The Changing State of Drug Policy

 

Commentary July 23, 2014

Often overlooked in discussions of drug policy today is the nature of the drug problem. The global drug problem can be traced to the innate nature of the human brain. The mammalian brain is extremely vulnerable to chemicals that stimulate brain reward. These chemicals are drugs of abuse. They produce far more intense brain reward than any natural reward, even sex and food. The repeated use of drugs of abuse leads to addiction. In its definition of addiction, the American Society of Addiction Medicine notes that it is “characterized by inability to consistently abstain, impairment in behavioral control, craving, diminished recognition of significant problems with one’s behaviors and interpersonal relationships, and a dysfunctional emotional response.”1

Addiction is a chronic, often fatal, illness that typically begins in adolescence. The earlier an individual uses drugs of abuse, including alcohol and marijuana, the more likely it is that that the person will develop a substance use disorder later in life.2 The best way to prevent addiction is to prevent the use of these substances. As a 13-year-old said to me years ago, “I don’t want to try cigarettes because I might like them.”

While the biology of addiction has not changed for millions of years, over the past half century drug use has changed dramatically. In the modern drug abuse epidemic, whole populations are exposed to a mind-bending array of drugs of abuse by powerful routes of administration. This has never happened before in human history.

Marijuana, the most widely used illegal drug, has been transformed in the time since the peak of its use in the United States in 1978. The potency of marijuana, as measured by the level of THC (the primary active cannabinoid in marijuana), has tripled over this time.3 New modes of marijuana consumption have increased the potency of marijuana delivery. For example, butane hash oil contains dramatically higher levels of THC, with concentrations up to 90 percent.

The addiction landscape also has changed as a result of the non-medical use of legal prescription drugs. Eighty percent of the global opioid supply is consumed by Americans who constitute less than five percent of the world’s population.4 With widespread medical use of opioid analgesics has seen an epidemic of opiate dependence. The number of drug overdose deaths in the US has surpassed highway fatalities.5 The widespread use of prescription drugs has led to changes in the demographics of heroin use and subsequent heroin overdoses.6 7 Forty years ago heroin addiction was mostly confined to young inner-city men who often were involved in criminal activities. The new demography of heroin is the result of the demography of those that use pain medications non-medically. An estimated half of young injection heroin users previously abused prescription opioids prior to their heroin use.8 Heroin addiction has reached all parts of the country, especially 2 small towns and rural areas. Heroin use is no longer limited to minority, male or lower income populations.9

The drug epidemic continues to evolve in complex ways even as the public attitudes toward the use of drugs are shifting. Attitudes today are far more permissive toward the “recreational” use of drugs, especially marijuana. National polls indicate that a growing majority of Americans now favor legalization of marijuana for “recreational” use by adults.10

The well-funded lobby promoting the normalization of the use of marijuana (and other drugs) is based on the erroneous premise that marijuana is not only safe but also beneficial. In contrast to this view, the science is clear that marijuana use is a serious threat to health, safety and productivity.11 As the negative impact of legal marijuana in the states of Colorado and Washington – and in the states that permit “medical” marijuana – is more widely understood, attitudes toward permissive drug use will shift once again.

The US, and the entire world, is at a crossroads in drug policy today with two oppositional perspectives on the future of drug policy. On the one hand is the vision on which current global drug policy was established in the first decades of the 20th century with the US in the lead which separates medical use from nonmedical use of drugs with abuse potential. Under this framework, the goal of drug policy is to limit the use of drugs of abuse to medical uses only. Drugs of abuse are provided only through the process of physicians’ prescriptions and dispensed at pharmacies in a closed system and only for the treatment of diseases. The use of drugs of abuse outside of this very limited medical practice and their sale is illegal, punishable by the criminal law.

This well-established formulation of drug policy now is threatened by an alternative vision that treats drugs of abuse the way alcohol and tobacco are treated: through regulated production and sale to adults for legal use for any purpose. The campaign for this alternative drug policy begins with the legalization of marijuana but the stakes are far greater both because it applies to all drugs of abuse and there are enormous potential profits to be earned in this new marketplace.12 This move erases the sharp line between legal and illegal drugs. Erasing this line frustrates prevention and it opens the floodgates to widespread drug use.

