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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 Buchanan'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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VIDEO 29mins: Julian Buchanan The Social Construction of Drugs: Stigma, Discrimination & the Drug Apartheid

This paper 'Barriers to Recovery: Stigma & Discrimination' given at the New Zealand Drug Policy Symposium 'Through the Maze: Making Treatment Better' https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=scoqktXn52Q


I argue that the social context is much overlooked in drug dependence, and in this paper I illustrates how problem drug use is to a large extent a social problem, exacerbated by criminalisation, exclusion, stigma and discrimination.

 

If you want to follow the PREZI Slide Presentation (which you are free to copy and use) click here:
http://prezi.com/p3fuglzqymmg/barriers-to-recovery-stigma-discrimination/

 

 

 

Julian Buchanan's insight:

Time to end stigma & discrimination of people who use illegal drugs 

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MildGreen Initiative's comment, March 27, 5:05 PM
And this research ( http://www.alternet.org/how-our-vengeful-society-destroys-vulnerable-people?akid=12937.104214.aaGEgM&rd=1&src=newsletter1033900&t=9 ) reinforces the notion that negative outcomes are a consequence of attitudes, perceptions and prejudices.
Jude Byrne's comment, May 26, 8:23 PM
I love your thinking on this
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The case for prescription heroin

The case for prescription heroin | Drugs, Society, Human Rights & Justice | Scoop.it

Our refusal to treat addiction in the most straightforward way creates crime, misery – and more addicts
1982 Dr John Marks offered a different evidence based approach

Julian Buchanan's insight:
2min Video - Working with Dr John Marks:

http://www.fead.org.uk/.../Julian-Buchanan-on-working...Video: Julian Buchanan on working with Dr John Marks in Liverpool - by FEAD
 Establishing the South Sefton Community Drugs Team providing low threshold full range of harm reduction services with John Marks:

http://www.fead.org.uk/.../Julian-Buchanan-on-working-in...Video: Julian Buchanan on working in Merseyside in 1983 and lessons learned - by FEADfead.org.uk
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Ziggi Ivan Santini's curator insight, May 26, 7:10 AM

If you inject cement into your veins, you don’t have to be a medical expert to work out that’s going to cause harm!

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A New Study Shows that Anti-Cannabis Claims are Wrong. #ResearchThroughTheLensOfProhibition #NoSurprise

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This paper offers an overview of drug treatment courts as a way to reduce drug-related incarceration.

In spite of good intentions, these courts do not represent reform if they undermine health and human rights, if they put health decisions in the hands of judges and prosecutors who reject clinically indicated treatment, or if they impose punishment for relapses that are a normal part of drug dependence.

 
Julian Buchanan's insight:

A prohibitionists attempt at treating the 'diseased addict'

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A sugar tax is simply a tax on the poor #DrugRegulation

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Full ARTICLE Open Access "Ending Prohibition with a Hangover” by @julianbuchanan

Full ARTICLE Open Access "Ending Prohibition with a Hangover” by @julianbuchanan | Drugs, Society, Human Rights & Justice | Scoop.it

Globally, there are a growing number of countries, agencies and individuals exploring drug law reform, albeit, largely related to cannabis. These are critical and important times, but after the debacle of prohibition, we should be careful not to get over-excited and simply lurch uncritically towards any reform that’s proposed. We need to be rigorous and well informed when considering and assessing appropriate drug policy change, otherwise we will fail to address the fundamental problem – the decades of damage caused by drug policy abuse. In this paper I shall clarify why drug law reform change is urgently needed, explore lessons from drug policy changes in other countries, highlight risks inherent within drug reform, and establish some guiding principles for change.

Julian Buchanan's insight:

This paper makes the case for harm reduction rather than abstinence, for decriminalisation and regulation of drugs rather than prohibition. It reflects on my 41 year career mainly spent grappling with problematic drug use, and problematic drug policy abuse. Free and full download from the Journal website http://www.cjp.org.uk/EasySiteWeb/GatewayLink.aspx?alId=7839


If you want to hear the podcast (and see the Prezi) from the 11th Annual Community Justice Public Lecture that this paper was based upon click on the link below. The audio will begin automatically once you move on to the next slide:

https://prezi.com/xszcyjomjspq/ending-prohibition-with-a-hangover/

Any comments or feedback email me:
julianbuchanan@gmail.com

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Amber Marks

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Julian Buchanan's insight:

An insight into the Cannabis social clubs in Spain (in English)

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Ziggi Ivan Santini's curator insight, May 26, 7:16 AM

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Julian Buchanan's insight:

Further evidence that the prohibitionist driven UN are totally unfit to manage any system of international drug control - they are only just accepting harm reduction may have a role. Sheesh!

Thanks - but no thanks - to any global well-balanced drug control system.

Decriminalise all personal possession and regulate drug business not drug using people - and do it nationally not internationally.

The international drug control is part of the Drug War - let's no reconfigure a needless and dubious organisation into some new system.

Abolition is required.

We don't have a UN well balanced global control system for Sugar, Caffeine or Alcohol

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MildGreen Initiative's curator insight, May 21, 5:10 AM

and discusses, well, just how we have it all wrong!

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Julian Buchanan's insight:

Presence doesn’t equal impairment

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Share your videos with friends, family and the world
Julian Buchanan's insight:

A model for us all when it comes to services for people struggling with long term problematic drug use.

Once again indigenous people, the discarded working class and people of colour left stranded - awesome the work Insite do!

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Video 45secs Ice destroys lives (Aus) #ShockHorrorDistortsTruthAndIsIneffective

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Julian Buchanan's insight:

This looks like a refined rehash of the 1936 anti-drug USA public information video https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sbjHOBJzhb0

 

It’s a ludicrous portrayal of Methamphetamine a drug that is actually prescribed to children http://www.drugs.com/pro/desoxyn.html

 

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