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'Just say no': Australian Medical Association rejects Greens' new drug legalisation push
The Australian Medical Association has distanced itself from a new relaxed drugs approach being pushed by the Greens, saying it underestimates the harm illicit drugs do to the community.
Association president Michael Gannon told Fairfax Media he welcomed any initiative that shifted the public conversation about illicit drugs towards rehabilitation and treatment instead of policing and the justice system.
It came as no surprise that an opinion piece in The West Australian (6.1.17) by aspiring Greens candidate, Alison Xamon, stated that: "The current punitive approach to drug use has failed dismally — the size of the problem is escalating". This is to be expected from a member of a Party which only a few years ago used this mantra as an excuse to adopt a policy for decriminalisation of drug use prior to an election. It is also consistent with use of the term ‘recreational drug’ to describe what journalist Zoltan Kovacs reported in The West that it was wrong to describe illegal drugs that could cause death, illness and violence as 'recreational'.
In the wake of the release of the WA Government's Meth Strategy, Council for the National Interest (WA) conducted a Drug Forum at the Royal Perth Yacht Club on Sun 14.8.16. The present government's policy represents a departure from policies adopted over the past 40 years which have increasingly focussed on harm minimisation, instead of harm prevention, and as such are nothing short of an unmitigated dis-
CEO of Drug Free Australia(DFA), Jo Baxter prepared an extensive presentation as to why Australia has achieved the status of 'ice' capital of the world. According to the UN World Drug Report 2015, comparisons of Australia's drug usage with Sweden showed that for 15-64 year olds, figures of per capita drug use were higher for all categories. Sweden with 40% of Australia's population has 29,500 problematic drug users, Australia has 220,000 cannabis users and over 220,000 'ice' users. Since Sweden has adopted a vigorous intolerance to drug use, clearly these figures render statements that prohibition does not work untenable. In fact Australia would do well to emulate the Swedish strategy; with a restrictive drug policy, an emphasis on court enforced rehabilitation (as opposed to enforced prison sentences) and an emphasis on rehabilitation.
Australians are paying world record prices for illicit drugs and hence it comes as no surprise that organised crime syndicates, especially in West Africa and China, are targeting Australia where the lack of political will has only compounded the problem. The WA Government Meth Strategy appears to be focussed on balancing rehabilitation with primary prevention. (Extract from February FACT)
Australian Family Association (WA)
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Smart Approaches to Marijuana (SAM's) Toolkit includes information about the health risks of marijuana, data showing links between marijuana use and other drugs…. You can use these educational briefs to inform not just lawmakers, but also community leaders, friends, and anyone else interested in this important subject.
Written by Ana Sandoiu Published: Thursday 2 February 2017
Misleadingly marketed as a legal and safe alternative to marijuana, synthetic cannabinoids have a variety of adverse health effects. A new review summarizes the clinical cases that have so far been linked to the use of the synthetic substances.
A new review warns that so-called synthetic marijuana is actually very different from cannabis and is potentially unsafe.
Synthetic cannabinoids (SCBs) are a type of psychotropic chemical increasingly marketed as a safe and legal alternative to marijuana.
They are either sprayed onto dried plants so that they can be smoked, or they are sold as vaporizable and inhalable liquids.
A new review from the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences (UAMS) warns against the dangerous side effects of the compounds popularly (and misleadingly) referred to as "synthetic marijuana."
Referring to the SCBs currently sold as "K2" and "Spice," Paul L. Prather, a cellular and molecular pharmacologist at UAMS and corresponding author of the review, explains the motivation behind it:
SCBs linked to serious adverse health effects and even death
As reported in the review, some of these effects suggest that SCBs cause much more toxicity than marijuana. Toxicity has been reported across a wide range of systems, including the gastrointestinal, neurological, cardiovascular, and renal systems.
The clinical cases documented in the review include acute and long-term symptoms, such as:
Common adverse effects include prolonged and severe vomiting, anxiety, panic attacks, and irritability. Additionally, SCBs reportedly caused extreme psychosis in susceptible individuals, whereas marijuana only causes mild psychosis in those predisposed.
Furthermore, 20 deaths have been linked to SCBs between 2011 and 2014, whereas no deaths were reported among marijuana users during that time.
Finally, SCBs are likely to result in tolerance, dependence, and withdrawal.
Amphetamine abuse is becoming more widespread internationally. The possibility that its many cardiovascular complications are associated with a prematurely aged cardiovascular system, and indeed biological organism systemically, has not been addressed.
Conclusions These results show that subacute exposure to amphetamines is associated with an advancement of cardiovascular-organismal age both over age and over time, and is robust to adjustment. That this is associated with power functions of age implies a feed-forward positively reinforcing exacerbation of the underlying ageing process.