When considering the potential public health impact of the legalization of drugs of abuse, including marijuana, it is helpful to consider the rates of use of the two legal drugs. Among Americans age 12 and older, 52 percent used alcohol and 27 percent used tobacco in the past month whereas 9 percent used any illegal drug.13 Only 7 percent of Americans used marijuana. Treating marijuana – to say nothing of other drugs of abuse – the way alcohol and tobacco are treated most certainly will increase availability and with it dramatically increase the level of marijuana use to a level that is similar to the use of the two currently legal drugs.

Is increased marijuana use and subsequent proportional increases in marijuana addiction in the interest of the nation’s public health? I don’t think so. The use of alcohol and tobacco are the two leading causes of preventable illness and death in the United States. Adding a third legal drug will add to the devastation that these legal drugs already generate.

What is the better answer for the future of drug policy, if it is not the legalization and regulation of drugs of abuse? The future of an effective drug policy lies in finding ways to reduce the use of drugs of abuse that are compatible with modern values and laws. This search for better ways to 3

References

1 American Society of Addiction Medicine. (2011). Public Policy Statement: Definition of Addiction. Chevy Chase, MD: American Society of Addiction Medicine. Available: http://www.asam.org/advocacy/find-a-policy-statement/view-policy-statement/public-policy-statements/2011/12/15/the-definition-of-addiction

2 National Institute on Drug Abuse. (2010). Drugs, Brains and Behavior: The Science of Addiction. NIH Pub No. 10-5606. Rockville, MD: National Institute on Drug Abuse, National Institutes of Health, US Department of Health and Human Services. Available: http://www.drugabuse.gov/sites/default/files/sciofaddiction.pdf

3 Drug Enforcement Administration. (2014). The Dangers and Consequences of Marijuana Abuse. Washington, DC: Drug Enforcement Administration Demand Reduction Section, US Department of Justice. Available: http://www.justice.gov/dea/docs/dangers-consequences-marijuana-abuse.pdf

4 Manchikanti, L., Fellows, B., Ailinani, H., & Pampati, V. (2010). Therapeutic use, abuse, and nonmedical use of opioids: a ten-year perspective. Pain Physician, 13(5), 401-435. Available: http://www.painphysicianjournal.com/2010/september/2010;13;401-435.pdf

5 Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. (2014). Prescription Drug Overdose in the United States: Fact Sheet. Atlanta, GA: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, National Center for Injury Prevention and Control, Division of Unintentional Injury Prevention. Available: http://www.cdc.gov/homeandrecreationalsafety/overdose/facts.html

6 Kuehn, B. M. (2014). Driven by prescription drug abuse, heroin use increases among suburban and rural whites. JAMA, 312(2), 118-119.

7 Johnson, K. (2014, April 17). Heroin is a growing threat across USA, police say. USA Today. Available: http://www.usatoday.com/story/news/nation/2014/04/16/heroin-overdose-addiction-threat/7785549/

8 National Institute on Drug Abuse. (2013, April). Heroin. DrugFacts. Rockville, MD: National Institute on Drug Abuse, National Institutes of Health, US Department of Health and Human Services. Available: http://www.drugabuse.gov/sites/default/files/drugfacts_heroin_final_0.pdf

9 Cicero, T. J., Ellis, M. S., Surratt, H. L., & Kurtz, S. P. (2014). The changing face of heroin use in the United States: a retrospective analysis of the past 50 years. JAMA Psychiatry, 71(7), 821-826.

10 Pew Research Center. (2014, April 2). America’s New Drug Policy Landscape. Washington, DC: Pew Research Center. Available: http://www.people-press.org/files/legacy-pdf/04-02-14%20Drug%20Policy%20Release.pdf

11 Volkow, N.D., Baler, R.D., Compton, W.M., & Weiss, S.R.B. (2014). Adverse health effects of marijuana use. The New England Journal of Medicine, 370(23), 2219-2227.

