NEWS: National spotlight on drugs & mental health 2006

melburn_madnesss

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If it's stronger stuff, then you will obviously smoke less to reach your desired effect. I can only see it as being healthier as smoke inhalation is less.
not quite for the last 3-4 months me and my friends have been smoking white widow and after the first few weeks it looses its effect and you end up slamming down heaps of cones, but if you give that bud to someone who hasn't had it before it absolutly blows their socks off ! If you had a varitey of strong buds then that theory would work.
 

woly

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could someone possibly link me to the mental illness study that they are referring too?
 

Splatt

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Therte's one on ther news every month. Therte's never any scientific value.. It's just/.. Look at these people in this mental ward, 70% of them have done pot... therefore.. pot makes you into a schizophrenic!
 

woly

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Splatt said:
Therte's one on ther news every month. Therte's never any scientific value.. It's just/.. Look at these people in this mental ward, 70% of them have done pot... therefore.. pot makes you into a schizophrenic!

yeah thats what i assumed :/
 

hoptis

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Class sniffer dogs
Alison Sandy
05 Feb 2006

DRUG sniffer dogs would be allowed to search South Australian schools without police first needing a warrant under a Liberal Government.

As part of its "zero tolerance" on drugs policy, the Opposition says it would cut red tape which had previously made it too difficult to bring in the canine detectives.

"Previously police would have to find a magistrate to issue a warrant so they simply didn't do it," Opposition education spokeswoman Vickie Chapman said.

"As schools are government owned, we would speed up the process by giving authority to the principal to have the grounds searched. The drug-detecting dogs, such as beagles, would only be brought into a school at the request of the principal or school council and in consultation with local police."

Under the initiative, the sniffer dogs would be able to undertake a general search of lockers and school bags.

Ms Chapman said they would act as an effective deterrent because police would be able to mount an immediate search.

"There are growing concerns about the link between cannabis use, mental health and youth suicide and we will not stand by and watch schools struggle to combat drugs in schoolyards," she said.

"It is important that children understand that even limited drug use is unacceptable and that there is no such thing as 'safe' drug use."

Opposition Leader Rob Kerin said he wasn't aware of any case where sniffer dogs searched a school.

"Although police are technically able to take sniffer dogs into schools, this option is not used because of the cumbersome process required," he said.

"An integral part of the Liberals' zero tolerance policy for drugs in schools will be extensive education on the dangers of illicit drugs.

"And we will not be restricting this zero tolerance policy to the education system."

The crackdown follows a survey of 30,000 Australians where 20 per cent of 16 and 17 year-olds and a third of 18 and 19-year-olds had tried marijuana, speed or heroin.

The statistics from the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare also found that cannabis was preferred by children aged 12-15.

Mr Kerin said the Liberal Party's drugs policy, soon to be announced, would reinforce the message that the illicit use of drugs would not be tolerated in South Australia.

The policy has been welcomed by the South Australian Secondary Principals Association.

President Bob Heath said there was a time when sniffer dogs would go to schools as part of their training.

"It was a random thing," he said.

"In my experience there was no problem with it and the spin-off benefit was students had a heightened awareness of the ramifications of bringing dope to school."

Mr Heath said schools would need to be mindful of student safety when sniffer dogs were brought in.

SA Education Union president Andrew Gohl said the red tape existed to ensure that people's common law rights weren't breached.

"If there's red tape involved, it's to ensure the school is legally protected," he said. "Current process ensures all parties are protected."
The Advertiser

I wouldn't get too worried, too soon. This is simply more "hard on drugs" posturing by a state government that's in opposition... they're just giving the media what they want to hear, and what they think parents want to hear.
 

