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Bob McCoskrie

Stop delaying saliva tests for drugged drivers, and we can save hundreds of lives

Stuff co.nz 15 August 2019
OPINION: One day the court sentenced a known addict to traffic school for a drugged-up three-car writeoff. He killed my mum 40 days later.

The circumstances of Mary Radley’s horrific ending represent a typical scenario, seen perhaps weekly: it occurred following many drug crashes that were misprocessed as “careless driving”.

The epidemic led to me establishing Candor Network to drive change. Later my psychopharmacology qualifications saw me become a court-recognised drug-driving expert.

Cannabis swings elections, as Helen Clark once pronounced influentially. Every party historically treads carefully to avoid cannabis users’ eviscerating wrath (I get death threats).

Green Party politicians go further in diligently playing down the risk on our roads from cannabis smoking, but recent use suggests a danger level matching that of alcohol. Just three nanograms (ng) of cannabis in blood, where New Zealand deaths mostly cluster, imparts 7.4 times the risk.

Both dead cannabis drivers and dead drunks have a doubled risk of death by speeding – the notion that people drive more slowly under the influence of cannabis is a myth.

There is no education about the specific risks for young smokers who kill others on the roads. Today there is stasis by politicians towards victim-run campaigns. They merely instituted roadside “stand on leg” tests in 2009’s Land Transport Amendment Act No 4, when most other nations were introducing saliva tests that detect subtler impairment.
READ MORE: https://www.stuff.co.nz/national/crime/114934410/stop-delaying-saliva-tests-for-drugged-drivers-and-we-can-save-hundreds-of-lives

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Cannabis poll: Support plummets for legal pot

NZ Herald 17 August 2019
Family First Comment: Superb!!
“just 39% of responders to a new survey say they will vote yes. And a growing number of Green Party voters – whose party has pushed for the referendum – are saying they are now opposed to the bid to make pot legal.”
Similar results to polls on Newshub and ONENews.

Support for the personal use cannabis referendum has plummeted, with just 39 per cent of responders to a new survey saying they will vote yes.

And a growing number of Green Party voters – whose party has pushed for the referendum – are saying they are now opposed to the bid to make pot legal.

Voters will have their say at next year’s election over a potential legal cannabis market; which would allow for special bars for consumption, special outlets and sales and strict rules for home-grown cannabis.

But just 39 per cent of those who take part in a new survey carried out by Horizon Research – commissioned by New Zealand’s largest licensed medicinal cannabis company, Helius Therapeutics – have said they support legalising the personal use of cannabis.

Support in the survey – which featured 1003 respondents – is down from 52 per cent in April, and 60 per cent in November last year.

It is the third such survey the company has commissioned on the referendum.

“On the current trajectory, the referendum is heading for certain defeat,” Helius Therapeutics executive director Paul Manning told the Weekend Herald.
READ MORE: https://www.nzherald.co.nz/index.cfm?objectid=12258491&ref=twitter (behind paywall)

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New Zealand cannabis hospitalisations more than double in decade – Ministry of Health

NewsHub 14 August 2019
New Zealand’s cannabis-related hospitalisations have more than doubled in the past decade.

New statistics, collected by the Ministry of Health, show that in 2008 only 192 people were released from hospital with a primary cannabis diagnosis. However, by 2018, this had increased to 505.

Otago University Professor Joseph Boden, who has been appointed to New Zealand’s expert panel on cannabis, says the increase is probably due to a combination of factors.

“One is that people are more aware these days of the harms associated with cannabis, and may be more accurate in attributing their symptoms to their use of cannabis,” he told Newshub.

“Second is that [as] in overseas jurisdictions, cannabis use is becoming more normalised, so patients may be more willing to admit to it during a medical examination in the ED.

“Third is that there may be some error of measurement, such that patients say that they have used cannabis when they have in fact used synthetic cannabis.”

“The evidence shows the number of hospital admissions rise when recreational marijuana is legalised, in Colorado there was a threefold increase in emergency room visits,” says Paula Bennett, National’s spokesperson for drug reform.

“The increase is because of wider availability of recreational marijuana, combined with limited education on the harms it causes, and a natural willingness of people to try it once it becomes legal.

“We can’t rule out children getting their hands on marijuana mistakenly if edibles, drinks and lotions are available. They are marketed to appeal to younger people.”

Family First national director Bob McCoskrie says the fact remains there is no ‘safe drug’.