12 Richter, K. P., & Levy, S. (2014, June 11). Big marijuana—lessons from big tobacco [Perspective]. The New England Journal of Medicine. Available: http://www.nejm.org/doi/full/10.1056/NEJMp1406074

13 Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration. (2013). Results from the 2012 National Survey on Drug Use and Health: Summary of National Findings, NSDUH Series H-46, HHS Publication No. (SMA) 13-4795. Rockville, MD: Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration.

reduce illegal drug use is the focus and the agenda of the Institute for Behavior and Heath, Inc. (www.ibhinc.org). There are many good new ideas for drug policy, all based on the recognition of the vulnerability of the brain to the excessive, unnatural stimulation of brain reward mechanism by drugs of abuse which leads to addiction for millions of people and the resulting devastation suffered by these individuals, their families and their communities.

Rather than embrace drug legalization, we must develop innovative policies and programs that reduce the use of drugs of abuse and we must provide assistance, including quality treatment that achieves long-term recovery, to those with substance use disorders.

Robert L. DuPont, M.D.

President, Institute for Behavior and Health, Inc.

Former Director, National Institute on Drug Abuse (1973-1978)

Former White House Drug Chief (1973-1977)

Established in 1978, the Institute for Behavior and Health, Inc. (IBH) is a 501(c)3 non-profit organization working to reduce illegal drug use through the power of good ideas. IBH websites include: www.ibhinc.org, www.StopDruggedDriving.org, www.PreventTeenDrugUse.org, and www.PreventionNotPunishment.org.

 

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Totally predictable – Company makes Recreational Marijuana Pitch

http://www.wgrz.com/story/money/business/2014/07/21/recreational-marijuana-new-york/12977553/

RCowan NORML ‘MedIcal Marijuana’ a Trojan Horse

The ink is barely dry on the New York medi-pot law and people are already plotting to go to the next step of the plan, which is always recreational pot. The predictability of this scenario is a sure bet. Since the end game goal of the pro-pot lobbyists is full recreational use, should it surprise anyone that concessions to the medi-pot people are always followed by an immediate demand for recreational use?

Those states that are passing medical marijuana laws, and then going to the trouble of creating huge government bureaucracies to “regulate medicine” are simply wasting their time and money.

The honest thing to do is for the pro-pot people to state their real goal in the first place, and not waste valuable resources going through the motions of medical pot to reach their goal (and cynically using innocent sick people in the process). Then voters can adequately assess the direction of their state without going through a process that will immediately be obsolete (if the marijuana people get their way).

On the other hand, the stealth mode of the medi-pot campaign is EXACTLY how the pot lobbyists planned to do it in the first place. See the video evidence of this in Richard Cowan’s statement in 1993 (attached). Word to the wise. Monte

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Dangers of Drug Decriminalization and Drug Legalization

Like many of the works of darkness drug addiction flourishes in the dark and in secret; it thrives on confusion and disinformation, and cancer-like, it is nurtured and nourished in the hidden place of dissembling and deception, dissolution and degeneration.  Its inimical, inevitable and invariable fruits are depravity and despair, destruction and death.

As such it is paradoxical that at a time when the destructive effects of drugs are better understood than ever before, there appears to be a deluge of deceived media activity attempting to manipulate public opinion into brow beating people and bypassing democratic processes for self-centred and financial interests of particular powerful personalities.  Drug use is widespread in the homosexual community, and real concerns have been expressed that this unusually well financed and powerfully connected lobby is a key driver of the present media activism.

Science can lag behind real life experience.  Therefore whilst it may be quite obvious to lay people that drug addiction is unhealthy, the toxicological properties of many addictive drugs had not been well defined until more recently.

As mentioned the rhetoric of the legalization media space is populated by numerous twisted half-truths and outright falsehoods.  Two favourite false mantras are (1) that illegal drugs are not really all that bad for you provided they are given under supervision or in supervised and controlled dosage formats so that overdose cannot occur.  The second is that (2) the legal drugs alcohol and tobacco cause more death and disease than the illicit drugs.  This second one is particularly pernicious in that it is precisely because the illicit drugs are legally proscribed, that community exposure is reduced compared to licit intoxicants, and the sum damage may therefore appear to be less.

