Thursday, April 29, 2010
Saturday, April 24, 2010
This week (21 April 2010) sees the launch of a new research project looking at how policy makers should respond to the threat of harmful new drugs by developing a brand new ‘constitution’ for drug control.
The UK Drug Policy Commission and think-tank Demos are joining forces to examine how drug control in the UK can be handled in different ways. The research collaboration, funded by the A B Charitable Trust, has been set up to look at new approaches to drug control and classification by reviewing international approaches and bringing together experts from drug enforcement, regulation, medicine control, the public and trading standards.
The Commission said there are now 600 compounds controlled by the Misuse of Drugs Act but the British Crime Survey (BCS) data (2008/09) showed classification has little bearing on drug prevalence and use (1), when the position of cocaine as a class A drug has not stopped use rising, while successive changes to the classification of cannabis, first down to class C then back to class B, had no discernible impact on the steady reduction in prevalence.
The Academy of Medical Sciences, the Royal Society of Arts and the UK Drug Policy Commission have all argued over the past four years for a reappraisal of the drug classification system, and the ways policy makers respond to the challenge of controlling harmful substances. Back in September 2008, the UK Drug Policy Commission called for a wide review of the classification system including an examination of its purpose as well as an enquiry into how decisions about controlling substances are made.
Growing concern about the current system of drug control has been amplified by the government’s rejection of recommendations of the Advisory Council on the Misuse of Drugs over the past few years on cannabis and ecstasy, resulting last year in the sacking of its Chair and the resignation of more than a quarter of its members (most scientists). On top of all this there has been much disquiet over the approach taken by both the Government and the ACMD on the decision to ban the drug mephedrone and similar substances.
This has led to political parties (2) recently calling for a wholly independent Advisory Council and this bringing forward of new mechanisms to establish temporary bans on new substances, in their election manifestos.
Demos has been leading on the application of systems-based approaches to complex problems through publications such as System Failure (2001) and Connecting the Dots (2009). These reports have laid the foundation for a new consideration and decision framework that focuses attention away from the merits of individual policies, to how issues are framed.
Through joint research collaboration the UK Drug Policy Commission and Demos seek to find new approaches to drug control as alternatives to the classification system for a new government committed to change and reform.
Roger Howard, Chief Executive of the UK Drug Policy Commission said: “The Commission has had a long standing commitment to look at the drug control system, to find better ways for government, and other agencies, to deal with the harm caused by drugs in our society. Through this unique collaboration with Demos we hope to help formulate potential new drug control processes that are ‘fit for our time’, so the strategic capacity of the system to react to new threats is improved and public, professional and scientific confidence is renewed.”
Jonathan Birdwell, lead Researcher at Demos said: “The furore about drugs like mephedrone has put this issue in the spotlight. At the moment the policies we have to regulate ‘legal highs’ are totally inadequate for the problem. This project will get past the hype and focus on what the evidence is, what the aims of policy should be – and how to reach them.”
Yves Bonavero, Chairman of the A B Charitable Trust said: “We are delighted to announce this partnership that is the first of its kind looking at innovative approaches to drug control. The sooner policy makers feel they have the evidence to bring about reform, the sooner people who are concerned about drugs, or are worried about harm, will get the answers they need.”
The research project is expected to start immediately and complete by October 2010. The UK Drug Policy Commission and Demos expect to be publishing the results towards the end of 2010.
Notes for editors
1.) FACTS: British Crime Survey (BCS) 2008/09):
· There are now over 650 compounds controlled by the Misuse of Drugs Act · In 1996 0.6% of 15-59 years olds reported past year use of cocaine (powder), which has continued to be a Class A drug. By 2008/09 this had risen to 3% · Cannabis was downgraded to Class C in 2004 and subsequently upgraded back to Class B in 2009 – despite the downwards re-classification there was a continuing reduction in use. In 1996 9.5% of 15-59 year olds reported use of the drug – It was 10.8% in 2003/04, dropping to 7.9% by 2008/09
3 Trends in drug use in the last year: Cannabis & Cocaine (British Crime Survey 1996 - 2008/09)
(see graph in orignainal media release, click heading to obtain, /Blair)
2.) On drug policy the Liberal Democrats GE manifesto (2010) said the party is ‘committed to always basing drugs policy on independent scientific advice’. It also said the party would ‘make the Advisory Council on the Misuse of Drugs completely independent of government’. The Conservative GE manifesto (2010) said the party would ‘introduce a system of temporary bans on new “legal highs” while health issues are considered by independent experts’.
