Hard News by Russell Brown

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Hard News: Drug policy: women lead the way

5 Responses

  • Russell Brown,

    And meanwhile, Sina Brown-Davis is on fire responding to Hone Harawira's grotesque call for capital punishment and Singapore-style beatings.

    The men really have some fixing up to do.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 22850 posts Report Reply

  • st ephen,

    dunedin • Since Jul 2008 • 254 posts Report Reply

  • Hilary Stace,

    You could walk outside the building on Thursday at 1 pm to support the event highlighting the need for an inquiry into historical abuse which is part of the #neveragain campaign. There is also a drug story there too. There are rumours that institutionalised people (including young people) became unwitting participants in drug trials including for epilepsy, anti-psychotics and even LSD.

    Wgtn • Since Jun 2008 • 3229 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown, in reply to Hilary Stace,

    Will do.

    and even LSD.

    Redmer Yska has covered that. It sounds like some programmes were with consenting subjects and well-run – and others may not have been:

    By 1964, ‘acid tests’ in therapeutic settings were commonplace in New Zealand. Records show psychiatrists were administering ampoules of Delysid, provided free by Swiss manufacturer Sandoz, to scores of consenting patients. The drug appears to have been in common use across Dunedin – at Cherry Farm, in the psychiatric department at Waikari Hospital and at Ashburn Hall.

    The global criminalisation of LSD both demonised the drug and ended this research phase. In May 1966, Sandoz announced it would no longer supply the drug globally because of “misuse by teenagers and beatniks”. The local branch of the Royal Australian and New Zealand College of Psychiatrists complained that “the drug had been found useful and that it was desirable that supplies be continued”.

    But only under therapeutic supervision. An unnamed Dunedin psychiatrist, said to have been using LSD in conjunction with psychotherapy, commented, “It would be deplorable if the availability of drugs is dictated by delinquents and hooligans.”

    In October 1966, the New Zealand Medical Journal issued the first dispatch from the frontlines of the legal Kiwi ‘acid tests’. Dr David Livingstone’s article ‘Some Observations on the Usefulness of Lysergic Acid in Psychiatry’ showed that, over two years, this Christchurch psychiatrist had administered LSD to 55 consenting patients in 131 closely supervised sessions, each lasting up to eight hours.

    In colourful language, Livingstone noted how LSD had attracted “fascinated curiosity, fearful repugnance, reasonable healthy scepticism, and the tender hope of acclaiming an instrument which may make for a major breakthrough in understanding and treating mental and personality disorders”.

    He praised “the penetratively healing properties of this psychedelic drug ... an agent of major therapeutic capability, facilitating personality change, and of help in resolving those disorders of the mind and personality which are deep rooted in the life experience of the human being”.

    At the same time, he underlined the need to restrict its use to therapeutic settings, warning of the “life threatening personality disintegrating propensities in the hands of unskilled experimenters”, likening it to “making hand grenades available to delinquent youths”.

    The article indicates that Livingstone’s sessions at Calvary Private Hospital in Christchurch chiefly involved 100 micrograms of LSD, a relatively small dose. He was prepared for panic attacks, with a cocktail of barbiturates and even methamphetamine on hand to calm participants down.

    Within a few months of the government’s decision to ban LSD, a local psychiatrist said the drug was still available for limited study, but its use in therapeutic settings was tailing off. By this time, headlines were telling of suicides, murders and all kinds of dangerous activity linked to the substance.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 22850 posts Report Reply

  • Hilary Stace, in reply to Russell Brown,

    Consenting adults - I doubt that. At least not in the sense we use informed consent these days. I've heard they were also used on young disabled people in some institutions. There was probably an unauthorised epilepsy drug trial on teenage residents of a girls home in the late 1960s.

    But institutionalised disabled children were routinely used for testing polio vaccines and other such in the US. And the ongoing history of anti-psychotic testing in the US is horrific as revealed by bioethicists like Carl Elliott.

    Wgtn • Since Jun 2008 • 3229 posts Report Reply

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