Saturday, March 24, 2018

Last week, the Drug Policy Futures network made a presentation at the 61st session of the Commission on Narcotic Drugs in Vienna.
The following is their document spelling out what they consider the best formula for sensible and workable drug policy.
We have highlighted steps 5 & 7 because so many jurisdictions have abandoned hope and replaced it with "opioid replacement therapy," an oxymoron if there ever was one.




Ten Steps for Successful National Action on Drugs
The 2016 UNGASS Outcome Document provides a comprehensive menu for a broad, balanced and effective drug policy, based on public health, human rights and the three international drug conventions.

Member states and civil society organizations from all over the world should use the years leading up to the next milestone in 2019 for one thing: action and implementation at the national and local level. We don’t need more words, documents, or commissions. We need action.

The Drug Policy Futures network appeals to all Member States to prioritize the following ten areas when addressing the Outcome Document, consistent with the social and political context of their respective nations. These steps, if well-implemented, will greatly improve national drug policies and yield to a substantial reduction in drug-related harms.

1) Reduce drug use prevalence
The overarching goal of every Member State’s drug policy should be reducing the prevalence of drug use. This will lead to lower numbers of problematic drug users, as well as a reduction in numbers of adolescents who are exposed to drug use in their peer group. Member States should monitor drug use prevalence regularly and adjust policies based on results to make prevention programmes more efficient.

2) Mobilize a million communitiesEffective prevention efforts are even more effective when they are synergistic and implemented by local communities. Local initiatives should involve local authorities and public services, schools, police, parent groups, community-based organisations, sports clubs, religious groups etc. The UNODC International Standards on Drug Use Prevention list a broad selection of recommended interventions that can be used in community programmes.

3) Programmes for better parenting
Parents can make a big difference as agents for prevention. They have a great influence on the behaviour of and the future of their own children, as well as other children in their community. All countries should therefore develop and implement culturally sensitive support programmes for better parenting. Such programmes can serve to build self-confidence for parents, build networks, and disseminate knowledge about the impact of drugs on young people’s development and their peer group.

4)Prioritize early intervention and assistance to vulnerable groupsSchools and local communities should set up systems to assist vulnerable groups, particularly children. Identifying and helping youth who struggle with childhood trauma, family problems, abuse, school attendance, and other problems is important. At such an early stage, even simple interventions by teachers, health or social workers, and family and neighbours can make a great difference.

5)Offer treatment, rehabilitation, and harm-reduction alternativesBased on the principle of non-discrimination, all people with drug use disorders must have access to a wide range of services. Treatment, harm reduction, and rehabilitation should be integrated. Such services must also aim at maximizing the affected individuals’ possibility for recovery, and include family and friends. Empowering those struggling with drug abuse through connecting the individuals’ own resources with health care providers is essential to limiting mortality and morbidity while preserving dignity and self-respect.

6)Organize local support systems after specialized treatmentFailing to reintegrate those who have completed specialized treatment back into their communities wastes resources and causes human suffering. Treatment programmes must plan for reintegration with society  afterwards; a place to live, meaningful work, a social network, and meaningful leisure activities. Treatment centres and local municipalities must coordinate reintegration from the very start of the treatment programme.

7)Support self-help groups for drug users and those in recoveryAcross the globe, self-help groups for drug users (current users as well as those in recovery), have proven successful as a tool for escaping from drug abuse and reintegration into society after treatment. Such groups are therefore a very useful complement to more formal treatment services, and should be integrated into the totality of treatment and recovery services in all countries.

8)Support alternative developmentA development approach aimed at improving people’s quality of life is needed to mobilize local  communities where illicit drugs are produced. Governments in these countries should fund alternative development programmes in drug-producing areas. The most conflict-ridden countries in Latin America and Asia need support from the international community. Good governance is also a critical part of alternative development; if corruption is not controlled, drug-related crime cannot be controlled.

 9)Develop and implement alternatives to incarcerationSeveral countries have already implemented an array of diversion programs to replace incarceration or fines as reaction to minor drug offences, including dissuasion commissions, youth contracts, drug courts, and rehabilitation programs for drug users. More countries should follow suit and experiences should be shared internationally, organized through UNODC.

