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Dunne: Dope lifts teens' schizophrenia rate 600%

Dunne: Dope lifts teens' schizophrenia rate 600%

United Future leader Peter Dunne today put before Parliament hard-hitting medical research showing that cannabis use in those under 18 increases the rate of schizophrenia by 600 percent, and trebles the risk of general mental illness

Throwing down a challenge to those who would legalise the drug, he told them they had to face up to the compelling research on the dangers of cannabis.

"Those who would legalise this drug must really look at the research on the damage that cannabis does," Mr Dunne said.

"I do not believe, that upon studying the research, that any responsible politician from any background would be prepared to effectively further unleash this drug upon the young people of this country, upon the families of this country, and upon the communities of this country.

"It is a classic case of people who want to create public policy based on private prejudice," he said.

"When we have someone as significant as Professor Robin Murray of London's Institute of Psychiatry reporting that some 90% of his patients showing a first episode of psychosis smoke cannabis, we have to ask why anyone would legalise this drug?

"When this same distinguished psychiatrist says that "we think it's strange" when a patient shows symptoms of psychosis and is not a cannabis user, then it's time for those who would legalise it to think again."

Mr Dunne put before the House:

* A Swedish cohort study showing the 600% increase in schizophrenia rates among cannabis-users under the age of 18, as against their peers who did not use the drug

* A University of Maastricht study confirming anecdotal evidence that cannabis use can treble the risk of mental illness, and confirming that cannabis causes serious psychotic disorders in people with no history of mental illness

* A Karonlinska Institute (Sweden) 15-year longitudinal study of some 50,000 military conscripts that showed that the higher the consumption of cannabis in adolescence, the greater the risk of schizophrenia

* A 15-year study of 1920 Americans which showed the cannabis use increased the rate of major depression by 400%

In closing, Mr Dunne directed the pro-drug Greens to research from Japan's Okayama University indicating that cannabis use can cause genetic abnormalities.

"There is a delicious irony that here in this House, the Green Party is fighting against the genetic modification of plant and animal tissue, and then turns around and battles for a drug that genetically modifies human beings!" he said.

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