Drugs, Society, Human Rights & Justice
50.8K views | +0 today
Drugs, Society, Human Rights & Justice
Reason, rationale and evidence are the way forward. Please share and recommend the site!
Your new post is loading...
Your new post is loading...
Scooped by Julian Buchanan
Scoop.it!

'Drug users aren't criminals they are sick' Out of the frying pan into the fire!

'Drug users aren't criminals they are sick' Out of the frying pan into the fire! | Drugs, Society, Human Rights & Justice | Scoop.it

When faced with enduring marginalisation and oppression which has been systemic at every level (personal, cultural and institutional), any opportunity to improve human rights and justice for people who use illicit drugs is understandably gratefully received. Drugs as a 'health issue not a crime problem' provides an opportunity.

 

While we should support those in power who are bold enough to assert that illicit drug users are not criminals and illicit drug possession shouldn't be a crime - we should be very wary of 'leaping out of the frying pan into the fire' by supporting the almost inevitable medicalisation of drug use that will follow.

 

"Illicit drug users are not criminals but neither are they sick"

They are no more sick or criminal than people who enjoy ground coffee, a glass of red wine, or a cigar. Regular recreational drug taking is not per se a health problem, it is not a sign of sickness or an indication of a disease. We do not need neuroscience to assess drug use, and even problematic drug use has its roots more in social inequality than neuroscience.

 

When people lose control and become dependent on taking a substance it still isn't a medical problem. Problematic drug use is social, cultural, psychological and health issue.

 

Having endured the global damage having constructed illicit drug use as a crime problem we don't want to jump out of the criminal deviance frying pan of find ourselves stuck in the fire of medicalisation.

 

Julian Buchanan

more...
No comment yet.
Scooped by Julian Buchanan
Scoop.it!

Suspended prison sentence for man believed by the Judge (in Aus) to be growing cannabis to treat his mother's cancer

Suspended prison sentence for man believed by the Judge (in Aus) to be growing cannabis to treat his mother's cancer | Drugs, Society, Human Rights & Justice | Scoop.it
News from Darwin, Northern Territory, Australia and the world, featuring the latest local, national, world, business, sport, entertainment and travel news. Drawing on News Limited's worldwide resources and newspapers.
Julian Buchanan's insight:

Seems tragic and terrible that someone growing plants to treat his mother's cancer is a criminal offence - sad that he should have the additional and unnecessary ordeal of police, courts and a life long conviction around his shoulders

more...
No comment yet.
Scooped by Julian Buchanan
Scoop.it!

Video: 'Eyes Wide Open' True story. Some countries deny naloxone & others distribute it - Life or Death issue

Video: 'Eyes Wide Open' True story. Some countries deny naloxone & others distribute it  - Life or Death issue | Drugs, Society, Human Rights & Justice | Scoop.it


click here as the video has moved:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nYnTzI6sfs8


Canada has the highest per-capita opioid consumption in the world. Naloxone, an emergency medication that reverses an opioid overdose, is not widely distributed. The mother of a young man who died from an overdose suggests that bias, discrimination and demeaning attitudes toward persons with addictions may be a reason. Joe adds, "We are the first responders, before ambulance, before the police, before anybody. We can save each other".

Julian Buchanan's insight:

Naloxone should be available in every country - and should be readily available and distributed across the drug using community in particular. It would save lives. Denial of access is inexcusable.

more...
No comment yet.
Scooped by Julian Buchanan
Scoop.it!

NZ Methadone user admits manslaughter over girlfriend's death

NZ Methadone user admits manslaughter over girlfriend's death | Drugs, Society, Human Rights & Justice | Scoop.it
A man whose girlfriend died after he helped her shoot up on methadone has pleaded guilty to her manslaughter.
Julian Buchanan's insight:

A tragic case - surely allowing naloxone take home would make a difference and reduce the risk of incidents like this?

more...
Tyson Dodge's comment, March 25, 2013 10:32 AM
Very sad NZ, i suggest working on a strategy to reduce the number of methadone patients, and get them off opiates due to recreational abuse. just some insight from Canada! =)
Scooped by Julian Buchanan
Scoop.it!