3.) To secure interviews or receive further background briefing contact Victoria Silver (UKDPC) 020 7821 3792 or 07866 757 389
4.) The UK Drug Policy Commission recently suggested (March 2010) that a new, (temporary) drug control category should be introduced (Category X) (see below - UK Transform Supports Class D classification (mildgreens.blogspot.com /Blair )) for legal substances of concern, as a way of flagging up the need for the urgent review of the evidence of harms
Q. What is the UKDPC?
A. The UK Drug Policy Commission was launched in April 2007 as an independent - time limited - body (charity) to provide objective analysis of UK government’s drug policy. The Commission’s Chair is Dame Ruth Runciman DBE. The Commissioners are: Professor Colin Blakemore FRS, Annette Dale-Perera, Professor Baroness Haleh Afshar OBE, Jeremy Hardie FCA MA MPhil CBE, Professor John Strang, David Blakey CBE QPM, Tracey Brown (Sense about Science), Adam Sampson (Chief Ombudsman, Office for Legal Complaints), Professor the Baroness Finlay of Llandaff & Vivienne Parry (scientist, writer and broadcaster)
Q. What is Demos?
Demos is an independent think tank focused on power and politics. They develop and spread ideas to give people more power over their own lives. Their vision is of a democracy of powerful citizens, with an equal stake in society. Demos has several core research programmes in 2010: Capabilities, Citizenship, Extremism and Violence, Public Finance and Economic Life. They also have two political research programmes: the Progressive Conservatism Project and Open Left, investigating the future of the centre-Right and centre-Left.
Saturday, April 17, 2010
Saturday, April 10, 2010
When Police are appealing for 'help in the fight against illegal substances and violent crime', and they 'discovered a drugs factory and guns during a raid', they are telling stories.
Friday, April 09, 2010
We successfully (um, where's the victim, stoopid!) created an additional 3500 criminals over last year (20.9% increase in cannabis offences) and yet NOWHERE has this policy ever been tested for its efficacy....
IF ALL 400,000 regular users (note, 99% are not abusers or misuser's) were somehow 'detected' for the millions of crimes they commit every year... would that be heralded as a success? So why are the Police applauded for fudging their 'overall' success when it is utterly contrived by INCREASED surveillance, advanced detection methods and increased 'street' policing. The increase in cannabis convictions is proof of failure and no testimony to police's notion they are stopping crime.
The URBAN HEALTH RESEARCH INITIATIVE report release two weeks ago is incontrovertible (read:scientific) proof the New Zealand Police are fools. (National Drug Intelligence in particular)
A comprehensive study of the worlds best science that shows that it is increased drug policy enforcement CREATES the very crime they set out to solve should not surprise most thinking folk. It is by the very attribute (signatory status to the Single Conventions on Narcotics) that the Police are compelled to LIE to the public about the harms of cannabis.
And that by doing so we as a nation are endorsing the punitive approach taken globally to the corruption, mayhem and dysfunction associated with the policy. Nearly two thirds of the 2000 deaths along the Mexico border this year alone (its only April!) are attributed to 'cannabis policy' and by dint of OUR signatory status, we endorse this stupidity and gross Human Rights anomaly. To uphold this stupidity, we make criminals out of ourselves. It is the logical equivalent of declaring war and bombing our own cities.
The Urban Health Research Initiative report can be found at http://uhri.cfenet.ubc.ca/content/view/83
There is the real crime story flying under the radar of political pundits, reporters and commentators. (and yes, I did an all points release - it even made it too SCOOP)
I have spoken personally to editors and news rooms up and down this land and NOT ONE OF THEM HAS INCLUDED IT IN THE CRIME DEBATE.
The worlds best HEALTH science to inform the Law Commission Review on Drugs and....... silence!
Yet, such insite would even make McVicar choke....
I repeat... if it wasnt for Cannabis the Police would look terrible.... the 'linking' to methamphetamine doesnt fool anyone but the feeble minded (who it is targeted at) as the best science there tells us, the more you come down on cannabis the more you generate a methamphetamine problem. [see Professor James Roumasett, Hawaii University (Economics) "Black Hole Politics".]
I have seen the enemy, they are patched and like blue, fast cars and have more weapons than Jan Mollenar. They are easily identified; they tell better stories.
