Senator on a dangerous path with marijuana legalisation proposal

A recent proposal by Senator Di Natalie to legalise marijuana for recreational purposes leaves a lot to be desired: it is dangerous and lacks scientific research.

Dangerous because marijuana today has proven to be a harmful drug, especially when smoked, causing both physical and mental ill-health. To mention a few: It destroys young developing brains; is responsible for kids dropping out of school, is linked to psychosis and suicidal thoughts.

Poorly researched: Has the Senator been in contact with those who administer legalisation policy in the US? For example: the director of the Colorado marijuana policy has admitted that use has increased since legalisation. She is uncertain about the mental and other health impacts, saying: ‘Its too early to know’. Is this responsible public health policy?

Many trends in the US are showing some very concerning impacts in the  states that have gone down the legalisation path.

For example:

  • • Higher rates of marijuana-related driving fatalities.
  • • More marijuana-related emergency room visits, hospitalizations, and accidental exposures.
  • • Expansion of a lucrative criminal market.
  • • Increases in marijuana-related crimes and juvenile offenses.
  • • Increases in workplace problems, including labour shortages and accidents.

In the states that have legalised, 12-17 year olds use of marijuana has risen above the national average.

In Colorado:

  • crime has increased 11 times faster than the rest of the nation; and children with butane hash oil burn presentations have increased substantially in hospitals. In addition, Colorado currently holds the top ranking for first-time marijuana use among youth, representing a 65% increase in the years since legalisation
  • toxicology reports show the percentage of adolescent suicide victims testing positive for marijuana have increased

In Anchorage, school suspensions for marijuana use and possession increased more than 141% from 2015 (when legalization was implemented) to 2017.

In Oregon the marijuana black market is increasing, with 70% of sales in 2016 being on the black market; emergency room visits have increased 2000% for marijuana poisoning

We urge anyone who wants the latest trend data to read ‘Lessons learned from Marijuana legalisation in four US States’.

Injecting Room: Illegal Drug Using Harms at Government Hands; Not Humane – Insane!

Permission empowered models of drug policy interpretation are driving demand for drug use – NOT prohibition models. A new small, but vocal contingent of drug policy interpreters is attempting, yet again, to further the utterly fallacious meme that ‘prohibition’ and ‘supply reduction’ are what is driving drug deaths in this country, not poor policy interpretation and use; interpretation and use that fosters a permission model for the very vulnerable and pop-culture informed community – particularly the young. The new logic; the new ‘sense’, weaponized by pro-drug propaganda and manipulative faux compassion pleas, attempt to create a diatribe for those contending for best practice option of demand reduction and recovery practices around illicit drugs.

Gary Christian, Secretary for Drug Free Australia, has pointed to the lack of success by the Kings Cross Injecting Centre (MSIC) in reducing overdose deaths in the Kings Cross area. He said, “Tracking of overdose deaths in the Kings Cross area from 5 years before the injecting room opened compared with the 9 years after the injecting room was opened showed no change whatsoever in the percentage of deaths in the area as compared to the rest of NSW. The KPMG review showed that Kings Cross had 12% of NSW opiate deaths before the commencement of the MSIC, and in the 9 years after it remained at 12%, such has been its failure to make any difference.” Evidence given to the NSW Parliament indicates that overdoses in the Kings Cross injecting room are 32 times higher than the overdose histories of those entering the injecting room, indicating that clients are experimenting with higher doses of opiates and cocktails of drugs knowing that if they should overdose in their experimentation, someone will bring them around. NSW Hansard records testimony from ex-clients of the injecting room who were rehabilitating from drugs that experimentation with higher doses of drugs is the reason for the inordinately high overdose rate in the room.

In a recent case against opiate manufacturers the State of Ohio alleged that drug companies should never place their desire for profits above the health and well-being of their customers or the communities where those customers live. Because they know prescribing doctors and other health-care providers rely on drug company statements in making treatment decisions, drug companies must tell the truth when marketing their drugs and ensure that their marketing claims are supported by science and medical evidence. The Defendants use promotional activities and materials that falsely deny or trivialize the risks of opioids while overstating the benefits of using them.

The Australian pot industry desire for profits above the health and well-being of their customers or the communities where those customers live require

A wake up call on how very important it is for both clinical trials and labeling must be completed before Medical Marijuana comes on the market here in Australia.

Please take the time to read this important paper regarding how very important it is for both clinical trials and labeling must be completed before a drug comes on the market here in Australia.

At the center of the company’s marketing aimed at physicians was a single sentence in OxyContin’s original label:

“Delayed absorption as provided by OxyContin tablets, is believed to reduce the abuse liability of a drug.”

Purdue’s marketing campaign relied on that sentence, which claimed OxyContin was believed to be less likely to be abused than other prescription opioids, according to depositions from various sales reps and physicians that were pitched on the drug. But that claim was not backed up by clinical studies.

Officials from Purdue Pharma, the company behind OxyContin, said in depositions from a 2004 West Virginia lawsuit that the company did not hold clinical trials to show that OxyContin was less likely to be addictive or abused. Purdue sales reps leaned heavily on that messaging of lower abuse potential to push the drug during the first six years following its launch.

