ. ed.]) they would certainly be class A or B. / TRANSFORM
Like all drugs cannabis has risks and even if they are relatively low, a minority of vulnerable users do run into real problems with it. There is overwhelming evidence that recreational cannabis for most individuals is a benign experience with little or no long terms consequence 'except for those citizens with a conviction' says Anderson who is also a Christchurch City Mayoral Candidate.
Kearney also validates that when it comes to effective health promotion nothing has changed since the previous year, begging the question "why is cannabis law so draconian when the policy is so ineffectual in either of its design goals, limiting use or in moderating harms real or otherwise?"
"The role of government should be to prevent the most chaotic drug users from harming others – by robbing or by driving while drugged, for instance – and to regulate drug markets to ensure minimum quality and safe distribution. The first task is hard if law enforcers are preocupied with stopping all drug use; the second, imposible as long as drugs are illegal." [The Economist, editorial. From Issue entitled: 'Time to legalise all drugs' 28.06.01]
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