Monday, April 05, 2010
Wow, Whoopity Do.
So just exactly what constitutes an expert advisory, oh evidently someone as just brain washed as UK politicians?
first they came for Colin Blakemore, and when he turned out to be a legaliser, the picked the eminent Professor Nutt, who turned out to be a legaliser, so they got rid, and them jumped for the quite spoken Professor, Leslie Iversen...
Boy have they got problems.
Saturday, April 03, 2010
My problem is I can only think of the many celebrities who, having toked, seem still to be alive and coherent. Some we gave Knighthoods. They imbibed some temporary state of Aspergers, messed with their dopamine a bit and come up with good songs and other literary stuff. Cannabis has contributed to the stuff of cognitive liberty and to the social capital.
It is also an irony it's prohibition has made just about as popular as if it was compulsory. (52% adult NZ'ers have tried it).
Absent any proof prohibition worked, we are about to endorse cannabis as a scheduled 'UN Single Convention' drug. Not only are we endorsing the breach of good faith in Ottawa Charter Principles, and continuing to violate the UN Charter on Human Rights, it is utterly contrary to Socratic reason.
We have a statutory Law Review with submissions due 30th April. It includes the international conventions. International contributions would be instructive the the commissioners (IMHO).
The more reasoned folk contribute the sooner this thing is all over. The world needs a New Holland.
Feedback from international contributors can be referred to by NZ submitters.
Please checkout talklaw.co.nz. Submit and be empowered. Any well framed and entertaining argument will be welcomed there. It's time we thumped the table.
Thursday, April 01, 2010
Lets fix it. Right here, Right Now!
By far the most 'use' is of no consequence, users moderating at low cost, any harms. We instead collectively say that they are useless, stupid dopers, presumably to save them from themselves. Is it working?
Lets fix it. Right here, Right Now!
"Having researched the drugs field for more than 30 years as a scientist, my concern is that the undoubted harms of drug-taking are minimised and that drug users, of whom there are millions, are protected. Some reactions to my suggestion that some form of regulated supply of mephedrone, ecstasy and cannabis is worth considering shows just how difficult it is to have a rational, science-based debate." The Guardian (UK) Tuesday 30 March 2010 - Professor David Nutt (Following his article published 17 Mar 2010. Mephedrone: the class D solution )
GreenCross, "Stop the War on People"
Stop the war on our people
GreenCross are very disappointed but not surprised the National Party have refused to consider the recent recommendation from the Law Commission. The recommendation would adjust the New Zealand drug laws to reduce harm in our community and also align New Zealand to overseas best practice.
Put basically, adopting these recommendations would reduce harm from the 'war on drugs'.
This is really a war on people. Often these people are very helpless. They are victims of the 'war on drugs' and it is time for level heads and peace.
We are assisting people to prepare submissions to the Law Commission through the NORML web site, Green Party website, Facebook, and Twitter.
Now is a good chance to have your say on these antiquated and failed laws. Current drug laws criminalise thousands of otherwise law abiding New Zealanders each year. This escalates the problem of poverty for many and causes stressful situations for legitimate medicinal users as well as normally law abiding citizens who just want to relax and unwind.
The current laws help to create a low socio-economic rebellious sub culture whose cannabis supply is often influenced by criminal gangs. Harder dangerous drugs, such as P, are easily introduced by this situation giving criminal groups control of chemicals that go into our young New Zealanders. This can have a devastating effect to many users and those around them.
We want a properly organised, evidence based, regulated market for all drugs including alcohol and tobacco— two deadly killers with many harmful side effects.
Why should someone who has a history of bad behaviour on alcohol still be allowed to buy more?
Why should sick people who carefully administer a small amount of cannabis, and cause no harm to society, be prosecuted?
The Key Government and successive Governments have ignored numerous recommendations for a change to reduce harm. Sadly Governments have chosen to ignore these balanced recommendations and spent millions of dollars on Policing, customs, courts, lawyers, jails, broken families, destroyed careers, increased crime, health problems from poor quality drugs or poisoned from police helicopters, and an escalating suicide rate.
This is taking from the poor and giving to the rich, what a scam.
We need a change of Government. Go Green for some sustainable common sense.
Billy Mckee is the director for GreenCross which is an online support group for medicinal users of cannabis. To join this group people need a doctors acknowledgment.
Green Party Submission Guide