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

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Dope smokers not so mellow

More than a third of people who present at Sydney emergency departments after smoking cannabis are violent and half have mental health problems such as severe anxiety and suicidal thoughts, shattering the image that dope smokers are relaxed and sleepy, researchers have found.

( another laughable clinicians falacy /Blair )

The data, collected by the National Cannabis Prevention and Information Centre, at the University of NSW, indicates that cannabis users can be as aggressive as crystal methamphetamine users, with almost one in four men and one in three women being violent toward hospital staff or injuring themselves after acting aggressively. Almost 12 per cent were considered a suicide risk.

"It flies in the face of what people typically think of cannabis - that it is a natural herb that makes people mellow," the centre's director, Professor Jan Copeland, said yesterday.

"The reality is that it can make people highly agitated and trigger acute episodes of anxiety."

She said the study, which covered two hospitals from 2004 to 2006, revealed that more than 9 per cent of cannabis users had depression or bipolar disorder, 5 per cent had schizophrenia and 4 per cent had paranoia and a history of self-harm.

"It's the first time we have ever gathered this data and it is highly surprising. It's apparent that we need a higher level of early intervention to pick up these problems before they get to the emergency department," Professor Copeland said.

The head of emergency at St Vincent's hospital, Gordian Fulde, said yesterday most people still believed marijuana was a soft drug, but "the old image of feeling sleepy and having the munchies after you've had a smoke is entirely inappropriate for modern-day marijuana".

"The grass we smoked in the '60s could have been lawn clippings compared to this completely different breed of nasty cat," he said.

"With hydroponic cannabis, the levels of THC [the active ingredient tetrahydrocannabinol] can be tenfold what they are in normal cannabis so we are seeing some very, very serious fallout."

Cannabis use was soaring among young professionals in the city and inner west, Dr Fulde said, but users rarely needed sedation.

Kate Benson Medical Reporter / July 30, 2008

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Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Evidence Is In, and is Exonerative......

United Nations Security Council.UN Security Council
in disrepute?
"Evidence Is In" and is Exonerative......

What should be a matter of social justice and inclusive politics has been reduced to the logical equivalent of water-boarding.

The failure of 'due process' in the USA is dirt on the hands of those who govern and they should be held to account.

It is therefore up to the citizens of the USA to regale at the UN Convention on Narcotics under which they are shackled and join in the global push to disenfranchise the INCB's hold on the debate.

There has never been a better chance available to all world citizens to circumvent the tyranny of the majority than UNODC Vienna 2009.

It is, as it were, in your hands... each and everyone of you.

see Beyond 2008 NGO consultation recommendations containing clear harm reduction and human rights language, calling for evidence-based, culturally and socially sensitive approaches, calling for inclusion of all affected and stigmatised populations, access to alternative livelihoods before eradication, improved access to essential medicines under treaty control, encouraging alternatives to criminal/prison sanctions, analysing unintended consequences of the drug control system, taking into account traditional licit uses, and many more.

This is the stuff of social capital. Back the horse that is winning.

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Monday, July 28, 2008

Full-body Armour for WAR'rior Cops?

Police consider* full-body armour as assaults increase
(*for USA SWAT style warrant serving?, its those meth heads justifying our need to be safe! Yeah Right! )

10:00AM Monday July 28, 2008 NZH - Police culture

Increasing violence against police could result in officers being kitted out in full-body armour. Police headquarters has confirmed it is considering full-body protection for frontline staff, as the number of assaults on officers continues to rise.

They have yet to determine exactly what sort of armour would be used but The Dominion Post reported that the possibilities ranged from extra protection for arms and legs to an all-over suit - similar in appearance to that in the film Robocop.

The number of assaults against police increased to 2248 last year, the equivalent of one in four officers being assaulted. In 2006, there were 2123 assaults on police. Of the 2007 incidents, 88 involved a weapon, including a gun or knife. Police began a $10.4 million programme last year, to provide stab-proof vests to every frontline officer. There were delays because of size and heat problems. Police said discussions about new armour were at an early stage. Any upgraded protection would be reserved for police called to deal with disorder incidents. The Police Association said it had not heard of the proposal.

Recommended Read: With Aid Of Pentagon, Civilian Forces Acquiring Army-Style Look, Approach - "POLICE DEVELOP 'MILITARY' MIND SET" by Diane Cecilia Weber

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People Abuse on NZHerald Website. [LTE]

Letter to the Editor

Editorial Staff.
New Zealand Herald.
Dear Sirs/Madam's.
re: Abuse on NZHerald Website.
The description 'drug abuse' stories prominent on the NZHerald Website marginalises the very people such stories profess to protect. Labelling all 'use' as abuse is scientifically invalid and irrational. Drugs don't have problems, people do, and those who consume drugs, legal or otherwise, are not arbitrarily 'abusers'. 

Labelling is demeaning to those in recovery treatment, is contrary to best practice clinical care, and goes against the sentiment of NZ disability law.  Recent Mental Health television advertisements make this point clear.  Professor of Pharmacology/Toxicology Dr. Carlton Erickson [director of the Addiction Science Research and Education Center at the University of Texas]  alerts us to his concerns in his book, "The Science of Addiction: From Neurobiology to Treatment." describing substance abuse as "a weak, wimpy, confusing, inaccurate, and misleading term when applied to drug problems."

The NZHerald, when publishing drug related stories typically blindly accepting opinions of POLICE. POLITICIANS and other self appointed experts such as the unfortunately named METHCON  could do well to test themselves against Dr Erickson's "Exploding Drug Myths" page at the University of Texas site.

It is time within the ambit of drug policy to listen to the consumers, 'close the gaps' and adopt a rights based approach, this is the stuff of social capital.