EJ

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melburn_madnesss said:
not quite for the last 3-4 months me and my friends have been smoking white widow and after the first few weeks it looses its effect and you end up slamming down heaps of cones, but if you give that bud to someone who hasn't had it before it absolutly blows their socks off ! If you had a varitey of strong buds then that theory would work.
And if you were to smoke weaker stuff, you'd have to inhale even more to get your desired effect.
 

hoptis

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PM, Bracks concerned over marijuana, mental health link
By Josh Gordon and Farrah Tomazin, Canberra
February 10, 2006

JOHN Howard has lashed out at "tolerant and absurdly compromised" attitudes towards marijuana use, warning that a rise in mental illness is a classic case of chickens coming home to roost.

Signalling that mental health will be a key theme at today's Council of Australian Governments meeting in Canberra, the Prime Minister yesterday promised extra resources and a greater focus on prevention and early detection.

But he warned that the Federal Government could not tackle the problem alone, demanding strong bipartisan support from the states, which are largely responsible for the provision of mental health services.

"I want this matter dealt with on a bipartisan basis," he said. "I want all of the heads of government of this country to understand it is a serious issue and the Australian public will expect no less than a co-ordinated, genuine commitment by all of us to try and solve the problem."

Mr Howard is also expected to announce plans to expand preventative health care programs and set up a 24-hour health hotline staffed by nurses to direct patients to hospitals, doctors or pharmacies.

Victorian Premier Steve Bracks said the meeting was a "once-in-a-generation opportunity for reform". Without a joint agreement, Australia would struggle to compete in an increasingly competitive global environment, he said.

Mr Bracks said Victoria shared Mr Howard's view that there is a problematic link between marijuana use and mental health. The State Government has already allocated $180 million to mental health as part of the $780 million social policy statement released before the May budget last year. It signalled that it would "wait to see" the specifics of the Commonwealth proposal before revealing whether it would commit more money. However, Mr Bracks yesterday endorsed a vigorous education campaign and "appropriate prosecution", saying society should "get the notion of recreational drugs out of our language altogether.

"It's just not true. These are harmful drugs. Marijuana is much stronger than it used to be," he said.

Cutting the costs of public health by preventing chronic diseases such as cancer, diabetes and obesity will also form a central plank of today's meeting.

<other meeting talking points snipped>
From The Age
 

psytaco

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This seems to me to be just a way of shurking out of giving extra funding for a mental health sector that is in desperate need. By 'getting tough on dope' the government can be seen to be doing something to stop a mental health fiscal and legitimation crisis without having to think of new and possibly more expensive ways to treat problematic mental illnesses like schizophrenia.

Splatt said:
Therte's one on ther news every month. Therte's never any scientific value.. It's just/.. Look at these people in this mental ward, 70% of them have done pot... therefore.. pot makes you into a schizophrenic!
There have been plenty of studies that have shown that there is a casual link between schizophrenia and heavy marijuana use. There is not a direct link between cannabis and schizoprenia because as of yet, scientists have not been able to find a direct link between a certain factor (be it genetic, environmental stressor, drugs or otherwise) and the later development of schizophrenia. I can't be fucked explaining what a casual link is, because I've explained it numerous times in other threads. But in some studies (ie. Swedish Cohort study) heavy marijuana users were 3-4 times more likely to develop schizophrenia than those who didn't smoke pot.

I believe that the link between heavy cannabis use and schizophrenia is a worrying one. futher prohibition will not work as prohibition does little to stop drug consumption. Maybe it might send the message that marijuana use is dangerous but it will definately not fix the problem. I think education campaignes may be a better option and will not require much of political backflip in states like SA who already have reasonably liberal marijuana use policies
 

hoptis

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Nothing too exciting from today's meeting, more promises of increased spending on mental health and a few soundbites from politicians about "recreational" drugs.

Marijuana concerns COAG leaders
February 10, 2006 - 1:24PM

State and territory premiers have arrived at Parliament House for the Council of Australian Governments meeting, with national health reform and possible tougher ways to combat use of marijuana and amphetamines expected to top the agenda.

Mr Bracks said there was a spirit of goodwill among premiers and the commonwealth as they worked towards common goals on mental health and agreed links had been identified between marijuana and mental illness.

"I think we need to get out of our language this notion of recreational drugs - there's no such thing," he said.

