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

Monday, October 29, 2007

Causation, Correlation, Nicotine, Alcohol & Pot.

Teenagers who smoke are five times more likely to drink and 13 times more likely to use marijuana than those who are not smokers, says a US report issued today.

The report by Columbia University's National Centre on Addiction and Substance Abuse presented further evidence linking youth smoking to other substance abuse and spotlighted research on how nicotine affects the adolescent brain.

"Teenage smoking can signal the fire of alcohol and drug abuse or mental illness like depression and anxiety," Joseph Califano, who heads the centre and is a former US health secretary, said in a telephone interview.

The report analysed surveys conducted by the US Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration and other data on youth smokers. Most smokers begin smoking before age 18.

Smokers aged 12 to 17 were more likely drink alcohol than nonsmokers - 59 per cent compared to 11 per cent, the report found. Those who become regular smokers by age 12 are more than three times more likely to report binge drinking than those who never smoked - 31 per cent compared to nine per cent.

Binge drinking was defined as having five drinks or more in a row.

Asked whether smoking is causing these other behaviours or is just another risky behaviour occurring alongside the others, Califano said, "There's no question that early teenage smoking is linked to these other things. Now whether it's causing it or not, I think the jury is probably still out on that."

Smokers ages 12 to 17 are more apt to meet the diagnostic definition for drug abuse or dependence in the previous year - 26 per cent compared to two per cent, the researchers said.

The report noted that marijuana is the most widely used illicit drug among teenagers, with government data from 2005 showing seven per cent of those aged 12 to 17 used marijuana.

Of these, current cigarette smokers are 13 times more likely to use marijuana than those who do not smoke.

The younger a child starts smoking, the greater the risk, the Columbia team said.

Children who start smoking by age 12 are more than three times more likely to binge on alcohol, nearly 15 times more likely to smoke marijuana and almost seven times more likely to use other drugs such as heroin and cocaine.

Teenagers who smoke also have a higher risk of depression and anxiety disorders, the study found.

The report cited scientific studies showing the nicotine in tobacco products can produce structural and chemical changes in the developing brain that make young people vulnerable to alcohol and other drug addiction and mental illness.

This includes effects on the brain chemicals dopamine and serotonin and changes to brain receptors associated with an increased desire for other addictive drugs.


A poverty of reason.

Columbia University's National Centre on Addiction and Substance Abuse have identified that naughty kids do naughty things.... (see MRC: Medical Rearch Council - News Antisocial behaviour in kids key to alcohol trouble in teens )

Like protecting the 'vulnerable' is the American way! Balderdash.
When we [NZ included] arrest someone for pot, we turn an otherwise normal person into a 'victim' purportedly to save them from themselves.

This study is evidence 'pot laws' protect and arguably, promote early entry into the 'harmful', albeit legal drug markets.

Worse, it avoids discussing the social ecology, the set and setting of poverty along with the toxic laws that create both the opportunity/incentive for early entry and rejection of social values/alienation and any subsequent 'deviancy amplification'.

If pot wasn't illegal, rather controlled by legal regulation, these kids would in all likelihood come to little or no harm. Isn't that the desired 'harm minimising' outcome here?.

Consider; If
ALL youth smoked pot and didn't binge drink or inhale nicotine, the 'life time' prognosis would be entirely different.

As I have said on many occasions, prohibition couldn't promote pot use to kids more efficiently than if pot was made compulsory.

The best advertising to prevent youth uptake would be to say cannabis is really good for rheumatism and other (over 50) age related stuff. It would turn them right off!

A bit of intellectual honesty is the 'cure'. /Blair

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Sunday, October 28, 2007

Who is looking in Blairs Brain?

Visitor Map

Keep a tab 'location based' concerns with MapLoco now enabled right down at the bottom of this blog.
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Police Draw Weapons on 14yr old Boy on way to party.

Police draw weapons on man in fancy dress
TV3 News - Auckland,New Zealand
Neighbour Blair Anderson, who had just returned from an anti-terror rally says he saw the incident unfolding and approached to find out how old the boy was.
See all stories on this topic

There was of course, a little more to this story... firstly, there was no fancy dress, it was a track suit.

Here's how I described it elsewhere.

Just thought you might like to know that the 'militarised' Police did another "Glock" point and ask later to an under 18yr old. The offficer had this man in his sights - aimed at the centre of his chest. It happened right outside my house [50 Wainoni Road,CHCH] just after 7:30pm, 26thOct]. The young man was terror'ified.

The Police refused to allow an adult observer/advocate (it is a youth right) while the lad detained. I was under duress of arrest for asking his age. [I had volunteered after first determining the lad was under 18yrs.]