A critical look at New Zealand's much hailed drug policy reform

The HCLU interviewed Peter Dunne, the Minister of Revenue of New Zealand. He explained to us the innovative legislational approach of his country to new psyc...
Julian Buchanan's insight:

It's a great move in principle - but Peter Dunne describes a process designed to curb demand and says the process will be sufficiently lengthy and costly to deter a number of suppliers from proceeding. The threshold for proving the drug 'safe' is going to be 'a very high test'. This doesn't give much hope that the law is intended in good spirit to allow new substances to become legal and regulated. Will the framework be used to deter, stifle and set the bar so high that few if any substances will gain approval?

Drug companies not the government have to do all the running, the cost of the trials will be considerable - which is all fair enough. But if the expectations of having to prove the drug as 'safe' will be very high it could prove impossible to get any new substance approved.The new NZ law will only be effective if it is made in good faith and enacted in good faith, otherwise new chemical compounds will continue to be distributed as 'new illegally highs'.

 

Other countries may look to New Zealand as world leaders in the managements of legal highs - but it may not be all it appears to be - the new regulation could be used as just tweaking the war on drugs and engineered a clever political move that effectively makes it less hassle and stress by banning every 'legal high' in one legislative move,  - unless they can be proved safe - which no substance is (even water could be deemed lethal and therefore unsafe - as in excess it has killed people). So if the threshold is very high will anything be able to meet the approval criteria? If they system for approval is little more than a scam then the chemists will continue with the underground market as before.


Sadly in respect of criminal justice New Zealand is terribly punitive - with the 3 strike law adopted from the US, NZ has one of the worst incarceration rates in world, and the over representation of indigenous people in prison is shocking. New Zealand's record on drugs is punitive too with: around 10% of incarcerations resulting from drug supply/possession; the government prohibited medical marihuana; recently a woman was criminalised for supplying cannabis to her child through her breast milk; new laws by the present government who want to regulate new legal highs, will force people of state benefit to be drug tested and have benefits stopped if they continue to test positive; employees of some government departments are now subject to random drug testing; and following trips to/from USA, NZ has rolled out an Abstinence Drug Court - so this apparent progressive desire to live with drugs and regulate legal highs needs to be seen in this context and questioned.

 

 

NZ drug policy is certainly not progressive, will any new legal highs be regulated - we'll see!

more...
No comment yet.
Rescooped by Julian Buchanan from Cannabis & Drug Policy Reform
Scoop.it!

UN Development Chief: Drug Criminalization Creates More Problems Than It ... - ThinkProgress

UN Development Chief: Drug Criminalization Creates More Problems Than It ... - ThinkProgress | Drugs, Society, Human Rights & Justice | Scoop.it
ThinkProgress
UN Development Chief: Drug Criminalization Creates More Problems Than It ...

Via MildGreen Initiative
Julian Buchanan's insight:

The 'Scarman Lectures' at the Department of Criminology, Leicester University, England on 13 June 2012 I examined 'The damage caused by drugs, or the damage caused by drug policy?

the lecture podcast is here: http://julianbuchanan.podomatic.com/

 

more...
MildGreen Initiative's curator insight, March 21, 2013 5:36 AM

This is the same lady who gave New Zealand the worlds first legally regulated recreational psychoactive drug policy law.

Google ("restricted substances regulations" 2008)

Scooped by Julian Buchanan
Scoop.it!

Valium Is Killing Scotland's Drug-Taking Poor

Valium Is Killing Scotland's Drug-Taking Poor | Drugs, Society, Human Rights & Justice | Scoop.it
I celebrated Mother's Little Helper's 50th birthday on Edinburgh's "Street of Shame".
Julian Buchanan's insight:

The poor take drugs to blot out,switch off, mask, escape ... tragic inequalities damage, hopelessness and a lack of opportunities drive the consumption of benzos, opiates and alcohol

more...
No comment yet.
Scooped by Julian Buchanan
Scoop.it!

Drug Courts: A cause for celebration or a misguided attempt at progress?