"These are drugs which are harmful ... and of course we need to have proper and appropriate penalties."

Queensland Premier Peter Beattie also acknowledged there was a problem with marijuana, but argued amphetamines were just as much of a problem.

"It's not just marijuana ... we get drugs such as ice and a lot of the other amphetamines - they are just as bad," Mr Beattie said.

"So let's not just focus on marijuana - let's focus on all drugs that affect people's mental wellbeing.

"Amphetamines are a major problem in Australia and in the long term will have a more dramatic effect on the mental wellbeing of Australians than marijuana ever did."

The premiers and chief ministers also are expected to agree to establish a national inquiry into early childhood education and set up a national regime so that trade qualifications in one state are recognised in the others.

Mental health

Mr Howard today told Southern Cross radio that his primary goal at the meeting was to secure the states' commitment to increased mental health funding.

Mr Howard said he would ask the premiers to agree that part of the solution to the mental health problem was a tougher line on marijuana, amid mounting evidence that abuse of the drug caused mental health problems.

NSW Premier Morris Iemma said his state had recently increased the penalties for growing hydroponic marijuana, which is stronger than other types.
"There's a lot to learn from our approach in NSW," he said.

"A week ago we increased the penalties for hydroponic use and growth of marijuana.

"They're the toughest penalties in the country and we also have a whole range of rehabilitation and cannabis clinics in NSW to get people off cannabis."

New West Australian Premier Alan Carpenter said he was open to suggestions on the marijuana debate.

"It's on the agenda for discussion - the whole mental health issue," he said.

"Any positive suggestion that comes forward which will help us with dealing with mental health issues is worth considering and worth pursuing."

"I'll leave it at that at the moment".
From The Age
 

hoptis

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Cautious reaction to cannabis strategy
By Martin Boulton
February 11, 2006

HEALTH professionals and academics have reacted cautiously to John Howard's plan to tackle cannabis abuse as part of a new mental health strategy.

At yesterday's COAG meeting, the Prime Minister said the mental health campaign would address amphetamine and cannabis abuse.

Professor George Patton, of the Centre for Adolescent Health in Melbourne, said the association between cannabis and poor mental health had been well documented, but there were often other factors associated with people suffering mental health problems.

"People presenting with schizophrenia for the first time, depression and anxiety, often have frequent cannabis use (and) there's increasing evidence cannabis use predicts the development of schizophrenia and other psychotic illness," he said.

"The big difference from 20 or 30 years ago is there were fewer people using cannabis then. What we're learning now is that cannabis these days is a potent drug with powerful side effects."

Dan Lubman, a senior lecturer at Melbourne University and consultant psychiatrist at Orygen Youth Health, said there was a high prevalence of mental health problems, particularly psychosis, among young users.

"A high percentage of the population we treat are cannabis users with mental health problems, but just because you use cannabis doesn't mean you'll develop psychosis," he said.

"It's a complicated relationship and that's why we need to be very clever about how we approach this issue."

Dr David Taylor, of the Victorian College of Pharmacy at Monash University, agrees. He said there was "good evidence" of cannabis-induced psychosis, but some people were more susceptible than others.

AAP
From The Age
 

hoptis

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Cracking down on cannabis
February 13, 2006

Abstinence or harm-minimisation? A clash of values is emerging, writes Bill Bush.

Police coming down hard to solve a health problem? This is just what the Commonwealth Government is calling for to improve mental health.

Even though the use of cannabis has declined by 37 per cent, the Prime Minister asked heads of Government at Friday's COAG meeting to toughen their laws on the drug.

The signs are that this is the vanguard of steps to reverse Australia's harm-minimisation drug policy in favour of one that puts a premium on abstinence and stronger law enforcement.

Other indicators of this shift are:

  • Financial support for naltrexone implants that focus on abstinence combined with criticism of methadone maintenance therapy that focuses on stabilisation.
  • A $600,000 grant over three years to Drug Free Australia to "advocate abstinence-based approaches to drug issues" while cutting the grant of the peak harm reduction focused Alcohol and Other Drugs Council to just one year.
  • The enactment of harsh comprehensive Commonwealth criminal drug law overshadowing that of the states. It includes even minor possession offences under the label of serious drug crimes.

