Tuesday, April 5, 2005

Cautions on cannabis U-turn

UK: Political leaders will today be warned that reclassifying cannabis could lead to the "shameful" discriminatory treatment of black people in the mental health system.

Lord Adebowale, chief executive of the social care charity Turning Point, will warn that as a consequence of the renewed debate, African or Caribbean people with a mental health problem may be diagnosed with cannabis-induced psychosis on the basis of very little evidence.

Ministers have asked the advisory committee on the misuse of drugs to review the reclassification of cannabis as a less-dangerous class C drug in light of [alleged] "emerging evidence" of a link with a deterioration of mental health.

[But don't reclassify alcohol?]

The change last year made cannabis possession in many cases a non-arrestable offence.

[As it should be.]

The Tory leader, Michael Howard, has said that a Conservative government would reverse the downgrading - a position urged by several tabloid newspapers.

[Not enough tax revenue?]

Lord Adebowale, a member of the advisory committee, will today express dismay that the two main parties may be pandering to media bias. He will say he is surprised by the government's move and is unconvinced that there is sufficient fresh scientific evidence to warrant it.

His comments will come in an address in a personal capacity to an international drugs conference in London.

He is later expected to repeat his message in the House of Lords during a debate on the second reading of the drugs bill.

While not denying that cannabis use may compound mental health problems, Lord Adebowale will argue that any review must be led by fact, rather than prejudice.

[Here is one fact: mental health problems may be compounded by lots of things. So if one has a mental health problem then one ought to take that into account before waking up in the morning or going to sleep at night.]

"In particular, the current media portrayal raises fears around the impact on those from black and minority ethnic backgrounds. It is shameful that stereotypes still influence the diagnosis and treatment that black people receive, leading to lack of access to appropriate assessment, treatment and care.

"The growing stereotype of 'cannabis psychosis' ... could exacerbate this state of affairs." Studies show that black people are far more likely than average to be diagnosed with conditions such as schizophrenia and treated compulsorily with strong medication.

By David Brindle posted 5 April 05


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Family Wonders if Prozac Prompted School Shootings
US: RED LAKE, Minn., March 25 - In their sleepless search for answers, the family of Jeff Weise, the teenager who killed nine people and then himself, says it is left wondering about the drugs he was prescribed for his waves of depression.

ACLU Report: U.S. Drug Laws Harm Women
NEW YORK - America's war on drugs is inflicting deep and disproportionate harm on women - most of them mothers - who are filling prisons in ever-rising numbers despite their typically minor roles in drug rings, the American Civil Liberties Union and two other groups contend in a major new report.

Four Corners [Walls]: Messing with your intellect
But obviously Danny has a mental problem most likely paranoid schizophrenia a problem that insidiously had been there long before he took up smoking?

People: 'Prisoners' of Drugs'
People who are addicted to heroin usually take the drug because it relieves them of problems such as low self-esteem, distrust and fear of abandonment. They may have poor communication skills & poor relationship skills.

CWA wants pot legalised
PERCEIVED as the height of conservatism, the Country Women's Association has had a reputation for baking and handicrafts until now. The organisation yesterday confirmed it is seeking to have cannabis legalised for health reasons. A recommendation to be put forward to the annual meeting in May calls for the legalisation of the drug for the treatment of terminally ill patients.

One in six youth deaths caused by alcohol: report
ALMOST one in six deaths amongst young Australians can be attributed to the irresponsible consumption of alcohol, research by the National Drug Research Institute (NDRI) has revealed.

You're one of my kind?
Over 80% of the population consumed alcohol in the previous 12 months, with 11% of males and 6% of females drinking daily. In terms of risk of harm in the long term, 10% of males and 9% of females drank alcohol in a pattern that was risky or high risk. In terms of short-term risk, 24% of males and 17% of females drank at least once a month in a manner that was risky or high risk for short-term harm.

Canadian PM pledges to decriminalise marijuana
Prime Minister Paul Martin has pledged to reintroduce legislation this year to decriminalise the possession and use of small amounts of marijuana.

UK: This absolutely preposterous idea/theory of allowing a person/s to be possibly charged with 'possession', if found to have a drug substance within their bloodstream, just goes to prove such hypocrisies which certain hierarchies feel justifies passing legislation, is another blow for democracy!