“These stats will only worsen if marijuana is legalised in New Zealand and the marijuana industry floods the market with highly potent cannabis concentrates – edibles, dabbing (smoking highly concentrated THC) and vaping – as they have in all other jurisdictions where dope has been allowed,” he told Newshub.

“This should sound the warning bell that marijuana is absolutely a health issue, which is why the law is so important for protecting public health and safety. A soft approach would be a disaster.”

“At a time when New Zealand’s mental health system is bursting at the seams, why would we legitimise a mind-altering product which will simply add to social harm? It’s patently obvious that legalisation will increase its use and harm. So-called ‘regulation’ doesn’t change the fact that drugs harm.”
READ MORE: https://www.newshub.co.nz/home/new-zealand/2019/08/new-zealand-cannabis-hospitalisations-more-than-double-in-decade-ministry-of-health.html

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Support for Recreational Dope Going ‘Up in Smoke’

Media Release 17 August 2019
Family First NZ is welcoming yet another poll showing plummeting support for legalising cannabis in New Zealand.

The Horizon Research poll shows support for legalising has plummeted from 60% last November to just 39%. This is a similar trend to the recent 1 NEWS Colmar Brunton Poll (39% support), and the Newshub-Reid Research Poll (41.7% support).

“We’re stoked that our messaging and our saynopetodope campaign is getting through to families. It is clear that while Kiwis strongly support a compassionate response to those in real need with a cautious and researched approach around cannabis medicine, when they thoughtfully consider the real implications of legalising recreational use, they completely reject the proposal – and rightly so,” says Bob McCoskrie, National Director of Family First NZ.

Evidence shows that marijuana – which has skyrocketed in average potency over the past decades – is addictive and harmful to the human brain, especially when used by adolescents. In US states that have already legalised the drug, there has been an increase in drugged driving crashesyouth marijuana use, and costs that far outweigh tax revenues from marijuana. These states have seen a black market that continues to thrive, sustained marijuana arrest rates, and tobacco company investment in marijuana.

New statistics, collected by the Ministry of Health, show that in 2008 only 192 people were hospitalised with a primary cannabis diagnosis, but by 2018 this had increased by 160% to over 500. Almost 6,000 people over 10 years have been hospitalised. Those suffering from a psychotic disorder due to cannabis (the most common diagnosis) increased from 90 to 226 over the same time period – an increase of 150%. Earlier Ministry of Health figures gained under the Official Information Act show that 73 children (0 – 14 years) have been hospitalised in the past five years either for poisoning or for mental and behavioural disorders due to the use of cannabis.

“When people think about ‘cannabis’, they probably immediately think about the same overused photos by the media of a marijuana plant and a joint being smoked. But legalising marijuana will be far more than that. People will be popping it between classes, sucking on it while driving, drinking it before work, chewing on it while they talk to others, and eating it as a dessert. THC concentrate is mixed into almost any type of food or drink. The potency of edibles (several times that of an average joint) and their attractiveness to kids will lead to serious problems. THC-infused products will include: coffee, ice-cream, baked goods, lolly-pops, fizzy drinks, water bottles, tea, hot cocoa, breath mints & spray, intimate oils, pills, lollies, chewing gum, marinara sauce, baklava, and many more,” says Mr McCoskrie.

Recent polling by Curia Market Research found that 85% think that cannabis use can damage the brains of young people under the age of 25, 81% think that drivers using cannabis are more likely to cause accidents, 63% think that cannabis users aged under 25 are less likely to get a job (only 20% think it makes no difference) and half of NZers think that cannabis usage will increase if restrictions are reduced.

“At a time when New Zealand’s mental health system is bursting at the seams, why would we go and legitimise a mind-altering product which will simply add to social harm?”

Family First is calling on the government to stop wasting time and resources on a referendum and to focus their energies on more pressing issues such as housing, health, education and strengthening families.
ENDS

 

Mike’s Minute: Three reasons why legalising cannabis is a dopey idea

NewsTalk ZB 14 August 2019
Family First Comment: Once again, Hosking is on the ball…
1. another poll with two-thirds of the construction industry here worried about the effects.
2. they can’t get enough truck driver employees that can pass a drug test.
3. “there has been a spike in kids and teenagers being treated for addiction. Babies finding caregivers’ edible cannabis products are ending up in hospital. There’s a 27 per cent increase in kids with troubles – 70 per cent of those cases come from states that have legalised dope.”

More insight today into why the cannabis referendum and law reform, or to use a more accurate term “legalisation,” will be voted down.

Last time we talked about this, a poll came out with a very solid majority favouring rejection.

