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, 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.

Management
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.

- NZPA, NZ HERALD STAFF

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

This story was found at: http://www.nzherald.co.nz/topic/story.cfm?c_id=181&objectid=10521433&ref=rss

Copyright ©2007, APN Holdings NZ Limited

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