The senior Officer's response was haughty and dismissive.

He inferred I was drunk. I was not. I had just opened and sipped from a small bottle of beer and then this happened outside my living room.

Had, in the very intense moments where the 'occupation force attired' officer was in 'battle cry' - fired and missed... it would have penetrated the bedroom of my friend Alister, at bed height. (four metres from the 'offender' and six from the Glock) This could have so easily become another Stanmore Road.

In this case Guns were presented within seconds of arrival at the scene, and while a Police Dog was present.

We should be lucky this young man was very passive. He was under extreme duress, he could have just as easily been irrational. It is understood that he had a toy 'cap' gun. He had not presented at anyone. He had been talking with a member of the public (actually Alister's tenant) moments before asking for some directions. They were as surprised as anyone, as he was non-threatening.

I am reliably informed however, that the 'complainant' was an off-duty police officer who had been following this young man for sometime. There was nothing observable that would leave anyone with the impression this young man was anything but a teen... and despite the black and white track suit (unhooded) all I saw was a chubby faced bedazzled kid who would be more at home in front of a playstation.

Further, separate to and prior to this, the Police have been targeting protest organisers in recent days. Three persons peripherally associated with either Happy Valley or Demozone (Otautahi Social Center & Food Not Bombs) have been busted for minor amounts of cannabis. These are [now] highly suspicious busts, one following personal phone calls to organise 'to pick up the gear' [for sound reinforcement] for Saturday's 'global day of action' minutes later... the Drug Squad arrive.

You know my field of advocacy and expertise.. this is seeding gross dissent amongst youth in the community. Very unhealthy Policing and even unhealthier mental health outcomes for those present. (recall, 'don't put a label on me!')

Lest we forget, Terrorism and Drugs Issue are one and the same. You might recall the Woman [who lauded along with David Lange on Scoop], was also a British Cabinet Minister (and Drug Czar) who brokered the Irish [domestic terrorism] Peace Accord. She died November 2005. Her name was Mo Molam. Google her name and the word 'terrorism' and 'drugs' - [social implications of 'terror laws'] We should be gravely concerned.

If you're still curious, substitute the same search with ' Ray Kendall ' the General Secretary of Interpol. Or for even more informed insight on high level advocacy with a global perspective "Senlis Council" about covers it all.

There is a conversation we are not having... (in CHCH and elsewhere) Time to Talk this Mo'vember?Just be aware and be careful..

Blair Anderson ‹(•¿•)›

Social Ecologist 'at large'

ph (643) 389 4065 cell 027 265 7219

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Friday, October 26, 2007

Newspaper Wars

Some 'strong opinion' on the vested interest in keeping politics of failure quiet...

The New Zealand Herald features a lot of crime stories because crime is the "number one driver of trafficker to the Herald website, the company tells me. Website traffic also means eyeballs exposed to ads, which generate revenue. Crime, police and court stories are also cheap to get, occur frequently (more than daily) and are inherently exciting, shocking and are talked about.

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Reintegration, not DisCRIMination, the Core Issue.

7. Treatment has been a major feature of the past few years. There has been a significant expansion, a fall in waiting times and the quality has improved in many areas. But it is services and support such as housing, training and employment that make a vital difference. These are so fundamental they should not be called wraparound services, but core services. People should not be excluded from housing, education or employment because they have had problems with drugs. This means that we need to start dealing with the stigma and discrimination people who managed or are trying to sort out their substance use face . Which is why DrugScope is asking the Government to learn lessons from the Mental Health and Learning Disability fields about reintegration.

So what's with the lock them up 'Anderton' protocol currently in fashion? /Blair

Blair Anderson  ‹(•¿•)›
Social Ecologist 'at large'

ph (643) 389 4065   cell 027 265 7219
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Cannabis not dangerous for young people

AMSTERDAM - Smoking cannabis does not affect the brains of young people.
Cannabis not dangerous for young people / 17 October 2007

This emerges from research into the effects of cannabis on the brain of young people carried out by neuro-psychologist Gerry Jager. At the Utrecht University Medical Centre De Jager examined forty teenagers, half of whom smoked cannabis regularly while the other half did not. Jager conducted memory and concentration tests and examined MRI scans.

The test results of the cannabis smoking youths were as good as those of the other group. "The things happening in the not yet fully developed brain of cannabis-smoking youths are similar to what happens in the brain of adults,"Jager said. She would advise young people who are suffering from a combination of problems not to use cannabis. But she sees no harm for the large group of young people who occasionally smoke a joint. "In ten years' time they will be established citizens and won’t smoke cannabis any more."

