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New Zealand Psychoactive Substance Act 2013 unites prohibitionists & drug law reformers - how?

New Zealand Psychoactive Substance Act 2013 unites prohibitionists & drug law reformers - how? | Drugs, Society, Human Rights & Justice | Scoop.it

 

 

Julian's insight:

Is this a sensible and long overdue move towards drug regulation or is just a clever pragmatic way to end the legalhighs cat and mouse game by prohibiting all unapproved legal highs in one single legislative move?

Does promoting & taxing government approved drugs while policing and punishing government unapproved drugs - sound a familiar model to you? Is that what you'd call regulation? It seems worryingly similar to the present divide between alcohol and cannabis.

This NZ model of 'regulation' was passed with overwhelming support 119 votes to 1. This must reflect a progressive and forward thinking country? I'm afraid not, it reflects a messy Act that has become a bit of a 'pig in a poke'. Prohibitionists supported the Act believing they were banning drugs and keeping nasty legalhighs away from young people while drug reformers thought they were moving forward with regulation. Hear Peter Dunne the Health Minister explain the rationale for Act http://sco.lt/8iv5AP

 

Here is the small print identifying worrying clauses in the NZ Psychoactive Substance Bill that despite a number of protestations (including my written https://www.academia.edu/3487019/Submission_to_Health_Select_Committee_on_NZ_Psychoactive_Substances_Bill_Regulating_Legal_Highs_ and oral submission) were kept in the Act:

Clause 62
Supply of unapproved substance is an offence subject to a max of 2 years prison

Clause 63
Personal possession of any unapproved substance is an offence subject to a max. penalty of $500

Clause 69
Empowers the police or appointed 'Enforcement Officers' to enter premises without a warrant on suspicion of possess with intent to supply an unapproved substances

Clause 11
The Advisory Committee to oversee new approved and unapproved 'legalhighs' specifies only medical personnel 'pharmacology, toxicology, neuroscience & medicine' not mention of drug workers, drug user, sociologist, criminologist etc.

 

It is worth understanding the context of this drug policy to understand how it might be interpreted and delivered. This model of 'regulation' sits alongside New Zealand's 'progressive and forward thinking harm reduction drug policy' that:

a) Has rolled out drug testing people on benefits and will stop the benefit of those who repeatedly test positive

b) Will not prescribe injectable substitute drugs,

c) Has no naloxone distribution

d) Has no drug consumption rooms

e) Promotes employer drug testing

f)  Has just invested $2m on US styled Drug Abstinence Courts.

g) Refuses to allow self medication with raw cannabis and only support pharmaceutical cannabis spray in exceptional cases for patients with Multiple Sclerosis.

 

h) Increased arrests for cannabis supply by 75% between 2011 to 2012

Faced with frustration and cost over endlessly adding new legal highs to the New Zealand Misuse of Drugs Act 1975 has the government pulled off a prohibitionist master stroke and prohibited all legal highs in one move placing the onus (and cost) on the industry?

Of course the government may actually approve and tax some low risk substances which then allows them to sit alongside other government approved drugs (alcohol and tobacco), but this 'regulation' model perpetuates the current failed model - in that possession of anything not approved by the state is prohibited and will be policed and punished.

 

Regulating drugs is much needed and welcomed but policing and punishing people for using substances that are not approved by the State is a retrograde and worrying move. Imagine if the logic was extended to alcohol, food, vitamins and minerals? It should be a human right for people to consume what they want without get busted by the police.

We need to decouple drugs from the control of law enforcement agencies, we need drug regulation but this is not the sort of regulation I welcome nor one to shout about or adopt elsewhere.

Julian Buchanan

 

Link to the Act itself:
http://www.legislation.govt.nz/act/public/2013/0053/latest/DLM5043005.html

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PODCAST 60mins Ending Prohibition With a Hangover by Julian Buchanan

PODCAST 60mins Ending Prohibition With a Hangover by Julian Buchanan | Drugs, Society, Human Rights & Justice | Scoop.it

This socially constructed bifurcation of substances established a Drugs Apartheid that outlawed particular drugs so what we have is a 'War between Drugs' that ultimately became a war on people who used substances that didn't have government approval.

Black and Minority Ethnic groups and the discarded working class have been major casualties in this war. Radical drug law reform rooted in scientific evidence and human rights is needed to end the oppressive and unjust drug laws that have caused more harm than good.

 

Julian's insight:

While there is some understandable excitement and celebration at seeing prohibition begin to crumble - these are critical, if not dangerous times of change. Using international examples this lecture will outline the need for change, critically evaluate the risks of particular drug policy changes and explore principles to underpin drug law reform.