10)Implement the principle of proportionality in sanctionsSanctions for drug-related offences must be proportional to the crime committed. The international drug conventions do not demand incarceration for drug users. Rather, they encourage prevention, treatment, and rehabilitation as alternatives. These approaches focus on treating the substance abuse disorder underlying criminal activity. Additionally, militarization of law enforcement, capital punishment and other inhumane and disproportionate methods should be abolished as they are not in accordance with the spirit of UN conventions.

This ten point statement is supported by an alliance of networks that include more than 300 NGOs from all over the world.
Drug Policy Futures is a global platform for a new drug policy debate based on health. We reject the simple dichotomy between ”a war on drugs” on the one hand and ”legalization” on the other.
 Instead we believe in engaging in an open dialogue about the strengths and weaknesses of global drug policies. We will advocate for evidence based strategies to promote public health, safety and and the well-being of society, including those addicted to drugs and their families.






Monday, November 13, 2017

JUST A REMINDER - MORE LIKE A BIG BOOT IN THE BUTT

ODD SQUAD GALA & CONFERENCE

THE ODD SQUAD has been in business for 20 years now re-directing kids at risk into productive, creative and clean and sober lives.

The Society's 20th Anniversary Gala includes a huge conference with a galaxy of powerful and informed speakers.

The BIG EVENT is Friday, December 1st. Be there or be square.

Please go to their website and click on the EVENTS tab to get the full story.

More importantly, get some tickets and help support a great local group of dedicated police officers, both active and retired, who have been nationally recognized for extraordinary commitment to their community.

Saturday, November 4, 2017

A WELCOME VOICE IN THE WILDERNESS

Open Letter Re: defeat Bill C.45 on the grounds of violations of human rights.

Dear MPs of the Parliament of Canada and Members of the Canadian Senate.

As you know, the impending approval of marijuana for non-medical use is controversial, as based on the marked increase in car accidents, emergency room visits, and hospitalizations in Colorado after recreational cannabis approval.



In addition many Canadians, organizations and corporate entities are against the legalization of marijuana. The vast majority of the electorate continue to not use marijuana and do not support more marijuana use in their society. The reasons for this wide disapproval are as follows:

Marijuana is a serious threat to the physical and mental health of Canadians and its use is a major threat to public safety. 1 Marijuana use is strongly associated with the onset of psychiatric disorders. 2 Mental illness causes crime, homelessness, enormous societal costs and suffering.  Marijuana use has also been linked to mental health problems, such as depression, anxiety, and suicidal thoughts. 3 Marijuana use is associated with an increased risk of prescription opioid misuse and use disorders. 4

In 2017, the National Academy of Sciences (NAS) concluded after a review of over 10,000 peer-reviewed academic articles, that marijuana use is connected to many problems including: respiratory problems; mental health issues (like psychosis, social anxiety, and thoughts of suicide); increased risk of car accidents; progression to and dependence on other drugs; learning, memory, and attention loss (possibly permanent in some cases); and low birth weight. 5

Health Canada acknowledges the science the substantiates the risk that marijuana products pose to reproductive health and state these products should not be used if a woman is pregnant, is planning to get pregnant, or is breast-feeding, and should not be used by a man who wishes to start a family, are under the age of 25. 6

It is requested of the federal government that a Child Rights Impact Assessment be undertaken to determine conformity of Bill C45 with the UN- Rights of the Child Treaty. A key aspect of this analysis should be widespread consultation with children and youth, pursuant to Article 12 of the UNCRC. If such an assessment determines the proposed legalization framework violates the terms of this important human rights treaty, under which both the federal and provincial governments are legally bound, all elected members of Parliament must be guided to defeat Bill C-45 on the grounds and basis of human rights violations. 7

Canada cannot function if a large percentage of its population is addicted or mentally ill or mentally impaired due to marijuana use. A Canadian’s right to security under the Charter of Rights and Freedoms must not be ignored and this extends to every Canadians right to protection from drugged drivers as well as protection from second-hand marijuana smoke.. Therefore, all elected officials with a sworn duty to protect the interests of all Canadians must in the strongest possible terms accept their duty of care in regards determining the viability and legality of the proposed legislation of Bill-C-45.