All sounds just to damn logical to me... why? Because we intuitively know this from the body of social experience. The plural of anecdote is evidence. No amount of political bleating will make it otherwise. /Blair

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Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Re: Mental illness rate soars among users of 'skunk' cannabis

Twaddle, your re-inventing 'social nihilism' demonstrating a poor understanding both of what motivates us, and dare I say it, yourself. I am a political nihilist in the true sophist tradition. I'll take that 'and proud' to do so.
That said, your truly deluded if you think I am a committed OR addicted Pot smoker. Such is the way of prejudice, you use the belief 'i might be one of those' to justify that I must be one of those yet even you couldn't tell one if you fell over one.
They whom consume and enjoy are indistinguishable from non-pot smokers by no more than they enjoy pot. Whereas those who think pot smokers should all be in jail are indeed delusional and dangerous; not so much because I (and  many others) believe you could ever be effective in achieving that goal, but that ON EVIDENCE better men than you have tried and failed to put all the pot smokers in jail.
The USA has spent over a hundred billion dollars trying very hard this past decade.. and still haven't managed to do better than knock over a few  percent who it seems turn out to be recidivists, so what show have you got? 
Just which part of prohibition  can you declare "working"?  Cannabis is so prevalent that you could argue one would have accomplished better results in reducing uptake if you had just made it compulsory.
As to your reference to shooting the messenger... get real. Your quite the sad sack if you believe that I would want to shoot you or anyone else, simply because we disagree.  If by 'shooting' you mean left without any semblance of sustainable argument ie: lifeless; bereft of reason then I'll happily take 'good shot mate!'.  
I think you will find the following useful in assisting you understand why I support for the greater part ALL, subject to a few caveats,  the recommendations in the SUICIDE paper you drew my attention to; noting that as a supporter of evidence based interventions and therapies abstention and pandering to a 'higher power' are the least effective. Hence the last sentence below is particularly cogent.  
A common, but misleading, description of nihilism is the 'belief in nothing'. Instead, a far more useful one would substitute 'faith' for 'belief' where faith is defined as the "firm belief in something for which there is no proof." A universal definition of nihilism could then well be the rejection of that which requires faith for salvation or actualization and would span to include anything from theology to secular ideology. Within nihilism faith and similar values are discarded because they've no absolute, objective substance, they are invalid serving only as yet another exploitable lie never producing any strategically beneficial outcome. (sounding a lot like prohibition there Leonard!)  Faith is an imperative hazard to group and individual because it compels suspension of reason, critical analysis and common sense. Nietzsche once said that faith means not wanting to know. Faith is 'don't let those pesky facts get in the way of our political plan or our mystically ordained path to heaven'; faith is 'do what I tell you because I said so'. All things that can't be disproved need faith, utopia needs faith, idealism needs faith, spiritual salvation needs faith. F**k faith.
Prohibition is a faith based intervention. After fifty years of trial (and error) it has been found wanting. Give me replicable evidence.... and remove the constraint to its delivery. (see )
As for Gab. Nahas,  he is a proven liar and bespoke 'god fearin man' - his tenure as an academic is purely political. He was the very same scientist who claimed cannabis caused human chromosomal damage... and the truth is? Millions have used it for centuries and there has been NO evidence ANYWHERE of any reproductive or otherwise chromasomal damage.  As the 1998 NZ House of Representatives Health Select Committee found in its report on cannabis harms, "they are largely overstated".  Nahas is a practicing and accomplished "enemy of cannabis". see 
But thats not a case for lying to our kids.
Lets not let the truth get in the road of a good story!

On 10/23/07, Leonard G Mills <> wrote:
A predictable response Blair
As I would have expected from any of the committed (addicted?) 'Pot' smokers that I have contact with, you also predictably describe any information that fails to meet YOUR criteria as 'Exceptional high quality scaremongery' or to put it another way.... you endeavour to "shoot the messenger"
Please take the time to read this attachment and to look at  
before you leap to any conclusions about what motivated me to become actively
involved in this 'Winnable war on drugs'
People who advocate the free use of marijuana ARE 'social nihilists' ..... either unwittingly or deliberately
----- Original Message -----
Sent: Monday, October 22, 2007 11:17 PM
Subject: Re: Mental illness rate soars among users of 'skunk' cannabis