Blair Anderson ‹(•¿•)›
50 Wainoni Road,
ph (643) 389 4065 cell 027 265 7219
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Prohibition Doesnt Work

PROHIBITION DOESN'T WORK (no matter which way you hold your mouth)

Cover of Cover via Amazon

The White House had the National Research Council [] examine the data being gathered about drug use and the effects of U.S. drug policies. NRC concluded, "__the nation possesses little information about the effectiveness of current drug policy, especially of drug law enforcement.__" And what data exist show "little apparent relationship between severity of sanctions prescribed for drug use and prevalence or frequency of use." In other words, there is no proof that prohibition "the cornerstone of U.S. drug policy for a century" reduces drug use. = National Research Council. Informing America's Policy on Illegal Drugs: What We Don't Know Keeps Hurting Us. National Academy Press, 2001. p. 193.

"There is no logical basis for the prohibition of marijuana." = Milton Friedman (an economist of note that BERL might recall)

Image adapted from Image:MiltonFriedman.jpg ht...Image via Wikipedia

In the "The Budgetary Implications of Marijuana Prohibition," a report recently done by Harvard economics professor Jeffrey Miron, on the causes of drug crime, Miron said his research "very much suggests that it is prohibition. It's not drug-consumption-related, it's fighting-over-disputes-in-the-illegal-drug-trade-related. And that's a result of prohibition, not a result of the drug."

Hubert Williams, President, Police Foundation; former Chief of Police, Newark, New Jersey said "Miron persuasively demonstrates, the net effects of prohibition, both past and present, are to increase violence, enrich criminals, threaten civil liberties, and make drug users more ill. The right question for policy makers, he concludes, is not whether drugs are misused but whether the benefits of prohibition outweigh its exorbitant costs. All in all, this is a solidly researched and dispassionate discussion of a topic that is too often couched in moral and emotional terms.”

Aside from the NZ Police's questionable use of the DRUG HARM INDEX to self interestedly perpetuate an unaccounted policy, demanding as it were 'more resources' without any accounting for 'deliverable outcomes' is entirely contestable in managerial let alone economic terms. The Drug Squad is in effect 'deficit funded' without as much a skerit of evidence that the resources AND priorities are allocated with ANY efficiency.

This is POOR management. This was roundly critiqued by visiting top cop and former head of Scotland Yard Narcotics/London Metro, Chief Super Det. Eddie Ellison to the Ministry of Justice in 2004. (Eddie was also a founding member of TRANSFORM, now with UN consultative standing )
"It wouldn't pass muster at Police College in let alone the Home Office. There is no room in modern policing for unaccountable deployment blindly following political directives" -(private conversation with the writer)
Eddie presented to 17 MoJ Officials alongside Snr Detective Jack Cole, both of whom were executive directors of Law Enforcement Against Prohibition [] also recently

LondonImage via Wikipedia

accredited by the UN. Eddie also conveyed this to Gregg O'Conner of the Police Association.
Some months later the MoJ couldnt find a single person who attended the board meetingroom presentation, declaring again in a recorded telephone conversation to the writer "we have a very high staff turnover'

The BERL DRUG HARMS report and the subsequent Police Intelligence claims that cananbis is the problem, bring the POLICE once again into disrepute.

There is no accounting the POLICE and JUSTICE stupidity of continuing to bang ones head against the wall and hoping it will soon stop hurting....


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Sunday, July 20, 2008

Human Rights a Drug War Casualty

Stamp of GDR and UNO „40 years UN. Protecting ...Image via Wikipedia The drug war's dirty washing is exhibited everyday in popular media, absent scrutiny or oversight from academic or civil society.

I suspect all those living in this institution we call New Zealand would be generally appalled if it were argued that by our collective (in)actions we were held to be unfit members of the UN, yet everyday we incarcerate and continue to deprive the freedom of thousands of people in the name of compliance with one UN "Single Convention" - and to what end?

I have on many occasions raised the glaring human rights anomaly with government select committee and commissions including the NZ Human Rights Commissioner Rosslyn Noonan.

It has been the character of the response that 'drugs are illegal' and that people may choose not to consume them, thus consumption or possession is not a 'rights issue', rather society has the preeminent right to be protected from drugs' harms and consumers. Else why the law?

This is wrong. It doesn't matter how one spins the moral probity of drugs on society and the self, it is still wrong. It is not a little wrong, nor is it a little right. It is neither gray nor fudgeable. UN Drug policy focused on punitive 'consequences' purportedly sending signals to some market has delivered the very market it set out to eliminate. It is a policy that is condemned by its own failure that one can legitimately ask "what is the moral probity of those who maintain it?"
This week past has seen 'tit for tat' claims and counter-claims surrounding Shapelle Corby's kilo's. Another, incarcerated for 20 years for possessing enough methamphetamine one could sneeze and the evidence would have been mere vapours. Yet another, a candidate whom has stood his good name before his electorate and has politically and actively engaged for reasoned drug policy now stands charged with possession of 1.6grams of cannabis plant (ESR weighed it)material - doubtless with 'active' THC in nanogram quantities. All this in the same week that the Health Select Committee was hearing from NORML and others about the undoubted efficacy of the herb. [Sativex/Marinol proves the lie]. Methamphetamine is a prescription drug so safe it is given to Children (Ritalin) and to stroke sufferers. It's prevalence and associated harms are a product of the very rules intended to protects us. There is little in the pharmacology of methamphetamine that redeems it as an 'illegal stimulant'. It is not a good drug by any means.. but the more dangerous a drug is the less responsible it is of governments to abrogate its control, distribution, profits and quality to unaccountable networks.

