Hard News by Russell Brown

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Hard News: Sorting out our thinking on drugs

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  • Russell Brown, in reply to debunk,

    Methadone 10mg twice a day
    Gabapentin – offlabel antiepileptic used for pain relief
    Two anti-psychotic medications (doesn’t say which)
    An antidepressant – doesn’t say which

    Toxic mixture?

    Especially methadone with the others. The FDA is very wary about the use of methadone for pain relief.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 22834 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown,

    David Cunliffe will be announcing "Labour's synthetic cannabis proposal" at 1.30pm tomorrow in Mangere.

    This will be interesting.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 22834 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown,

    From Cunliffe's Twitter account:

    Labour will introduce legislation to remove synthetic cannabis and other psychoactive substances from sale immediately.

    How do they propose to ban all psychoactive substances?

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 22834 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown,

    Oh my god. Dunne done did it already:

    The Government will ban all synthetic drugs within two weeks until they can be proven to be low-risk, Associate Health Minister Peter Dunne has revealed.

    The move comes as Labour plans to announce its own policy on psychoactive substances tomorrow, and follows increasing protest from local communities to legal highs.

    Mr Dunne told the Herald this afternoon: "Last Tuesday, Cabinet agreed on a proposal from me to introduce legislation under urgency when Parliament resumes to remove the remaining 41 products from the shelves until such time as their low-level of risk can be proven."

    He said he would have made the announcement earlier but he did not want to encourage stock-piling of the drugs.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 22834 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown,

    Neither Dunne or Cunliffe is proposing to scrap the Psychoactive Substances Act, just cancel interim approvals.

    Labour’s bill.

    This will be like when BZP was banned: firesaling, stockpiling, a flood out into the illicit market.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 22834 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown,

    And in the latest update, it now appears clear that Dunne had no plans to make an announcement until Labour sent out a notice about its announcement tomorrow.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 22834 posts Report Reply

  • David Hood,

    I could see media narratives of either "wounded labour outflanked by government" or "government delays announcing issue affecting nations health for political gain". Of those I am expecting the former.

    Either way, the narrative I am not expecting to see is "what is the evidence for this policy"

    Dunedin • Since May 2007 • 1445 posts Report Reply

  • Shulgin,

    my goodness...is that a car accident?

    I really hate pragmatic politicians...because the actual problem is that our useless tax funded MOH, Police and Customs...has no idea,,,,so was always going to be an accident.....waiting to happen...

    NZ • Since May 2011 • 125 posts Report Reply

  • Virginia Brooks, in reply to Chris Waugh,

    re|: Your previous comments have been useful and informative, but this one carries a whiff of the nastier side of Orientalism. I hope I’m misunderstanding you...

    Yes, rest easy on the moral panic. You are mis-understanding. I am not hating on the third world or orientalising, casting the third world as the evil shadow demon other.

    Personally I like the third world. It provides entertaining holiday destinations and great food. Opps, got my tongue stuck in my cheek again.

    When I say 'third world' ...seriously... the third world is a real place but I think there is another version of the third world that is not defined by geographic location, but can be found anywhere,( including first world countries) where there is a lack of access to goods, services, health and education.... in that sense, although NZ is not a third world country, pockets /echoes of third world standards can be found here.

    So no, I am not equating the third world with Asia.

    The reason I mentioned synthetic producing labs in China is because that's where many labs are located and where many of the harmful products are coming from. It just happens to be that way. Chinese are making it for own profit, as well as for western companies as you suggest.

    As for waste chemicals ... no, dumping them is not the solution. But many of these chemicals are not made for human consumption - yet they are ending up in synthetic blends (and food products). Because they are cheap to use. Its just business and innovative (or sometimes desperate) when it comes to maximising profit.


    Synthetic producing labs in the first world have manufacturing standards to meet and are working in a different cultural context. With having to create products which met govt standards, they will be / are producing synthetics that are different from those coming from overseas labs.
    But because the 'third world' is also here in NZ... we have the ugly stuff (unregulated) being imported / made / sold too. The problem is not 'out there', its everywhere.
    Saying that is not about 'hating' - rather its a statement about human inventiveness in the face of economic recession / inequality. Go human spirit.

    But yes, back to orientalising... I am white (and half WOG, hey I'm wog so I can say it)) so I live in white privileged circumstances. It is what it is.

    Since Jun 2008 • 43 posts Report Reply

  • Virginia Brooks, in reply to Russell Brown,

    re: This will be like when BZP was banned: firesaling, stockpiling, a flood out into the illicit market...

    Yes, its an awful mistake to announce the change so far ahead of closing the shops. Everything goes underground again.

    Since Jun 2008 • 43 posts Report Reply

  • Chris Waugh, in reply to Virginia Brooks,

    Sorry, I keep reminding myself to be careful about posting early in the morning, and then....

    I'm not sure about your comments on manufacturing standards, though. In China, at least, the problem is often more one of enforcement/corruption than regulations or standards. As for the cultural side of things, it is unfortunate that a common herbal component of traditional Chinese medicine can be used to make methamphetimine. Chinese people getting visas to NZ are given a little pamphlet explaining that many Chinese cold medicines can't be taken to NZ for that reason.

    Wellington • Since Jan 2007 • 2401 posts Report Reply

  • nzlemming, in reply to Russell Brown,

    And in the latest update, it now appears clear that Dunne had no plans to make an announcement until Labour sent out a notice about its announcement tomorrow.

    Most cynical piece of electioneering I've seen in a long, long time.

