Category

Recent News

Overdose deaths increase by almost 30% in Portugal

The Portugal News 20 December 2019
Family First Comment: Portugal is promoted as a success story by drug proponents in NZ.
But the evidence destroys those claims.
See saynopetodope.org.nz/portugal for plenty more evidence 
#saynopetodope
VoteNO.nz

Deaths from overdose in Portugal increased by almost 30 percent in 2018 and reached their highest figure in the last five years, with most cases involving more than one substance, according to the SICAD reports.

Data from the Intervention Service in Addictive Behaviours and Dependencies (SICAD) presented in parliament showed that, in the records of the National Institute of Legal Medicine and Forensic Sciences, of the 307 deaths with the presence of illicit substances and information on the cause of death, 49 were considered overdose.

The SICAD reports highlighted in these overdoses the presence of opiates (65 percent), cocaine (51 percent) and methadone (31 percent), highlighting the increase in cases with both opiates and cocaine.

In the vast majority (92 percent) of overdoses, more than one substance was detected, with alcohol (45 percent) and benzodiazepines (20 percent) standing out in association with illicit drugs.

As for the other causes of deaths with the presence of drugs (258), they were mainly attributed to natural death (42 percent) and accidents (38 percent), followed by suicide (14 percent) and homicide (3 percent).

SICAD said that several indicators point to a greater circulation of drugs in the Portuguese market at a time of great challenges, such as the growing use of the Internet to market various psychoactive substances and the recent changes in the country’s role in international trafficking routes.

As for routes, Portugal has been a transit country in the context of international hashish and cocaine trafficking, inflows from Morocco and Latin America and the Caribbean, respectively, to other countries, especially European ones.

In the executive summary of the reports on the country’s situation regarding drugs, drug addiction and alcohol, the National Coordinator for the Problems of Drugs, Drug Addiction and the Harmful Use of Alcohol, João Goulão, said that the trends highlight the need for rapid responses and to prioritise interventions with an effective impact on the health gains of these populations.
https://www.theportugalnews.com/news/overdose-deaths-increase-by-almost-30/52412
twitter follow us

Teen marijuana vaping is on the rise, a new report says, threatening to ‘undo years of progress’

USA Today 18 December 2019 
Family First Comment: What Chloe and the Drug Foundation and Helen Clark won’t tell….“Federal data out Wednesday showed a “significant” increase in the number of eighth through 12th grade students vaping marijuana, and a similarly high jump in daily cannabis use by eighth and 10th graders, while alcohol and opioid use continues to plummet.” 
But of course legalisation doesn’t increase usage or harm eh 🙄

Federal data out Wednesday showed a “significant” increase in the number of eighth through 12th grade students vaping marijuana, and a similarly high jump in daily cannabis use by eighth and 10th graders, while alcohol and opioid use continues to plummet.

One in 5 high school seniors vaped marijuana in the past year and 14% vaped it in the past month, the National Institute on Drug Abuse reported. Both numbers doubled in the past two years, and the jump in past-month use was the second biggest since the study started in 1975.

Meanwhile, past-year alcohol use saw a significant five-year drop among 10th and 12th graders in 2019 to 37.7% and 52.1%. And past-month misuse of the opioid pain reliever Oxycontin was down from 4% of 12th graders in 2002 to 1.7% this year.

Dr. Nora Volkow, the psychiatrist who has been NIDA’s director since 2003, called the vaped marijuana trends “very worrisome.” She pointed to this year’s still-increasing national outbreak of lung illnesses and death, overwhelmingly from vaped THC, and the growing evidence of a link between marijuana, psychosis and other serious mental health disorders, including schizophrenia. THC is the substance in the drug that produces a “high.”

“Teens are clearly attracted to vaping products, which are often concentrated amounts of drugs disguised as electronic gadgets,” said Volkow. “Their growing popularity threatens to undo years of progress protecting the health of adolescents in the U.S.”

