Australia has been targeted by international criminal groups for cocaine smuggling.
These international criminal groups see a high growth potential in Australia because of the increasing demand for cocaine.
This increase in cocaine use in Australia has led to large seizures of cocaine at the border.
Cocaine seizures at the Australian border increased by two thirds in number and by 80 per cent in weight in 2010/11.
This region is increasingly becoming a smuggling route for cocaine.
(Source: International Narcotics Control Board report released 5 March 2013)
Cocaine demand in Australia is driving the increasing smuggling of cocaine.
Cocaine users are highly likely to be addicted.
Cocaine users are liable to death, heart attacks, stroke, depression, paranoia and hallucinations.
It is in Australiaâ€™s best interests that the demand for cocaine is reduced and not seen as a potential market for criminals.
By reducing cocaine demand we will cut off the money to the international smugglers, help users to reduce health risks, take the pressure off border protection and improve our image.
Itâ€™s time Australia expanded drug rehabilitation and implemented diversion of users into mandated rehabilitation.
A major medical study has found the use of cannabis increases in locations when cannabis is used as a medicine.
As well, dependence on cannabis increases where cannabis is normalized.
The study was undertaken by the Columbia University and the New York State Psychiatric Institute.
(Source: National Institute of Health USA)
Cannabis use and dependence increases when it is seen as not harmful because public perception does not know of the harms.
When cannabis use is normalized then the message is sent out that it is not harmful - but it is.
Findings of major psychiatric agencies confirms cannabis harms and supports other studies that show that cannabis causes psychosis and schizophrenia.
Cannabis normalization in Australia sends the wrong message.
The medicalization of cannabis in Australia also sends the wrong message to vulnerable young people who should be warned of the psychiatric risks.
Why then are parliamentary committees investigating the medicalization of cannabis?
Surely cannabis, as the most commonly used illicit drug in Australia, needs to be suppressed and not encouraged?
Community leaders need to listen to the warnings of mental health professionals.
An editorial in a major Fairfax newspaper has questioned the use of untested medicines.
It highlights that the absence of independent scientific evidence to back up claims of medical benefits for untested medicines makes them unacceptable for use.
The regulation of complimentary medicines in Australia is of limited effectiveness as the Therapeutic Goods Administration system has little effectiveness.
(Source: The Sunday Age newspaper 12 May 2013)
These very same comments can be made of the illicit drug cannabis having medical benefits.
Cannabis is being touted in Australia as a possible medicine but like other products its claims are untested.
Medicines in Australia need to undergo strenuous scientific tests to ensure that their therapeutic claims are accurate BEFORE they are used on humans.
Cannabis testing has not proven any therapeutic benefits for humans but on the contrary have shown to have adverse impacts on human health therefore making them unfit for use on humans.
So why is there any suggestion that modern highly toxic cannabis may be used as a medicine?
Any claim made for cannabis use in medicine are weak given that there are other tested prescription medicines that can effectively be given to patients.
The International Narcotics Control Board has warned the USA that states that allow the use of cannabis will breach the international treaties that the USA has signed.
The Board is charged with monitoring the compliance with all international conventions on narcotic drugs.
Cannabis poses a great threat to public health particularly with the stronger and more dangerous modern cannabis strains.
The Board has requested the federal government of the United States to oppose cannabis use in any state that contravenes its international obligations.
(Source: International Narcotics Control Board 15 November 2012 at www.incb.org
Australian federal, state and territory governments are also bound by the same international conventions as the USA.
The purpose of the drug conventions is to reduce demand for illicit drugs like cannabis so as to cut off funds to the international drug criminals.
But by reducing the number of cannabis users, governments benefit from reduced health costs, better border protection and a safer community from drug impaired accidents.
As well, the mental health problems of Australians will improve as less psychosis from cannabis use reduces with the reduction of users.
Cannabis users need rehabilitation to get them free of their addiction and this is what international drug conventions are designed to achieve.
Cannabis destroys the brain and expedites psychosis according to former US congressman Patrick Kennedy.
Mr. Kennedy is part of the family of the late U.S. President and is a passionate advocate against mental illness.
He believes that cannabis is as destructive as alcohol and tobacco and is a gateway drug to other illicit drugs.
The weight of evidence against cannabis is overwhelming and is a very dangerous drug.
Cannabis is addictive and he advocates prevention and treatment for users.
(Source: the Washington Post newspaper 9 January 2013)
This statement from another high profile world leader is important for Australia as there are calls for legal cannabis.
The New South Wales parliament is currently reviewing the use of cannabis as a medicine.
Australia was recently targeted for drug legalization with calls for easier laws against illicit drugs.
Any weakening of laws in Australia would lead to more use of cannabis with more mental illness and health harms.
Medical research, as Patrick Kennedy states, is overwhelming in the link between cannabis use and psychosis, schizophrenia, mental, brain, heart and respiratory illness.
Drug rehabilitation needs to be offered to all identified cannabis users.
Taking Action - Stopping Ice
United Nations Office of Drugs & Crime: Drug Prevention & Treatment
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Presentations, Statements & Conference Resources from WFAD 2018 Forum