Drug harm reducing, politicians panic

“The Authority has received anecdotal reports demonstrating the number of severe presentations to emergency departments has reduced since the Act came in.”

Tim Watkin at Pundit writes Legal highs leave MPs dazed & confused

Nicola Kean, a producer for The Nation, asked the Ministry of Health last week:

“What’s the trend (if any) for people presenting at A+E for problems with psychoactive substances since the law was introduced?”

A written reply on Thursday said:

“While it is early days the Authority has received anecdotal reports demonstrating the number of severe presentations to emergency departments has reduced since the Act came in.

The Authority monitors approved products received from the Centre for Adverse Reactions Monitoring (CARM), and calls from the public to the National Poisons Centre on a regular basis.

These reports also show a reduction in the number of severe issues being reported. Where severe adverse reactions are reported the Authority has the power to act and has already removed products from the market where reports to CARM identified they posed more than a low risk of harm”.

So again the evidence is only anecdotal, but the official line was that if anything reports of severe harm caused by legal highs was DOWN since the law was introduced.

Only it made for bad optics; the public didn’t like what it saw. The political risk to the government became too high. Hence the de facto ban via councils becomes a temporary ban via a government-mandated product recall.

This suggests that harm has been actually reducing, the visible impact has just been concentrated around the far fewer retail outlets.

Politicians seem to have been spooked by bad publicity and are set to change something that appeared to be working more or less as intended.