So do drug users have human rights? or are we to maintain the notion that 52% of adult NZer's are so craven that they should be deprived of their liberty, possessions and future options simply because we REFUSE TO BELEIVE they, drugs or consumers have any worth. For that is the PREJUDICE masked by this LAW. It is wrong. It must change. It is institutionalised 'othering' of people's master status expressly prohibited under UN Charter. Discussion within the community is no longer avoidable. Civil Society cannot ignore the unresolved tensions between the 'UN Single Convention on Narcotics' and 'Human Rights'. And is so doing it must engage those whose 'other status' has for too long been ignored. It is the stuff of social capital.

Protection of human rights is clearly, specifically and repeatedly identified as one of the purposes of the UN in the Charter, and as a specific legal obligation of all UN member states, whereas drug control has been conceived from the outset as a subset of the higher aims of the Organisation and its Members.

Furthermore, the Charter’s own provisions make it clear that Charter obligations take precedence over other, conflicting treaty obligations. The principal recommendation making body of the UN, the General Assembly, has specifically stated that drug control ‘must be carried out in full conformity with the
purposes and principles of the Charter of the United Nations and other provisions of international law, and in particular with full respect for…all human rights and fundamental freedoms, and on the basis of the principles of equal rights and mutual respect.

If a principal organ of the UN directs that drug control must be in conformity with human rights, then this must be reflected in the operations of the UN. Human rights violations stemming from drug control must be highlighted and brought to an end, and the drug control machinery must adopt a rights-based approach to its work in order to avoid complicity in human rights abuses and to influence domestic implementation of the international drug control conventions in line with human rights norms. /

Blair Anderson

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Saturday, July 19, 2008

Obama's "Rolling Stone"

NEW YORK - JULY 14:  A picture of Barack Obama...Obama "on the cover of the rolling stone"

Barack Obama on the horrendous human and financial cost of mass incarceration of non violent drug offenders. 'It's expensive, it's counterproductive and it doesn't make sense'

"Anybody who sees the devastating impact of the drug trade in the inner cities, or the methamphetamine trade in rural communities, knows that this is a huge problem. I believe in shifting the paradigm, shifting the model, so that we focus more on a public-health approach. I can say this as an ex-smoker: We've made enormous progress in making smoking socially unacceptable. You think about auto safety and the huge success we've had in getting people to fasten their seat belts.
The point is that if we're putting more money into education, into treatment, into prevention and reducing the demand side, then the ways that we operate on the criminal side can shift. I would start with nonviolent, first-time drug offenders. The notion that we are imposing felonies on them or sending them to prison, where they are getting advanced degrees in criminality, instead of thinking about ways like drug courts that can get them back on track in their lives — it's expensive, it's counterproductive, and it doesn't make sense." - Rolling Stone Magazine (also see Barack Obama supports cannabis decriminlisation - Transform)

It makes one wonder, why we cannot ask the same question in New Zealand?

"If there are no enemies out there, we will create them,"- fmr New Haven Police Chief Nicholas Pastore.

(backstory) A Yale University law professor maintains mandatory jail sentences for some drug offenders has backfired, leaving America's "war on drugs" bankrupt with too-powerful prosecutors and dubious witnesses. "There's a lot of innocent people in prison as a result of mandatory minimum sentencing," said Professor Steven Duke Thursday.

"This is simply an insane approach to the problem."

The problem lies with prosecutors who can lord 20- or 40-year prison sentences over the heads of defendants and then offer them deals or even immunity if they turn informant.
"When someone is facing that kind of time, most people are willing to do most anything," Duke said. And that includes lying to save your own hide, he said.

Duke spoke during a forum at the New Haven Free Public Library sponsored by Hartford-based Efficacy, a nonprofit group that espouses legalization of drugs and elimination of mandatory minimum jail terms.

Also speaking at the event were Nicholas Pastore, research fellow with the Criminal Justice Policy foundation and former New Haven Police Chief; and Derby Superior Court Judge Philip E. Mancini Jr.

"America's war on drugs does far more harm than good," Mike Gogulski, vice president of Efficacy, said Thursday, And he said the failed "war on drugs" is creating a new class of lost and disenfranchised citizens -- what the activists called the prisoners of the drug war.
Mandatory minimum prison sentences tear apart families for crimes that are, in many cases, "bottom of the totem pole offenses," Gogulski said.

Efficacy is currently sponsoring a photo exhibit at the library as a way of giving that lost population faces and names.

Margaret Thornton, executive director of the organization, said the photos often tell the tale of non-violent, first-time offenders facing decades in jail under tough federal guidelines.
She said that despite the $1 trillion spent on combating drugs in the last 25 years, "drug problems are still as persistent as ever, if not worse."

The photo exhibit, "Human Rights and the Drug War," will be on display through Nov. 26.
Mancini, a former prosecutor and judge for 28 years, said the answer doesn't lie in more jails and stiffer sentences. "I don't think drug users belong in jail," he said. "The cure is building drug centers."

Pastore agreed, saying the war on drugs had an effect on police too, transforming them from "public servants" to "soldiers in the war on crime and drugs."

"If there are no enemies out there, we will create them," he said.

Efficacy promotes complete legalization of marijuana and legalization of all other drugs by medical prescription. (It was Efficacy Executive Director Clifford Wallace Thornton jr who came to NZ 2003-2004 that lead to the tours by LEAP, Law Enforcement Against Prohibition. Clifford is now also co-chair of the USA Green Party Policy committe/Blair)

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Thursday, July 17, 2008

School shooting: It's when, not if.

(Police address to School Trustees Annual Conference)

Police are pushing for schools to implement an emergency response strategy in the event of a shooting similar to those that have happened overseas.

On radio today, police were interviewed and this media release suddenly become the "P" [methamphetamine] problem... [yet another 'meth-con'?] sad but true! / Blair

The New Zealand School Trustees Association (NZSTA) holds its annual conference in Christchurch from tomorrow and police say it is a good opportunity to discuss the realities of a shooting.

