Drugs

Australia should tax and regulate cannabis, not prohibit it

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The decision to ban cannabis was an accident of history. There was no careful root and branch review of the evidence. Alex Wodak ABC Instead, Australia was represented at a League of Nations meeting in Geneva in 1925 where delegates from several countries decried the dangers of cannabis. As Robert Kendell outlines in his book Cannabis Condemned: “A claim by the Egyptian delegation that [cannabis] was as dangerous as opium, and should therefore be subject to the same international controls, ... Read More »

Legal highs: arguments for and against legalising cannabis in Australia

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Greens leader Richard Di Natale wants Australia to legalise cannabis for personal use, regulated by a federal agency. Nicole Lee Jarryd Bartle The Conversation This proposal is for legalisation of recreational use for relaxation and pleasure, not to treat a medical condition (which is already legal in Australia for some conditions). According to the proposal, the government agency would licence, monitor and regulate production and sale, and regularly review the regulations. The agency would be the sole wholesaler, buying from ... Read More »

WA health minister launches plan to ease access to medicinal cannabis

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Sick West Australians who have been prescribed medicinal cannabis by a doctor will be able to get access within 48 hours under a plan agreed to by Health Minister Roger Cook. Phoebe Wearne The West Australian At the Council of Australian Governments health council meeting in Sydney yesterday, Mr Cook and his State and Territory counterparts gave the nod to having a single approval process for all… The deal means patients will no longer have to apply to both State ... Read More »

Medical cannabis is legal. That does not mean it works

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These days, when Deb Lynch reads that medical cannabis is legal, she just laughs and laughs. “We used to get annoyed about that,” she says. Liam Mannix The Canberra Times “Not any more.” Ms Lynch expected legalisation would mean she could access the drug to treat her autoimmune disease. But, like many, she has been knocked back and told there is no evidence it would help her. For medical cannabis, some experts believe the hype has surged way past the ... Read More »

Europe struggles to face down Big Pharma

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Knocking down drug prices requires more than bargaining as a group. Belgium and the Netherlands teamed up three years ago to negotiate cheaper drugs in the hopes of forming a new front against Big Pharma’s high prices. Carmen Paun Politico It was an attractive idea: Banding together, EU health ministries would wield bargaining power against pharma companies based on their bigger patient pool. Luxembourg, Austria and Ireland agreed with the logic and signed on, stung into action as drug prices reached eye-popping highs. Hepatitis ... Read More »

End the Weaponisation of Water in Central Asia

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Four Central Asian states – Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan – have argued over their water resources since the collapse of the Soviet Union. At times these disputes have seemed to threaten war. The forthcoming presidential summit in Astana can help banish that spectre. Alina Dalbaeva ICG On 15-16 March there is a landmark opportunity to promote peace and prosperity in Central Asia when the presidents of Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan meet in the Kazakh capital of Astana. It ... Read More »

High-strength cannabis now dominates illegal market, study finds

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Samples showed huge rise in highly psychoactive strains, raising public health concerns Damien Gayle The Guardian Almost all cannabis seized by police now comprises high-strength varieties, with outdoor-grown herbal strains and hashish barely found, according to a new analysis. In the first study of its kind for 10 years, researchers from GW Pharmaceuticals, which makes medicines derived from cannabis, and King’s College London found 94% of samples seized by police were varieties with a high psychoactive content, suggesting they dominate the illicit ... Read More »

Is marijuana the world’s most effective treatment for autism?