Because of favourite lie (1) the defined toxicity of drug addiction is of more than medical importance.  Cannabis for example is known to be related to the formation of altered connections between brain cells, so that memory, attention, mood, cognition, educational achievement, employability and personality are all perturbed 1.  In the developing brains of babies inside their mothers, children, adolescents and young adults up to about 26 years, leading international researchers have expressed concerns that brain growth and development can be permanently altered 1.  Chest disease including changes like chronic bronchitis and emphysema are well described.  Driving accidents including fatalities are well documented under the influence both of cannabis alone, and of cannabis combined with alcohol.  Cannabis is known to suppress and perturb the immune system in such a manner as to pose a risk to AIDS patients. Anxiety and depression are known to occur, as is violence and seizures in the now accepted cannabis withdrawal state.  Although its advocates claim that no one has ever died from cannabis this is likely false and simplistic.  Death can occur by combination overdose with other drugs, in car wrecks, from cannabis-related cancers, from violence (suicide or murder), in industrial accidents, congenital heart and neural tube defects, various cancers including congenital cancers, heart attacks and stroke 1-2.  It may be true that such events are not reflected in official statistics, but this is partly because official statistics are not set up to capture such data, and partly because cannabis is invariably exonerated when such deaths do come to coronial attention.

The gateway effect of cannabis has now been proven in many studies from many nations.  Cannabis use in adolescence increases the risk of subsequent graduation to harder drugs.  Similar gateway effects have been found with tobacco and alcohol, so that more widespread consumption accompanying cannabis legalization, which even its advocates agree would occur, will also legalize combinations between tobacco, alcohol and cannabis, including particularly respiratory, driving, neurological, psychiatric, developmental and overdose toxicities.

The implications of cannabis addiction have not been truly worked into the present debate.  Considering that around 40% of our population have been exposed to cannabis in their lifetime, a quoted dependency (or addiction) rate of 9% represent a large number of people 1.  Moreover some of the world’s leading researchers have noted that 50% of patients can become addicted when smoking occurs on a daily basis and begins in adolescence which is a common pattern we see at present, and would likely become very widespread under legalization 1.    We hear much about cannabis being used for pain relief.  Since cannabis withdrawal is painful and can cause muscle aches, cramps, spasms and pains, and since cannabis exposure will obviously relieve cannabis withdrawal, cannabis is an effective treatment for the pains of cannabis withdrawal.  It seems likely that a significant number of patients who have been testifying to Government or media of their anecdotal experience either have pre-existing or acquired cannabis addictions.

Space does not permit a detailed listing of toxicology’s of the other major illicit drugs.  However it is important to note that ALL the addictive drugs damage the immune system.  Up- and down- regulation of the immune system is associated with EVERY major chronic disease including heart disease, cancer, depression (including suicide), psychosis, dementia, osteoporosis, stem cell damage and especially with the ageing process itself.

The half-truths and twisted perceptions at the heart of legalization advocacy could not be more wrong; nor their implications for our children and their children after them more serious, sombre and sobering.

Professor, Dr, A. S Reece M.D.

References

1)      Volkow ND, Baler RD, Compton WM, Weiss SR. Adverse health effects of marijuana use. N Engl J Med 2014;370:2219-27.

2)       Reece AS. Chronic toxicology of cannabis. Clin Toxicol (Phila) 2009;47:517-24.

 

 

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Legal Highs NO MORE in New Zealand

Mike Sabin – National MP for Northland

Media Statement – 6 May 2014

‘Legal Highs’ now illegal following urgent law change

Mike Sabin, MP for Northland said he is hoping to see ‘backyard chemists’ and drug peddlers’ who manufacture psychoactive substances put out of business, when he spoke in the urgent passing of legislation to remove the remaining 41 psychoactive substances from the shelves in Parliament tonight.

Over the last 20 years, countries all over the world have been dealing with an acceleration in the development of new forms of so called ‘recreational drugs’ creating a cat and mouse effect for legislators and authorities trying to respond to the impacts of these drugs, says Mr Sabin, a former police detective and founder of a drug education and policy group.