Exceptional high quality scaremongery Leonard. It sells newspapers.
TThe Daily Mail item is so full of holes... teh science of small numbers misrepresents reality. There has never been, and there is unlikely to be anything but a correlation in the science covering thousands of research papers - however you and others will likely be lead by this. As might Jim Anderton.
The only way to tell a cannbis user from a non-cannabs user is 'by the use of cannabis'. There is no other distinguishing factor.
Skunk (hydroponic or otherwise) is not new, nor is more dangerous. It is stronger. Like Wine is to Beer. The increased mental health admissions are best explained by alcohol misuse, especially in UK where young woman are increasingly binge drinking. (as they are here too). Given there a millions of users of cannabis in the UK most of whom use it in moderation, the incidence of mental health issues surrounding cannabis are for the greater part associated with its illicit status. Ramping up the arrest and the humiliation (gee, mental health 'labeling' if it wasn't half obvious) has not been shown to be effective now, in the past and highly unlikely in the future. While a softer and more respectful policy base (ie: legal regulation) may in itself be difficult to justify in your mind... prohibition is harder to justify except to the clinically insane and the receptive ning nongs who are taken in by this garbage 'science' reported as facts.
Have you any idea how many psychologists actually believe that cannabis 'treatment' works. It doesnt because? The DSMIV as it applies to cannabis interprets ANY use as Misuse, thus is gravely flawed. It would rank even a 'medical user' as nuts. Sad but true.
However, thanks for keeping me and my colleagues informed.
I'll copy you, if you so wish, any significant critiques on the Daily Mail item in due course.
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Monday, October 22, 2007

Bad Drunk Driving Laws & False Evidence

DUI Marijuana: Does Marijuana Impair Driving?

The U.S. Department of Transportation conducted research with a fully interactive simulator on the effects of alcohol and marijuana, alone and in combination, on driver-controlled behavior and performance. Although alcohol was found consistently and significantly to cause impairment, marijuana had only an occasional effect. Also, there was little evidence of interaction between alcohol and marijuana. Accidents and speeding tickets reliably increased with alcohol, but no marijuana or combined alcohol-marijuana influence was noted. "The Effects of Alcohol on Driver-Controlled Behavior in a Driving Simulator, Phase I", DOT-HS-806-414.

A more recent report entitled "Marijuana and Actual Performance", DOT-HS-808-078, noted that "THC is not a profoundly impairing drug….It apparently affects controlled information processing in a variety of laboratory tests, but not to the extent which is beyond the individual's ability to control when he is motivated and permitted to do so in driving".

The study concluded that: "…An important practical objective of this study was to determine whether degrees of driving impairment can be actually predicted from either measured concentration of THC in plasma or performance measured in potential roadside "sobriety" tests of tracking ability or hand and posture stability. The results, like many reported before, indicated that none of these measures accurately predicts changes in actual performance under the influence of THC …".

The researchers found that it "appears not possible to conclude anything about a driver's impairment on the basis of his/her plasma concentrations of THC and THC-COOH determined in a single sample".

Note: "THC" stands for Delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol, which is the intoxicating ingredient in marijuana. THC is fairly quickly converted by the body into inert metabolites, which can stay in the body for hours or even days. It is these metabolites that police blood tests in DUI arrests detect and measure. In other words, (1) marijuana may not impair driving ability at all, and (2) the blood "evidence" only measures an inactive substance which may have been there for days.

DUI BLOG : Bad Drunk Driving Laws, False Evidence and a Fading Constitution

"We do not want a police state, and it seems we are on the precipice of becoming one in the name of DUI."- Martin v. Commonwealth

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Drugs strategy debate 'is a sham'

"'Prohibition's failure is now widely understood and acknowledged among key stakeholders in the debate... the political benefits of pursuing prohibition are now waning and the political costs of its continuation are becoming unsustainable."

other highlights that have high relevence to the current New Zealand drug policy 'situation' / Blair

current policy is fuelling a crime epidemic.

drug prohibition has allowed organised crime to control the market and criminalised millions of users, putting a huge strain on the justice system.

half of all property crime is linked to fundraising to buy illegal drugs.

police claim that drug markets are the main driver of the UK's burgeoning gun culture.

Home Office survey, commissioned in 2000, which showed the social and economic costs ... were costs to the victims of drug-related crime.

the consultation process has been a sham designed to stifle debate on drugs policy

Drugs strategy debate 'is a sham' Special reports Guardian Unlimited:

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Sunday, October 21, 2007

MP's, Experts Condemn Drug Treatment Programme

MPs and drug experts today criticised the government's drug treatment programme for failing to get almost any users clean.  
(Lets not kid ourselves that Kiwi Drug Czar JimA has some secret weapon, the data for New Zealand is not substantially any different to the UK experience. And the spending on drug rehab in prison, evidence of policy failure in of itself, is 'coercive care' that strips self will quicker than 'giving in to a higher power'. Such absolutism's are nothing more than a grift for treatment providers who trot out the odd success as proof of the good work they are doing in exchange for OUR money stolen from us. Are we all stupid? Are we collectively in the same dream believing it good value for money attempting to repair the impossible?   /Blair )

Only 9% (5,532) of 61,000 users who left treatment in England last year were free of drugs, according to the National Drug Treatment Monitoring System.