Drug Courts: A cause for celebration or a misguided attempt at progress? | Drugs, Society, Human Rights & Justice | Scoop.it
Julian Buchanan's insight:

- uptariffs offenders making them more at risk of prison
- netwidens and draws in more offenders into court system
- are abstinence only, and intolerant of harm reduction
- very costly, almost as much as prison
- assume a drug-crime causal relationship
- raise human rights concerns regarding compulsory treatment
- have high breach rate (usually between 40-60%)
- consume vast resources that could be better spend on treatment
- have no full range of treatment options available -usually one-size fits all
- non-problematic drug users get sucked into drug court system
- success claims overlook all those who commence drug court and end up breached and in prison
- alternatives to prison, are more often punitive alternatives to other community sentences already available
- so demanding that many offenders are set up to fail

more...
No comment yet.
Scooped by Julian Buchanan
Scoop.it!

15 reasons why the drug war is actually a great success! by @CounterPunchOrg

15 reasons why the drug war is actually a great success! by @CounterPunchOrg | Drugs, Society, Human Rights & Justice | Scoop.it

The Drug War would indeed be a failure if its real function was to reduce drug consumption or drug-related violence. But the success or failure of state policies is rightly judged by the extent to which they promote the interests served by the state. The Drug War is a failure only if the state exists to serve you.

 

Julian Buchanan's insight:

Unintended consequences or deliberate strategy? Either way some have a vested interest in continuing the war on drugs.

more...
No comment yet.
Scooped by Julian Buchanan
Scoop.it!

VIDEO 7mins: HSBC Bank money launder $881m drug cartel money & no criminal convictions. (well worth watching)

http://warren.senate.gov Senator Elizabeth Warren's Q&A at the March 7, 2013 Banking Committee hearing entitled "Patterns of Abuse: Assessing Bank Secrecy Ac...
Julian Buchanan's insight:

Senator Elizabeth is superb ... but doesn't get an answer.

She rightly highlights that repeated posession of an ounce of cocaine could result in years in prison but repeated money laundering almost a billion dollars by a bank doesn't warrant a criminal conviction!

more...
No comment yet.
Scooped by Julian Buchanan
Scoop.it!

Warren: Drug possession warrants jail time but [HSBC] laundering cartel money doesn’t?

Warren: Drug possession warrants jail time but [HSBC] laundering cartel money doesn’t? | Drugs, Society, Human Rights & Justice | Scoop.it

Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) grilled officials from the Treasury Department over why criminal charges were not filed against officials at HSBC who helped launder hundreds of millions of dollars for drug cartels.

The HSBC scandal resulted in the Department of Justice and Treasury announcing a record $1.92 billion fine after finding that the international bank repeatedly helped the world’s most violent drug gangs move at least $881 million in ill-gotten gains through numerous countries the U.S. has economic sanctions against.

Julian Buchanan's insight:

There is no doubt that Justice depends a lot upon the colour of your skin, your ethnic background, and your social and financial standing in society.

 



http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=7cKTBy7_S_I

more...
MildGreen Initiative's comment, March 9, 2013 5:41 PM
There is no doubt that Justice depends a lot upon: How much your take home pay depends on saying nothing.....
Scooped by Julian Buchanan
Scoop.it!

Evidence, science, reason, rationality and indeed personal integrity - woefully lacking from drug policy

Evidence, science, reason, rationality and indeed personal integrity - woefully lacking from drug policy | Drugs, Society, Human Rights & Justice | Scoop.it
Julian Buchanan's insight:

We keep talking about 'drugs' as if they are a pharmacologically defined category - they are not. This definition of 'drugs' has no evidence base - it's a social construct.

After this interview Theresa May probably had some 'drugs' but being caffeine, alcohol and/or nicotine - although all toxic and potentially lethal - as well as enjoyable for most of us - they are outside the discourse and these drugs are excluded.
 
Evidence, science, reason and rationality are woefully lacking from drug policy. We have a drug policy befitting of the 19th century.

more...
MildGreen Initiative's comment, March 9, 2013 5:46 PM
As a humble student of where we once were, where we have been and how we got into this mess I could argue the 19th century is notable for its rational drug policy.
Scooped by Julian Buchanan
Scoop.it!

'This Is Working': Portugal, 12 Years after Decriminalizing Drugs

'This Is Working': Portugal, 12 Years after Decriminalizing Drugs | Drugs, Society, Human Rights & Justice | Scoop.it
Twelve years ago, Portugal eliminated criminal penalties for drug users. Since then, those caught with small amounts of marijuana, cocaine or heroin go unindicted and possession is a misdemeanor on par with illegal parking.
Julian Buchanan's insight:

Drug use doesn't need to decline for decriminalisation to be a success - it's drug related harms that need to decline -and they are!

more...
No comment yet.
Scooped by Julian Buchanan
Scoop.it!