Since the Prime Minister vetoed the heroin trial in 1997, the rhetoric of his Government has been unfriendly to harm minimisation. He has said that he does not believe in it and his Government has played language games with the term.

Only last year the Commonwealth reaffirmed its commitment to "the principle of harm minimisation" in a further extension of the National Drug Strategy. This is defined so broadly that its three poorly integrated components of "supply reduction", "demand reduction" and "harm reduction" allow governments much room to manoeuvre. Only the last component embodies the essence of harm-minimisation as it was originally conceived: "Strategies to reduce drug-related harm to individuals and communities."

Nevertheless, the Commonwealth continued to support key aspects of harm-minimisation such as the provision of sterile syringes and methadone maintenance. This now seems to be changing.

For example, the Government is echoing alarmist media reports about a cannabis and mental health crisis.

Health Minister Tony Abbott and parliamentary secretary Chris Pyne have expressed alarm. Employment Minister Kevin Andrews wants to "explore its links with welfare dependence". The PM has warned that "mental illness and homelessness was the price the nation was paying for 'lax attitude' towards cannabis". "The time," he says, "has arrived for us - legislators and parents - to get tougher."

A lax attitude or not, household survey figures show that the proportion of the population that had used cannabis recently declined from 17.9 per cent in 1998 to 11.3 per cent in 2004. That's the 37 per cent decline.

Recent research is showing some links between heavy use of cannabis and mental illness. Though worrying, these are nothing to those demonstrated for methamphetamines - "ice", "yah bah" and the like - use of which is booming.

The Government's own Australian National Council on Drugs has said of cannabis that "there is emerging but limited evidence that cannabis may cause psychotic symptoms in people who are not at risk of this condition". In the hands of crisis mongers that becomes: "There is overwhelming evidence cannabis causes psychotic illnesses, such as schizophrenia, as well as depression and anxiety disorders, particularly among young people."

The Commonwealth wants jurisdictions such as South Australia to ditch its expiation notice systems and for all jurisdiction to toughen cannabis policing. It matters not that studies show that coming down hard on cannabis can cause more harm to young people than the drug. The processes of the criminal law heighten known risk factors for mental illness such as unemployment, poverty, homelessness, insecurity, divorce and family break-up. The same studies have shown no appreciable difference in cannabis use between jurisdictions with different systems.

The cannabis and other Commonwealth initiatives are in line with the 2003 abstinence focused report on drugs of a House of Representative committee.

A battle of values is emerging. Those supporting libertarian views would oppose the reversal of harm-minimisation. (The Institute of Public Affairs Review has supported heroin prescription.)

It is also consistent with a Christian view that condemns us if we persevere with actions that marginalise people and lead to their suffering and death.

An opposing strand, espoused by the Health Minister and the Australian Christian Lobby, gives primacy to measures that make users drug free. On this view people who are on drugs are virtually dead anyway. If this prevails, public health and safety are bound to suffer.

Bill Bush is a member of Families and Friends for Drug Law Reform.
From The Age

Based on recent comments by Howard, Abbot and Pyne that you can read in other news articles in this thread, I think the following paragraph is accurate.

The signs are that this is the vanguard of steps to reverse Australia's harm-minimisation drug policy in favour of one that puts a premium on abstinence and stronger law enforcement.
Definitely cause for concern.
 
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hoptis

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Toughen sentences for 'dangerous' cannabis: DPP
Jeremy Roberts and Verity Edwards
February 13, 2006

COURTS must impose tougher sentences for cannabis-related crimes because of the damage it does to the mental health of marijuana smokers, South Australia's Director of Public Prosecutions has demanded.

Speaking at the first-ever "open day" for the office of the DPP in Adelaide, Stephen Pallaras QC said he was waiting for the right drug case to appeal to a higher court.