 

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Second study raises questions over the benefits of Tamiflu #VaccinePeopleForProfit?

Second study raises questions over the benefits of Tamiflu #VaccinePeopleForProfit? | Drugs, Society, Human Rights & Justice | Scoop.it
Research published in Lancet suggests Tamiflu shortens flu symptoms by only a day, but causes nausea and vomiting
Julian's insight:

BigPharma BigBusiness and a cosy relationship with Health Service professionals

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Blog: Half the picture – beyond drug overdose as a cause of death in opioid using people

Blog: Half the picture – beyond drug overdose as a cause of death in opioid using people | Drugs, Society, Human Rights & Justice | Scoop.it
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Illegal Drugs Laws: Clearing a 50-Year-Old UN Obstacle to Research

Illegal Drugs Laws: Clearing a 50-Year-Old UN Obstacle to Research | Drugs, Society, Human Rights & Justice | Scoop.it
For over 50 years, many medical drugs have been effectively banned from research and clinical treatment in the vain hope that this will stop recreational use. The scientific community should now challenge this pointless ban and get governments to improve their regulations so science can flourish.
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Lick this! Tobacco company launches 'melt-in-mouth' caffeine strips - BizNews.com

Lick this! Tobacco company launches 'melt-in-mouth' caffeine strips - BizNews.com | Drugs, Society, Human Rights & Justice | Scoop.it
Imperial Tobacco Group, the world's third largest cigarette maker, is launching melt-in-your-mouth caffeine strips designed to give an energy boost in seconds.
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ARTICLE: The brain disease model of addiction: is it supported by the evidence?

ARTICLE: The brain disease model of addiction: is it supported by the evidence? | Drugs, Society, Human Rights & Justice | Scoop.it
Julian's insight:

easy answer No

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Woman Thrown in USA Jail for Having an Addiction While Pregnant

Woman Thrown in USA Jail for Having an Addiction While Pregnant | Drugs, Society, Human Rights & Justice | Scoop.it
Supporters of the law say it's supposed to get women treatment. Then why is this woman going to jai?
Julian's insight:

New Prohibition

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In the New World of Incarceration, Your House Is Your Prison

In the New World of Incarceration, Your House Is Your Prison | Drugs, Society, Human Rights & Justice | Scoop.it
So is your block, your school, your neighborhood… your city, state and country.
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VIDEO 9min: The War On Drugs: Russell Brand speaks to Johann Hari

Russell Brand The Trews (E238). Author of "Chasing the Scream: The First and Last Days of the War on Drugs" Johann Hari (@johannhari101) joins me to discuss ...
Julian's insight:

Really important but not new.
Set and setting are much more important than the substance
Not sure that addiction hijacking the brain is a left wing perspective.
For more debate  on the social context of problematic drug use see:

Buchanan, Julian (2004) Missing links? Problem drug use and social exclusion. http://collections.crest.ac.uk/317/


Buchanan, Julian (2006) Understanding Problematic Drug Use: A Medical Matter or a Social Issue? http://collections.crest.ac.uk/94/


Buchanan, Julian and Young, L (2000) The War on Drugs – A War on Drug Users. http://collections.crest.ac.uk/257/

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We Need to Talk About [the real] Kevin Sabet

We Need to Talk About [the real] Kevin Sabet | Drugs, Society, Human Rights & Justice | Scoop.it
Derided or applauded as America's No. 1 opponent of marijuana legalization, Kevin Sabet strives to strike a moderate tone. But where is he really coming from?

 

But now I’m not so sure if [money] is the key. After all, this is a guy who cut his teeth with folks who were prepared to let drug users die in the street in the pursuit of their fundamentalist agenda. Kevin was a prodigy of sorts, a 20-year-old kid working with wealthy, prominent fanatics.


So I’ve lost some faith in the idea that Kevin is a money-driven opportunist who latched on to the anti-pot movement because he saw a gap in the market. Unfortunately the alternative is, if anything, even more disquieting.


I think we need to talk about Kevin.

 
Julian's insight:

Worrying that this guy get invited as an ‘authority' on cannabis - been invited to speak in New Zealand twice on the subject!

