UK: Cost of Drugs to Economy

COST OF DRUG ADDICTION – Report to Parliament

(excerpt from Craig Mackinlay (Column 419WH)

I want to mention the financial cost, because it is hugely relevant to our economy. Figures I have put together suggest that the financial cost now amounts to a fairly reasonable chunk of our annual deficit. It is very difficult to pull figures together, but one that I have derived from headline data is £20.3 billion a year. That does not include some of the more unknown and abstract costs, such as opportunity costs of lost economic output from a potential workforce that is economically inactive due to drug dependency and the physical and mental effects of drug use.

To break the figure down, drug-related crime is estimated at just a fraction under £14 billion a year. The cost to the NHS in ongoing health issues resulting from drug addiction is £0.5 billion. The benefits and treatment cost is estimated at £3.6 billion—£1.7 billion in direct benefits, £1.2 billion in the cost of looked-after children of drug addicts, and £0.7 billion in addiction treatments such as methadone and Subutex. The cost to the courts, the Prison Service and the police in 2014-15 was £1.6 billion. An addicted person not in treatment and committing crime costs on average £26,074 a year. A somewhat dated Daily Telegraph report shows that a problem drug user could cost the state £843,000 over their lifetime—and that was in 2008.

Some of the other human costs are obvious, such as depression, anxiety, psychosis and personality disorders. Some 70% of those in drug treatment suffer from mental health problems. We might ask which follows which, but I think there is a clear link between drug use and  psychotic episodes. Cardiovascular disease is also an issue after a lifetime of drug misuse. Muscular and skeletal damage are commonplace among injecting drug users. Lung damage following the smoking of various drugs and derivatives is also prevalent. Poor vein health and deep vein thrombosis is common among injectors.

Then there is liver damage, which is expensive to treat, with hepatitis C causing cirrhosis, liver failure, liver cancer and death. Deaths can come in many forms, including through accidents, suicides, assaults and simple overdose, as well as misadventure from drug poisoning, and drug abuse and drug dependence. Figures from the Office for National Statistics show that in 2016 the highest number of deaths was put down to illegal drug use since records began in 1993. That fact is worth bringing to the table. Fewer than 1% of all adults in the UK are using heroin, but about 1% of heroin addicts die each year—10 times the equivalent death rate of the general population—and those deaths are predominantly from heroin and opioid use.

I will give the hon. Member for Dwyfor Meirionnydd (Liz Saville Roberts) some figures for the UK. Between 2012 and 2015, opioid-related deaths in England rose by 58%. She will be pleased to know that in Wales that the rise was only 23; in Scotland it was 21% and in Northern Ireland, 47%. We now see an ageing cohort of drug users who began their drug-taking lives in the ’80s and ’90s coming through the system with increasingly complex health and social care needs, which have contributed to a recent spike in deaths.

A typical heroin user is likely to spend £1,400 a month on drugs—two and a half times an average mortgage. More than half of all acquisitive crimes—crimes including shoplifting, burglary, robbery, car crime, fraud and drug dealing, whether at a lower or higher level—are down to those on heroin, cocaine or crack. Those crimes have victims. To bring that down to a micro-level, figures from Kent County Council’s road safety team show there were 59 incidents of known drug-driving on Kent roads in 2016, with 16 resulting in serious injury and three in road accident deaths. Those figures are rising. In the last 10 years, Kent has seen 18 fatal, 70 serious and 142 slight accidents due to drug-driving incidents.

For more https://hansard.parliament.uk/commons/2017-11-22/debates/0349B251-F2B9-4143-83DE-9FC417063BA1/DrugAddiction

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

South Pacific: Vanuatu leads push to make narcotic drink kava a worldwide favourite

Vanuatu leads push to make narcotic drink kava a worldwide favourite

Impoverished Pacific island nations aim to capitalise on famously potent spirit that can only be made from local plant – Eleanor Ainge Roy Tuesday 28 November 2017

The Pacific archipelago of Vanuatu is leading a push to standardise production of kava in a bid to increase exports of the narcotic drink and improve the quality for local drinkers.

The kava plant – Piper methysticumonly grows in the south Pacific islands, with each one producing different varieties according to growing conditions, soil and climate, much like the different varieties of tea, coffee or wine.

The sedative brew is made from the roots of the kava plant, a member of the pepper family. As a drink it looks like muddy water and has a bitter aftertaste, but it is popular in the islands for its relaxing, narcotic properties.