As of Friday, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported 2,409 cases of lung injury from vaping and 52 deaths. State and federal officials have struggled to pinpoint the causes of the vaping illnesses beyond vitamin E acetate, an additive identified in most of the cases studied.
READ MORE: https://www.usatoday.com/story/news/health/2019/12/18/teen-marijuana-vaping-drinking-lung-illness-psychosis/2671120001/

facebook_icon

Nicho Frater jailed for killing 8-month-old Bella Richardson

Stuff co.nz 16 December 2019
Family First Comment: “Frater had 39 previous convictions and had served multiple jail terms. Ten of those convictions were for family violence, including assault with a weapon and threatening to kill in 2016, but none for harm against children. He started using drugs from 18, and was taking cannabis almost daily at the time of Bella’s death, the judge said.”
Legalising cannabis will increase the risk to children.
Read more: https://saynopetodope.org.nz/family-violence-child-abuse/

The mother of a child who died in their home did not go to court to see the killer sent to jail, believing she would not be able to cope.

That killer, 26-year-old Nicho Caleb Fraser, had a long history of family violence before he fatally threw eight-month-old Bella Richardson.

He also tried to conceal his offending, which put suspicion on the baby’s mother.

Frater was jailed for five years in the High Court in Whanganui on Monday for the manslaughter of Bella.

Frater was 23 years old when he killed Bella on November 7, 2016, in a moment of frustration in their Hackett St, Whanganui, home.

Frater said in a pre-sentence report he was using methamphetamine at the time, and he killed Bella while coming down.
READ MORE: https://www.stuff.co.nz/national/crime/118216176/nicho-frater-jailed-for-killing-8monthold-bella-richardson

signup-rollKeep up with family issues in NZ.
Receive our weekly emails direct to your Inbox.

Roadside drug driving test to be law by 2021

Radio NZ News 19 December 2019
Family First Comment: “Last year 95 people were killed in preventable crashes where the driver was found to have drugs in their system that could impair driving. That is an enormous and intolerable loss of life. The new powers will send a clear message that if you take drugs and drive, you will be caught.”
Good. We’ll need these powers as attempts are made to normalise drug use.
https://saynopetodope.org.nz/driving-stoned/

Roadside drug testing will be conducted by police from 2021, the government says.

Associate Transport Minister Julie Anne Genter announced today she would introduce a bill to Parliament early next year giving police powers to run random roadside saliva testing.

“Last year 95 people were killed in preventable crashes where the driver was found to have drugs in their system that could impair driving,” Ms Genter said.

“That is an enormous and intolerable loss of life. The new powers will send a clear message that if you take drugs and drive, you will be caught.”

Ms Genter said the saliva tests will take between two and five minutes to process, but they are not foolproof.

The devices are known to give false positives, so people who tested positive would be tested a second time before facing a fine and an immediate suspension from driving for a minimum of 12 hours.

“Drivers will also face criminal penalties if they fail a compulsory impairment test and blood tests confirm impairing levels of drugs in their system,” Ms Genter said.

“The threshold for a criminal offence will be aligned with that for alcohol. This means a blood test that identifies impairing medication or drugs at or above an amount equivalent to the criminal drink driving limit (80mg of alcohol to 100ml of blood) will result in a criminal offence.”

A variety of drugs will be tested for: THC, methamphetamine, opiates, cocaine, MDMA (ecstacy), and benzodiazepines.
READ MORE: https://www.rnz.co.nz/news/national/405791/roadside-drug-driving-test-to-be-law-by-2021
twitter follow us

 

Te Puna Manawa o Whakaue childcare teachers had cannabis in their system at work

NZ Herald 19 December 2019
Family First Comment: Expect more of this if we legalise.
“Six of the centre’s nine staff failed drug tests after a staff member was questioned for his bloodshot and “very red” eyes, and “very fidgity” and “unusually quiet” behaviour. “We were advised by your advocate that what you do in your own time is none of our business. You’re not acknowledging the result as being extremely concerning considering the environment in which you work.””
Exactly.