A separate report by the National Treatment Agency (NTA), also published today, said 58% of addicts who attended drug clinics last year failed to complete treatment.

Members of the all-party parliamentary drugs misuse group said the success of the £500m-a-year NTA-run scheme had been "over hyped" by the government.

Brian Iddon, the group chairman, said too much emphasis had been placed on increasing the number of people going through treatment programmes rather than the quality of treatment they received.

The Labour MP said: "A lot of the NTA's work has been ticking boxes. It's outcomes that are important and the outcomes are poor. It's all very well getting people onto methadone treatment but how many people do they get off methadone? There's no measurement of that."

Paul Flynn, the group vice-chairman, said: "The case for treatment is exaggerated. The government has overstated its success. What works are needle exchanges and shooting galleries."

Danny Kushlick, director of the Transform Drug Policy Foundation, questioned why the government was spending £500m a year on an approach that had achieved so little.

"The way the government hypes up treatment you would think that it was 94% of users who were leaving drug-free," he said.

Mr Kushlick said the reason why ministers were prepared to spend so much money on treatment was because they wanted to be seen to be tackling drug-related crime.

"The government and the NTA admit that treatment is about crime reduction," he said. "The only reason we have this situation is because of prohibition. We don't have £500m treatment programmes for alcohol or smoking because they're legal activities and users don't nick stuff or prostitute themselves to feed their addiction."

The NTA survey found that 195,464 drug users were in contact with treatment services in England in 2006-07. Three-quarters of new clients (60,000) stayed in treatment for at least 12 weeks, a fall of 1% from the previous year. Only 42% (27,500) completed the full course.

The number of users who left treatment drug-free rose slightly to 9% in the year to the end of March 2007, from 6% in the previous year.

The public health minister, Dawn Primarolo, hailed the figures as "a remarkable achievement".

"We have made massive strides in tackling the harm that drugs cause to both individuals and society as a whole," she said.  (Yeah Right! Have you been taking lessons from Annette King and Jim Anderton?)

The former Conservative party leader Iain Duncan Smith said the figures showed that the government's drugs policy was "a shambles".

The MP, who is the chairman of the Conservatives' social justice policy group, said: "The government, determined to announce that they are treating more and more people for drugs problems and thus meeting their targets, have conditioned those treating drug addicts to maintain them on substitutes like methadone.

"All the figures show that those maintained on methadone do not come off drugs and yet the government's record on providing rehabilitation facilities and courses is appalling."

Martin Barnes, the chief executive of DrugScope, said: "Unfortunately we are not surprised at the figures on retention and the small number of users discharged from treatment drug-free. Many people entering drug treatment have a range of different problems and lead difficult and chaotic lives. There are also problems inherent in a system driven by targets. "There is no evidence to demonstrate that retaining people in treatment for 12 weeks will necessarily be effective in itself; it is simply that if someone stays in treatment for that time, their eventual chance of success improves. It could take someone several months - or longer - to become drug-free and people may need several attempts at the treatment journey to succeed."

MPs and experts condemn drug treatment programme | Society |

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Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Drugs prohibition is 'unworkable and immoral' says Chief Constable

The Chief Constable of North Wales Police Richard Brunstrom, recommends in a report published today, that his Police Authority officially support his call for the legalisation and regulation of drugs, as part of their submission to the drug strategy consultation being conducted by the [UK] Government. He also recommends that they affiliate to Transform Drug Policy Foundation [Founder, top cop Eddie Ellison who visted NZ see LEAP TOUR] The Authority meets on Monday 15 October to discuss the recommendations.

Danny Kushlick, Transform Director said:

"We are absolutely delighted at Mr Brunstrom's paper. The Chief Constable has displayed great leadership and imagination in very publicly calling for a drug policy that replaces the evident failings of prohibition with a legal system of regulation and control for potentially dangerous drugs".

"Mr Brunstrom's call is less surprising when you consider that prohibition, and the illegal markets it creates, is the single largest cause of crime in the UK , generating £100 billion in crime costs alone over the last ten years.

