Disgraceful lack of action from David Clark and Labour on drug crisis

The drug abuse crisis continues to hit the headlines,with ongoing and growing problems, more and more deaths, and the Labour-led Government continues to do bugger all if that.

The wellbeing and lives of many people are at risk, this should be getting urgent attention, but the Labour-led government looks as bad as National was in being to gutless to address the problems.

Yesterday from Stuff:  Warning issued over synthetic cannabis use after eight people hospitalised

At least three people have been admitted to intensive care and others treated within 24 hours in Christchurch after using synthetic cannabis.

The Canterbury District Health Board (CDHB) issued a warning about the illegal drug after a rush of people suffering from potentially severe synthetic cannabis toxicity ended up in Christchurch Hospital.

Emergency medicine specialist Paul Gee said there had been a noticeable increase in people needing emergency help due to the side effects of synthetic cannabis use.

Eight people have been treated in Christchurch over the last 24 hours, with three having to be admitted to the intensive care unit.

Also Synthetic cannabis users gambling with their lives after a ‘bad batch’

Synthetic cannabis users are gambling with their lives, a health official warns following a spate of hospitalisations in Christchurch.

The Canterbury District Health Board (CDHB) issued a warning on Thursday evening about the illegal drug after a rush of people suffering from potentially severe synthetic cannabis toxicity ended up in Christchurch Hospital.

As a Minister in the National-led Government Peter Dunne copped a lot of flak for dysfunctional drug laws and growing drug abuse problems, especially the growing use of new drugs often inaccurately referred to as synthetic cannabis.

It suited National to allow the blame to fall on Dunne while they did virtually nothing to deal with obvious drug law problems and growing use of dangerous drugs. And there has been many ignorant attacks on Dunne.

On 1 News yesterday Dunne suggested a rethink on how we deal with natural cannabis: Legalising recreational cannabis could stem NZ’s epidemic of ‘zombie drug’ deaths, Peter Dunne says

Synthetic cannabis has killed more than 40 people in New Zealand since June last year, a massive jump from the previous five years, the coroner recently reported.

One way to serve a blow to the market for the so called zombie-drug in New Zealand would be to legalise recreational cannabis, former MP and Associate Health Minister Peter Dunne said today on TVNZ1’s Breakfast.

But the suggestion came with a caveat.

“It would certainly remove some of the incentive for people to try some of these substances,” he said. “But…some of these (synthetic drugs) are so potent and so powerful that people may well feel they’ll get a better high from these rather than the real product.

“While on the face of it the answer would be yes (to marijuana legalisation), I don’t think it’s necessarily that simple.”

“I don’t think we ever anticipated we’d get new synthetic drugs that would lead to so much harm,” NZ Drug Foundation Executive Director Ross Bell told 1 NEWS yesterday.

So what is the current Government doing about it? very little as far as I’m aware. Health Minister David Clark seems as reluctant as National was to address the problem, and most of the Labour-led Government seem to be gutless – the exception is Green MP Chloe Swarbrick who is working hard to try to progress long overdue drug law reforms.

The only official press release from David Clark since becoming Minister was this last December: Medicinal cannabis to ease suffering. Labour have been very disappointing in their handling even of medicinal cannabis.

Nothing from Clark mentioning ‘synthetic’. What the hell is he doing apart from nothing?

NZ Herald (31 July 2018): Health Minister David Clark in favour of liberalising drug laws

Health Minister David Clark is personally in favour of more liberal drug laws because prohibition has not worked in the past.

But Clark would not commit to abiding by the result of any referendum on loosening laws around cannabis use, saying he preferred to wait for advice from his colleagues.

“I think it’s highly likely that that’s the course we would take … all I’ve said is I want to wait for advice.

“I haven’t had a conversation with colleagues about how that referendum’s going to be framed and what question we’re going to be asking the public.

“Broadly, I favour at a more personal level, more liberal drug laws because I think in the world when prohibition has been tried, it hasn’t worked.”

We have multiple drug crises, with both synthetics and P (methamphetamine). Natural cannabis is far less dangerous, but it is getting more expensive and harder to obtain because drug pushers make more money out of getting people addicted to P and synthetic drugs. They have no trouble finding more victims to replace those who die.

National’s lack of action on drug abuse and drug laws was extremely disappointing.

Clark and Labour are acting just as poorly. This is disgraceful.

17 Comments

  1. NOEL

     /  September 22, 2018

    If current price of synthetic is around 20 dollars and a tinny is 20 dollars would a user switch if the tinny was legal. Maybe a few on synthetics who use to defeat drug tests but my bet would be no for the majority.

    • If recreational use of cannabis was at least decriminalised it should become much easier to get and should get cheaper – and it at least will be safer legally and health-wise.

    • Griff.

       /  September 22, 2018

      Thats a complex question
      A bottle of cheap plonk is what eight bucks?
      A decent wine from twenty.
      Cheap whisky is thirty bucks you can spend hundreds on a single malt .
      Why the difference they all contain exactly the same active ingredient alcohol?
      You can buy pure alcohol for a couple of bucks a liter it will get you pissed exactly the same as the most expensive wine. Alcohol is sold on the perceived value, exclusivity and taste not on it’s psychoactive content.
      Different strains of cannabis contain different ratios of active ingredient yet on our black market it is mostly sold as a single commodity a tinny weighing about 0.5 grams not on taste, exclusivity or its ratio of active constituents.
      What you get when you buy a tinny is strains that can be gown quickly and are strong .
      If we had a legal market we would see more choice and the ability to purchase strains more to our taste and the effect we want from it .Personally I much prefer a trippy sativa that is not as heavy as the modern skunky indica . I would happily pay a premium to get the effect I want rather than purchase on price or strength .