For more https://www.theguardian.com/world/2017/nov/23/vanuatu-leads-push-to-make-narcotic-drink-kava-a-worldwide-favourite

 

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Turkey: Drug Seizures Most in Europe – Supply Interruption Working?

Amount of drugs seized in Turkey surpasses all European countries: Deputy PM

ISTANBUL

The amount of drugs seized by the authorities in Turkey surpasses the amount seized in all European countries combined, Deputy Prime Minister Recep Akdağ stated on Nov. 26.

“This is because drug traffickers use here [Turkey] as a transit route. However, the high figure actually shows the great success of our Interior Ministry and the police department,” Akdağ said, speaking in an interview with Doğan TV Ankara Representative Hakan Çelik on private broadcaster CNN Türk on Nov. 26.

“Only a small portion of the drugs that enter Turkey are actually used in Turkey,” he said, adding that the government is planning to establish a special commission to fight against addiction. For more go to TRAFFICKED, NOT USED IN TURKEY

 

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

US: Pro-Pot Lobby now on ‘defensive’!

Don’t expect feds to move on marijuana soon, panelists say

A cashier rings up a marijuana sale July 1, 2017, at the Essence cannabis dispensary in Las Vegas. (John Locher/File, AP) 

A cashier rings up a marijuana sale July 1, 2017, at the Essence cannabis dispensary in Las Vegas. (John Locher/File, AP)
By Colton Lochhead Las Vegas Review-Journal November 17, 2017

More and more states have dipped their toes into legal marijuana, but don’t expect lawmakers in Washington D.C. to make progress on the issue anytime soon.

That has people in the marijuana industry and its supporters feel more like they’re playing defense just to keep the status-quo going.

That was the sentiment Friday from a panel of two marijuana lobbyists and two lawmakers, including Nevada Rep. Dina Titus, discussing what’s happening in terms of marijuana legislation during the last day of the sixth-annual Marijuana Business Conference and Expo. in Las Vegas.

“We were gaining momentum. But now that’s flipped and we’re more on the defensive,” said Titus, who is seen as one of the biggest cannabis supporters in Congress.

Twenty-nine states plus Washington D.C. have legal medical marijuana, and eight of those states, including Nevada, have legalized recreational use.

Now, people are watching to see what happens with the federal law that has allowed those states to go mostly unimpeded into the cannabis market.

That law, called the Rohrabacher-Blumenhauer amendment, prevents the U.S. Department of Justice — now headed by noted marijuana opponent Jeff Sessions — from using federal funds to interfere with state medical marijuana programs or prosecute businesses that comply with state laws.

“That’s the only thing holding (Sessions) back,” said panelist Michael Liszewski, with The Enact Group, a marijuana lobbying and consulting firm.

The amendment is set to expire on Dec. 8, and its future is uncertain after a group of Congressional Republicans blocked it from being attached to the DOJ appropriations bill in September.

Rohrabacher, who was also on the panel, said Republican leadership in Congress promised him that it would be re-inserted into the bill. For complete article FEDS NOT GONE TO POT – YET?

 

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

WALES: ‘Potent’ psychoactive drugs on the rise in Wales

(Understand…‘Permission culture’ continues to be key demand driver!)

17 November 2017

Synthetic cannabis drugs such as Spice and Black Mamba are on the rise in Wales, health officials have warned.

Samples tested showed there were fewer types of new illegal psychoactive drugs being sold in Wales – but those being dealt are ‘ultra potent’ varieties.

Public Health Wales said it has led to more hospital admissions – and more deaths.

However, the most common drug found in tests by the Wedinos project in Wales was still cocaine.

The project allows drug samples to be submitted anonymously for analysis, and helps paint a picture of what types of drug are in circulation in Wales.

In its annual report published on Friday, Wedinos revealed that over 1,345 drug samples were passed to it for testing in 2016-17 – revealing about 125 different substances.

The number of drug types is down 23% on 2015-16, when 163 different drugs were indentified.

While cocaine and the sedative diazepam topped the table for the most commonly used drugs tested by health laboratories, synthetic cannabis products came in at number three.

The tests also revealed two specific types of new psychoactive substances (NPS) were being dealt – which have the official labels 5F-ADB and AMB-FUBINACA.