New detail for you today. One, another poll with two-thirds of the construction industry here worried about the effects. Why? Because it’s already hard enough to find workers, and stoned workers aren’t the sort you want up scaffolding.

Drugs are already an issue, making drugs more freely available isn’t making that problem easier to deal with.

Two, they are currently 60,000 truck drivers short in America. That’s just truck drivers. Miles aren’t being covered, business isn’t being done, and yards are closing. This in a booming economy. Why? Drugs, they can’t get candidates that pass a test.

Three, Colorado. A bloke called Sam Wong, a doctor who works at the children’s hospital has seen for himself the effects of making dope legal. He’s seen it locally, and had it confirmed in a nationwide study he conducted.

Remember when we talked to Chloe Swarbrick and she told us to look at Colorado, and we did. We interviewed a police force member who dealt with drugs. He said as clearly and as loudly as possible, don’t do it.

Sam Wong says the same. There has been a spike in kids and teenagers being treated for addiction. Babies finding caregivers’ edible cannabis products are ending up in hospital. There’s a 27 per cent increase in kids with troubles – 70 per cent of those cases come from states that have legalised dope.

THC (the active ingredient in cannabis) levels have gone from 3.7 per cent to 20 per cent. Once it’s legalised it’s easy to get the highest grade in the strongest form. The states have raised $3 billion in taxes so far.
READ MORE: https://www.newstalkzb.co.nz/on-air/mike-hosking-breakfast/video/mikes-minute-three-reasons-why-legalising-cannabis-is-a-dopey-idea/

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Marijuana use may lower sperm count, block ovulation

Star Advertiser 12 August 2019
Family First Comment: For couples struggling with conception, smoking weed isn’t a joke; it sends their chances of having a baby up in smoke. In an article published in the Canadian Medical Association Journal, researchers say they want doctors and patients trying to conceive to be aware that smoking marijuana might make it more difficult. How?
• erectile dysfunction in men and infertility in women.
• decreased sperm count.
• delayed or no ovulation
• prenatal exposure to marijuana and problems for the child

For couples struggling with conception, smoking weed isn’t a joke; it sends their chances of having a baby up in smoke.

In an article published in the Canadian Medical Association Journal, researchers say they want doctors and patients trying to conceive to be aware that smoking marijuana might make it more difficult. How?

>> THC, the active ingredient in marijuana, acts on receptors in the hypothalamus, pituitary gland and reproductive organs, making it more difficult to conceive.

In women the hypothalamus produces gonadotropin-releasing hormone, which leads to a cascade of other hormones needed for ovulation and to prepare the uterus for a fertilized egg. Pituitary problems can contribute to erectile dysfunction in men and infertility in women.

>> Another problem: decreased sperm count. A Danish study published in the American Journal of Epidemiology found that smoking marijuana more than once a week reduced sperm count by 29% in guys 18 to 28 years old.

>> Marijuana could delay or prevent ovulation if smoked more than three times in the past three months.

>> One more caution: Authors of a study called “It’s Not Your Mother’s Marijuana,” published in Clinics in Perinatology, point out that if you’re pregnant and smoke today’s superpowered weed, prenatal exposure to marijuana can result in problems with your child’s executive functioning skills, attention, behavior and school achievement later on.
https://www.staradvertiser.com/2019/08/12/features/marijuana-use-may-lower-sperm-count-block-ovulation/
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Hospitalisation For Marijuana Continues To Increase

Media Release 14 August 2019
More damning statistics of marijuana hospitalisations in New Zealand are further proof that we should go nowhere legalising cannabis. Family First also says that too many children are being hospitalised for marijuana poisoning and mental harm already, and that this rate will also only increase if the drug is legalised.

New statistics, collected by the Ministry of Health, show that in 2008 only 192 people were hospitalised with a primary cannabis diagnosis, but by 2018 this had increased by 160% to over 500. Almost 6,000 people over 10 years have been hospitalised. Those suffering from a psychotic disorder due to cannabis (the most common diagnosis) increased from 90 to 226 over the same time period – an increase of 150%.

Earlier Ministry of Health figures gained under the Official Information Act show that 73 children (0 – 14 years) have been hospitalised in the past five years either for poisoning or for mental and behavioural disorders due to the use of cannabis. This is over four times the number of hospitalisations compared to synthetic cannabis for the same age group.

“These stats will only worsen if marijuana is legalised in New Zealand and the marijuana industry floods the market with highly potent cannabis concentrates – edibles, dabbing (smoking highly concentrated THC) and vaping – as they have in all other jurisdictions where cannabis has been allowed. This should sound the warning bell that marijuana is absolutely a health issue, which is why the law is so important for protecting public health and safety. A soft approach would be a disaster,” says Bob McCoskrie, National Director of Family First NZ.

