Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Lucia Dangers of Cannabis

A new breed of powerful cannabis and ballooning costs in treating its health effects have led to calls for urgent action, including drug education for primary school children.

The information, in a National Drug Intelligence Bureau report obtained by The Dominion Post under the Official Information Act, shows that cannabis, the most widely used illicit drug, creates more than $30 million a year in hospital bills.

The report the first of its kind to use information from Customs, health and police officials warns that the drug is likely to become more harmful. The threat posed by high-potency "re-engineered" cannabis has been steadily increasing, it says.

Hospital costs jumped 50 per cent from $19.5 million in 2004 to $31 million in 2005. Of the 2062 hospital cases in 2005, 48 admissions cost between $100,000 and $370,000 each.

The report calls for further action to reduce supply and demand as communities have become "comfortable with high prevalence levels".

Included is a call to curb the "alarming" trend of teenagers to use cannabis by making drug education programmes an immediate priority in primary schools.

Cannabis could account for up to 10 per cent of cases of psychosis, the report says, pointing to increasing admission rates for psychotic disorders, including schizophrenia and behavioural disorders.

This article really speaks for itself, but let me head off those who would argue that alcohol is just as bad.

The sole purpose of alcohol is not to get drunk. Of course, many New Zealanders seem incapable of restraint and drink only to get themselves completely blotto, and for that reason there have been calls to increase the costs of alcoholic drinks so that the high cost reduces availability. There may be some merit to this, but, I think that if the problems with alcohol are really so bad that there are calls for price rises, why not instead look at the drinking age (maybe raise it to 21) and don't allow alcohol sales after 12pm.

I have no problem with increasing restrictions on alcohol. Just like I have no problem with the current illegal status of cannabis - I just think this status ought to be enforced rather than considered part of the NZ culture.

To that end, why not advertise the dangers of cannabis on TV. It's not just children who are being taught it's "safe". There are many, many idiotic adults out there (some comment on this blog) that consider cannabis to be an acceptable drug. Let's take those horrible smoking ads and turn them into showing a perfectly reasonable kid turning into a psycho. This whole thing of having to teach children at school that cannabis is dangerous is silly because the problem is societal.

I'm trying to think which recent case involved a person breaching their bail conditions by smoking cannabis, which, in normal circumstances would have landed this person back in prison. But no, even though smoking cannabis was not allowed on bail for this person, the judge let him off because cannabis is now considered socially acceptable!

So when judges don't even think cannabis use is a breach of bail conditions even when it is spelled out to be, how are school children going to be taught cannabis use is bad enough to stay away from. Leadership needs to start with the adults in this country, and then those values can be passed on, rather than expecting that children will somehow lead the way in changing the culture.

Related Link: Call to teach cannabis dangers ~ Stuff, Dominion Post

7 comment(s):

Anonymous said...

The tragedy of it is that kids start using cannabis at puberty -about 13/14 - at a time when the brain is exploding with activity and intellectual connections at a rate not seen since the age of 2.

Those who say it is a 'soft drug' are wrong - it is linked to mental illness and suicide.

Look at the tragic murder of that prostitute a few days ago - a drug user since 14. Kind of proves our point, unfortunately.

Barnsley Bill said...

re engineered.. Hmmm, emotive words and complete tosh.
Alcohol and tobacco have a far higher social and financial cost in this country.
Disclosure. Do not smoke pot, tried it as a teen (yes I inhaled) but never since. But I do drink and smoke tobacco.
The pot stories always surface at this time of year, due to outdoor harvest time no doubt. The simple fact is that the outdoor stuff is falling away to indoor grown cannabis that delivers a far higher potency and is available all year round.

Anonymous said...

Agreed on the dangers of cannabis

However, instead of more and more campaigns 'educating' and spending peoples money on TV ads and all that why don't they just charge those who abuse cannabis or any other drug for their healthcare costs. Advertising on TV is all well and good, but someone has to pay for all this. Out here in Australia we have ads for every bloody thing, don't do this, don't do that, do this, do that, or you'll die, on and on it goes, and it's us the taxpayer who ends up paying and i for one am sick to the back teeth of it.

People need to grow the heck up and pay for the consequences of their stupidity, whoever they are.

KG said...

"People need to grow the heck up and pay for the consequences of their stupidity, whoever they are."

Amen to that!

Gooner said...

Yep, I agree wholeheartedly that Cannabis probably leads to psychosis and the other health related problems you mention.

But why is this a criminal law problem?

Lucia Maria said...

Gooner, why is drink driving "a criminal law problem?" I can answer that question - the danger to oneself to others outweighs issues of freedom to do what one wants.

Anne Tiffa said...

I can undestand criminalisng behaviour that harms others, but not to myself.

In fact, this is exactly why drink driving is a criminal law problem, but drinking is not. Mary Jane should be treated the same.

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