Two-thirds of teachers at a Bay of Plenty childcare centre had traces of cannabis in their system while at work – with one turning up with bloodshot and “very red” eyes.

Six of nine teachers working at Rotorua’s Te Puna Manawa o Whakaue were found to have THC in their system – some 64 times the cut-off.

The September 4 discovery resulted in the voluntary closure of the Te Taumata o Ngāti Whakaue Iho Ake Trust-governed centre on September 6.

Five of the teachers had resigned and one was fired by September 25. The Ministry of Education suspended the centre’s licence on October 9.

The Teaching Council confirmed there was an ongoing investigation “into a matter relating” to the incident.

Documents obtained by the Rotorua Daily Post under the Official Information Act outline the tests results and actions taken during and after the day of the incident.

Six of the centre’s nine staff failed drug tests after a staff member was questioned for his bloodshot and “very red” eyes, and “very fidgity” and “unusually quiet” behaviour on the morning of September 4.
READ MORE: https://www.nzherald.co.nz/nz/news/article.cfm?c_id=1&objectid=12292473  (behind paywall)

facebook_icon

Is marijuana linked to psychosis, schizophrenia? Doctors say yes.

Is marijuana linked to psychosis, schizophrenia? It’s contentious, but doctors, feds say yes
USA Today 15 December 2019
Family First CommentThose sounding the alarm include the nation’s “mental health czar” as well as doctors in states including Colorado, California and Massachusetts where marijuana is legal for recreational use. They say the facts are irrefutable: excessive use of today’s high-THC pot and concentrated oil is linked to psychotic episodes that in some cases develop into full-blown schizophrenia.

“All you hear is all these proponents of legalization of pot without thought to the risks and the consequences.”

A number of physicians and parents want to see that change. They are pushing back against the long held assertion of users and advocates that marijuana is a safe, benign and even beneficial drug.

Those sounding the alarm include the nation’s “mental health czar” as well as doctors in states including Colorado, California and Massachusetts where marijuana is legal for recreational use. They say the facts are irrefutable: excessive use of today’s high-THC pot and concentrated oil is linked to psychotic episodes that in some cases develop into full-blown schizophrenia.

There is great disagreement, however, over the strength of the science linking pot and psychosis. Advocates on either side of the marijuana debate have different interpretations of the connection reported in a National Academies 2017 report on cannabis and other studies. One from the British medical journal the Lancet released in March showed a two to five times higher risk of psychotic disorders for daily consumers of high-THC marijuana compared to people who never used.

Those sounding the alarm include the nation’s “mental health czar” as well as doctors in states including Colorado, California and Massachusetts where marijuana is legal for recreational use. They say the facts are irrefutable: excessive use of today’s high-THC pot and concentrated oil is linked to psychotic episodes that in some cases develop into full-blown schizophrenia.

There is great disagreement, however, over the strength of the science linking pot and psychosis. Advocates on either side of the marijuana debate have different interpretations of the connection reported in a National Academies 2017 report on cannabis and other studies. One from the British medical journal the Lancet released in March showed a two to five times higher risk of psychotic disorders for daily consumers of high-THC marijuana compared to people who never used.

The federal government and other health officials, however, say the type of psychosis McIntosh experienced and other psychiatric disorders are clearly tied to the drug.

“It is time for Americans to understand there are substantial risks with marijuana,” said Dr. Elinore McCance-Katz, the Department of Health and Human Services’ top mental health official. “This is not the government making up data.”

When Surgeon General Dr. Jerome Adams included the link between cannabis and psychosis in his August advisory on marijuana’s effect on the “developing brain,” he was trashed and threatened on Twitter. Alex Berenson, a former New York Times business reporter who authored this year’s book, “Tell Your Children: The Truth about Marijuana, Mental Illness and Violence,” also was widely condemned for his warnings of the drug’s dangers.