“This original Bill to deal with these substances was passed last year and was pioneering stuff, as it reversed the burden of proof to the manufacturers and suppliers of substances, meaning they had to demonstrate that what they want to supply is low risk – or it won’t be able to make it to market.

“Up until now the peddlers of these substances have sought to avoid legislation by altering their chemical compounds without any regard for the harm that they may cause, essentially making New Zealand youth the guinea pigs in their science experiments.

“Scores of products with unknown effects and unknown risk profiles have made their way through this gap in the regulatory net and ended up on dairy counters alongside lollies,” says Mr Sabin.

“The law change last year saw the removal of hundreds of products from the shelves and required that they went through a rigorous process to prove they were low risk, but 41 products remained available with temporary approval because they had not been identified as causing harm previously.

“As we all now know, even these products have shown to be harmful and I am delighted to see this legislation enacted to remove the last of these products.

The Bill also removed the provision for animal testing as part of the clinical trial process to prove low harm and will prohibit the use of information which has been derived through the use of animal testing done in New Zealand and off shore.

“This means the drug manufacturers will have to reach a higher standard to advance their products to human clinical trials and I think that’s a good thing.  This is not about serving the interests of drug makers, it’s about saying they have to prove they are of low risk and if that costs them millions of dollars and takes years, all the better in my book” says Mr Sabin

“Now that this legislation is passed all the remaining products will have to be off the shelf as at 1201 am on Thursday morning and they won’t be coming back unless they can prove they are low risk.  That means they aren’t capable of causing addiction, therefore not capable of creating a high which leads to it, let alone the other harmful psychotic effects.

“This is difficult territory and a challenging area of law that the whole world is struggling with, but today government found a way through and our communities had a win and good on them for standing up and saying no more.

“We should however all remember that the only safe drug use is no drug use. I hope this Bill not only puts suppliers and manufacturers of these substances out of business, but helps change the culture of relying on drug and substance abuse to have fun that synthetic stimulants has helped create.”

ENDS

MEDIA CONTACT: Mike Sabin 0277052707

 

 

 

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Health Canada Highlights Dangers of Marijuana Use for Youth!

“As Health Minister, I am standing side by side with medical professionals and researchers with a clear message — There are serious health risks for youth associated with marijuana.  It is not safe. It should not be promoted or endorsed.  Together, with our partners we will work to make sure youth and parents have the right information about the risks associated with smoking and using marijuana.”
Rona Ambrose
Minister of Health

“Research has shown the negative impact of marijuana on developing minds. As a child psychiatrist, I have seen firsthand the tragic consequences on young Canadians. We need to do more, and the Canadian Medical Association encourages a public health approach that includes a nationwide marijuana cessation campaign to ensure our youth are aware of the real risks and harms associated with marijuana usage.”
Dr. Gail Beck
Member, Canadian Medical Association Board of Directors

“The Canadian Centre on Substance Abuse was pleased to participate in today’s roundtable with Minister Ambrose and some of Canada’s leading scientists and researchers to discuss the health risks that marijuana poses for young people.  We will continue to work with Health Canada and other partners, and through our Health Promotion and Drug Prevention Strategy for Canada’s Youth, to provide factual, coordinated and consistent information to help prevent marijuana use among Canadian youth.”
Michel Perron
CEO of the Canadian Centre on Substance Abuse

For complete Media Release go to… http://news.gc.ca/web/article-en.do?mthd=index&crtr.page=1&nid=844329

 

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First Legalization, Then Lawsuits!

“The new drug retailers are known businesses. They sell a dangerous, addictive product, and they need a substantial number of addicted users as their customer base to generate the profits they seek. In other words, addiction is not a byproduct, it is a business plan.”

Read this important article on the unfolding issues! http://www.weeklystandard.com/articles/first-legalization-then-lawsuits_792870.html

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I want my drugs, and everyone else can….!

The one dimensional rant from the pro-drug lobby ‘policy playbook’ continues to pop up and continues to ignore the vast majority of non-drug users! Of course, that makes sense when getting ‘high’ is the first, second and third priority of the recalcitrant hedonist or hapless addict!