Transform Drug Policy Foundation: Media Blog: Drugs prohibition is 'unworkable and immoral' says Chief Constable

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Photo licenses 10 years on

After 10 years of use as a de facto ID card, the New Zealand government has just published draft guidelines requiring that they are no longer accepted by government agencies as a 'strong' form of identification.
What lesson does this offer for the future of ID cards?
Putting aside the matter of principle, lets just look at the practical experience of having a government issued card that most of the population uses as a form of identification. My big fear with the introduction of photo-licenses was that the simple fact they were widely carried would mean that all and sundry would start asking for a level of evidence of identity that was out of all proportion to the risk evolved in the transaction: for example, registering with the local video store.
Wide scale, dispersed ID records increase the chances of fraud, simply because they are held in multiple locations. And the more widely a form of ID becomes accepted, the more attractive it is to fraudsters.
The New Zealand Department of Internal Affairs have just released their Draft Evidence of Identity Framework for consultation. It is a well thought out, pragmatic document that encourages moderation and a sense of perspective with regard to proof of identity. It places great emphasis not on some panacea for ID theft (such as an ID card) but the process by which identity is continually assessed.
Of note is that the report points out that the Drivers Licence should not be accepted as a strong form of ID. - By John Smith, Portsmouth

BBC - Action Network - The New Zealand experience - Photo licenses 10 years on...:

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Monday, October 08, 2007

Russell Brown sells 'Anti Violence' campaign?

From: Kevin O'Connell

I am not sure that Russell Brown has done much for his credibility by being the first guy lining up earnestly on the family commission's new tv commercials preaching (along with people like radio personality Phil Gifford and half a dozen other ordinary Kiwis) that 'family violence is not ok'

…the target audience is alienated by government and its do-gooder sycophants and agencies. Russell, how much did they pay you and do you really believe the campaign (telling people to tell on their neighbours) is going to work? ( narc'ing up / blair)

Also you are lining up with government's feeble and scientifically invalid 'separate issue' mentality where NZ social problems are all separate and can be alleviated by funding the various community programmes and government agencies and early intervention initiatives. (which co-incidently is good for the economy, but i digress...)

Labour seem to genuinely believe or are at least implying that family violence

If you get my drift: the problems in NZ are intrinsic and the family commission is looking at things 'peicemeal' IE THEY'VE GOT IT WRONG, and the adds cost heaps but aint worth shit.

I guess Russel's 'getting older' and becoming more and more a 'safe pair of hands' for authorised media (eg Radio NZ) to get opinions from. How about focusing on the inequity and alienating factor of NZ's drug laws Russell - you know there's a lot of bullshit and injustice and hypocrisy goin on in this particular area of the kiwi experience. (i know because i've posted your insights to this forum (cclr-public), many a time)

(i do not have Russel's email so if someone can foward this to him...)

Kevin O'Connell

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Thursday, October 04, 2007

Random drug tests for policemen

Hampshire police officers in critical posts are to be tested for drugs and alcohol use.
(very topical on top of the New Zealand Politicians debating "lets test anyone for everything" and to hell with the consequences, it must be the right thing to do, "because we're to stupid to think of a reason why not". Like the good officer on the right [below] said, "if it wasn't for alcohol and drugs, I wouldn't have a job" /Blair )

Officers who use firearms, drive at high speeds, and work with drugs are among the first to face the random tests, starting in October. 'This does not imply lack of trust in anyone,' Det Supt Colin Smith said, explaining it was part of a new substance misuse policy for all forces. Officers with positive tests will face disciplinary action.

Higher standards

'The policy aims to ensure that Hampshire Constabulary is as free as possible from risk, that it is a safe place to work and promotes public confidence in policing,' he said. 'It aims to deter people from taking illegal drugs or abusing alcohol because there is a real possibility of being caught.'

Police said that a person in a 'safety-critical' post would be considered unfit to work if the test showed a blood alcohol level of more than 29mg - much lower than the legal driving limit of 80mg.

'Safety-critical' roles include firearms officers and their supervisors, police search advisers and drivers who are trained and exempted from certain provisions under the Road Traffic Act.

BBC NEWS | UK | England | Hampshire | Random drug tests for policemen:
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Tuesday, October 02, 2007

Hemp, it confuses kids - a Smithsonian Boondogle

One of my most enjoyable activities in drug outreach is talking to civic groups about the manner in which we educate our children (and adults) about drugs. It is always easier to begin at the beginning.