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REPORT: Considering Cannabis Legalization: Insights for Vermont and Other Jurisdictions | RAND

REPORT: Considering Cannabis Legalization: Insights for Vermont and Other Jurisdictions | RAND | Drugs, Society, Human Rights & Justice | Scoop.it
Marijuana legalization is a controversial and multifaceted issue. This report provides a foundation for thinking about the consequences of different marijuana policy options while being explicit about the uncertainties involved.
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ARTICLE: The abject failure of drug prohibition by Alex Wodak

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MildGreen Initiative's curator insight, January 19, 6:37 AM

Over the fifteen to twenty years I have known Alex he has been consistent in his view that prohibition is a criminal intervention  cloaked in political rhetoric that it is, somehow, for the greater good. Alex's conclusion in this justice journal nails it....

Print and hand it to your local MP. Even the ones whose ears are sewn on.

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Let’s face it, we need to introduce minimum pricing on alcohol — and legalise other drugs - Spectator Blogs

Let’s face it, we need to introduce minimum pricing on alcohol — and legalise other drugs - Spectator Blogs | Drugs, Society, Human Rights & Justice | Scoop.it
In the last few years alcohol has become the leading cause of death in men under 50 years of age, and it will soon achieve a similar deadly status in…
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Ziggi Ivan Santini's curator insight, January 30, 5:50 AM

"Today the cost of alcohol misuse in the UK is around £30 billion per year —about £1000 per tax-payer. Estimates that have modelled the value of minimum pricing suggest that a 50p unit price would lead to at least a 10 per cent reduction in consumption!"

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Moderate lifetime cannabis smoking associated with airway irritation but not lung function #SoNoMoreLies

Moderate lifetime cannabis smoking associated with airway irritation but not lung function #SoNoMoreLies | Drugs, Society, Human Rights & Justice | Scoop.it

A research study based on analysis of publicly available data has found that recent marijuana use was associated with symptoms of airway inflammation, but that moderate lifetime use was not associated with clinically significant changes in measures of lung function. The study is the largest cross-sectional analysis of the relationship between marijuana use and measures of lung health to date.

 

Julian's insight:

Massess and masses of money has been spent searching desperately for the dangers posed by illegal drugs - and for cannabis in particular. 

Every substances in some circumstances to some people pose risk, but the claims of the British Lung Foundation that cannabis causes cancer was seriously misleading and irresponsible. See https://profdavidnutt.wordpress.com/2012/06/11/smoke-without-fire-scaremongering-by-the-british-lung-foundation-over-cannabis-vs-tobacco/

 

Evidence should inform policy, and indeed evidence should shape research funding priorities  - not scaremongering or punitive populist agendas.
How about researching the positives and benefits of cannabis instead -and  

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There’s A Treatment For Heroin Addiction That Actually Works. Why Aren’t We Using It? The Heroin Treatment Industry

There’s A Treatment For Heroin Addiction That Actually Works. Why Aren’t We Using It? The Heroin Treatment Industry | Drugs, Society, Human Rights & Justice | Scoop.it
A yearlong HuffPost investigation into the heroin treatment industry.
Julian's insight:

The Drug Treatment Business $$$

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VIDEO 20mins ▶ The 'Fifth Stage' of Drug Control: International Law, Dynamic Interpretation and Human Rights

VIDEO 20mins ▶ The 'Fifth Stage' of Drug Control: International Law, Dynamic Interpretation and Human Rights | Drugs, Society, Human Rights & Justice | Scoop.it
In this lecture at a conference at Edinburgh Law School, Dr Rick Lines gives an overview of his work on interpretive approaches to international drug control...
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UK PMA Deaths: The case for testing drugs and a push for drug policy reform

UK PMA Deaths: The case for testing drugs and a push for drug policy reform | Drugs, Society, Human Rights & Justice | Scoop.it
  January saw the devastating news of the deaths of four men over Christmas and New Year – all believed to have taken the same pink Superman pills containing the drug para-methoxyamphetamine (PMA). This drug, which has a similar composition to PMMA, has been around since the 1970s but due to its lack of positive effects was soon rejected by many. It is therefore assumed that most people were consuming what they thought was (3,4-methylenedioxy-methamphetamine) MDMA. Effects and Psychopharmacology
Julian's insight:

We need to avoid being seen to support drug testing (of people) which is part of the drugs war, and be clear we are talking here about 'Testing Drugs’ - never call it drug testing because of widespread use of that phrase already in an altogether different meaning and context.

 

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MildGreen Initiative's curator insight, January 24, 7:40 PM

he who controls the language controls the dialog

Edi Schwager's curator insight, January 27, 9:32 AM

The drug testing in Zurich (see: saferparty.ch) does some really important work! By the way: supported by the town of Zurich!