Still, McCance-Katz said it was not a difficult decision at HHS to include the link between marijuana and psychosis in the Surgeon General advisory.

“This has been settled science,” she said. “This is something that has been known for many years, yet there has been virtually no attention paid to it.”
READ MORE: https://www.usatoday.com/story/news/nation/2019/12/15/weed-psychosis-high-thc-cause-suicide-schizophrenia/4168315002/
twitter follow us

 

Large number of New Zealanders unclear on the health effects associated with cannabis use, new reports says

TVNZ One News 12 December 2019
Family First Comment: “Those at most risk from the effects of cannabis he says are people under the age of 25, pregnant women and those with mental health issues. He says in those under the age of 25, clearly cannabis appears to change the way the brain develops and in pregnant women, cannabis crosses the placenta and will affect unborn babies. From a mental health perspective, if people under the age of 25 are taking cannabis, we increase the risk of problems like schizophrenia or psychosis.”
So why isn’t this academic on the Prime Minister’s Expert Panel?!!
Views unacceptable?

Ahead of next year’s cannabis referendum, a new report has highlighted the many unknowns New Zealanders face ahead of making an informed decision regarding cannabis use.

The report out today by the Royal Society Te Apārangi outlines the health impacts of cannabis, the benefits, harms and unknowns.

The referendum will take place at the 2020 General Election and voters will be asked: “Do you support the proposed Cannabis Legalisation and Control Bill?” Voters will have to give a yes or no answer.

An expert who contributed to the report, Professor Giles Newton-Howes says there are a host of unknowns around the impact of cannabis use.

“I think there is a lot to learn,” he says.

“We know a little bit about some things and not much about an awful lot of things, and so as a doctor that’s difficult when we are thinking about cannabis as a medicine,” he told TVNZ1’s Breakfast.

Professor Newton-Howes who works in the Department of Psychological Medicine at the University of Otago says there is reasonable and high-quality evidence that cannabis-based medicines are useful in two types of rare childhood epilepsies, as well as spasticity and muscle problems associated with multiple sclerosis.

He says there might be value in other areas such as nausea and vomiting in HIV and chronic pain conditions.

“But the evidence in these areas is much, much weaker and so it makes it much more difficult to know how do we translate that evidence and apply it to New Zealanders.”
READ MORE: https://www.tvnz.co.nz/one-news/new-zealand/large-number-new-zealanders-unclear-health-effects-associated-cannabis-use-reports-says
twitter follow us

Government makes drug court permanent in justice shake-up

NZ Herald 12 December 2019
Family First Comment: This is good. Courts that take a health approach and know the best way to deal with drug addiction and drug lifestyles.
BUT that involves the coercion of the law to force them to take the action necessary to change their ways AND it doesn’t involve legalising drugs!

Specialist drug and alcohol courts in Auckland will be made permanent and a new one will be opened in Hamilton, Justice Minister Andrew Little has announced as part of a pre-election-year promise for major reform of the justice system.

Releasing two independent reports that deeply criticise the sector, Little on Thursday said the Government would embark on a “new direction” in the criminal justice system in a bid to tackle reoffending and incarceration rates.

“Thirty years of locking more people up for longer has not changed reoffending rates nor made communities safer,” Little said.

“The old ways have failed us. They have resulted in too little rehabilitation and therefore more crime, while not doing enough to support victims.”

While large-scale and long-term change is being promised, Little on Thursday announced the two current Alcohol and Other Drug Treatment Courts in Auckland and Waitākere would immediately be made permanent.