New Zealand has a unique history insofar as in it's European discovery 'by hempen canvas and tow', mirrored the importance of fibre to Polynesian navigators and traders. Hemp assets and supplies thereof were regarded as 'strategic munitions' crucial to the expansion of trade within, and defence of, the British Empire. If one reads Joseph Banks' diary's so to 'for Science and Discovery'. Hemp shaped European/North African Politics and Nationalism (WWI & WWII), as a result of Napoleon's failed attempt to sack Moscow (on behalf of the America's) to stop Russia from supplying munitions grade hemp to Gt. Britain's fleet (USA's National Anthem, The Star Spangled Banner, was written by Francis Scott Key, September 1814, during the War of 1812 with England. see hempen flag!).
After that it all just gets ironic, but this Yankee social engineering beats the cake "Only in America"....
BTW: When I visited the Smithsonian in 1996, the only reference to anything Maori, was a single word "Tuatara", but they had spelt it wrong. I made a formal complaint to the Smithsonian via our NZ Embassy. It still remains to the best of my knowledge an egregious reference to the worlds oldest living dinosaur, probably I speculate, because it wasn't Amercian.

"Jack Herer, author of that touchstone of hemp truth The Emperor Wears No Clothes, asked a curator why “hemp” had been removed from all of the exhibits. The curator replied, “Children do not need to know about hemp anymore. It confuses them.” SAY WHAT? One of the most important aspects of the history of civilization has been cleansed from the Smithsonian Museum so as not to confuse children? Someone decided simple omission was better than “embarrassing questions”? If the truth is embarrassing, doesn’t that imply profound systemic problems? Omission of important meaning is a cornerstone of our corporate-controlled media (CorpoMedia)...but the Smithsonian Pulling hemp from history left a hole in the Smithsonian Museum big enough to drive cattle through. History is a tapestry of events, and if you pull a thread hooked to so many others it’s no longer a tapestry, but a bunch of threads dangling into a big hole. Omission for convenience changes history to propaganda."

King Hemp IV: Rope and Dope:

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Caffeine withdrawal = Psychiatric disorder

(WebMD) Researchers are saying that caffeine withdrawal should now be classified as a psychiatric disorder.

A new study that analyzes some 170 years' worth of research concludes that caffeine withdrawal is very real — producing enough physical symptoms and a disruption in daily life to classify it as a psychiatric disorder. Researchers are suggesting that caffeine withdrawal should be included in the next edition of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM), considered the bible of mental disorders. "I don't think this means anyone should be worried," says study researcher Roland Griffiths, PhD, professor of psychiatry and neuroscience at Johns Hopkins School of Medicine.

CaffeineImage via Wikipedia

"What it means is that the phenomenon of caffeine withdrawal is real and that when people don't get their usual dose, they can suffer a range of withdrawal symptoms."

His research, published in the October issue of Psychopharmacology, analyzes 66 previous studies on the effects of caffeine withdrawal. One Coffee Sets the Stage Griffiths' analysis shows as little as one cup of coffee can cause an addiction, and withdrawal from caffeine produces any of five clusters of symptoms in some people:
  • Headache, the most common symptom, which affects at least of 50 percent of people in

    Magnetic Resonance Imaging scan of a headImage via Wikipedia

    caffeine withdrawal

  • Fatigue or drowsiness

  • "Unhappy" mood, depression, or irritability

  • Difficulty concentrating

  • Flu-like symptoms such as nausea, vomiting, muscle pain, and stiffness."

Onset of these symptoms typically occurs within 12 to 24 hours of stopping caffeine and peaks one to two days after stopping," Griffiths tells WebMD. "The duration is between two and nine days."

A new revelation in Griffith's analysis may be what upgrades caffeine withdrawal from its current "more study is needed" status to "disorder" status: These withdrawal symptoms are severe enough in about one in eight people to interfere with their ability to function on a day-to-day basis.

"The withdrawal symptoms can be mild or severe, but it's estimated that 13 percent of people develop symptoms so significant that they can't do what they normally would do — they can't work, they can't leave the house, they can't function," he says.

Interference, Not Just Symptoms

That's key for inclusion in the DSM, says John Hughes, MD, a University of Vermont psychiatrist and addiction specialist who serves as a medical consultant for the book. "Caffeine withdrawal was proposed for DSM-IV [the current edition of DSM], but the major objection to including it as a disorder was an absence of good data showing clinical significance," says Hughes, who was not involved in Griffiths' study. "Not only do you have to show it produces symptoms, but you have to show that those symptoms can interfere with daily function."

Caffeine's principal mode of action is as an a...Image via Wikipedia

This study, co-authored by American University researcher Laura Juliano, PhD, does that, says Hughes. "It shows very nicely that the effects of caffeine withdrawal are consistent, that several symptoms are of large magnitude, and that a minority of people cannot perform daily functions when they go without caffeine," he tells WebMD.

Their study shows no difference in withdrawal symptoms based on the source of caffeine, which includes coffee and sodas, some teas, chocolate, and medications such as Excedrin and NoDoz.

"Caffeine is caffeine, from a pharmacologic point of view," says Griffiths.

