Video | Business Headlines | Internet | Science | Scientific Ethics | Technology | Search

 


UC expert asks if recreational drugs should be legalised

UC expert asks if recreational drugs should be legalised

July 9, 2013

A University of Canterbury (UC) expert has raised a debate on whether recreational drugs should be legalised.

UC toxicologist and food safety expert Professor Ian Shaw says millions of young people throughout the world party under the influence of a new generation of psychoactive drugs including synthetic cannabinoids, benzylpiperazine (BZP) and methamphetamine. 

``The question is, should we legalise the recreational use of these drugs?  Legalising them would mean that their safety would be assessed and the cost of policing and prosecuting illicit drug use would be cut.

``The Netherlands was the first country to legalise a recreational drug, cannabis, with an arguably successful outcome. But, should we go further?  Should such drugs and their synthetic derivatives become legal products marketed by a new pharmaceuticals industry?

``The New Zealand Government has decided to legalise psychoactive recreational drugs and has embarked upon the process of setting the requirements for safety evaluation. 

``There is significant controversy about whether it is ethical to use animals to test drugs with an, at best, dubious benefit. This debate is important because it addresses the question, when is the use of animals in drug testing ethically acceptable? 

``Indeed, it was conceivable that this debate might derail the Psychoactive Substances Bill (2013), and, as a result, the Parliamentary Select Committee has refused to consider submissions on the ethics of animal use in testing recreational drugs. 

``The rationale behind this decision is that ethics committees will decide whether the use of animals to test recreational drugs is appropriate or not. But it is likely that recreational drug manufacturers will hail from parts of the world where ethics are far from most people’s minds – especially when there a significant financial benefit that depends on animal use. 

``Toxicologists have been through a painful and arduous process (mainly in the 1980s) to understand the ethics of animal use in their work. 

``It took significant action by extremist antivivisectionists and reasonable protesters alike to precipitate a rethink of animal use. Now most toxicologists take the use of animals in their work very seriously and will not use animals unless the outcome of their work is important.

``Defining `important’ is difficult, but in the context of drug safety evaluation this would be that the resulting drug has a benefit that balances the sacrifice of animals as part of its development process,’’ Professor Shaw says. 

Previously, SPCA head and staunch animal welfare advocate Bob Kerridge has said publicly that some animal testing will be required as part of a new regime which is designed to prove the safety of party pills and synthetic cannabis.

ENDS

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
 
 
Business Headlines | Sci-Tech Headlines

 

Scoop Business: Equity Crowd Funding Carries Risks, High Failure Rate

Equity crowd funding, which became legal in New Zealand this month, comes with a high risk of failure based on figures showing existing forays into social capital have a success rate of less than 50 percent, one new entrant says. More>>

ALSO:

Scoop Business: NZ Migration Rises To 11-Year High In March

The country gained a seasonally adjusted 3,800 net new migrants in March, the most since February 2003, said Statistics New Zealand. A net 400 people left for Australia in March, down from 600 in February, according to seasonally adjusted figures. More>>

ALSO:

Hugh Pavletich: New Zealand’s Bubble Economy Is Vulnerable

The recent Forbes e-edition article by Jesse Colombo assesses the New Zealand economy “ 12 Reasons Why New Zealand's Economic Bubble Will End In Disaster ”, seems to have created quite a stir, creating extensive media coverage in New Zealand. More>>

ALSO:

Thursday Market Close: Genesis Debut Sparks Energy Rally

New Zealand stock rose after shares in the partially privatised Genesis Energy soared as much as 18 percent in its debut listing on the NZX, buoying other listed energy companies in the process. Meridian Energy, MightyRiverPower, Contact Energy and TrustPower paced gains. More>>

ALSO:

Power Outages, Roads Close: Easter Storm Moving Down Country

The NZ Transport Agency says storm conditions at the start of the Easter break are making driving hazardous in Auckland and Northland and it advises people extreme care is needed on the regions’ state highways and roads... More>>

ALSO:

Houses (& Tobacco) Lead Inflation: CPI Up 0.3% In March Quarter

The consumers price index (CPI) rose 0.3 percent in the March 2014 quarter, Statistics New Zealand said today. Higher tobacco and housing prices were partly countered by seasonally cheaper international air fares, vegetables, and package holidays. More>>

ALSO:

Notoriously Reliable Predictions: Budget To Show Rise In Full-Time Income To 2018: English

This year’s Budget will forecast wage increases through to 2018 amounting to a $10,500 a year increase in average full time earnings over six years to $62,200 a year, says Finance Minister Bill English in a speech urging voters not to “put all of this at risk” by changing the government. More>>

ALSO:

Get More From Scoop

 
 
Computer Power Plus
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Sci-Tech
Search Scoop  
 
 
Powered by Vodafone
NZ independent news