"I have heard the research on the link between mental illness and cannabis and it concerns me greatly," Mr Pallaras said.

"It may be time to reassess the way the court approaches sentencing in light of research on cannabis. We are waiting for the right case to bring before the court of appeal."

Mr Pallaras's plan to test judges' sentences for cannabis crimes comes as both sides of state politics have announced tougher policies on hydroponic cannabis grown for trafficking.

But personal use of cannabis -- defined as possession of one marijuana plant -- remains decriminalised since 1988.

Offenders face a maximum of 25 years in prison and maximum fines of $500,000 if caught with more than 2kg of cannabis or more than 19 plants.

A growing scientific consensus suggests cannabis produces serious and chronic mental illness among people who would not otherwise suffer it.

Mr Pallaras's plan to toughen his office's stance on sentencing in cannabis cases follows his decision last month to appeal against what he considered to be a "manifestly inadequate" sentence handed to a woman convicted of cannabis offences.

It was the second appeal against lenient cannabis sentences since September.

The Weekend Australian has studied the cases of 15 people convicted of offences including possession and production of cannabis since October.

Of those convicted, one person was given a two-year sentence and 12 people were handed suspended sentences.

The DPP appealed the three-year sentence of George Petroff, 35, in late November -- which was upgraded to four years and six months -- and in January successfully appealed the sentence of Dianna Ivic, 40.

The Court of Criminal Appeal replaced a suspended sentence in the District Court for Ivic with three years and a non-parole period of 18 months. The prosecutor said the sentence had been "manifestly inadequate".
From The Australian
 

Kobold

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woly said:
could someone possibly link me to the mental illness study that they are referring too?
I wouldn't know where to look for the mental illness study that they are referring to, but I know that this has been studied at UWA at least. So I did a search of the Australian digital thesis program (http://adt.caul.edu.au) and found the following;

From Griffith University, An Examination of the Influence of Cannabis Use on Psychotic Symptom Exacerbation and Relapse in Early Psychosis
http://www4.gu.edu.au:8080/adt-root/public/adt-QGU20030922.130049/

and from UWA, Chronic cannabis use and attention-modulated prepulse inhibition of the startle reflex in humans
http://theses.library.uwa.edu.au/adt-WU2004.0027/
 

Prince Planet

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hoptis said:
"The big difference from 20 or 30 years ago is there were fewer people using cannabis then. What we're learning now is that cannabis these days is a potent drug with powerful side effects."

Cannabis has allows been a potent drug. The difference was that the quality control of the product previously was not well controlled as it is now. If you wanted to buy cannabis in the 70s, it ranged from really bad leaf or seeded heads through to extremely potent buds. Now there is a much better, well organised cannabis market. You can consistently purchase high grade cannabis. Promoting the idea that cannabis these days is 5-7 times more potent than it was in the 70s as the NSW premier recently stated is wrong. This media grandstanding appeals to the mums and dads vote who smoked in the 70s and didn't have any real issues with it. By changing their perception of what cannabis is, effectively promoting that cannabis today is a dangerous drug unlike the cannabis people smoked in the 70s. Modern day reefer madness.

The other issue is: If there has been a significant increase in cannabis use over the last 20 to 30 years, then; Why has there not been a significant increase in the number of cases of psychosis in that time?
 

hoptis

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Mental health hit hard by soft drugs
Jeremy Roberts
February 15, 2006

THE connection between mental illness and the use of cannabis and amphetamines has been exposed by a World Health Organisation report that finds almost 50 per cent of prisoners entering South Australia's penal system had both drug and mental health problems.

Results from the study, obtained by The Australian, show that 67 per cent of the 250 prisoners questioned at Yatala Labour prison, Adelaide Remand Centre and Adelaide's Women's Prison had used cannabis in the previous three months and 52per cent had used amphetamines.

Of the prisoners interviewed, 117 - or 47 per cent - revealed they had a mental health disorder and a drug problem, with depression the most common illness.