PODCAST: Barriers to Recovery: Stigma and Discrimination

PODCAST: Barriers to Recovery: Stigma and Discrimination | Drugs, Society, Human Rights & Justice | Scoop.it
Associate Professor Julian Buchanan argues that the bifurcation between legally approved drugs for pleasure and the tough enforcement against illicit drugs for pleasure produces personal, cultural and structural stigma and discrimination for...
Julian Buchanan's insight:

This paper was delivered at the 2011 Drug Policy Symposium: Through the maze hosted by New Zealand Drug Foundation:

 

Considerable attention is given to addressing the physical and psychological aspects of drug dependence - some suggest it's a disease called 'addiction'.

This lecture asserts that the social context is much overlooked, and illustrates how problem drug use is to a large extent a social construct exacerbated by criminalisation, exclusion, stigma and discrimination.

 

If you want to follow the PREZI Slide Presentation used in the lecture (can also be copied and used):

http://prezi.com/p3fuglzqymmg/barriers-to-recovery-stigma-discrimination/

 

 

To listen to this podcast and others from the Symposium:
http://www.drugfoundation.org.nz/through-the-maze/podcasts

 

more...
No comment yet.
Scooped by Julian Buchanan
Scoop.it!

VIdeo: Global survey confirms the normalisation of recreational drug use

VIdeo: Global survey confirms the normalisation of recreational drug use | Drugs, Society, Human Rights & Justice | Scoop.it
A revealing survey shows many users are educated and well-off.
Julian Buchanan's insight:

We shouldn't be trying to stop or eradicate drug use - instead we should try and manage drug use to make it safer and less risky. Our efforts and concern should be focused upon preventing problem drug use.

Like me you may not take illegal drugs - but we should acknowlege that illicit drug use has become a normalised leisure activity  - one of many options available to people -particularly the under 30s. So we need to live with it and manage it safely and sensibly. 

more...
No comment yet.
Scooped by Julian Buchanan
Scoop.it!

Promoting abstinence for drug users is not based upon science it simply a way of saving money | BMJ

Promoting abstinence for drug users is not based upon science it simply a way of saving money  | BMJ | Drugs, Society, Human Rights & Justice | Scoop.it
Julian Buchanan's insight:

This has implications for drug testing and abstinence only Drug Courts.

 

The author argues "any bolshie academic who speaks out of turn is likely to get the chop"

more...
MildGreen Initiative's curator insight, March 25, 2013 6:44 PM

And we let the treatment industry and its stooges rule the fowl house.  Just look at the make up of New Zealand's  "Expert Advisory Committee on Drugs", loaded with Corrections, Justice, Treatment, Border Control and Drug Testing interests. It supports and encourages the pretense cannabis use 'bad' and thus cannot be tolerated. How naive. That the policy holds some 400,000 kiwi consumers hostage to a lie and political expediency is an injustice that makes racism, sexism and ageism look good.

Scooped by Julian Buchanan
Scoop.it!

Florida discovers drug testing beneficiaries is a waste of money (but good business for testing companies!)

Florida discovers drug testing beneficiaries is a waste of money (but good business for testing companies!) | Drugs, Society, Human Rights & Justice | Scoop.it
Why laws mandating drug tests for welfare recipients are doomed to fail.
Julian Buchanan's insight:

Apparently Florida Governor Rick Scott's law mandating drug testing for welfare recipients was not only found to be unconstitutional—it was also a fiscal flop for the State.

 

However, I'm sure that it was a success for the drug testing companies - (like the New Zealand Drug Detecting Agency - http://www.nzdda.co.nz/ ) that are often run by ex enforcement agency staff - bet they made a healthy profit from the business adventure!

more...
No comment yet.
Scooped by Julian Buchanan
Scoop.it!

Suspicious parents call in drug-sniffing dog

Suspicious parents call in drug-sniffing dog | Drugs, Society, Human Rights & Justice | Scoop.it

Private eye, cum canine, come calling in North Texas to help parents catch kids using drugs - for $350 per visit

Julian Buchanan's insight:

The business opportunities from the war on drugs are endless!

