Hard News by Russell Brown

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Hard News: The Drugs Meetup

11 Responses

  • steven crawford,

    I think you’re being a bit harsh on Andrew Little. He can’t just go rouge, he has to listen to his caucus. You wanted a conservative centre right government, you got one.

    So, lots of things. I realise when I read stuff like that, I’m a lot more neuro-not- usual than average.

    There is an incredible number of parts to what you guys are trying to nail down. And as soon as you get one all written up in tidy logical paragraphs, it creates another set of opposing problems. It’s understandable that this Labour government doesn’t want to go anywhere near any of it.

    You might want to reconsider voting for different people next time.

    Atlantis • Since Nov 2006 • 4442 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown, in reply to steven crawford,

    I think you’re being a bit harsh on Andrew Little. He can’t just go rouge, he has to listen to his caucus.

    Nah. Little's been way out ahead of his caucus on this – Kris Faafoi, his replacement as Minister of Justice has already said he'd vote for a decriminalisation member's bill. Ardern did recently slightly endorse his referendum argument, but that seemed more about saving face for him. Otherwise, no one else in government is saying what he says – that the referendum on cannabis legalisation means the government now can't do any reform at all.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 22843 posts Report Reply

  • Simon Armstrong,

    If dope was free maybe beer could be too. What does money have to do with drugs anyway?

    New Zealand • Since Jan 2015 • 75 posts Report Reply

  • steven crawford, in reply to Russell Brown,

    I have to confess to not being an expert there. The budget should enlighten us more. It will be most telling if they, as in the government ignore what all the people who know about poverty have been trying to say. As was said and applauded during what I know of the Drugs Meet Up, drug harm and poverty is correlated.

    But still, none of this is an exact science, in my opinion. As Joe Boden said, it’s not things the science is looking at, its individual people. Like I’ve said I've learned that addiction isn’t rational behaviour so just presenting evidence based anything doesn't do a hell of a lot. It's also a difficult illness to treat when people who suffer it are living in isolation and struggling to make ends meet. How the budget deals with poverty thru its budget will be what I’ll be looking at as an indicator of their intent to do some of the stuff on your drugs law reform wish list.

    Atlantis • Since Nov 2006 • 4442 posts Report Reply

  • Nick Russell,

    I can't help but notice how closely the Ministry of Health's scheme for medicinal cannabis seems to resemble the same Ministry's scheme for administrating the Psychoactive Substances Act. A regime which purports to exist for the purpose of regulating a lawful activity is functionally indistinguishable from an outright ban. And the model for legalised cannabis proposed for the referendum looked suspiciously similar. Too many barriers, too much expense, and (surprise surprise) nothing and nobody is ever quite good enough to get through it all. So how the Minister can stand there with a straight face and claim that he expected a different result is beyond me. There's a name for doing the same thing over and over again and expecting a different result.

    Wellington • Since Jul 2008 • 127 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown, in reply to Nick Russell,

    I can’t help but notice how closely the Ministry of Health’s scheme for medicinal cannabis seems to resemble the same Ministry’s scheme for administrating the Psychoactive Substances Act.

    There are certainly some similarities – notably the establishment of a transitional scheme that the system can't get past because product approval is too hard. But the PSA had the problem of trying to regulate substances that were poorly-understood and generally dangerous. With medicinal cannabis, the problem is trying to fit a relatively harmless substance into a pharmaceutical regime where it has no history.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 22843 posts Report Reply

  • Geoff Noller, in reply to Russell Brown,

    Russell thank you for this "as usual" excellent summation of an important event / set of issues. I agree generally with your summation of Nick Russell's comment; the MoH's obsession with a pharmaceutical model is throttling the nascent development of the availability of medicinal cannabis and the associated regulations, strategies, structures, scheme etc. However, I also hear what Nick is saying re the PSA analogy, in as much as the Ministry has created a framework that simultaneously allows med can and undermines the possibility of its growth or availability. This MUST be challenged and I certainly wouldn't agree with Steven Crawford's defence of Andrew Little. Between Little and Clarke, when it comes to cannabis policy we've had two unimaginative and ineffectual ministers; effectively useless. Given that the drug policy portfolio has historically been the preserve of an Associate Min of Health, surely it's time to push this important work to one of these? Dr Ayesha Verrall, for example, has a background in a broadly public health area; given the inequities Māori suffer at the hands of drug policy, particularly that relating to cannabis, how's about Peeni Henare? And there's also Aupito Sio, though there's a real conservatism within Pacifika. Anyhoo, there are alternatives to Little, though whether these have the intestinal fortitude to grasp the nettle of real reform remains to be seen.

    Dunedin • Since Feb 2016 • 2 posts Report Reply

  • BenWilson,

    I started to despair of politics and politicians.

    I'm not sure if this makes me happy or sad. I despaired some years ago but misery does love company.

    So how the Minister can stand there with a straight face and claim that he expected a different result is beyond me. There's a name for doing the same thing over and over again and expecting a different result.

    I doubt he really expected a different result. He not insane, he's just a liar. The insanity is in expecting honesty from powerful politicians.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 10657 posts Report Reply

  • BenWilson,

    In sum, it was was an important affirmation that science is not values-free.

    And yet that is meant to be its main strength. I have long thought that an obsession with value free knowledge as a means to making value judgments and inevitably practical moral decisions is a very dangerous obsession. It means that value discussion itself is tragically weak since it deals with non scientific claims and is therefore derided as having no merit. Which inevitably means that the values of the very people providing the value free knowledge go unexamined and unchallenged and take precedence. And it is very, very difficult for any layperson in their field to unpack where they went wrong since their field is highly technical.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 10657 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown, in reply to Geoff Noller,

    Russell thank you for this “as usual” excellent summation of an important event / set of issues. I agree generally with your summation of Nick Russell’s comment; the MoH’s obsession with a pharmaceutical model is throttling the nascent development of the availability of medicinal cannabis and the associated regulations, strategies, structures, scheme etc.

    I interviewed a patient today for whom the current scheme is actually really working. But now Tilray 25, his prescribed product, is being withheld over a very technical issue with labelling and no one seems inclined to ensure patients get continuity of the only prescribable product in its class.

    Then I explained why his current CBD product might disappear too ...

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 22843 posts Report Reply

  • steven crawford,

    Odyssey’s Andrew Munro emphasised that effective treatment for meth dependence needs to encompass families as well. The most destructive stigmatising, he said, can come from close family members. They need to become part of the process. Andrew Hopgood from the Porirua initiative New Zealand P-Pull explained why they don’t make clients relinquish their gang membership: “that’s their whanau”.

    Nether of these ideas are new. This is the Hazelden model. It's decades old thinking. It's presented here as these 'authorities' emphasised this and this, but says nothing really useful. It's potentially harmful to belt these paragraphs out in the middle of having a rant about the Minister of Health.

    When we talk about drug addiction recovery, could we please seperate it from the politics of decriminalisation. They are very different things.

    First, yes involve the family's during addiction treatment: because the whole family gets damaged by the addiction (weather they are the addict or not) Its complicated, but well understood by health professionals.

    Second, sometimes it is a good idea for an addict to get the fuck away from their gang associates. Not all gangs are built the same. And addiction is more than the drug substance. Its a behaviour.

    Atlantis • Since Nov 2006 • 4442 posts Report Reply

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