They also reported having suffered anxiety and panic attacks and having harmed themselves.

The results lend weight to warnings by government and researchers that the so-called soft drugs, cannabis and amphetamines, are creating havoc in the mental health system, prisons and hospitals.

The study, which completed its first phase in October, was developed at the Royal Adelaide Hospital in conjunction with WHO and is a world-first examination of the link between drug use and mental health of people entering prison.

The "alcohol, smoking substance involvement screening test", or ASSIST, will involve interviews with about 1200 prisoners by the end of June, or one-third of those entering South Australia's prison system, and make referrals to drug and alcohol and mental health services.

The test results follow an agreement on Friday by federal, state and territory leaders to overhaul the mental health system, with a major focus placed on tackling the abuse of soft drugs. They also come in the wake of an announcement by the South Australian Director of Public Prosecutions, Stephen Pallaras QC, that he intends to review recent research that has linked drug use to mental health problems.

South Australian forensic psychiatrist Craig Raeside said the high rate of drug-taking by prisoners only increased the burden of mental illness.

"Crime and mental illness and drugs are part of the same triangle," Dr Raeside said.

"If you increase the drugs then you would expect greater mental illness and greater crime.

"People who are crazy and psychotic will often do something illegal when they are affected."

In October, Dr Raeside released figures from consultations with about 2000 people accused of crimes and referred to him by the courts.

He found that 61per cent of marijuana users and 71per cent of amphetamines users had mental illnesses.

Dr Raeside then warned that cannabis and amphetamines were driving higher rates of mental illness and violence.

The same month, the National Drug and Alcohol Research Centre at the University of NSW released a report on the Sydney amphetamine market and warned that users were at 11 times the risk of a psychotic episode than non-users.

The report also confirmed that ambulance and hospital emergency staff and police were often left to treat mentally disturbed amphetamines users.

South Australian head of mental health services John Brayley has estimated that between 20 and 30 per cent of patients in the state's community mental health clinics have drug problems.

He called for more funding for social workers trained in both problems.
From The Australian
 

hoptis

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LIBERALS SAY NO TO DOPE : Smoke cannabis and face jail, Kerin vows
By GREG KELTON
03 Mar 2006

POSSESSING or growing any amount of cannabis would again become a criminal offence, resulting in court appearances and possible jail under a tough new Opposition policy.

Revealing the policy to The Advertiser yesterday, Opposition Leader Rob Kerin said the current policy of issuing expiation notices was not working.

Mr Kerin said that since 1987, when personal use of marijuana was decriminalised, the on-the-spot fee had never been increased, adding: "Adelaide has the unenviable title of the cannabis capital of Australia."

Possession of less than 25g of cannabis attracts a $50 expiation fee, but individuals do not have to appear in court.

Mr Kerin, who announced the policy with the party's legal affairs spokesman Robert Lawson, said the fee had never been increased and yet the fee for using tobacco in the wrong place was higher.

"And the fee for littering is even higher again," he said.

Mr Kerin said the "derisory" fee of $50 had sent the wrong message.

"It has encouraged the development of a drug culture which, in turn, has led to increasing use of even more dangerous illicit drugs," he said.

Drug use is emerging as a significant election issue, with calls for more spending on mental health and attempts by lobby groups to link increased mental illness to cannabis use.

In January, Attorney-General Michael Atkinson said the Government had no plans to change the laws, but had considerably strengthened its stance against drug use over the past four years.

He said it had been made a criminal offence to grow even one plant hydroponically and there would now be testing and fines for those caught driving while under the influence of drugs.

The personal use of cannabis was decriminalised in SA in 1988 by the then Bannon Labor government because of concerns small-time users were clogging the courts and receiving criminal records.

Mr Kerin said scientific studies had established increasingly strong links between marijuana use and psychotic episodes and other severe mental disorders.