This is similar to the overseas experience where marijuana has been legalised. The number of teenagers sent to emergency rooms more than quadrupled after marijuana was legalised in Colorado — mostly for mental health symptoms, researchers reported in 2017. The yearly rate of emergency department visits related to marijuana for all ages increased 52%, and hospitalisations increased 148% in Colorado (2012 compared to 2016). A recent study conducted in Colorado also found that following recreational marijuana commercialisation in 2013, marijuana-detection rates significantly increased among traumatic injury patients in Colorado hospitals.

A study conducted in Washington State found that the rate of paediatric exposures to marijuana (children aged 9 or under) was 2.3 times higher following retail sales than it was before legalisation. And in Oregon, for children 5 years or younger, the number rose by 271% from 14 cases in 2014 to 52 cases in 2017.

The latest Colorado toxicology reports show the percentage of adolescent suicide victims testing positive for marijuana continues to increase. Between 2011 and 2013, 20.7% of suicide victims between the ages of 10 and 19 tested positive for marijuana (compared with 12.7% who tested positive for alcohol). By 2014-2016, 22.4% tested positive for marijuana (compared with 9.3% for alcohol). 

In the UK, 15,000 teenage hospital admissions have taken place over the past five years as a result of taking cannabis – some of whom were rushed to hospital suffering from serious psychosis.

“At a time when New Zealand’s mental health system is bursting at the seams, why would we legitimise a mind-altering product which will simply add to social harm? It’s patently obvious that legalisation will increase its use, and harm. So-called ‘regulation’ doesn’t change the fact that drugs harm.”

“This is not a ‘war on drugs’ – this is a defence of our brains and health and wellbeing. Legalising a harmful drug like marijuana – or any other drug for that matter – is not a healthy option.”
ENDS

 

Vaping linked to marijuana use in young people, research says

CNN 12 August 2019
Family First Comment: “The review found that the odds of marijuana use were 3.5 times higher in people who vaped compared to those who didn’t. That link suggests that “e-cigarettes really need to be considered in the broad category of addictive and harmful substances.””

Young people who vape are more likely to use marijuana, according to a study published Monday. The findings, researchers say, support the theory that nicotine rewires the developing brain, changing how people respond to and crave addictive substances.

“Adolescents have a brain that’s still changing and developing,” said Dr. Nicholas Chadi, the lead author on the study, who conducted the research as a fellow in pediatric addiction medicine at Boston Children’s Hospital and Harvard Medical School.

When a young brain is exposed to an addictive substance such as nicotine, it “tends to be sensitized to other substances; it tends to seek a thrilling, rewarding sensation,” said Chadi. “And so other substances like marijuana become more appealing.”

The research, published in the medical journal JAMA Pediatrics, analyzed more than 20 pre-existing studies of people ages 10 to 24. The review found that the odds of marijuana use were 3.5 times higher in people who vaped compared to those who didn’t.

That link suggests that “e-cigarettes really need to be considered in the broad category of addictive and harmful substances,” said Chadi, who is now an assistant professor at the University of Montreal.

“We can’t think of e-cigarettes as a less-harmful alternative to cigarettes with adolescents,” he said, in part because “just like cigarettes, e-cigarettes increase your risk of using marijuana, and marijuana, we know, has several implications and negative health consequences in adolescents.”
READ MORE: https://edition.cnn.com/2019/08/12/health/e-cigarette-marijuana-young-people-study/index.html
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Claims that youth use has decreased in Colorado is ‘propoganda’ based on flawed surveys

15 Aug 2019
Jo McGuire, Executive Director of the National Drug and Alcohol Screening Programme in Colorado was interviewed by Newstalk ZB‘s Mike Hosking this morning.

She destroys many of the arguments being used by the Greens and the Drug Foundation.

Well worth the listen.

Facts matter!

Family First reports on Cannabis Legalisation in Canada



Bob McCoskrie from Family First has a confession to make. He purchased drugs….
in Vancouver, Canada 🇨🇦 (where it’s legal to do so).

Canada legalised marijuana in 2018 amidst promises of strong regulations and restrictions on the types of product sold. How’s that working out? And how should we treat similar ‘promises’ made in NZ?

For more details, go to www.saynopetodope.org.nz/Canada

[No products were consumed in the making of this documentary, no animals were harmed, and you should definitely not try this at home!]