    Waikanae • Since Nov 2006 • 2934 posts Report Reply

  • Virginia Brooks, in reply to Chris Waugh,

    Thanks Chris for the clarification re manufacturing standards. I see now you are in Beijing, so 'on the ground' so to speak. I got my info from various articles I've read.

    re the herbal component : yes, ephedrine. Its a medicinal herb with a long history. It gets a good price here in NZ.

    Since Jun 2008 • 43 posts Report Reply

  • Ian Dalziel, in reply to nzlemming,

    Most cynical piece of electioneering I’ve seen in a long, long time

    True! So Dunne isn't really serving 'the people' is he...
    It's like he pulled his head out of the sand, but may have left his brain behind.

    Dunne said a "mad rush" to bulk-buy synthetic cannabis before it's pulled off the shelves lay squarely at the feet of the Opposition....
    ...He admitted his decision to bring the announcement forward was a political one, sparked by Labour's planned announcement.

    from The Press

    I don't agree with the statement in the article that:

    ...Labour had been spurred on by media coverage of the issue and had "decided to jump on the bandwagon"..

    Opposition has to do what Opposition has to do to keep the Gov't on track, that's their seemingly thankless task and they're finally getting the hang of it...
    :- )

    Christchurch • Since Dec 2006 • 7944 posts Report Reply

  • Ian Dalziel,

    I can't decide whether to send the bill for a new transistor radio to Dunne or Espiner - patronising pricks!

    Christchurch • Since Dec 2006 • 7944 posts Report Reply

  • nzlemming,

    It's interesting that Dunne is the only one from the government fronting this. I wonder if he decided unilaterally to announce it, just to pre-empt Labour, and didn't tell his colleagues until after the event.

    Waikanae • Since Nov 2006 • 2934 posts Report Reply

  • George Darroch,

    It’s interesting that Dunne is the only one from the government fronting this.

    It will be to keep distance on this between the Government and the issue.

    It occurs to me that if you’re an actual illegal drug dealer selling marijuana and/or other drugs, then you’re going to see a surge in custom in about a month.

    WLG • Since Nov 2006 • 2264 posts Report Reply

  • Rich of Observationz,

    How will the cops/customs prove a random substance found in someone's possession is psychoactive?

    Back in Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 5550 posts Report Reply

  • Craig Young,

    Presumably by relying on existing pharmacological guidelines about psychoactive or toxicological properties, Rich? If they exist?

    Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 572 posts Report Reply

  • George Darroch, in reply to Rich of Observationz,

    Seize on suspicion, test.

    The time, effort, and cost required to do this are considerable. Which means it is likely that only those who are in possession of quantities for supply, or who have other already illegal drugs, would be tested and then charged.

    WLG • Since Nov 2006 • 2264 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown,

    I've posted some info on maximum penalties relating to synthetic cannabinoids once they're de-approved on the new thread.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 22834 posts Report Reply

  • BenWilson, in reply to George Darroch,

    Seize on suspicion, test.

    The time, effort, and cost required to do this are considerable. Which means it is likely that only those who are in possession of quantities for supply, or who have other already illegal drugs, would be tested and then charged.

    Yes, it's quite simple. With respect to drugs, the presumption of innocence, that golden thread in our legal system, is finished. This is the very same bunch of policies that not 3 days ago were being heralded on this very thread as amazingly progressive.

    Whoever thought that got played. It was never about making some drugs legal or decriminalized based on harm. It was about making all drugs illegal. The only thing that's surprising in this move is that anyone would not have seen it coming. That a whole lot of really intelligent people didn't is actually astonishing. I guess the genius was the allure of "incremental" policy. It sound soooo scientific, so reasonable. Doesn't matter that every increment was predicated on the elephant in the room every time, so that no meaningful increments could be made, indeed only bad increments with a very slow dripfeed of increasing harm, could be.

    Here we are now. Prohibition is back. Nice one.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 10653 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown, in reply to BenWilson,

    That a whole lot of really intelligent people didn’t is actually astonishing. I guess the genius was the allure of “incremental” policy. It sound soooo scientific, so reasonable.

    I do understand your argument, but I’ve always been pretty clear that the PSA on its own and as it stands was never enough. I want to see drug use decriminalised but I’m also fine with the state having a regulatory role the way way it does with the food we eat.

    It’s worth noting that had Labour’s proposed amendment to the PSA succeeded last year there would have been no penalty for possession of unapproved substances. None. As things stand -- and even with what's happened -- prosecution will be merely unlikely.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 22834 posts Report Reply

  • BenWilson, in reply to Russell Brown,

    I want to see drug use decriminalised but I’m also fine with the state having a regulatory role the way way it does with the food we eat.

    A regulatory role, sure. But this regulatory role, no. I'm very much not fine with that.

    I’ve always been pretty clear that the PSA on its own and as it stands was never enough

    I know. It's not your fault. To me it's like refusing to fight someone who is pushing you into a corner, yelling in your face, and lining you up for the big shot. At no point did you ask for the big shot. But pardon me for not being surprised to see it coming.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 10653 posts Report Reply

  • Josh Helpful,

    I have always thought that it helps in English speaking countries that the word "drugs" is also the word for medicine. In the Netherlands where I live we use the word drugs for everything illegal and criminal and the word medicine (medicijn) for the legal distribution. I believe it helps for people that most common and I think 80% of medicine is the same as the drugs sold for recreational use.
    It is all about your approach, just let people experiment with safe and clean drugs and make everything legal. Let's just see what happens!

    Colorado • Since Mar 2015 • 3 posts Report Reply

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