"Even the Victorian, Queensland and NSW Labor governments have warned that it should not be viewed as a soft drug," he said.
From The Advertiser
 

marklar_the_23rd

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Cannabis use 'will impair but not damage mental health'
(Filed: 23/01/2006)

Regular cannabis use can have "real and significant" mental health effects but is unlikely to cause schizophrenia, according to a report from Government drugs advisers published yesterday.

The drug can impair psychological and psychomotor performance, cause acute intoxication reactions and lead to relapses of individuals with mental illnesses.

Charles Clarke
Charles Clarke proposes to keep cannabis as a Class C drug

But the Advisory Council on the Misuse of Drugs said that on current evidence smoking cannabis was likely to increase the chances of developing schizophrenia by just one per cent.

The council, which was asked to reconsider the Government's decision to downgrade cannabis from a Class B to a Class C substance, recommended that it should not be reversed.

It had been asked by ministers to look afresh at medical evidence suggesting that more powerfully psychoactive varieties of the drug were posing an increased danger to mental health.

But the committee concluded: "For individuals, the current evidence suggests, at worst, that using cannabis increases the lifetime risk of developing schizophrenia by one per cent.

Some individuals are at higher risk than others for developing schizophrenia from the use of cannabis, but there is currently no means by which these individuals can be identified.

"The evidence for the existence of an association between frequency of cannabis use and the development of psychosis is, on the available evidence, weak. The council does not advise the reclassification of cannabis products to Class B; it recommends they remain within Class C.

"While cannabis can, unquestionably, produce harms, these are not of the same order as those of substances within Class B."

The council said that since it recommended in 2003 that cannabis should be downgraded, "further evidence has emerged about the possible link between the use of cannabis and the subsequent development of psychotic symptoms.

"While these studies do not of themselves prove beyond reasonable doubt that such a link exists, the accumulating evidence suggests that there is a causal association.

However, the consumption of cannabis is neither a necessary, nor a sufficient, cause for the development of schizophrenia.

"In the last year, over three million people appear to have used cannabis but very few will ever develop this distressing and disabling condition. And many people who develop schizophrenia have never consumed cannabis.

Based on the available data the use of cannabis makes (at worst) only a small contribution to an individual's risk for developing schizophrenia."

However, the council emphasised that cannabis use was harmful - it can also cause bronchitis and cancer - and should be discouraged. To that end, it wanted to see "a sustained education and information strategy" and more research into the links with mental health problems.

In the Commons yesterday, Charles Clarke, the Home Secretary, confirmed that he proposed to keep cannabis as a Class C drug, which means police generally take a more lenient line with personal possession and penalties are lower.

He said guidelines to police setting out the amount of cannabis that would be assumed to be for personal consumption would be lower than the four ounces proposed in a consultation paper last year. Such an amount would be enough to roll about 512 light joints or about 256 strong ones.

Mr Clarke said that although he was not proposing to reclassify cannabis, the message had to go out that it was harmful and that "its use can lead to a wide range of physical and psychological hazards".

He ordered a review of the classifications system which dates to 1971 and which critics say is confusing and misleading. Mr Clarke also asked the council to look again at the classification of the so-called "date-rape" drugs Rohypnol and GHB, which are currently Class C substances.

David Davis, the shadow home secretary, condemned the decision to reclassify cannabis as a confused message that would lead some "to continue thinking cannabis is a safe, 'soft' drug".

However, Mark Oaten, the Liberal Democrat spokesman, said: "Charles Clarke is right to base his decision on the best available evidence, and not on hysteria or political pressure. Cannabis is not harmless, but it is less harmful than many other illegal drugs."
from here

this kinda makes all those politicians appear to be pure bullshit. but we already knew that :)
 

hoptis

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^^^

Not a particularly well written or mature rant and not particularly original either. I mean if you're so passionate about it, and I'm sure there are a lot of cannabis users in this country who are, why not take the time to write something a little more adult and constructive and send it to a major paper?

Do you have a source for that little ditty?

I heard that SA Labor are now vowing to double the penalty for personal use (I assume that means the fine will go from $50 to $100), haven't been able to find the article yet but I think I saw it in the Advertiser today.
 
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