"Like it or not, it's not a matter of whether a shooting could happen in a school, but more of a matter of when," Superintendent Bruce Dunstan said.Mr Dunstan, commander of the police national tactical group, said such an event could involve anything from a person carrying a firearm to someone shooting one or more people.

While schools had plans for emergencies such as earthquakes, flooding and fires, few - if any - were prepared for an armed incident.

He said police expectations of boards of trustees in terms of emergency preparedness would be discussed at the conference."We don't want to create panic and say it's going to happen tomorrow, but it is a form of emergency like many others that schools face, and we'd like schools to think about how they'd respond to minimise chaos should they be so unfortunate to be faced with such a scenario."Just because a school hasn't faced an emergency before doesn't mean they can't plan for it," Mr Dunstan said.

He said police wanted a standard emergency response ratified so schools and police could be prepared and respond in a consistent way."If we're all on the same page it doesn't matter whether the school is in Invercargill or Whangarei, the response and procedures will be the same for both schools and police.

"It means that on the day schools and students in particular will know how to react."
Part of the response plan would be to consider how the alarm would be raised and how schools would react.

Police are currently in talks with the Ministry of Education and NZSTA, and want the ministry to make a response plan widely available to schools, who can then decide whether or not to adopt it.The conference will also cover student discipline issues, and issues that arise from complaints to the Ombudsmen's Office by parents or students about board of trustees' disciplinary decisions.

(and how many of these complaints will be around the contestable discipline policy and procedure issues relating to unresolved drug policy? /Blair)

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Wednesday, July 16, 2008

No dope in dem cookies, just dopey Police.

The Cookie Crumbled

No drugs in cookies teen gave Lake Worth police, lab finds.

LAKE WORTH – The case against a teenager accused of delivering drug-tainted cookies to police crumbled Thursday after scientific tests revealed no traces of narcotics.

Christian Phillips, 18, became a cookie monster and the butt of jokes around the globe following his arrest Tuesday after he left a basket of treats at Lake Worth police headquarters. Authorities said then that "field tests" they conducted on the cookies showed traces of marijuana and LSD. (read this story for more insight into the perversity of police reporting, leading to charging the young fellow with 'assault on a police officer', because a drug dog sat in front of food. /Blair)

But Blue Mound police Lt. Thomas Cain said Thursday that while he respects and accepts the medical examiner's report, he is sure he smelled dope on the home-baked Toll House treats. "They did have a pungent, rancid odor," Lt. Cain said. "They did have the odor of marijuana. I got within two feet of it; I could smell it."

see media story that hangs the young guy! It was also reported in New Zealand.
Well there goes any case that a 'sniff' is grounds for a search'! /Blair
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WHO Says US/NZ Drug Policies "a failure' ?

The World Health Organization Documents Failure of U.S. Drug Policies
Tuesday, July 8th, 2008 / By Bruce Mirken

The United States has some of the world's most punitive drug policies and has led the cheering section for tough "war on drugs" policies worldwide, but a new international study suggests that those policies have been a crashing failure. A World Health Organization survey of 17 countries, conducted by some of the world's leading substance abuse researchers, found that we have the highest rates of marijuana and cocaine use.

The numbers are startling. In the United States, 42.4 percent admitted having used marijuana. The only other nation that came close was New Zealand, another bastion of get-tough policies, at 41.9 percent. No one else was even close. (more)

So? Whats new about this unremarkable fact? Could it be that the "MethCon's" and "Kiwi Party" think we can incarcerate our way to a drug free society.
Perhaps the media might have liked to print the following attributed to Degenhardt's research team (as published by Reuters )
"Globally, drug use is not distributed evenly and is not simply related to drug policy, since countries with stringent user-level illegal drug policies did not have lower levels of use than countries with liberal ones,"

Blair Anderson ‹(•¿•)›

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Monday, July 14, 2008

On the Take, and other media myths

Half truths layered on half truths couched in the pejorative.

Notably NZH's Marketplace [below] is addressed to the reader in Any-City, Any-Town New Zealand and reveals more insight into the real drug problem.

Nine million contributors to last weeks Vienna NGO meetings highlighted the systemic failures in drug policy overlooked by drug warriors and its followers the anti-drug league. This report proves the case, availability of drugs of concealment and horror are a product of bad policy, while overlooking the real plague (up to 70%of the entire health vote according to the UK NHS) ... legal alcohol.

It is notable too that the drug consumer is the only person asked and the inferences drawn from those answers applied to a general populace (by city). There is a dangerous inference that 'everyone is doing it' but in reality the figures indemnify the cannabis consumer who by far are under represented in this data set but who are, by slight of manufactured consent, made to appear next to heroin.

Lead researcher Chris Wilkins said overall levels of methamphetamine use appeared to be fairly stable, but there was a growing number of heavy users experiencing health and legal problems. (why are the problems 'compounding?' drugs are a health problem and the misuse of drugs act exacted under the warrant of the minister of health.)

That is at loggerheads with last weeks unreported UN Vienna NGO's call for a new approach to drug control policy recognising "the human rights abuses against people who use drugs",
We called for "evidence-based" drug policy focused on "mitigation of short-term and long-term harms" and "full respect for human rights and fundamental freedoms"

New Zealand's Law Commission's statutory review of Drugs and Justice is both timely and usefull in examining the kiwi compliance to UN Conventions.

Civil processes are unanimous calling on the U.N. to shift drug control's primary emphasis from interdiction to treatment and prevention and report on the collateral consequences of the current criminal justice-based approach to drugs and to provide an "analysis of the unintended consequences of the drug control system" and or comprehensive "reviews of the application of criminal sanctions as a drug control measure, and alternatives to incarceration".

Harm reduction 'a necessary and worthwhile response to drug abuse' must recognise the sovereignty of the user, in both use and/or in transition to low risk use or abstention.

of Drug Harms
is consistent with principal aspirations of the National Drug Policy and surprisingly most academics, political parties and journalists I have spoken with.