Sincerely,
Pamela McColl – www.preventdontpromote.org – Canada

References

1. Facing Addiction in America: The Surgeon General’s Report on Alcohol, Drugs, and Health, November, 2016, Chapters One and two and Appendix D pp.65-66 at:
https://addiction.surgeongeneral.gov/surgeon-generals-report.pdf

2. American Psychiatric Association, Position Statement on Marijuana as Medicine, paragraph 1 found at: https://www.psychiatry.org/home/policy-finder

3. “Is Marijuana Addictive?” DrugFacts: Marijuana, (June 2015), at: https://www.drugabuse.gov/publications/drugfacts/marijuana - citing: Hasin DS, Saha TD, Kerridge BT, et al. Prevalence of Marijuana Use Disorders in the United States Between 2001-2002 and 2012-2013. JAMA Psychiatry. 2015;72(12):1235-1242.  doi:10.1001/jamapsychiatry.2015.1858.

4.https://www.drugabuse.gov/news-events/news-releases/2017/09/marijuana-use-associated-increased-risk-prescription-opioid-misuse-use-disorders

5. Health Effects of Cannabis and Cannabinoids: Current State of Evidence and Recommendations for Research


6.https://www.canada.ca/en/health-canada/services/drugs-health-products/medical-use-marijuana/licensed-producers/consumer-information-cannabis-marihuana-marijuana.html


7. http://www.cyanb.ca/images/NBOCYA_Submission_to_Select_Committee_on_Cannabis.pdf

Tuesday, October 31, 2017

POT DRINKS AT A SHOP NEAR YOU SOON

The only way to truly follow the trajectory of drug marketing is to read the financial news. The old adage of "Follow the money" is as reliable as it has always been.

Reprinted in this morning's Vancouver Sun, the Financial Post shrieks with glee that a major American beer and wine company has just paid a small fortune for a significant share of a Canadian marijuana firm. The writers call this 'a bold move.'

The next investors in our burgeoning marijuana industry are Big Tobacco and Big Pharma. It only makes sense, doesn't it? Aren't we just kicking ourselves for not getting on the hay ride earlier, you know, like so many of our former politicians did.

Oh well, for those of us in the recovery business, I guess we'll have our hands full and we'll be busy and making scads of money too. Ain't life grand? And it's going to be so much fun working with addicted eight year old children. I guess recess will be mandated for all residential programs. And maybe reading and writing and arithmetic. I can see it now. Provincial governments will all have a new department called Mental Health, Addictions and Education. Tidy.

Saturday, October 21, 2017

TELL IT TO SOMEONE WHO DOESN'T CARE

An excellent op-ed piece is headlining in the Vancouver Sun today. It is written by Dr. Jessica Ross and it appeared originally in the National Post under a different title.

This morning, in the Sun, the item is called "Kids must be told the full story on pot's health risks."


It is a great read full of both professional and home truths. And the basic advice in the title is appropriate.

But here's another another suggestion about to whom we might tell the full pot story.

We could tell a former Premier, Attorney General and Health Minister of the Province of British Columbia all of whom have major interests in private "medical" marijuana companies.

We can all hardly wait until we are elected to public office so we can retire as soon as possible and become dope dealers  to children of 8 and 9.

Friday, October 20, 2017

ODD SQUAD GALA & CONFERENCE

THE ODD SQUAD has been in business for 20 years now re-directing kids at risk into productive, creative and clean and sober lives.

The Society's 20th Anniversary Gala includes a huge conference with a galaxy of powerful and informed speakers.

The BIG EVENT is Friday, December 1st. Be there or be square.

Please go to their website and click on the EVENTS tab to get the full story.

More importantly, get some tickets and help support a great local group of dedicated police officers, both active and retired, who have been nationally recognized for extraordinary commitment to their community.