These powders, most often made in laboratories in China, are mixed with herbs and sold on the street as Spice and Black Mamba. For more http://www.bbc.com/news/uk-wales-42022889

For Annual Report http://www.wales.nhs.uk/sitesplus/documents/888/Philtre%20Report%201617.pdf

 

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

US: Teen Overdose Deaths Increasing

After Eight Years of Decline, Overdose Mortality Among Teens is Increasing

Recently published findings by the National Institute on Drug Abuse (2017), in partnership with Columbia University, show that marijuana users are more likely than non-users to use, abuse and become addicted to opioids.

The National Epidemiologic Survey on Alcohol and Related Conditions interviewed more than 43,000 American adults and followed up with more than 34,000, three to four years later. The results: study participants who reported past-year marijuana use in their initial interview were 2.6 times more likely to initiate opioid abuse compared to non-marijuana users and 2.2 times more likely than non-users to become addicted (using DSM IV criteria) to opioids, including heroin at follow-up. For more Cannabis Use To Blame

 

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Canada: The Eve of the Vote to Legalize Marijuana – November 21 2017

Statement on the UN Drug Conventions for your review prior to voting on Bill C.45.

Queen of Sweden: Sweden is in compliance with the UN drug prevention conventions, spends heavily on prevention, and is afforded the lowest rate of use of marijuana in the world. Low rates of use in Sweden was not always the case. Their achievement in reducing marijuana use must be credited to their committment to prohibition and their rejection of failed experiments with the lessening of restrictions on access. Here is 12 minute presentation presented by the Queen of Sweden.

Queen of Sweden

The Pontifical Academy of Sciences

I would also like to call your attention to the outcome paper  from the The Pontifical Academy of Sciences Casina Pio IV • Vatican City • 23-24 November 2016 - a meeting of international experts on drug prevention and drug policy.

http://www.casinapioiv.va/content/accademia/en/publications/scriptavaria/narcotics/queen_silvia.html  ( open access document shared with permission)

“We recommend the following actions to be taken: Support the three UN treaties governing licit and illicit drugs, which are signed by virtually every nation. These treaties permit medical use of drugs, with tight regulations to prevent diversion for non-medical use and which criminalize the nonmedical sale and use of these same chemicals.

Governments have a moral and ethical responsibility to secure and defend the common good of their citizens. As trafficking of drugs imperils the health, security and the rule of law in nations, any compromise can be viewed as complicity. y Governments must unequivocally pursue drug trafficking at every level. They have a responsibility to denounce and criminalize corrupt banks, bankers and money launderers that profit from the drug trade and thwart large-scale and local drug trafficking.

Governments must not engage in any public, private or covert agreements to gain financial support for political or personal reasons from drug traffickers or industries. Such agreements subvert the common good, trust, health and safety of their people, especially, their youth. y Instead, governments have a public health, legal and moral responsibility to confiscate the gains of these traffickers/industries and to use these proceeds to fund assistance programs for the victims, which include providing treatment, prevention and medical services, family support, as well as educational and employment opportunities.

Governments should not use any ill-begotten gains from drug trafficking or sales to generate political messages, regulations or laws that foster use of abusable drugs and subvert public health and safety laws and regulations.

Reject drug legalization for recreational purposes as a hopeless, mindless strategy that would consign more people, especially the disadvantaged, youth, the poor and the mentally ill, to misery or even death while compromising civil society, social stability, equality, and the law.

Create a balanced drug strategy, coordinating public health and criminal justice systems to curtail supply, discourage drug use and promote recovery – as a more effective method to treat addiction than incarceration. The primary goal of addiction treatment is long-term care and recovery.

The foundations of this balanced strategy are fundamental human rights, that include drug prevention and recovery among the world’s diverse faith communities, with a special focus on the goal of protecting youth from drug sales and drug use, in accordance with Article 33 of the Convention on the Rights of the Child.  The prevention of addiction among youth (less than age 21) is a high priority, and achievable by rejecting the use of marijuana and other rewarding substances.

The underlying reasons for this priority need to be conveyed to youth and their parents in collaboration with health, educational and local communities.

Educate the public with up-to-date scientific information on how drugs affect the brain, body and behavior, to clarify why legalization of marijuana and other drugs for recreational use is poor public policy, poor public health policy and poor legal policy.

Harness religion to support substance abuse prevention and treatment. Drug use can devastate the soul and a loving relationship with God. Drug use in our communities tests our faith. The faithful have a precious opportunity to engage in preventing this tragic form of modern chemical slavery. For those now enslaved, they can confront the challenge of addiction and achieve their emancipation.  References

UK Government’s Responce to Petition to Legalize

The UK also experimented with a lessening of drug policies only to revert, much the way Sweden did, and they enjoy a declining rate of use of marijuana.