In the U.S., average daily caffeine intake is about 280 milligrams — what's in two mugs of coffee or three to five cans of soft drinks. Up to 90 percent of people regularly use caffeine, and about 100 milligrams is enough to trigger withdrawal symptoms, says Griffiths.

Chemical structure of Caffeine and the three p...Image via Wikipedia

Should You Quit? Still, both experts say just because caffeine withdrawal can produce symptoms doesn't mean it's dangerous. "I'm hesitant to even call caffeine an 'addiction,' because addiction has to do with the inability to stop or control," says Hughes. "Most people can stop drinking coffee, even if they have symptoms when they do." Griffiths agrees. "The fact that caffeine produces physical dependence isn't necessarily grounds in and of itself to quit," he says.

"But if you want to, the best way is with a gradual withdrawal — just slowly change the proportion of caffeinated and decaffeinated coffee until you're only drinking decaf. Don't stop abruptly; that will likely cause more symptoms."

The real message of Griffiths' findings: "It's that people should realize the possibility that caffeine withdrawal may be responsible for some symptoms," says Hughes. "If you have recurring headaches or fatigue, you really to think that it may be due to caffeine withdrawal."

Juliano, L. Psychopharmacology, October 2004.
Roland Griffiths, PhD, professor of psychiatry and neuroscience, Johns Hopkins School of Medicine, Baltimore.
John Hughes, MD, professor, department of psychiatry, psychology and family practice, University of Vermont, Burlington.

also see

Blair Anderson

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Monday, October 01, 2007

Crime stats ‘business as usual’ for prohibition beneficiaries

Press release: Mild Greens, 1 October 2007

Crime stats 'business as usual' for prohibition beneficiaries

Contrary to popular myth, 'crime does pay', says Christchurch Mayoral candidate, Blair Anderson ( – and it provides a considerable number of comfortable middle class salaries in NZ 'sadly at the expense of genuine community wellbeing and safety'.

Mr Anderson says the 6000 or so NZ police are primary beneficiaries of crime in New Zealand (fat salaries and perks). 'Alongside courts, corrections, judiciary, lawyers, prison builders, and politicians, police have a dangerous interest in maintaining an unacceptable level of crime, instead of genuinely defusing the violence, black marketing, mistrust and alienation in NZ.'

'That fact that official crime statistics just released for the year show a small downward fluctuation is neither here nor there', says Mr Anderson, 'and police and government deserve no credit whatsoever, because they have merely maintained the nation's infamously high levels of abuse and dysfunction'.

Mr Anderson asks when are the leaders of NZ going to acknowledge the fact that there is a FUNDAMENTAL CONFLICT OF INTEREST in the nation's 'crime prevention' strategy?: 'Do the police, or any of the other aforementioned beneficiaries really want to succeed, if that success causes a massive downsizing in their work load and power base???'

Anderson is adamant that crime is being promoted (and 'milked') in NZ via the double standards surrounding alcohol and other drugs. He says there is compelling evidence that if cannabis were decriminalised there would be no increase in harmful use or uptake of pot, but instead a considerable reduction in the amount of black market related criminality in NZ, reduction in oppression related 'mental health' issues, a probable mitigation of alcohol misuse which police acknowledge fuels 85% of offending, and a much friendlier relationship between police and community.

He points to Seattle (Christchurch sister-city), where a 2003 initiative effectively decriminalised cannabis use by making it lowest policing priority. Seattle now has less than one thirtieth the number if cannabis arrests per capita occurring in NZ, and administrators are testifying to the success of their cannabis policy liberalisation: 'there is no evidence of adverse effect from the implementation of (proposition) 1-75'. [ ]

'Cannabis consumers are family friendly, peace loving and productive members of society', says Mr Anderson, 'or at least would be, if given a fair go. The herb is not a crime. Period. Why are hundreds of millions of taxpayers dollars being squandered on this clearly counter-productive area of enforcement?'

Mr Anderson notes the Prime Minister, Helen Clark has described cannabis prohibition as 'poor public policy' and was a supporter of partial prohibition as a harm minimisation initiative, but has chosen expediency over principle.

The second time Mayoral candidate, who describes himself as an environmentalist and social ecologist, is working hard to overcome the unhealthy taboos and abuses of freedom and public good institutionalised in day-to-day New Zealand.

'If it wasn't for alcohol and drugs, I wouldn't have a job' – investigating officer. [Stanmore Rd police shooting, 27th Sept.]

Christchurch SAFER COMMUNITIES Mayoral candidate, Blair Anderson

'Mayor Blair' Anderson

ph (643) 389 4065 cell 027 265 7219
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