The third annual Illicit Drug Monitoring System report is no testimony to prohibition's success and cool comfort to those who advocate intolerance and marginalisation.

The question now, is 'when does the hard work begin?' /Blair

Christchurch drug users 'take whatever they can get' - report - NZH 14-07-2008

Photo / Glenn Jeffrey

Drug users in Christchurch have a take "whatever they can get" mentality, according to a report out today.

In Auckland, the "drug of choice" is methamphetamine or 'P', while in Wellington it is ecstasy, Massey University's third annual Illicit Drug Monitoring System report says.

But researchers found that Christchurch users stretched to injection of pharmacy and industrial-use drugs like the horse tranquiliser ketamine (only available from vets) , behavioural drug Ritalin (only available from doctors) , and opiates made from prescription morphine sulfate (only available from patients).

Opiates, usually morphine sulfate converted into heroin and injected, were the second most commonly used drug in Christchurch after cannabis. They ranked seventh in Auckland and fifth in Wellington. (proof the differential may be due to social and economic factors than the pharacology of the drug... doh!)

As a result, Christchurch had a large efficient black market for the drugs, the report said. (and Auckland and Wellington doesnt? - huh! )

Cannabis was still the king of the country's drugs, with the highest use and availability of any illegal substance. (the comparison is irrational... )

Lead researcher Chris Wilkins said overall levels of methamphetamine use appeared to be fairly stable, but there was a growing number of heavy users experiencing health and legal problems. (legal problems, is this a cure and is it effacious? see above!)

Frequent methamphetamine users were more likely to have committed violent or property crime last year compared to the 2005 findings, he said. (still unclear, but panders to the 'everybody knows' syndrome facilitated by a media that misrepresents the association)

Police National Drug Intelligence Bureau co-ordinator Detective Inspector Stuart Mills said the intensification of P use was worrying as it led to more crime. (it certainly has, and by all accounts it is getting worse, about in proportion to the application of prohibition, so why does he support continued use of a policy that has so evidentially failed to deliver. )

The report, an annual snapshot of the nation's drug use, was produced by interviewing 642 drug users from the three main centres.

Easy to obtain

The survey found methamphetamine was easy or very easy to obtain in its locally made form, commonly known as P, but imported "crystal" methamphetamine was more difficult to get than in 2006.

This was possibly because of large seizures made by police and customs in the last two years.

The price of methamphetamine was stable at $100/point (0.1g).

The survey, which was established in 2005 to provide information on drug use and drug-related harm in New Zealand, interviewed 110 methamphetamine users, 105 ecstasy users and 109 injecting drug users.

It found that frequent methamphetamine users were more likely to have used an ambulance, use accident and emergency departments or see a GP than in 2005.

They were also increasingly using counsellors, psychologists and social workers.

Frequent methamphetamine users were also more likely to have committed violent or property crime last year compared to the 2005 findings, Dr Wilkins said.

"Users are under increasing financial pressure, however only minorities of frequent users reported paying for their drug use with money from property crime and even smaller minorities committed violent crime," he said.

The survey found that 53 per cent of respondents had used their unemployment benefit to pay for drugs and 14 per cent had performed sex work.

On average, individual methamphetamine users had spent more than $8000 on drugs in the last six months.

When users were asked if they had experienced specific harmful incidents as a result of the drug, 53 per cent said at times they had no money for food or rent, 46 per cent had been arrested and 39 per cent had had sex and later regretted it.

Of those questioned, 8 per cent said they had been sexually assaulted.


More Articles:
Next Drug abuse Story: Schapelle Corby may be investigated over drug admission
Drug abuse Homepage

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Saturday, July 12, 2008

Dispatches from Vienna NGO Committee on Narcotic Drugs

Now this is worth cracking a beer for! /Blair

The first-ever meeting of ordinary people, representing the entire globe and discussing the state of the world's drug policy, concluded today in Vienna with a unanimous, united call for a new approach to drug control policy. Here are the highlights of our resolution:

  • We recognized "the human rights abuses against people who use drugs"
  • We called for "evidence-based" drug policy focused on "mitigation of short-term and long-term harms" and "full respect for human rights and fundamental freedoms"
  • We called on the U.N. to report on the collateral consequences of the current criminal justice-based approach to drugs and to provide an "analysis of the unintended consequences of the drug control system"
  • We called for comprehensive "reviews of the application of criminal sanctions as a drug control measure"
  • We recognized harm reduction as a necessary and worthwhile response to drug abuse (harm reduction is a set of practical strategies that reduce negative consequences of drug use, incorporating a spectrum of strategies from safer use, to managed use to abstinence; harm reduction strategies meet drug users "where they're at," addressing conditions of use along with the use itself)
  • We called for a shift in primary emphasis from interdiction to treatment and prevention
  • We called for alternatives to incarceration
  • We called for the provision of development aid to farmers before eradication of coca or opium crops

Blair Anderson ‹(•¿•)›

Social Ecologist 'at large'

ph (643) 389 4065 cell 027 265 7219

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    Wednesday, July 09, 2008

    Law Enforcement Against Prohibition NZ Tour

    Founded on March 16, 2002, LEAP is made up of current and former members of the law enforcement and criminal justice communities who are speaking out about the failures of our existing drug policies. Those policies have failed, and continue to fail, to effectively address the problems of drug abuse, especially the problems of juvenile drug use, the problems of addiction, and the problems of crime caused by the existence of a criminal black market in drugs.