“Substantial scientific evidence shows cannabis is a harmful drug that can damage human health. There are no plans to legalise cannabis as it would not address the harm to individuals and communities.” – UK Government

The latest evidence from the independent Advisory Council on the Misuse of Drugs is that the use of cannabis is a significant public health issue (‘Cannabis Classification and Public Health’, 2008).

Cannabis can unquestionably cause harm to individuals and society. Legalisation of cannabis would not eliminate the crime committed by the illicit trade, nor would it address the harms associated with drug dependence and the misery that this can cause to families.

Legalisation would also send the wrong message to the vast majority of people who do not take drugs, especially young and vulnerable people, with the potential grave risk of increased misuse of drugs.

Despite the potential opportunity offered by legalisation to raise revenue through taxation, there would be costs in relation to administrative, compliance and law enforcement activities, as well as the wider costs of drug prevention and health services.

The UK’s approach on drugs remains clear: we must prevent drug use in our communities; help dependent individuals through treatment and wider recovery support; while ensuring law enforcement protects society by stopping the supply and tackling the organised crime that is associated with the drugs trade. The Government will build on the Drugs Strategy by continuing to take a balanced and coherent approach to address the evolving challenges posed.

There are positive signs that the Government’s approach is working: there has been a long term downward trend in drug use over the last decade, and more people are recovering from their dependency now than in 2009/10. The number of adults aged 16-59 using cannabis in the last year in England and Wales has declined over the last decade from 9.6% to 6.7%, with cannabis use amongst young adults aged 16-24 and young people aged 11-15 following a similar pattern.

Home Office January 21 2016.

Conclusions: November 20-27 2017 is the week when Canada acknowledges and focuses on  The Rights of the Child Treaty.  Passing Bill C45 will violate our obligation under this treaty ( the most ratified piece of human rights legislation on the planet). Bill C45 should not be voted on or passed in the House of Commons until a full child’s right assessment is done, including how adult use impacts children. In all legislation children’s rights must come ahead of the adult users of marijuana. All legislation must be assessed for violations of human rights.

Signing this bill is a breach of the human rights of Canadian children as it places marijuana in their homes, second hand smokein their environments, and marijuana into their school life by allowing 12 – 18 year olds to possess, and distribute ( at various levels).

It also puts offspring at risk of mental and physical damage from parental use pre-conception and during pregnancy. This reckless experiment will be challenged under the court of public opinion, by the international community, and it will see challenges under the Charter of Rights and Freedoms as children and all citizens must be afforded security – something both Bill C45 and Bill C46 fail to do

To all MPs who stayed to the prescribed script and four word talking points I offer this rebuttal: Our current system of controlling drugs is not working because we have a aggressive and well-financed pot lobby including international operatives in our country an ambitious and aggressive marijuana industry, a very low perception of risk across the general population, defacto legalization, an ill-informed or complacent media, and national access to marijuana for medical purposes that has confused the issue of marijuana and the potential of harm for many.

We have also witnessed for close to a decade law enforcement officers not willing or told not to prioritize marijuana infractions, something that has intensified in recent years. The issue of marijuana use has also been politicized to the point those who should speak have been “spooked” by politics and have stayed silence – this extends to many in the world of academia, science and the public sector.

Marijuana pot stores in Vancouver are selling marijuana advent calendars and major media outfit publicizes the story without questioning the health implications of promoting daily use of marijuana, an outfit in Alberta is shipping shatter laced ice-cream and have no problem discussing their activities openly on the CBC, billboards are on display across the country leading consumers to marijuana illegal outfits selling “suicide girl” and “poison” and those elected to protect the public have done next to nothing to curtail this. We do not have high rates of use because prohibition does not work – we have high rates of use because the adults appear to have left the room.

Fact: The historical record shows prohibition does work when complimented with massive education and prevention along with recovery resources.

I close with a reference to tobacco prevention – and the fact that we have achieved some success in reducing tobacco youth use by a campaign of denormalization and calling out the predatory nature of the tobacco industry. Tobacco smokers are now a marginalized group not by government efforts but because the public at large rejects smoking, rejects having to pay the costs of healthcare.

No responsible government would take such a gamble with the health of Canadians. The world has standards of what works and Canada is about to fail spectacularly.

Pamela McColl

SAM Canada – Smart Approaches to Marijuana Canada – www.preventdontpromote.org

 

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Australia – N.T: War on drugs must be won

N.T: War on drugs must be won – NT News – November 27, 2017

Commission Illicit Drug Data Report clearly demonstrates the scourge of drugs in the Territory is not going away anytime soon.