The Government will also fund a new, third court in Hamilton – with Little promising it would open next year.
READ MORE: https://www.nzherald.co.nz/index.cfm?objectid=12293029&ref=twitter

facebook_icon

Marijuana most common drug found in drivers involved in fatal Massachusetts crashes

Boston Herald 14 August 2019
Family First Comment: Cannabis was found in 175 — 31% — of the 572 drivers involved in fatal crashes from 2013 to 2017, according to the Executive Office of Public Safety and Security. AAA has been warning of the dangers of driving under the influence of cannabis since Massachusetts voters legalized recreational marijuana in 2016.

Marijuana was the most prevalent drug found in drivers involved in fatal Massachusetts crashes from 2013 to 2017, according to the Baker administration, which launched an impaired-driving campaign Wednesday targeted at young men.

“People may think they can drive safely using cannabis, alcohol or other drugs,” said Lt. Gov. Karyn Polito, “but the research just doesn’t support it.”

Cannabis was found in 175 — 31% — of the 572 drivers involved in fatal crashes from 2013 to 2017, according to the Executive Office of Public Safety and Security. Benzodiazepine was found in 49 drivers, fentanyl in 44, cocaine in 36, morphine in 25, buprenorphine in 20, and oxycodone and benzoylecgonine in 18 each.

The campaign’s announcement does not address how long marijuana can remain in a person’s system, a period that can range from up to 36 hours in blood to up to 90 days in hair, according to American Addiction Centers.

The number of drivers involved in a fatal crash who were both alcohol-impaired and had drugs in their system increased by 63%, from 35 to 57, over the five-year period, and 78% of impaired drivers in fatal crashes were men.

“The height of the summer travel season is an opportunity for us to remind motorists about the dangers of impaired driving,” Gov. Charlie Baker said in a statement. “Research and data show that many people do not understand or believe the link between using marijuana and impaired driving, so this campaign is designed specifically to address these myths.”
READ MORE: https://www.bostonherald.com/2019/08/14/marijuana-most-common-drug-found-in-drivers-involved-in-fatal-massachusetts-crashes/

signup-rollKeep up with family issues in NZ.
Receive our weekly emails direct to your Inbox.

Feeling burned: The first year of legal cannabis has been a complete disaster for investors

Financial Post 9 October 2019
Family First Comment: Some fascinating statements out of Canada – bursting the bubble
“Prior to legalisation, cannabis stocks soared on the promise of massive growth and the tremendous momentum that retail investors brought as they poured into the sector. Now that excitement has been drained, and it is unlikely to return…
“Legalisation played out like a classic “buy the rumour, sell the news” situation. In retrospect, there were warning signs that legalisation could be a disappointment.”

The legalization of cannabis in Canada was supposed to be a catalyst — the most powerful one yet, investors and analysts alike thought — that would launch companies in the young but potent industry to new heights. Instead, nearly one year later, it has been a nightmare.

Since recreational cannabis became legal on Oct. 17, 2018, the shares of what were then the 10 largest Canadian cannabis producers by market capitalization have been bludgeoned, yielding an average negative return of more than 57 per cent for investors.

Tilray Inc. alone has lost more than $14 billion in market cap, and Aurora Cannabis Inc. has shed $6.8 billion. Six of the Top 10 have lost at least half their value, with scandal-plagued CannTrust Holdings Inc. suffering such resounding losses that it no longer appears in the list. Of the 10, only Cronos Group Inc.’s market cap has grown over the past 12 months, though its share price has declined, like those of all the others on the list.

Prior to legalization, cannabis stocks soared on the promise of massive growth and the tremendous momentum that retail investors brought as they poured into the sector. Now that excitement has been drained, said Richardson GMP portfolio manager Chris Kerlow, and it is unlikely to return.

“A psychological shift has take place from everyone wanting to own (cannabis) to everyone involved now feeling burned,” he said. “I think many investors are now over (cannabis).”
READ MORE: https://business.financialpost.com/cannabis/cannabis-business/cannabis-investing/feeling-burned-the-first-year-of-legal-cannabis-has-been-a-complete-disaster-for-investors
twitter follow us