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It’s morning in Nahariya, a tiny Israeli town near the Lebanese border, and 4-year-old Benjamin is repeatedly smashing his head against the wall. BY DEBRA KAMIN Newsweek He spins wildly in circles, screeching at full volume. As his mother tries frantically to calm him, he pulls down his pants and defecates on the floor. When they leave their apartment, Benjamin wrestles free of her hand and nearly runs into oncoming traffic. Sharon attempts a trip to the supermarket but leaves before ... Read More »

ICC to probe alleged crimes in Philippines, Venezuela

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The prosecutor at the International Criminal Court (ICC) launched initial probes on Feb. 7 into alleged crimes against humanity during the “war on drugs” in the Philippines and political upheaval in Venezuela. THE HAGUE Hurriyet “Since 2016, I have closely followed the situations” in both the Philippines and Venezuela, prosecutor Fatou Bensouda said in a statement. After “a careful, independent and impartial review… I have decided to open a preliminary examination into each situation.” In the Philippines, her office would ... Read More »

Teen ‘Widows’ of Duterte’s Drug War Face a Bleak Economic Future

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They are the hidden cost of Rodrigo Duterte’s drug war in the Philippines: single, teenage mothers whose partners have been killed by police or vigilantes. Ana P. Santos News Deeply And without a job or government support, it’s near impossible for them to support their children. MANILA, PHILIPPINES – It was just after midnight when four men in black masks broke down Jazmine Durana’s door. Two of them held Durana and her baby at gunpoint, ordering them to stay inside. The other two ... Read More »

San Francisco offers marijuana conviction amnesty

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The city of San Francisco, one of the most liberal in the United States, is offering an amnesty for marijuana convictions dating back over 40 years, weeks after California legalized the drug. LOS ANGELES – Agence France-Presse Hurriyet California’s legalization of recreational marijuana took effect at the beginning of January, making the state the largest legal market for pot in the world. “While drug policy on the federal level is going backwards, San Francisco is once again taking the lead ... Read More »

National response to prescription drug abuse epidemic a matter of urgency

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In the three years before his death on January 6, 2010, 21-year-old Paul Fennessy had obtained, and filled, more than 150 prescriptions for opioids, antidepressants and antipsychotics. The Canberra Times A post mortem revealed not a single one of the seven drugs present in his body was illegal. Paul, like many of the hundreds of Australians who die from overdosing on prescription opioids each year, was a skilled doctor shopper. His suppliers were the 18 different GPs and chemists he used to obtain ... Read More »

Up to a million Britons use steroids for looks not sport

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Health warnings as image culture drives usage of performance-enhancing drugs Steven Morris The Guardian Up to 1 million people in the UK are taking anabolic steroids and other image- and performance-enhancing drugs (IPEDs) to change the way they look, public health experts and doctors have said. This ranges from teenagers seeking the perfect physique to elderly men hoping to hang on to youthful looks. Research suggests that appearance rather than sporting performance is the reason for a majority of those ... Read More »

The missing Alzheimer’s pill

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When it comes to some of the biggest diseases America faces in the future, our drug system is set up to fail. DAVID H. FREEDMAN Politico What needs to happen? If there’s a dream of what a new drug is supposed to do, it might look something like Kalydeco. In 2012, the new light-blue pill from Vertex Pharmaceuticals rocked the world of cystic fibrosis, a fatal disease that affects 30,000 people in the United State. It’s best known for its ... Read More »

America Can’t Win the Drug War in Afghanistan

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Twenty-four of Afghanistan’s thirty-four provinces now are directly involved in illicit drug production. Ted Galen Carpenter  As if the United States needed more evidence that its sixteen-year mission in Afghanistan is an exercise in futility, a new United Nations report provides an additional reason for depression. The National Interest The 2017 Afghanistan Opium Survey from the UN’s Office on Drugs and Crime, released on November 15, confirms that Washington’s effort to curb illicit narcotics trafficking in the country has failed. Almost every ... Read More »

Peru legalises medical marijuana in move spurred by mother’s home lab

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Proposal to decriminalise the drug came after police raided a makeshift laboratory where a group of women made cannabis oil for their sick children Dan Collyns The Guardian Lawmakers in Peru have voted overwhelmingly in favour of a bill to legalise medical marijuana, allowing cannabis oil to be locally produced, imported and sold. With a vote of 68-5, Peru’s Congress approved the bill which will be written into law in 60 days, once regulations for producing and selling cannabis have ... Read More »