      If we had a legal market we would need a discussion around work place drug testing .
      At the moment they dont test for impairment they test for residuals that just signify you have used cannabis at some time in the past . The present testing regime is a infringement of your rights to do as you wish in your won time if it has no effect on your employment . There is no evidence that you are impaired after about four hours of smoking cannabis yet you could lose your job if you smoked it on holiday a month ago in a place were it is legal.

      If we addressed a legal market and the anomaly of drug testing for previous cannabis use rather than impairment I believe the market for synthetic cannabis would dry up in a few months . I also think legal cannabis would impact both alcohol and P sales as well.

      • NOEL

         /  September 22, 2018

        https://www.newshub.co.nz/home/new-zealand/2017/09/cannabis-drought-as-meth-use-rises.html

        Illuminating is the the claim that dependence increases when the strength of fake cannabis increases. Couple that with the lack of oil in the synthetic the average tinny is going to have to come down substantially to be attractive.

        Dry up in months would it?

        • Griff.

           /  September 22, 2018

          How much do you think it costs to produce cannabis?
          About the same per kilo as tomatoes.
          $2 a kilo vrs a retail price of $4,000 a kilo.
          Depending on the approach to legislation the cost for a high could drop substantially below that of present illegal alternatives on the black market.

          Few go to some dodgy backyard sly grogger to buy piss of unknown quality. They exist but their market makes up only a small fraction of NZ, alcohol sales.Most would much rather walk int o a local legal bottle store and buy branded product of know quality even though it costs more. Most would rather go to a rebuttable legal shop to buy cannabis of known quality and strain than take a chance with an unknown product at a dark backdoor staffed by some thug in a shitty part of town.
          https://www.coloradopotguide.com/where-to-buy-marijuana

          There is plenty of conclusive evidence that legalizing cannabis reduces alcohol use.
          For hard drugs not so much as too many variables are involved.
          On hard drugs I am relying on my own experience to derive an informed opinion.

          • Blazer

             /  September 22, 2018

            ‘There is plenty of conclusive evidence that legalizing cannabis reduces alcohol use.’..yes apparently Lion would sponser the Police helicopter to locate and destroy cannabis plantations;.

        • Kitty Catkin

           /  September 22, 2018

          I would think that anyone who drank pure alcohol would die soon of alcohol poisoning.

  2. There are a few issues (IMHO):

    1) the prev. Govt. (minister Dunne) passed the ‘Psychoactive Substance Act’.. which excluded natural cannabis. there were comments that ‘synthetics were ‘low risk’ BUT natural cannabis would not fit this category’

    2) this gave a perception, that synthetics were ‘safer’ than the natural herb.. BUT now that over 40 kiwis have died from it.. perhaps this is seen as TOTAL MISINFO. which most who have tried both, probably already knew

    3) some folks use synthetics because, natural cannabis IS tested for in workplace/WINZ drug tests.. synthetics are apparently NOT ?

    4) there still seems to be hesitation to look at decrim. or regulation (in some form) of natural cannabis, prior to a referendum (2020 ?).. even though it would probably reduce the potential harm from synthetics; to allow some level of legal use of natural herb

    Are MPs really looking after the welfare of the public (on Drug policy) OR just concerned about winning the next election ? :/

    • The other point.. Why is Aotearoa/NZ now at the back of the pack in OECD, on Cannabis law reform ?

      “Follow the Money !!

  3. Blazer

     /  September 22, 2018

    must say I’ve been acquainted with daily usuage functioning potheads and some also who seem rather psychotic like their brains have been ..fried.

    • Griff.

       /  September 22, 2018

      must say I’ve been acquainted with daily usage functioning potheadsalcoholics and some also who seem rather psychotic like their brains have been ..fried.

      • NOEL

         /  September 22, 2018

        Straw man Griff

        • Griff.

           /  September 22, 2018

          A straw man is a common form of argument and is an informal fallacy based on giving the impression of refuting an opponent’s argument, while actually refuting an argument that was not presented by that opponent. One who engages in this fallacy is said to be “attacking a straw man.”

          Logic fail for the same reason as pointed out in the past few days. A lack of actual logic usage by the accuser.

          Topic

          The drug abuse crisis continues to hit the headlines,with ongoing and growing problems, more and more deaths,

          statement one: some can use the illegal drug cannabis with little effect some have negative consequence .
          Counter: Some use alcohol a legal drug with little effect some have negative consequence .
          Implied argument. Why should one be illegal and the other legal? A drugs negative effect on a person has no correlation to a drugs illegality under the present regime.

  4. Trevors_elbow

     /  September 22, 2018

    People are dying… so.what.

    Buy your illegal shit…take it… and roll the dice.

    Everyone’s chemical receptors and body chemistry are subtly different… so they will react to licit and illicit drugs differently.

    You pay’s your money and you rolls the dice…

    Not sure the government needs to do a hell of a lot to be frank except….

    Decriminalise everything. Sell through state owned shops. Get all users to take out insurance against adverse effects and away you go.

    And make sure legislation punishes those operating machinery etc under the influence harshly .I.e. get your stone on on your own time and make being stoned/intoxicated no defense at law…I.e. your culpable for any harm you do under the influence…

    • Corky

       /  September 22, 2018

      We’ll make a Libertarian of yet, Trev. Prognosis isn’t as good for Kitty or Robert or Lurchy.