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National Drug Policy is a Crock

(did you get this OK?, any problem?)

Press release 15 March 2007 - MildGreens

National Drug Policy; a Crock of S***e

"the number of convictions for cannabis offences per annum demonstrates considerable harm for cannabis users" – Major Issues, National Policy on Tobacco, Alcohol and Other Drugs- draft for public consultation, Nov, 1995 p10.

"PROBLEMS FOR THE INDIVIDUAL AND SOCIETY ALSO ARISE FROM THE EFFECTS OF CANNABIS CRIMINALISATION, AND THESE NEED TO BE PART OF THE EQUATION WHEN DETERMINING OPTIMUM PUBLIC HEALTH POLICY" - Cannabis Policy in Australia and NZ., Drug and Alcohol review (1997) 16,421-428, Sally Abel

What particular over-arching government policy has deliberately avoided evidence-based best practice at the core of its raison d'etre: 'Harm Minimisation'?

As anticipated, the MildGreens expected today's release of the 5-year review of government's National Drug Policy (NDP) to gloss over its total failure to reduce drug demand and supply despite costly 'whole of government' and 'intersectorial' initiatives...

Self appointed expert on drugs and youth suicide (Jim Anderton) is telling criminalisation industry insiders and inadvertent drug promotion grifters (health promotion/counsellors etc) at today's NDP relaunch, that the multi-pronged 'balanced' approach to combating drug abuse can only be effective "when communities take responsibility" (along with a host of other weasle words).

The MildGreens say this if further 'evidence base' Anderton is a particularly irresponsible and dangerous choice for drug minister because he represents FAILURE.

"We predicted the NDP would fail to notice the bullying, repressive double standards (licit and illicit drugs) and abuse of the public health and harm minimisation principles which was intended to underpin the policy." (principles notably include: effectiveness including 'cost-effectiveness', equity, harm reduction and 'upholding individual rights where these do not unreasonably impinge on others etc.)

"Symbolic of the lack of sincerity and rigor in the NDP's strategy to combat drug abuse is the fact that the '5 year' review comes 12 years after the policy was first drafted. The 7 years of 'doing nothing' is the tip of the iceberg in the NDP waste and fraud" says Blair Anderson of the MildGreens. "for example, how many innocent people – and medicinal users - have been vilified and prejudiced by lost employment and/or travel opportunities by the process of a prosecution for the non crime CANNABIS?"

The NDP's first phase in the late 90's was the dis-integrating of the initial comprehensive policy into licit and illicit policies. This split facilitated a 2 year delay in the illicit drug policy component while a recommended and budgeted cannabis 'cost-effectiveness' investigation was swept out of sight - the 'legislative implication' which made first National, then Labour duck for cover.

Successive governments have avoided the cannabis cost benefit analysis because it is obvious the money invested in 'enforcement' is totally counter productive. On the one hand supply is incentivised and on the other demand is amplified (forbidden fruit is sweetest). Anderton's relaunched policy fails to notice there are glaring anomalies in its 'balanced' implementation of 'supply reduction', 'demand reduction' and 'problem limitation', just as it fails to catalogue or quantify any harms relating to PROHIBITION.

Since the NDP was launched we have had a select committee inquiry highlighting the 'double standards' impediment to drug education (1998), legislation to 'remove the politics' from drug classification [MDA#4], a cannabis law review which carefully avoided reviewing the law (2000-2003) and introduction of the highly logical "class D" for drugs which really do not justify criminal prohibition. Class D, applauded by public health policy analysts in Great Britain is the obvious model for New Zealand's cannabis, alcohol and tobacco say the MildGreens.

However in today's NDP release no real reform has been advanced, instead the evidence base shows the 2002 and 2005 coalition support agreements with United Future have put reform totally off the agenda.

How much of the kiwi taxpayer's dollars are going into NDP's prohibition damage, and then milking the bad outcomes?

Officials on the EACD, IACD and MCDP need to look at the raison d'etre of the NDP and ask themselves why they are backing the counter-productive, invasive model of Prohibition, when legal regulation has a 31 year successful precedent (Netherlands).

It seems Helen Clark and her Government favour continued criminalisation policy because the ensuing black market dysfunction and alienation is great for the economic growth, providing thousands of jobs for middle NZ'ers in Justice, Corrections, Police, Social Work, health promotion, CYPS, bail/parole and psycho-social support industries.

"Cannabis Prohibition is so flawed, it was unsurprisingly described by Professor Fergusson at last nights Medical School lecture as inequitable inefficient ineffectual and discriminatory, that we can only conclude Government has a hidden agenda to promote and perpetuate drug uptake, misuse, and 'related crime'" say the MildGreens.

"We don't learn from our mistakes because we never ask if we've made a mistake", [Prof Fergusson, The Press, 14March, re Social Policy public meeting, Christchurch School of Medicine] So much for Labour's evidence based 'social justice' aspirations…

see also 'Britians drug policy not fit for purpose' 8 March 2007 Daily Telegraph - http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/main.jhtml?xml=/news/2007/03/08/ndrug108.x ml - http://www.aphru.ac.nz/projects/Drugs/cannabis.htm - http://www.msd.govt.nz/documents/publications/msd/journal/issue10/spj10-ca nnabis-in-nz.doc

ENDS

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