    SplashCast "Law Enforcement Against Prohibition" to your page

    Blair Anderson
    Judge Jerry Paradis New Zealand Tour 2008 facilitator.
    phone 03 3894065, cell 027 265 7219

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    Monday, July 07, 2008

    Cannabis grower denied home detention

    A year for pot, fur krise ake! $200 tonnes or more is dispatched benignly, the social harms are weak, and harms to self, while also 'very weak' who the hell cares? Judge Harding has just added about $100,000 to the 'pterodactyl prevention' budget. Further, this man will probably never work again and who could blame him. No doubt the Police could equally argue that they have saved the community Millions.... Puke! /Blair

    Cannabis grower denied home detention

    Monday July 07, 2008

    Home detention was "inappropriate" for a man who had been growing cannabis to supplement his sickness benefit, a judge said today. It was precisely the sort of offending Lawrence Frederick Williams had been committing from home, said Judge Christopher Harding in Tauranga District Court.

    Williams, 43, was jailed for 12 months when he appeared for sentence on four charges - cultivating, possessing and supplying cannabis, and possessing methamphetamine.

    He had converted a bedroom for growing cannabis, a drug he had been smoking for 20 years. The window of the purpose-made room was blocked to prevent neighbours from seeing the glow of the grow lamps.

    The defendant was nabbed after police visited the house on an unrelated matter, smelt dope and found the drugs. There were 30 plants about eight weeks old and 338g of dried cannabis material.

    He told police he had sold enough "tinnies" for $20 each over the previous two months to make $1000. The rest he smoked himself.

    Lawyer Jim Smylie said Williams acknowledged he had a problem with cannabis and had also had trouble with alcohol. (The problem was the 'law!', cannabis is not criminogenic, what kind of dum harse lawyer is this guy. The evidence should be before the court, the evidence is exonerative.) Prohibition incentivise's ANY cash value in excess production. )

    "But he has solved that. He has been off the booze for three years." (displacing another harm of great consequence to society?)

    Since appearing in court in May, Williams had started a fulltime forestry job and was "trying to do something with himself," Mr Smylie said.

    Judge Harding ruled out community work and home detention. Williams, he said, had a "significant addiction". (compared to what?)

    After his release from prison, special conditions would remain in place for six months, including treatment for drug and alcohol dependency. (and the success rate is?)

    Six months imprisonment for cultivating cannabis, plus a month each for possessing cannabis and a small amount of methamphetamine will be served concurrently with the year imposed for selling the drug. (Ohhhh Dear, A year for an honesty offence! )

    Jacob Sullum comments on the new World Health Organization study:..

    One thing that's clear is the point made by the WHO researchers: Drug use "is not simply related to drug policy."

    If tinkering with drug policy (within the context of prohibition) has an impact, it is hard to discern, and it's small compared to the influence of culture and economics.

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    UN Conventions Unintended Consequences & HR

    Image via Wikipedia

    Commission on Narcotic Drugs, Vienna, 10-14 March 2008

    Thematic debate on the follow-up to the twentieth special session of the General Assembly: general overview and progress achieved by Governments in meeting the goals and targets for the years 2003 and 2008

    Amongst the usual and expected flatulence of the UN Office of Drug Control about the drug war success there are many gems that highlight the failings of the UN Conventions, these include....

    Unintended Consequences

    The benefit of hindsight is the insight it offers us to evaluate the present and enrich future policy. Looking back over the last century, we can see that the control system and its application have had several unintended consequences – they may or may not have been

    unexpected, but they were certainly unintended.


    first unintended consequence is a huge criminal black market that now thrives in order to get prohibited substances from producers to consumers. Whether driven by a 'supply push' or a 'demand pull,' the financial incentives to enter this market are enormous. There is no shortage of criminals competing to claw out a share of a market in which hundred fold increases in price from production to retail are not uncommon.


    second unintended consequence is what one might call policy displacement. The expanding criminal black market obviously demanded a commensurate law enforcement response, and more resources. But resources are finite. Public health, which is clearly the first principle of drug control, also needs a lot of resources. Yet the funds were in many cases drawn away into public security and the law enforcement that underpins it. The consequence was that public health was displaced into the background, more honoured in lip service and rhetoric, but less in actual practice. In fact, public security is now frequently perceived as the primary, or at least the most effective, way of solving the drug problem – certainly the one that delivers quicker results than public health programmes, with greater media attention than prevention campaigns.


    third unintended consequence is geographical displacement. It is often called the balloon effect because squeezing (by tighter controls) one place produces a swelling (namely, an increase) in another place, though it may well be accompanied by an overall reduction.
    Human Rights

    The production, trafficking and consumption of illicit drugs can only be understood properly if they are seen in their many different dimensions: the political, the social, the economic and the cultural. The drugs issue thus intersects many different domains: law, criminal justice, human rights, development, international humanitarian law, public health and the environment, to name but a few. In each of these domains, the United Nations has standards, norms, conventions and protocols.

    Their status varies, ranging from "soft" to "hard" law, from non-binding standards to obligatory conventions. While it is not always easy to establish a hierarchy between these different instruments, it is clear that the constituting document of the Organization, the

    Charter of the United Nations, takes priority over all other instruments. Article 103 of the Charter states: "…In the event of conflict between the obligations of the Members of the United Nations under the present Charter and their obligations under any other international agreement, their obligations under the present Charter shall prevail."

    In the context of drug control, this means that the drug Conventions must be implemented in line with the obligations inscribed in the Charter. Among those obligations are the commitments of signatories to protect human rights and fundamental freedoms. The protection of human rights is further enshrined in another foundational document of the United Nations, the

    Universal Declaration of Human Rights, which is now 60 years old. In Article 25 of the Universal Declaration, health is listed as a basic human right. It stands to reason, then, that drug control, and the implementation of the drug Conventions, must proceed with due regard to health and human rights.
    see "Making drug control 'fit for purpose': Building on the UNGASS decade" - Report by the Executive Director of the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime as a contribution to the review of the twentieth special session of the General Assembly

    Blair Anderson ‹(•¿•)›

    Social Ecologist 'at large'

    ph (643) 389 4065 cell 027 265 7219

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    Putting People in Prison For Their Genes!