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VIDEO 3mins: UK MPs asked to help tackle youth homelessness

VIDEO 3mins: UK MPs asked to help tackle youth homelessness | Drugs, Society, Human Rights & Justice | Scoop.it

Around six in ten young people become homeless because their parents or carers are unable or unwilling to accommodate them. This is usually due to a relationship breakdown of some kind.

 

From our research, it is clear that households are coming under increasing financial pressure, which is having an effect on youth homelessness. As a result, 11% of youth homelessness cases are due to unemployment while living in the family home, 9% are due to benefit reductions and 5% are due to overcrowding.

 

We believe the impact of welfare reform and changes to individual benefits are affecting young people directly, as well as placing increasing pressures on their families. Loss of tenancy due to benefit changes have also become more common.

 
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How “America’s First Drug Czar” Waged War Against Billie Holiday and Other Jazz Legends

How “America’s First Drug Czar” Waged War Against Billie Holiday and Other Jazz Legends | Drugs, Society, Human Rights & Justice | Scoop.it
The U.S. government’s so-called “War on Drugs” predates Richard Nixon’s coinage of the term in 1971 by many decades, though it is under his administration that it assumed its current scope and character.
Julian's insight:

The drugs war will sit alongside the slave trade, the Iron Curtain and the South African apartheid as another dreadful atrocity. As I said five years ago:  


"In decades to come future generations will look back to this period in history with incredulity and disbelief at the: inconsistencies and stark contrast in approach towards legal and illegal recreational drug use; at the individual, local, national and global damage caused by prohibition of specific recreational drugs; at the way the war on drugs has become a civil war fuelling stigma, prejudice and discrimination upon particular drug users; and at the hypocrisy as we can sit back and read this article while enjoying a glass of red wine, while at a nearby neighbourhood someone might be facing a prison sentence having been caught smoking their home-grown cannabis." (p.259)

Buchanan, J. (2010) Drug policy under New Labour: Prolonging the war on drugs, Probation Journal: The Journal of Community and Criminal Justice, Special Edition: Criminal Justice under New Labour, Vol. 57,  No.3, 

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CBD-Only Laws: The New Prohibitionist Strategy to Distract Voters and Delay Cannabis Reform

CBD-Only Laws: The New Prohibitionist Strategy to Distract Voters and Delay Cannabis Reform | Drugs, Society, Human Rights & Justice | Scoop.it
CBD-Only Wave Begins Starting in late 2013 and continuing through the 2014 elections, in what appeared to be a sign of change on the horizon, the US saw a surprising new breed of cannabis bills pas...
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The Likely Cause of Addiction Has Been Discovered, and It Is Not What You Think

The Likely Cause of Addiction Has Been Discovered, and It Is Not What You Think | Drugs, Society, Human Rights & Justice | Scoop.it
New evidence about addiction isn't just a challenge to us politically. It doesn't just force us to change our minds. It forces us to change our hearts....
Julian's insight:

The arguments are similar to work done by Dr Carl Hart, and myself see:

 

Buchanan, Julian (2006) Understanding Problematic Drug Use: A Medical Matter or a Social Issue? 

 

download free from:

http://collections.crest.ac.uk/.../Buchanan=3AJulian=3A...

 

But this raises issues, because drug reformers are rightly lurching away from the notion that drugs are a crime problem, and embracing the flawed idea that drugs are a health problem. 

 

Chronic problematic drug use is not a crime issue, and not particularly a medical/health issue - its a social/structural problem.

 

While drug use per se is neither a crime, health or social issue!

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EMCDDA | Preventing fatal overdoses: a systematic review of the effectiveness of take-home naloxone

EMCDDA | Preventing fatal overdoses: a systematic review of the effectiveness of take-home naloxone | Drugs, Society, Human Rights & Justice | Scoop.it
Julian's insight:

Time to role out naloxone take home along with education and training of peers  

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5 Most Absurd Anti-Pot Propaganda Campaigns #reefermadness

5 Most Absurd Anti-Pot Propaganda Campaigns #reefermadness | Drugs, Society, Human Rights & Justice | Scoop.it
The hysterical scare tactics are beginning to backfire.
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INPUD Documents: Seeking drug war peace

INPUD Documents:   Seeking drug war peace | Drugs, Society, Human Rights & Justice | Scoop.it
The war on drugs causes unncessary harm to millions of people across the world. The spread of HIV, Hepatitis C and the incarceration of hundreds of thousands of people are all a direct result of completely misguided policies driven by dogma. The International Network of People Who Use Drugs (INPUD) calls for an end to this war on our people and for a new period of peace and intelligent open debate.
Julian's insight:

Always worth reading!

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