A widely-praised Dunedin, NZ study found people who started smoking cannabis in their teenage years, and kept using it for years afterwards, showed an average decline in IQ of eight points, however, a new study challenges this claim and suggests young teens who smoke cannabis may not be stunting their intellect.
Julian Buchanan's insight:
Like studies seeking to 'prove' links between cannabis and schizophrenia, the link with lower IQ is likely to have much more association with cultural and environmental factors (which can't easily be factored out the equation) - rather than demonstrate any casual connection with cannabis.
Heroin addicts in Baltimore who still used drugs heavily despite being on methadone were sent to a special clinic for intensified care reinforced by sanctions and incentives and eventual discharge if still they failed to comply. Tough love perhaps, but does it really make sense to intensify compliance requirements on patients already not complying?
Using enhanced and integrated services to improve response to standard methadone treatment: changing the clinical infrastructure of treatment networks. by Neufeld K., Kidorf M., King V. et al. Journal of Substance Abuse Treatment: 2010, 38, p. 170–177.
Julian Buchanan's insight:
Low threshold harm reduction services work - why make it difficult for people who need help? Hard to reach people who are struggling rarely respond positively to intensive monitoring, demands and sanctions
Wellington's (NZ) grass dealing granny has gone to prison for six years and nine months. Sandra Jacqueline McMahon, 68, and another family member ran a cannabis selling operation out of a Newtown flat, making profits the police estimate were up to $7.9 million in the past seven years
On this basis, the dotted lines would fall and the solid lines would rise after the change. However, in this 10-year period, for the countries in question, no simple association can be observed between legal changes and cannabis use prevalence.
During the last 5 years, there has been an important shift in the policy discourse around drugs issues. This article reviews the key changes and continuities in British drugs policy since the mid 1990s.
For a review of UK Drug Policy under New Labour see article:
Buchanan J & Young L (2000) ‘Examining the Relationship Between Material Conditions, Long Term Problematic Drug Use and Social Exclusion: A New Strategy for Social Inclusion’ in Experiencing Poverty, Bradshaw J, & Sainsbury R (eds) pp. 120-143 http://tinyurl.com/az8vbmf
Buchanan J & Young L (2000) ‘Problem Drug Use, Social Exclusion and Social Reintegration – the client speaks' pp155-161 in Greenwood G & Robertson K (eds.) ‘Understanding and responding to drug use: the role of qualitative research EMCDDA http://www.emcdda.europa.eu/html.cfm/index34017EN.html
There is no compelling account of why marijuana arrest probabilities have increased nationally or why the focus has been on youth, minorities, and males but the disproportionate increase for young Black males raises issues of disparate impact.
Over 45 million people have been arrested, and there are now more people in US prisons for non-violent drug offences than were imprisoned for all crimes in 1970. The USA incarcerates more of its citizens than any other country in the world, with a current prison population of some 2·3 million, and more than half of those in federal prison are there because of drug offences.