And the message of their dangers is not being absorbed.

Our law enforcement officers are doing the job required of them, with arrests for using and selling drugs skyrocketing over the term of the 2015-16 report.

And while Territorians are also being busted with illegal steroids and hallucinogens in growing numbers, authorities are finding fewer drug laboratories.

In many respects, the latter is a positive because the drug traffickers instead have to run the gauntlet of importation – domestic or international – and the risks which come with that, to get the goods on to Territory streets.

What is majorly disappointing is that the messages associated with drug use and where it can lead are not getting through, despite the one good fact the use or sale of heroin and other illicit opioids remains almost non-existent in the Territory.

Instead, we saw arrests over amphetamines, including ice, were up 57 per cent – second only behind Victoria.

These are soul destroying, society destroying drugs. They tear the fabric of families apart. Three-quarters of drug arrests and seizures in the NT during 2015-16 were for cannabis – the largest proportion of any state or territory. For more http://www.ntnews.com.au/news/opinion/war-on-drugs-must-be-won/news-story/75b8d5ac5d4e74ce4743b7bf26b89dd5

 

 

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

CANADA: Group wants pot billboard near kids’ music school taken down

Liz Braun Published: November 22, 2017  Toronto SUN

Should a billboard claiming that marijuana legalization isn’t harmful be hanging over a kids’ music school in North York?

That’s the question being posed by Prevent, Don’t Promote, an organization opposed to the legalization of marijuana in Canada.

Prevent, Don’t Promote is particularly sensitive to anything that looks like advertising or marketing to children.

Marijuana billboard atop a child’s music business on Chesswood Drive in Downsview on Wednesday November 22, 2017. (Michael Peake/Toronto Sun)

The billboard in question hangs over Little Jammerz, a music school that caters to children from Kindergarten to grade six, according to their website.

And the billboard claims that legalizing marijuana in Colorado and Washington states did not increase its use. This is patently false, according to Rabbi David Cooper, a teacher and member of Prevent, Don’t Promote who has worked with drug users in the past.

“The word, ‘marijuana’ is on the sign, and kids can read that,” says Cooper — something he finds unconscionable to begin with.

“Legalization is the worst thing that could happen to Canada’

For more http://torontosun.com/news/local-news/group-wants-pot-billboard-within-stones-throw-from-kids-music-school-taken-down

Comment: All the stats from Colorado show that legalization has made things unequivocally worse, dreadful or lamentable. This is all amply documented in the Rocky Mountain High Drug Trafficking Area serial reports as well as numerous other published sources including the Surgeon General’s report and JAMA Psychiatry 2017 (Hasin D.). So bad that many locals, often led by the Professionals who are on the pointy end of the clean-up-the-mess operations, are organizing to roll back their home-grown disaster. A dismally failed experiment that the rest of the world – including Canadians led by their intrepid Prime Minister – have to follow as a matter of urgency!!! Because George Soros said so???  Sorry – this charade stopped making logical sense years ago…

 

 

 

 

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Crack Cocaine Use on Rise Again!

Crack is back – so how dangerous is it and why is its use on the up?

November 14, 2017   Authors

  1. Lecturer in mental health and addiction, University of York
  2. Professor in Substance Use, Liverpool John Moores University
  3. Lecturer in Crimimology and Social Policy, Loughborough University
 

There have long been scare stories about drugs so we need to be careful when interpreting new drug use data. But recent reports suggest that crack cocaine use is on the rise again.

Crack emerged in the Americas in the late 1970s as a relatively cheap and transportable form of cocaine that could be more easily distributed than the powdered variety and soon led to what was widely described as an “epidemic”, especially in the US.

Supporters of drug reform in the US have long highlighted the uneven application of the law concerning crack and powder cocaine. Referred to as the “100-1 Rule”, until the passing of the 2010 Fair Sentencing Act, possession of one gram of crack in America was treated as the equivalent of 100g of powder cocaine. As crack use was associated with the black, urban poor and powder cocaine with the more affluent white middle classes, this policy became symbolic of the racism of the “war on drugs” and the over-representation of black men in the US prison system .

By the late 1980s, crack was also being used in the UK, and in 2002 the British government was concerned enough to produce a national crack strategy. And now, after a relative reduction in use, the drug is making a worrying comeback. For more go to CRACK IS BACK

 

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment