Hard News by Russell Brown

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Hard News: The perilous birth of the Psychoactive Substances Act

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  • debunk,

    Yes parts of it are silly, especially last two sentences. However it's cheering to see the medical side coming on board to provide the hard data. What every product needs is information about the smoking material (where does itcome from? Is it safe? etc) the actual chemical and formula, its composition and dilution when sprayed on the "twigs and leaves" dry matter or whatever that one reads about, and therefore how consistent the "dose" is that the smoker receives. It is not just the chemical constructed for these products but also the means of delivery (effect on lungs especially for young previous non-smokers) and the dosage which, in prescription drugs, is rigorously controlled - well, we hope it is. Like food products, product detail on the packet needs a standard format of content and source, and date of production.

    An Editorial quote of particular silliness:

    "Our legislators took a step in the right direction by placing the onus on the legal-high industry to prove each new formulation was not harmful. Parliament is now considering an amendment to outlaw animal testing as a means of obtaining that proof, which would neatly render safety testing unaffordable for most players in the market."

    For a supposedly business-friendly government in a country largely self employed in some form or other and providing most employment to to others thereby, this strange law is a mean way to treat small traders, whatever their product; encourage them into business and then make sure they can't trade. Weird. Bad day for the sole trader I say.

    New Zealand • Since Aug 2012 • 105 posts Report Reply

  • debunk, in reply to Rich of Observationz,

    No ..just laboratory mice and quite an incidental but important observation that consuming psychotropic drugs in a social environment enhances effects ,, they run around more and can get so overactive they die. Party drug effect?

    New Zealand • Since Aug 2012 • 105 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown, in reply to debunk,

    consuming psychotropic drugs in a social environment enhances effects

    I can personally vouch for this.

    they run around more and can get so overactive they die. Party drug effect?

    In the case of MDMA, the primary cause of death is heatstroke, followed by water intoxication (both of which should be preventable) and the others a long way behind. Its annual deaths per user are about 25 times lower than alcohol and it's actually years since there was an Ecstasy death in New Zealand. Unfortunately, we're seeing some significant harms from other chemicals which have replaced MDMA in the market since MDMA got harder to manufacture.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 22537 posts Report Reply

  • Ian Dalziel, in reply to debunk,

    Bad day for the soul trader I say.

    fixed that for ya...*

    **(Contains intended humour,
    reactions may vary)

    Christchurch • Since Dec 2006 • 7704 posts Report Reply

  • debunk,

    Think I would prefer "sole" trader for my occupation, though. But nice one Ian! Had a look at the NZ Drug Foundation website. What a hoot.

    Quote Tweet April 4

    "Everyone take a deep breath. Once the regulations are fully in place, the #legalhigh law will be a powerful tool for protecting health."

    New Zealand • Since Aug 2012 • 105 posts Report Reply

  • Ian Dalziel,

    I’m OK, Ohariu, how are you?
    Hmmm – which thread – lawyers / drugs / science?
    – hard to know

    Most surprised to see on the telly tonight* that a lawyer / spokesman for the legal highs industry, is Peter Dunne’s son, (who works for Chen Palmer) – of course they are all independent adults, but I’d have thought he’d have front footed that earlier, to avoid the muttering that will now ensue – an uncharitable view might be that it looks like Dunne is just making work for his son – (if you are a cynical curmudgeon like me)…

    *I forced myself to watch seven sharp, gawd Hoskings is a plonker, what a role model – as he dismisses science and learning as some kind of chore or aberration –
    someone slap him!

    Christchurch • Since Dec 2006 • 7704 posts Report Reply

  • Ian Dalziel,

    surely this is ingest...
    After listening to Peter Dunne with the very affable Sean Plunket, the thing that gets me is that Dunne senior seems to have hamstrung his own ability to view all facts presented, if he has deliberately chosen not to talk to, or take submissions from, any of Dunne junior's clients (the producers and distributors of psychoactive substances).
    He should recuse himself from the matter immediately, and let someone who can field all information take over...

    James Dunne trading on his 'valuable inside knowledge of how Parliament works in New Zealand' also seems a step too far - as 'inside', to me, seems to infer either having worked there or being privy to information passed on by a second party or parties, just having done a political science course or a BA in history doesn't quite add up to 'valuable inside knowledge'... - are there bona fides and references I can't see somewhere?

    LInked in is no use (no longer exists) - but he seems to have gone straight to ChenPalmer from Victoria and Bar admission - maybe it was a school holiday job?
    or gleaned by osmosis around the dinner table?

    Zoom info has little more that helps...

    Here is the Seven Sharp piece from last night.

    I admit to being confused by it all.

    Christchurch • Since Dec 2006 • 7704 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown, in reply to Ian Dalziel,

    Most surprised to see on the telly tonight* that a lawyer / spokesman for the legal highs industry, is Peter Dunne’s son, (who works for Chen Palmer) – of course they are all independent adults, but I’d have thought he’d have front footed that earlier, to avoid the muttering that will now ensue – an uncharitable view might be that it looks like Dunne is just making work for his son – (if you are a cynical curmudgeon like me)…

    Everyone familiar with the sector has known for years that James is Peter Dunne's son, so Seven Sharp trumpeting its "exclusive" and speculating about conflicts of interest is some bullshit. It's no secret. The only thing I think might be a bit off is the "inside knowledge" wording on the Chen Palmer website, but "valuable inside knowledge of how Parliament works" is basically what Chen Palmer sells.

    James himself has commented usefully on Public Address on occasion. I've found him straightforward and helpful -- and his speech at last year's Cannabis and Health Symposium was fascinating.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 22537 posts Report Reply

  • Ian Dalziel, in reply to Russell Brown,

    Everyone familiar with the sector has known
    for years that James is Peter Dunne’s son...

    Well that's all right then, I'll let public opinion
    make of it what it will, and move on...

    Christchurch • Since Dec 2006 • 7704 posts Report Reply

  • Geoff Lealand, in reply to Ian Dalziel,

    I agree with Ian that the Dunne connection is just a little bit too cosy and old boy network. Are there certain topics prohibited around the family dinner table?

    Screen & Media Studies, U… • Since Oct 2007 • 2520 posts Report Reply

  • debunk,

    @Ian ..The Hon Dunne also seems confused on STUFF about what constitutes the commercial product here ..

    Problem with not knowing what's in these "psychoactive substances" before they're sold is the well known animal behaviour/trainer Frustration-Aggression Hypothesis .. there is obviously addiction involved - and those deprived of product if supply is closed off will be frustrated, unhappy, habituated customers with a predictably excitable response.

    As noted earlier, the Act is unfair on small business and also unfair on customers as product is changed or withdrawn; and not what one would expect from our supposedly business friendly government?

    New Zealand • Since Aug 2012 • 105 posts Report Reply

  • George Darroch,

    Basically, what Russell said. James is a straight shooter, in my experience. Chen Palmer also work for *everyone*. They use their knowledge of government against Peter Dunne's ministries on a regular basis. This, again, is well known to any person in the legal and health sectors and any media organisation that employs credible researchers.

    WLG • Since Nov 2006 • 2264 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown, in reply to Geoff Lealand,

    I agree with Ian that the Dunne connection is just a little bit too cosy and old boy network. Are there certain topics prohibited around the family dinner table?

    There's nothing "old boy network" about it.

    James specialises in various forms of public policy and law reform and he's been acting for clients in this particular sector since before his father was even the relevant minister. He's the leading expert in this area of law -- should he give that up because of his father?

    They're both adults whose respective jobs partially involve this area of law. But unless someone can point to and explain an actual conflict of interest (and all the Seven Sharp hand-waving didn't get there) I don't really see how "too cosy" is more than innuendo.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 22537 posts Report Reply

  • Ian Dalziel, in reply to Russell Brown,

    They’re both adults whose respective jobs
    partially involve this area of law.

    I guess I'm a bit thick, but if Dunne Sr is cutting himself from information that I'd have thought he needs to have, from as many sources as possible (not just Health Dept input) and especially from the industry itself, how can he do the job he has set himself (or been given under warrant).

    To clarify: my issue is not with James Dunne doing the job he does, as such, someone needs to, but with the responsible minister avoiding talking to people who know stuff, seemingly because of a perceived familial conflict - the end result could resemble 3 blind men describing an elephant... you can only know, the bits you know...

    Christchurch • Since Dec 2006 • 7704 posts Report Reply

  • debunk,

    New Zealand innovates, yet again, with a new PPPP business structure....

    the Political Public Private Partnership..

    New Zealand • Since Aug 2012 • 105 posts Report Reply

  • Ian Dalziel, in reply to debunk,

    PPPP

    Our growing P problem...

    Christchurch • Since Dec 2006 • 7704 posts Report Reply

  • debunk,

    "Legal Highs" are more likely laboratory variants on P than "synthetic cannabis" unfortunately. Time and tests will tell.

    PPPP = Private Profit Public Price ....

    New Zealand • Since Aug 2012 • 105 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown, in reply to debunk,

    “Legal Highs” are more likely laboratory variants on P than “synthetic cannabis” unfortunately. Time and tests will tell.

    No, they're really not. There were a couple of products that contained cathinones, but that was long before the Act came in.

    They're agonists for the cannabinoid receptors in the brain. One, AB-FUBINACA, was developed as an analgesic by Pfizer in 2009.

    The full list of interim approvals is here. I think we can expect it to start shrinking rapidly in the face of adverse response reports.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 22537 posts Report Reply

  • debunk,

    Commercial law would still expect consumers not to be misled and I still suggest that this is the case with this "Legal High" industry.

    Adverse response reports are not the "evidence" that the Act seems to require, in terms of the pharmaceutical industry standards. If atypical antidepressants were withdrawn because of adverse effects, enforced users in the psychiatric industry would be a lot better off, but of course this will not happen.

    New Zealand • Since Aug 2012 • 105 posts Report Reply

  • Ian Dalziel, in reply to Russell Brown,

    The full list of interim approvals is here. I think we can expect it to start shrinking rapidly in the face of adverse response reports.

    I’m sorry, but put that way,
    it looks like Russian Roulette….

    I’ve often wondered what those lab test babies,
    they used in nappy ads on the telly, grew up into…

    Christchurch • Since Dec 2006 • 7704 posts Report Reply

  • debunk,

    Do it like the medical "pain" scale commonly used 1 to 10, whereas response to commercial "psychoactives" could be 1=Nausea to 10=Death .. but how to cut off the list ...possibilities are endless. What a "complete game-changer" as Hon Dunne assured Parliament.

    New Zealand • Since Aug 2012 • 105 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown, in reply to Ian Dalziel,

    I’m sorry, but put that way,
    it looks like Russian Roulette….

    It’s a much quicker and more robust process than what happened before the Act and when the Act comes fully into force, they’ll all be banned, with the onus resting on the vendors to prove their products are low-risk. I know all the media reports are depicting this as a loosening of regulation, but the truth is it’s the opposite.

    The details are here:

    Following the passage of the Psychoactive Substances Regulations, the interim licensing scheme will be revoked and existing licence holders will be required to reapply for full product licences. The Regulations will require manufacturers of products to submit further data about the safety and quality of their product to demonstrate their product poses no more than a low risk of harm to a consumer. In addition to making a comprehensive review of safety data, the Regulations will also allow the Authority to place further conditions on the product licence including a requirement for on-going safety monitoring of products after they are on the market.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 22537 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown,

    Oh look – my OIA data from the Ministry of Health has arrived. Or some of it, anyway.

    Stay tuned.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 22537 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown,

    Attachment

    Here's a graph showing that calls to the National Poisons Centre about synthetic cannabis spiked massively -- to about two a day -- after the Psychoactive Substances Act became law in July last year.

    Why? Because the Act immediately required that a contact number for the National Poisons Centre be listed in product packaging.

    Some calls were from people simply seeking information, others reporting acute effects, mostly vomiting. Significantly, callers were able to cite the exact product and active substance, because that had to be on the packaging as well.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 22537 posts Report Reply

  • debunk,

    Well that's interesting. And what happened then ..ie what service/feedback/action does the National Poisons Centre offer in response to such enquiries ?

    New Zealand • Since Aug 2012 • 105 posts Report Reply

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