    The chemical structure of DNA. Hydrogen bonds ...Image via Wikipedia Addiction Largely Determined By Our Genes - Annual Meeting Of The Royal College Of Psychiatrists

    The mystery of why one person becomes hooked on alcohol, heroin, sex or gambling, and another remains free of addiction, lies deep in the brain and is largely determined by our genes - [Medical News Today, UK]

    This, should anyone consider it to be true, makes a mockery of the Misuse of Drugs Act's Class C and B with the duress of prison sentencing for ingestion of any kind of cannabis. (possession is logically even more irrational)
    Targeting of minority's based on genetics is an abrogation of common decency and a violation of human rights. It is time that disability legislation dealt with this matter ASAP.
    (no decision about us, without us.)

    Cannabis Law is defacto Eugenics -

    'bioethicists should be on the look out for those subtle social forces which can
    undermine the voluntariness of people's choices and consents.' - Eugenics and the Criticism of Bioethics, Ann Kerr and Tom Shakespeare, Genetic Politics: from eugenics to genome ,

    Blair Anderson ‹(•¿•)›
    ph (643) 389 4065 cell 027 265 7219
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    Pro's and Con's of Kiwi Med Pot

    Medical Cannabis, people and research links for New Zealand

    David M. Fergusson PhD - Medical Marijuana -
    Jun 30, 2008 ... "Tests of Causal Likages Between Cannabis Use and Psychotic Symptoms," ... E-Mail: Website: University profile ...

    Searching for Otago turns up some useful links as well

    Blair Anderson ‹(•¿•)›
    ph (643) 389 4065 cell 027 265 7219

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    Sunday, July 06, 2008

    Shrooms Good? Can't be, they are OUTLAWED!

    "Spiritual" effects of mushrooms last a year?

    By Maggie Fox, Health and Science Editor WASHINGTON (Reuters) Wed Jul 02 2008

    The "spiritual" effects of psilocybin from so-called sacred mushrooms last for more than a year and may offer a way to help patients with fatal diseases or addictions, U.S. researchers reported on Tuesday.

    The researchers also said their findings show there are safe ways to test psychoactive drugs on willing volunteers, if guidelines are followed. In 2006, Roland Griffiths of Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore, Maryland, and colleagues gave psilocybin to 36 volunteers and asked them how it felt. Most reported having a "mystical" or "spiritual" experience and rated it positively. (also see Finding God in the Brain: That Psilocybin Study /Blair)

    More than a year later, most still said the experience increased their sense of well-being or life satisfaction, Griffiths and colleagues report in the Journal of Psychopharmacology. (The body of science research into Mushroom's is extensive. see the search on SAGE)

    "This is a truly remarkable finding," Griffiths said in a statement. "Rarely in psychological research do we see such persistently positive reports from a single event in the laboratory."

    The findings may offer a way to help treat extremely anxious and depressed patients, or people with addictions, said Griffiths, whose work was funded by the U.S. National Institute on Drug Abuse. [NIDA]

    "This gives credence to the claims that the mystical-type experiences some people have during hallucinogen sessions may help patients suffering from cancer-related anxiety or depression and may serve as a potential treatment for drug dependence," Griffiths said.


    While psilocybin is widely outlawed, many U.S. states and some countries overlook its use by indigenous people in religious ceremonies. Supervision of its use is key, the researchers noted.

    "While some of our subjects reported strong fear or anxiety for a portion of their day-long psilocybin sessions, none reported any lingering harmful effects, and we didn't observe any clinical evidence of harm," Griffiths said.

    Hallucinogens should not be given to people at risk for psychosis or certain other serious mental disorders, the researchers said. But Griffiths stressed that even those who reported fear said a year later they had no permanent negative effects. (then why is it in the ABC classification of Harms? Doh!)

    Of the volunteers who took the one-day test of psilocybin, 22 of the 36 had a "complete" mystical experience, based on a detailed questionnaire. Griffiths said 21 continued to rate highly on this standardized scale 14 months later.

    "Even at the 14-month follow-up, 58 percent of 36 volunteers rated the experience on the psilocybin session as among the five most personally meaningful experiences of their lives and 67 percent rated it among the five most spiritually significant experiences of their lives," the researchers said. The report included some comments from the volunteers.

    "Surrender is intensely powerful. To 'let go' and become enveloped in the beauty of -- in this case music -- was enormously spiritual," one volunteer said.
    (Editing by Will Dunham and Vicki Allen)
    Blair Anderson ‹(•¿•)
    ph (643) 389 4065 cell 027 265 7219

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    Saturday, July 05, 2008

    Skunk 'psychosis risk' warning

    BBC NEWS Health Skunk 'psychosis risk' warning

    People who smoke the strongest form of cannabis - known as skunk - may be more at risk of psychosis than those who use milder forms, UK researchers claim. (but they dont ask, how does prohibition help, nor explore how unregulated and criminal markets induce madness? /Blair)

    In a study of 300 people, those who had suffered an episode of psychosis were 18 times more likely to have smoked skunk than other cannabis users.

    A Royal College of Psychiatrists meeting heard they were also more likely to use cannabis every day.

    But experts urged caution over the interpretation of the findings.

    The evidence on the link between cannabis and psychotic illness such as schizophrenia has been inconsistent.