After the meeting, in July 2001, the FDA approved a new label for OxyContin. The changes included adding a black box warning to the label signifying the drug’s serious or life-threatening risks, and removing the sentence “Delayed absorption as provided by OxyContin tablets is believed to reduce the abuse liability of a drug” from the drug’s label that the FDA originally approved in 1995. The label also said it lacked data to “establish the true incidence rate of addiction in chronic pain patients.”

“The stunning thing is that this was written in 2001. I mean, it's 2017, so we're talking 16 years later,” said Alexander of Johns Hopkins. “Since this time, the problem has only progressively gotten worse and worse, year over year. … And so even in 2001, you know, the alarm had already sounded about this stuff.”

Also  relevant to this is the article Leung, PTM, Macdonald, EM, Stanbrook, MB, Dhalla, IA & Juurlink, DN 2017, 'A 1980 letter on the risk of opioid addiction', New England Journal of Medicine, vol. 376, no. 22, pp. 2194-5, open access .

ATODA's Research eBulletin, November 2017 issue, summarises it :

Could a letter-to-the-editor have initiated the western world’s opioid overdose crisis?
In 1980 the prestigious New England Journal of Medicine published a one-paragraph letter to the editor, titled ‘Addiction rare in patients treated with narcotics’. Its final sentence reads ‘We conclude that despite widespread use of narcotic drugs in hospitals, the development of addiction is rare in medical patients with no history of addiction’. Over the intervening years it has been claimed that this was a key driver of the high levels of opioid dependence seen in many western nations. To ascertain the veracity of this claim, Canadian researchers conducted a bibliometric analysis of correspondence on this topic in the Journal from the date of its publication (1980) until March 30 this year. They wrote that ‘We identified 608 citations of the index publication and noted a sizable increase after the introduction of OxyContin (a long-acting formulation of oxycodone) in 1995…Of the articles that included a reference to the 1980 letter, the authors of 439 (72.2%) cited it as evidence that addiction was rare in patients treated with opioids.’

Their data led them to conclude that ‘…a five-sentence letter published in the Journal in 1980 was heavily and uncritically cited as evidence that addiction was rare with long-term opioid therapy. We believe that this citation pattern contributed to the North American opioid crisis by helping to shape a narrative that allayed prescribers’ concerns about the risk of addiction associated with long-term opioid therapy. In 2007, the manufacturer of OxyContin and three senior executives pleaded guilty to federal criminal charges that they misled regulators, doctors, and patients about the risk of addiction associated with the drug. Our findings highlight the potential consequences of inaccurate citation and underscore the need for diligence when citing previously published studies.’

Estimating the Prevalence of Opioid Diversion by “Doctor Shoppers” in the United States

Our Vision: Communities are well-informed about the harms of illicit drugs and empowered with anti-drug strategies
1 November 2017
Drug Free Australia is calling on Daniel Andrews to do a double backflip on
the decision to fund a drug injecting room in Richmond, Melbourne. Initially
the Premier was opposed to it, and for good reason. Now he has made a
curious backflip – anything to do with the forthcoming Northcote byelection,
where Labor is in a battle with the Greens? This is a very slippery
slope for the future of Victoria.
According to Gary Christian: “Drug Free Australia’s research has clearly
demonstrated that the Kings Cross injecting room has not met its original
objectives. At a cost of a minimum of $2.7 million a year it is statistically
not capable of saving even one life per year, and has been a poor gateway
to treatment, with very few referrals.
Jo Baxter, Executive Director, Drug Free Australia asks:
What is the greater good?
If we are all agreed that the primary objective is to assist people to become well,
and no longer addicted to their drug/s, what is the better option?
1. Provision of a range of rehabilitation services to those affected by
intravenous drug addiction that will give them a realistic chance to get
off their drugs and lead a full and productive life, including more
residential rehab facilities with 24/7 support. (Stats show this is a more
effective use of taxpayer funds)
2. A Centre that forms a Shop Front that, promotes the illegal practices of
illicit drug procurement, trafficking and use and sends a message that
illegal drugs are condoned by our law-makers. A Centre that is NOT
24/7. A Centre that creates a ‘honey pot effect’ as an attraction for drug
dealers and potentially new users. A Centre that allows opportunity for
experimentation with higher drug doses (because of its purported ‘safer’
A further important question is: how will the Richmond Injecting Room in Victoria
prevent drug use? It is to be located next door to a Primary School!
More needs to be done to educate our children, families and communities
about the harms of illicit, toxic drugs that are currently rampant in Australia.
More effective recovery-based treatment is needed. Not drug promotion.
(Research backgrounders available on request).

'My Story’ saw a group of five Normanton community members share their story of hardship and determination

on video to overcome their personal difficulties, as well as share their messages to empower and inspire others.

The ‘My Story’ project is part of a Mount Isa Police District strategy to address attitudes and beliefs about the drug Ice.

Those featured in the video were asked to tell their story and how drugs and/or alcohol impacted their life. Each of them were able to recall a turning point that caused them to turn to drugs and alcohol. They told their story about why they chose to quit, and gave a powerful and unique message to others to stay away from drug and alcohol dependence.

You can help by sharing their video on social media. Mount Isa Police and Normanton community encourage other communities to get involved in sharing their story. Contact Mount Isa Police to get involved in the ‘My Story’ project.

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