 

Following on from the recently introduced UK scratch n sniff cannabis cards to enable neighbours to suspect and inform on each other - this USA dog service enables the suspicion and surveillance to extend to your own home and family.

 

Don't trust your kids, get the sniffer dogs in, hand them over to the police, but remember the drug conviction will mess up their lives forever, and is likely to far more damaging than any experimentation or recreational use of illicit drugs! Not to mention the damage in parent child relationships!

 

But hey we all must play our part and make sacrifices if we are going to win the war on drugs!

 

Maybe the government could encourage employers to ensure random sniffer dog visits to the workplace?

more...
No comment yet.
Scooped by Julian Buchanan
Scoop.it!

Jeremy Sare: Drug driving limits

Jeremy Sare: Drug driving limits | Drugs, Society, Human Rights & Justice | Scoop.it
Very few scientists become politicians, and this is hardly surprising.

A scientist will usually only present a new finding once it has be
Julian Buchanan's insight:

"Clearly the politics here is to have a fixed view of the average drug driver, a dodgy, hooded geezer who thinks nothing of smoking a spliff, or snorting a line before getting behind the wheel and terrorising pedestrians. It is certainly not the middle class, suburban dweller/voter who takes a mild benzodiazepine or codeine based medicine."

 

And this is the misleading message communicated by New Zealand's Drug Driving Campaign - a knee jerk populist approach to a more complex issue!

And one that demonises illicit drug users 

 

more...
No comment yet.
Scooped by Julian Buchanan
Scoop.it!

UK Police issue scratch n sniff CANNABIS cards to help the public spot drugs farms

UK Police issue scratch n sniff CANNABIS cards to help the public spot drugs farms | Drugs, Society, Human Rights & Justice | Scoop.it
Crimestoppers say drugs farms are up 15 per cent in the past year, so homes in 13 areas across the country are being sent marijuana-scented paperwork to sniff out illegal plantations nearby.
Julian Buchanan's insight:

I just wish this silly, ill-conceived, hugely expensive and damaging war on cannabis would end, and public money wasted on enforcement measures like this could instead be better spent on things like health and education, and all the time saved by the police could be diverted to catch criminals.

PS
What's with those guns?

more...
No comment yet.
Scooped by Julian Buchanan
Scoop.it!

REPORT: Drugs: Breaking the Cycle. UK Govt 44pp March 2013

Julian Buchanan's insight:
Apparently:
"Drugs ruin lives and cause misery to families and communities and this Government is committed to breaking the vicious cycle of drug and alcohol dependency. There are no quick fixes; simply focusing on reducing the harms caused by illicit drug use is not enough"(p.2)
more...
No comment yet.
Scooped by Julian Buchanan
Scoop.it!

Student on legal high in drug induced zombie trance fries his flatmates hamster - but no calls to ban the drug?

Student on legal high in drug induced zombie trance fries his flatmates hamster - but no calls to ban the drug? | Drugs, Society, Human Rights & Justice | Scoop.it
A student who fried his flatmate’s hamster escaped jail yesterday but was banned from keeping animals for eight years.
Julian Buchanan's insight:

If it was bath salts or methamphetamine I wonder if the reporting and response would have been the same?

more...
MildGreen Initiative's comment, March 9, 2013 5:36 PM
Far worse cruelty to animals occurs on a near daily basis under the social intoxicant, ethyl alcohol. And even worse is commited against fellow human beings..... but no calls to ban the drug? Hell, it goes unnoticed. Speak no evil, hear no evil, see no evil than the evil we desire.....
MildGreen Initiative's curator insight, March 9, 2013 5:39 PM

But it is perfectly OK to  give dealers of legal highs (ethyl alcohol)  knighthoods!

Scooped by Julian Buchanan
Scoop.it!

ARTICLE: Systematic Review of the effect of drug law enforcement on drug market violence

Instead, the existing evidence base suggests that gun violence and high homicide rates may be an inevitable consequence of drug prohibition and that disrupting drug markets can paradoxically increase violence. In this context, and since drug prohibition has not meaningfully reduced drug supply, alternative regulatory models will be required if drug supply and drug market violence are to be meaningfully reduced.
more...
No comment yet.