The Recovery potential is repeatedly sabotaged by entrenched Harm Reduction ideologies and the often ‘care-less’ attitude of career protecting bureaucrats and those  ’harm reduction’  practitioners who care about maintaining job security by insisting the ‘disease’ of drug use is intractable, and all on the NON-Drug users tax payer dollar!

Reform Yes, Revolution NO! http://www.centreforsocialjustice.org.uk/blog/reform-yes-revolution-no

NO QUICK FIX http://www.centreforsocialjustice.org.uk/publications/no-quick-fix-exposing-the-depth-of-britain%E2%80%99s-drug-and-alcohol-problem

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M.A.T and tackling Overdoses

This article; ‘Medication-Assisted Therapies — Tackling the Opioid-Overdose Epidemic’ that appeared recently in the New England Journal of Medicine makes some serious omissions in its promotion http://www.nejm.org/doi/full/10.1056/NEJMp1402780?query=TOC

The article espouses the value of underutilized OST’s in the USA, and the need to increase use of pharmacotherapies (in some instances over) Talking Therapies and Therapeutic communities.

What, to us, is glaring in its omission is that the authors of the piece seem to willfully avoid ‘sunset clauses’ on such therapies and site lower death rates as key agenda. Whilst that is noble it is not good health practice, let alone good drug policy. If the ‘therapy’ does not facilitate the lessening to cessation of drug use, then it is inadvertently espousing the life-long enabling of the dangerous use of psychotropic toxins; toxins that promote other mental and physical health diminishing issues, and still with no guarantee of ‘death free’ use.

The concerns, as we are all aware, is that ‘drug policy’ is now simply a ‘health policy’ and has next to nothing to do with drug use cessation, that’s why many Rehab providers are cynical of OST’s that are unleashed, unsupervised and with no ‘end date’ prescribed.

We have no problem with pharmacotherapies being engaged for the expressed, planned and determined process of ceasing drug use in a prescribed time period. We are (as should all caring health advocates/providers) very concerned about carte blanche approach to O.S.T/M.A.T. dispensing at taxpayers/healthcare providers expense with no recourse for change/rehabilitation in the drug user.

Another concern is the growing use of  ‘medical mantras’  (i.e. ‘drug dependence generally is a NCD (Non-Communicable Disease) that can only be managed’) that continue to dis-empower people and enable ‘victim-hood’ to dependence. These do not only do a great disservice to the hapless drug user, but also make the non-drug using populous ‘responsible’ for, not ‘user’ recovery, but incredulously, their ongoing drug and often, poly-drug use. This is untenable on a number of levels and serious review of any policy that enables unabated drug use is imperative.

Dalgarno Institute.

 

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IOGT Statement At CND 2014

Statement submitted by IOGT International to the United Nations Commission on Narcotic Drugs Fifty-seventh session, Plenary, Eight meeting, Vienna 18 March 2014

Chairman, Distinguished Delegates, Ladies and gentlemen,This week, as the United Nation’s Fifty-seventh session of the Commission on Narcotic Drugs taking place in Vienna, a new drug policy platform, Drug Policy Futures, today formally has been launched.Drug Policy Futures is a new coalition of organizations including IOGT International, representing over 35 organisations from 21 countries and 5 continents. In addition, we have regional and global partners that represent a large number of organisations across the world.