    We should take a cannabis history in a more detailed way like we do when we take a history of cigarettes smoking to establish risk of lung cancer - Dr Maria Di Forti

    Earlier this year the Advisory Council on the Misuse of Drugs concluded there was a probably a weak link between the two but that it is not yet clear if this link will become stronger as use of skunk becomes more widespread. (It didnt stop the the DAILY MAIL from reporting this headline "Why 'skunk' smokers are 18 TIMES more likely to become psychotic ...UK - 2 Jul - psychotic vs clinical detection of some characteristics of psychosis, one of which is 'but i like my skunk, i prefer skunk, dont take my skunk away' falls way short of psychotic! )

    Study leader, Dr Maria Di Forte from the Institute of Psychiatry at King's College London, said confusion had occurred because some other studies had lumped all cannabis use together.

    She looked at data from 197 people referred to a mental health unit with a first episode of psychosis, of whom 112 had used cannabis at some point and 120 controls, 72 of whom had used cannabis.

    Among those who used the drug, people who had a psychotic episode were twice as likely to have used cannabis for longer, three times more likely to have used it every day and 18 times more likely to use skunk.

    NOTE: THC doses have anxiolytic and antidepressive properties. Higher doses have reversed effects: they are highly anxiogenic and depressogenic. High THC doses can produce schizophrenia-like psychoses, which usually go without negative symptoms and remit after THC has been excreted, mostly within one week of abstinence

    (Mathers and Ghodse, 1992, McGuire et al., 1994, Hall and Degenhardt, 2000, Johns, 2001). /Blair


    Skunk is three times stronger than other types and now accounts for between 70% and 80% of samples seized. Dr Di Forte said if the preliminary results were proven it raised concern about the increasing availability of skunk. She urged psychiatrists to question their patients more carefully about their drug habits.

    "We should take a cannabis history in a more detailed way like we do when we take a history of cigarettes smoking to establish risk of lung cancer.

    "But it would be naive to say that smoking a joint is safe as we do not have enough data to reach such conclusion," she added. (why is it not naive to say it is harmful absent evidence to say it is)

    Co-researcher Dr Paul Morrison said skunk has higher levels of THC which causes the psychotic symptoms and lower levels of another compound called cannabidiol which seems to protect users from the effects of THC.

    Professor David Nutt, an expert in psycho-pharmacology at the University of Bristol and member of the Advisory Council on the Misuse of Drugs said any new data on the risks of psychosis associated with skunk would be interesting but it was difficult to pick out cause and effect.

    "If it's true it would be important but there are many explanations for these kinds of findings."

    Richard Colwill, spokesman for the mental health charity SANE, said cannabis, particularly skunk, can be dangerous (not a word I would use, this is exaggeration, and thus harmful to credible education/intervention/Blair) for the significant (1% 0f 1% is not significant) minority of people vulnerable to mental illness.

    "We have daily evidence that it can trigger frightening psychotic episodes, relapse, and in some cases a life-long mental condition such as schizophrenia." (precautionary note: I see daily, evidence of clinicians fallacy in-particular from the Royal Society of vested interest in all this mayhem, but I see little truth that cannabis is neither pharmacologically addictive or in comparison to a raft 'contraindications' of pharmacology dolled out by practicing psychologists. /Blair)

    Cannabis is currently a class C drug but the Home Secretary has recommended it should be reclassified to a Class B drug because skunk now dominates the UK's cannabis market. (the reason here is illogical, and contrary to the 'health' interests of all UK citizens. The Home Secret'ary's political agenda is more dangerous than any cannabis!)

    If approved by [UK] Parliament, reclassification would take effect from early 2009.

    Story from BBC NEWS:
    Published: 2008/07/02 14:11:11 GMT © BBC MMVIII

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    Friday, July 04, 2008

    MedPot, Unresolved in NZ, Sorted in Washington

    Medical cannabis budMedical Cannabis 'bud'

    OLYMPIA, Wash. (AP) -- After meeting with law enforcement leaders, Washington's Health Department has cut its suggested two-month supply of medical marijuana by nearly a third - a change that riled patients' advocates and sparked threats of a lawsuit.

    On Tuesday, the state Health Department laid out its suggestion for a 60-day supply of medical marijuana at 24 ounces of usable pot, along with six mature plants and 18 immature plants. That mirrors the limits used in Oregon, and is a significant drop from the 35 ounces and 100 square feet of growing area the agency was considering after gathering volumes of comment from people around the state.

    If only New Zealand had this dilemma!

    Despite the woeful ignorance of many politicians who believe the crap Police dole out to them when they mockingly have declared "there is no one in jail for cannabis!", Medicinal use remains unresolved. A bill before the 'house of representatives' has been languishing
    for years under the legislative tables.

    The worst offenders are not those who use medpot, rather they are the gaumless and morally illiterate politicians who pander to ignorance AND dishonor the parliamentary prayer everyday.

    Not one of these people should be re-elected ever.

    Zemanta Pixie

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    Thursday, July 03, 2008

    Dogs, Drugs and Deluded Authority

    Dogs in schools brings dogs into disrepute.

    There is legitimate reason to have grave concerns regarding this practice. Every note in circulation carries residues of cocaine and where cannabis is so widely available even to adults it is all to easy to detect in almost any scenario especially at the near molecular trace levels a well trained dog can detect. This leads to false positives where the consequences, especially amongst peers, let alone determined authority eager to justify its 'protectionist' role. Drug Dogs in schools is a dangerous social practice in which the unintended harms are rarely quantified. It portrays 'students' as being under suspicion where there should be none, and sends the message to youth that "all their peers are doing it" when this is a false and misleading impression. Of course, authority is reluctant to acknowledge that they are [ever] part of the problem.

    I applaud the insight given the comment "how they will handle the pastoral and press issues should a positive identification be found" - this is a very valid concern, made all the more crucial in the case of false positive.

    I recommend anyone who shares these concerns to visit the website that covers drug education and youth and the booklet available there written by Prof. Rodney Skager "Beyond Zero Tolerance" for a Safety First approach to education and drugs.

    Blair Anderson, Director
    Educators For Sensible Drug Policy,

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