Posts by Russell Brown

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  • Hard News: Sorting out our thinking on drugs, in reply to Craig Young,

    One question occurs to me. Are these legal high users also using other drugs? In which case, are we dealing with straightforward reactions to cannabinoids or polydrug abuse in this context?

    I'm not sure anyone completely understands what's going on here. As Dunne noted last night, the reported harms were not evident last July when the products associated with severe adverse reactions were banned under the Act and those for which there had not been such reports allowed to remain on sale under interim approval.

    You can't imagine, now, for instance, Duncan Garner having a go on the synthetic weed for the sake of his radio show. It would be like smoking P. But, surely, with more harmful products much more widely available without age restriction, things must have been worse then? Why is there a crisis now?

    It seems pretty clear -- and this is not to diminish the experience of people who are suffering -- that at least part of the explanation is moral panic.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 17977 posts Report Reply

  • Hard News: Sorting out our thinking on drugs, in reply to BenWilson,

    The more things that get banned, the more reason there is to take crystal meth instead. That’s where I see all this heading.

    I think I finally understand what your argument is: the Act's not too loose, it's too tight.

    You're not alone in thinking that, although you may be in a minority.

    But yeah, that's what the post above is partially about: stop criminalising drug use.

    Interestingly, the PSA is similar in some ways to the regulatory system for legal pot in Colorado, down to local government having a say over retail locations. If we legalised pot, the infrastructure would be there.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 17977 posts Report Reply

  • Hard News: Sorting out our thinking on drugs, in reply to debunk,

    This witless and unworkable NZ law will fail because there is an endless supply of variants (ie “research drugs”) and as one is withdrawn another slightly altered version will surface.

    No, it won't. You don't understand what the Act does.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 17977 posts Report Reply

  • Hard News: Sorting out our thinking on drugs, in reply to BenWilson,

    The alternative has been thought of. Decriminalize cannabis. Or even better, legalize it.

    We clearly agree on that. But how does that fix the problem of every other novel psychoactive that comes along?

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 17977 posts Report Reply

  • Hard News: Sorting out our thinking on drugs, in reply to Graeme Edgeler,

    The New South Wales legislature has gone another way, passing a law that bans all psychoactive substances, including those yet unknown...

    But, but ... Peter Dunne says that's impossible :-)

    You know I can't ban your ghost drugs, Graeme.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 17977 posts Report Reply

  • Hard News: Sorting out our thinking on drugs, in reply to BenWilson,

    The lion’s share of what’s good about them is hypothetical at this point. I don’t accept that any of those things are even worth having at all, if they lead to no actual good that I can appreciate. Like actually bringing harm down.

    You’re seriously suggesting that regulated manufacturing standards, getting the products out of dairies, monitoring remaining retailers etc won’t reduce harm at all? Even that fact that no new products can be introduced?

    If they can’t do that, they’re a complete waste of time and money, and might even be worse, blocking more useful approaches by appearing to do something that they’re not.

    For goodness, sake, the key element of the act – which will see manufacturers required to formally demonstrate the products are low-risk if they want approval to sell them – isn’t even in place yet. It’s a bit early to be writing it off in favour of something else that we haven’t thought of yet.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 17977 posts Report Reply

  • Hard News: Sorting out our thinking on drugs, in reply to BenWilson,

    I was asking about the practical good. Those are only hypothetical goods that might lead to a practical good.

    I think it's a logical contortion to rule out all the things Ross listed as being only hypothetical goods.

    Has the law change meant we’ve actually seen less of this?

    It appears so:

    The illicit drug monitoring system study shows that, after a brief rise to prominence, synthetic cannabis is already declining among drug users.

    There's a caveat in that the study only interviews people who already have access to illegal drugs, but it's a pretty clear trend. I knew people who bought synthetic pot when it was for sale in dairies (I bought some myself once, to know what I was talking about), I don't know anyone who buys it now.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 17977 posts Report Reply

  • Hard News: Friday Music: Record Store Day,

    Lorde has postponed her Australian tour dates on account of illness and will return to NZ to rest and get well.

    Whatever the issue, I think it's pretty clear she's due a rest.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 17977 posts Report Reply

  • Hard News: Sorting out our thinking on drugs,

    From Stuff's story about the recent report from the Illegal Drug Monitoring System:

    Wilkins said the internet made sharing the blueprints for making new synthetic drugs easier than ever. This meant users were more likely not to know what they were taking, as new drugs were passed off as familiar products.

    A potent synthetic psychedelic, called NBOMe, has been linked to overdose deaths overseas, but in New Zealand is often mistakenly sold as less dangerous LSD. Ecstasy is also increasingly being linked to psychotic episodes and admissions to hospital. However, this may be because the pills being passed off as ecstasy are actually an unpredictable cocktail of other drugs.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 17977 posts Report Reply

  • Hard News: Sorting out our thinking on drugs, in reply to Ross Bell,

    But it’s arguable whether it will do anything for demand for the speedy legals highs (the first, BZP, was no cannabis substitute).

    Yes, I meant to point out that this whole story really began with BZP.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 17977 posts Report Reply

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