Drug use is a risk factor for a wide range of negative outcomes including mental and other illnesses, school dropout and academic failure, road accidents, unemployment, low life-satisfaction and relationship problems. Drug use and other social and health problems are intertwined so that drug use is associated with and commonly exacerbates other problems.The first task of a public health-oriented drug policy is to prevent drug-related problems from occurring. Environmental strategies that discourage drug use and reduce the availability of illegal drugs are a central element of prevention. Community-based strategies that promote drug-free environments and supportive social norms are shown to reduce the use of both legal and illegal substances. Environmental strategies should be supplemented by education and evidence-based prevention as well as more targeted interventions that reach high-risk groups and problem drug users.Drug use is particularly harmful to youth. Drug use usually begins in adolescence, making youth the major target for prevention. Drug related harm affects all regions of the world.Drug use does not only affect the drug user. Often, family and friends are the first to experience the problems caused by drug use. In addition drug use has serious consequences for society as a whole, e.g. in the workplace, schools, on the roads, in the criminal justice system and in the health and social services.There is a need for a comprehensive approach to drug-related harm, with a strong focus on prevention and early intervention, as well as control measures, health services, treatment and rehabilitation for users.Drug problems are particularly intractable in the nexus of mental health problems, crime, deprivation and social exclusion. Problem drug users often need comprehensive services including health, housing, education and work. The essential point here is that drug addiction is not only a health problem nor only a crime problem.IOGT International believe that recovery is the best way for individuals who have developed drug-related problems to minimize their risk of further consequences, to enable them to function effectively in society, to take part in education, work or other activities, to mend the relationships with their families and to empower them to take control of their own lives.Alternative sanctions that require enforced abstinence, but also reduce the use of imprisonment for drug-related offenses should be developed, e.g. Drug Treatment Courts. Instead of being an obstacle to recovery, the criminal justice system should become a powerful engine of recovery. Alternative sanctions should empower people to become drug-free, crime-free and integrated members of society.To promote public health and public safety it is essential that governments adhere to the three main drug control treaties of 1961, 1971, and 1988, as well as the Convention of the Rights of the Child. We believe that the UN drug treaties provide the best framework for reducing non-medical drug use and its many negative consequences.

IOGT International urges all member states to recognize that these treaties create a solid foundation on which to build future drug policy innovations. Yes, we need alternatives, but we don’t need to create a public health and safety disaster through legalization. Indeed, we can do much, much better.

Sven-Olov Carlsson – International President

http://www.iogt.org/presidentupdate/329/iogt-statement-at-cnd-2014/

 

 

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INCB Annual Report 2013

Some Excerpts from Chapter One: Economic Consequences of Drug Use

Relationship with crime

14. A generation of research has defined three major links between drugs and crime. The first drugs/crime nexus relates to the violence that can be associated with the use of drugs themselves: psychopharmacological crime.

15. Crime committed under the influence of drugs is a major problem worldwide. For example, in a study in Dominica, Saint Kitts and Nevis, Saint Lucia and Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, as many as 55 per cent of convicted offenders reported that they were under the influence of drugs at the time of the offence, with

19 per cent of the same set of offenders saying that they would still have committed the crime even if they had not been under the influence of drugs.

16. The second drugs/crime link is economic- compulsive crime. This is the result of drug users engaging in crime to support their drug consumption and addiction. In the United States, for example, 17 per cent of state prisoners and 18 per cent of federal inmates said they had committed the offence for which they were currently serving a sentence to obtain money for drugs. In the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, it is estimated economic-compulsive crime costs approximately $20 billion a year, the vast majority of those costs resulting from burglary, fraud and robbery.

17. The third link is systemic crime: the violence that occurs, for example, as a result of disputes over “drug turf ” or ‚fighting among users and sellers over deals gone awry. This has been seen, starkly, in Latin America over the past 10 years, especially in countries such as Guatemala and Mexico, but it is also seen in the streets of every continent throughout the world.

Costs from labour non-participation (lost productivity)

21. Productivity losses are calculated as work that would be reasonably expected to have been done if not for drug use (a loss of potential income and output and therefore GDP) as a result of a reduction in the supply or effectiveness of the workforce. Lost productivity in the United States as a result of labour non-participation is significant: $120 billion (or 0.9 per cent of GDP) in 2011, amounting to 62 per cent of all drug-related costs. Similar studies in Australia and Canada identified losses of 0.3 per cent of GDP and 0.4 per cent of GDP, respectively. In those two countries, the cost of lost productivity was estimated to be 8 and 3 times higher, respectively, than health-related costs due to morbidity, ambulatory care, physician visits and other related consequences.

For complete report go to http://www.incb.org/incb/en/news/AR2013/annual_report_2013.html

 

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