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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Cannabis Can Kill!

Cannabis can kill without the influence of other drugs

The first full post-mortems of people who died after smoking cannabis suggest that the drug can kill unaided.

Cannabis has been known to cause death when laced with other substances, by triggering a heart condition or by causing respiratory cancers. But whether it can be directly lethal has remained unclear. A 2011 report from the UK Department of Health says no cases of fatal overdose have been associated with cannabis.

Read Full story here…  http://www.newscientist.com/article/dn25092-cannabis-can-kill-without-the-influence-of-other-drugs.html#.Uw7BjPmSya_

 

 

 

 

 

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What Are They Smoking?

Liberals want to ban trans fats and legalize marijuana. Does that make any sense to you?

By WILLIAM J. BENNETT and CHRISTOPHER BEACH

January, 2014

The national debate over marijuana legalization has caught many liberals in a confounding paradox. These liberals, who have fought vociferously for bans on cigarettes, super-sized sodas, trans fats and other unhealthy substances, now either advocate for the legalization of marijuana or stand unopposed to it. This is notable because, whatever else it is, marijuana is not healthy.

In his recent New Yorker interview, President Obama remarked , “I smoked pot as a kid, and I view it as a bad habit and a vice, not very different from the cigarettes that I smoked as a young person up through a big chunk of my adult life.” But then he added, “I don’t think it is more dangerous than alcohol.” Of the legalization in Colorado and Washington—never mind the unresolved conflict between state and federal law—he said, “it’s important for it to go forward.”

Got that? The same president who signed into law a tough federal anti-cigarette smoking bill in 2009 now supports marijuana legalization.

The inconsistency and self-contradiction is obvious. In the name of public health, liberals wage political war against genetically modified organisms, french fries and tubby kids, yet stand idly by, or worse, support the legalization of a mind-impairing substance known to be addictive and have deleterious effects on the brain.

The very same year, for example, that Colorado legalized marijuana, the Colorado Senate passed (without a single Republican vote) a ban on trans fats in schools. Are we to believe eating a glazed donut is more harmful than smoking a joint? California has already banned trans fats in restaurants statewide, but now is on the brink of legalizing marijuana statewide come November. Former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg supported New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s effort to decriminalize marijuana in New York State, while at the same time supporting a ban on extra-large sodas. A 32-ounce Mountain Dew is bad for you, but pot isn’t?

The logic is dumbfounding. For many years, health-conscious liberals have waged a deafening, public war against cigarettes. Smoking bans in public places like restaurants and bars have been enacted in states all over the country.Recently, New York City, New Jersey and several other cities and states have extended those bans to include the newest tobacco fad—e-cigarettes. Yet, when it comes to smoking marijuana? Crickets.

What explains this obvious paradox? Do these liberals think that marijuana is somehow less harmful than a Big Gulp soda or a bucket of fried chicken? It’s hard to believe that’s the case, given the vast amount of social data and medical science on the dangers of marijuana.

William J. Bennett, former secretary of education and director of the Office of National Drug Control Policy, is a fellow of the Claremont Institute and host of the nationally syndicated radio show, “Morning in America.”

 

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Cannabis and the Work Place?

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MISPLACED DEBATES CAN HARM OUR HEALTH

The debate about harmfulness of drugs of abuse in general and cannabis (marijuana) in particular continues to exhibit all the fervour of religious dissent on both sides of the Atlantic. Recently President Obama was moved to opine that marijuana is ‘no more dangerous than alcohol’ (So that clears things up, then). Soon after, US Deputy Drug Tsar Michael Botticelli, in front of a House Committee, found himself struck out by Congressman Gerry Connolly, who pitched him countless examples of drugs that had killed more than marijuana ever had. But Botticelli should have recognised Connolly was giving him the curve ball; death is not and never was the sole criterion of drug harm. This is a cynical misrepresentation frequently pitched by pot advocates. They might protest that they are only searchers of the truth, and that the truth is cannabis never killed anyone. This is actually being economical with said truth; what they mean is that no one ever died of toxic ingestion of the substance, and this is extended to imply that cannabis is jolly safe stuff.

The fundamental dishonesty in all this is that drug use spifflicates people in all sorts of ways (and not just to the user themselves – see below) and to argue otherwise is specious in the extreme. The rational basis for comparing harms, either between one drug and another, or between using any drug and abstaining from it, has to be much wider than ‘death resulted’ – and yet there seems to a reluctance amongst the medical profession to engage to any significant extent. Anyone working with drug users should know there are many varieties of harm, other than death. One basis for defining and assessing harms is the WHO definition of Health, listed below. (The augmentations in brackets are this writer’s own, but in counselling sessions over more than 25 years have been found to be valid by clients). From this basis, ‘Health’ may be defined in terms of: • Physical (all degrees of physical damage, temporary or permanent, including but certainly not confined to death) • Mental (in two parts – how many of your brain cells have survived, and how well do you use the brain cells that you have) • Psychological (how ‘grounded’ or ‘messed up’ are you) • Spiritual (including but not confined to organised religion) • Social (how well do you inter-act with, or variously damage people and organisations around you) and • Societal (to what extent are you a ‘giver’ or a ‘taker’) Marijuana harms by this more rational definition can often equal , and arguably exceed the harms from other drugs.

Moreover, there is a further whole range of harms under these headings – the harms suffered by other people around the user – up to and including society as a whole. As any counselling of these others will show you, it can often be that people around the user (e.g. friends, family, colleagues) suffer more than the user themselves. For example, under the heading of ‘Societal’, death will certainly appear – deaths of other people caused by a pot-impaired driver. Another, often overlooked societal harm is the increase in crime by a user – not just the acquisitive crime to fund drug purchase, but also the crime committed downstream of regular use and which flows from the altered, more self-focused, rapid-gratification-driven attitude of the user.

Additionally, there continues to be an extensive advocacy of ‘The Two HRs’ in relation to drug misuse – Harm Reduction and Human Rights. Whilst both aspects have a valid place in our thinking, both, as applied, are almost totally ‘user-focused’ – confined to the harm and rights of the user, but saying nothing about the harm to and rights of the rest of humanity. This goes to the roots of this commentary.

The foundation of pro-drug argument is the ‘self’. Use of drugs, and consequences of drug use, are argued in terms of self. In contrast, any assessment of drug use in general and drug harm in particular which takes account of the true varieties of harm and the true range and numbers of ‘victims’ just blows pro-drugs pleading of ‘relative harmlessness’ away. It has about as much validity as the tendentious categorising of drug users as ‘otherwise law-abiding’ … in what other category of law-breaking would we countenance such dodgy footwork? Would we for example define burglars or rapists as ‘otherwise law-abiding? And whilst one can sympathise a little with an addicted user who takes this standpoint, there can only be less sympathy for users who are anything less than addicted, and no sympathy at all for the smooth-tongued advocates who make a living out of this scene. Balance is clearly called for on all the aspects covered in this note, but a greater degree of involvement by the medical profession – and the rest of us – in defining and disseminating the full range of drug harms – what they are, and to whom they apply – is long overdue.

Peter Stoker C. Eng. Director, National Drug Prevention Alliance.

www.drugprevent.org.uk

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