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Dublin - Event Notice
Monday August 28 2006
01:00 AM

Rethinking the War on Drugs - A Public Forum

category dublin | crime and justice | event notice author Friday July 28, 2006 10:37author by Rick Lines, Executive Director - Irish Penal Reform Trustauthor email info at iprt dot ieauthor address 53 Parnell Square West, Dublin 1author phone 01 874 1400 Report this post to the editors

Irish Penal Reform Trust, Merchants Quay Ireland and UISCE will co-host a public lecture with special guest Jerry Cameron of Law Enforcement Against Prohibition

The Irish Penal Reform Trust (IPRT), Merchants Quay Ireland and the Union for Improved Services, Communication and Education (UISCE) present a free public forum entitled "Rethinking the War on Drugs" on Monday 28th August.

Our main speaker will be Jerry Cameron. A seventeen-year police veteran, Mr. Cameron is a former U.S. Chief of Police as well as a former full time faculty member of the Institute of Police Technology and Management at the University of North Florida where he taught drug interdiction. Toward the end of his career, he began to question the efficacy as well as the morality of the war on drugs, eventually coming to the conclusion that it was a not only a total failure but that it was causing tremendous damage to society.

The Irish Penal Reform Trust (IPRT), Merchants Quay Ireland and the Union for Improved Services, Communication and Education (UISCE) present a free public forum entitled "Rethinking the War on Drugs" on Monday 28th August.

Our main speaker will be Jerry Cameron. A seventeen-year police veteran, Mr. Cameron is a former U.S. Chief of Police as well as a former full time faculty member of the Institute of Police Technology and Management at the University of North Florida where he taught drug interdiction. Toward the end of his career, he began to question the efficacy as well as the morality of the war on drugs, eventually coming to the conclusion that it was a not only a total failure but that it was causing tremendous damage to society.

Today Mr. Cameron is a spokesperson for Law Enforcement Against Prohibition (LEAP), a North American group made up of current and former members of law enforcement who believe the existing drug policies have failed in their intended goals of addressing the problems of crime, drug use, addiction, juvenile drug use, stopping the flow of illegal drugs and the internal sale and use of illegal drugs. By fighting a war on drugs, LEAP believes, governments increase the problems of society and made them far worse.

Also speaking at Rethinking the War on Drugs will be

* Rick Lines, Executive Director of the IPRT
* Ruardhri McAuliffe, Coordinator of UISCE
* The panel will be chaired by Tony Geoghegan, Director of Merchants Quay Ireland

This free public lecture will be held at

Merchants Quay Ireland
4 Merchants Quay, Dublin 8

Registration, tea and coffee will begin at 9:30
and the event will start promptly at 10:30 and finish around 12noon.

For more information, or to pre-register, contact info@iprt.ie

Related Link: http://www.iprt.ie
author by Darren Mac an Phríorapublication date Tue Aug 29, 2006 06:17author address author phone Report this post to the editors

A lot of people need to begin thinking about drugs, and the energy needed to tackle them and in particular in the investment needed to eleminate poverty in many areas. We don't need to legalise them. Some people on the left in politics seem to think that making drugs, or alleged soft drugs like cannabis, legal is a sexy issue. It's not.

Below is an article I did for a college paper in England a couple of years ago.

"A Channel 4 documentary entitled “Cannabis Psychosis” has recently highlighted the effects of the long-term use of cannabis and it’s link with mental health. The documentary covered the relationship and the differences between cannabis use in the 1960’s and today. It included interviews with a person admitted to a psychiatric hospital- which he believes to be attributed to cannabis-, cannabis smokers, doctors, psychiatrists, professors, medical consultants, toxicologists, and a couple who now have regrets about letting their child smoke the drug.

The main psychoactive drug in cannabis is delta-9 Tetrahydrocannclonal (THC), which is produced in high amounts of the drug. THC produces extra dopamine in the dopamine neurosis in the substantra nuyra of the midbrain. Dopamine is the chemical in the brain that produces happiness. Similarly this is the sensation users feel when thy are “stoned”. Our brain produces dopamine naturally. The problem is that THC destroys the dopamine neurons in the midbrain and thus retards them.

The amount of THC in cannabis nowadays is increasingly more dangerous. According to Graham Kippling, a drug worker with the NHS in Wolverhampton, “any drug becomes more dangerous when it is more and more refined and purified. I mean, cocaine is known to be very dangerous, but if you go to where they make it- grow it- you’ll find the workers eating the leaves and it helps them work all day. It doesn’t seem to have any detrimental effect in them long-term, but as soon as you start purifying something… you increase the effects and it becomes very toxic and dangerous. It’s the general principle with drugs.”

Cannabis is now often forcibly grown which has resulted in an increase of THC in the plant. This has mainly been a result of demand. The amount of THC in cannabis varies. In the 1960’s cannabis was a relatively mild drug and contained about 0- .75% THC. Nowadays the average amount of THC in cannabis is between 4-5%. There are even some forms that contain between 10-30% THC e.g. “skunk”, “black Moroccan”.

The documentary was very informative on the broad debate on cannabis but went into particular detail between the links between the drug and psychosis. “Cannabis psychosis” or “toxic psychosis” results when a smoker has smoked too much of the drug. Since the 1970’s scientists have been studying the connection between dopamine malfunction- which cannabis allegedly produces- and the two major central nervous system disorders- Schizophrenia and Parkinson’s Disease. The Doctors and Professors in the documentary said that while there may be some links between the other main ingredient in cannabis- cannibidol or CND (which is the opposite to THC) which can have medicinal qualities with illnesses such as epilepsy there is a great need for research in the area. Drugs that produce extra dopamine “are likely to make you psychotic” according to a specialist in Lambeth Hospital in London. “You don’t go psychotic for cannabis after taking the drug after a couple of months. Persistently it seems to induce a change in the chemical transition in the brain which makes the brain much more sensitive”, he said.

While it has been proven that people’s genes determine to a large extent whether they develop schizophrenia, with cannabis users and schizophrenia the link seems to be unnecessary. Over the last few months’ studies have come out that studied whether there is a link between cannabis smokers and psychosis in later life. In the case of Lambeth Hospital’s psychiatric wing eighty per cent of people admitted with psychosis smoke cannabis. The link, conclusively proven, will come as no surprise to doctors. For its population South London now has more cannabis smokers than Amsterdam does.

According to Dr. Zemin Atakin, a Consultant Psychiatrist in Lambeth Hospital “being suspicious, being paranoid is not pleasant at all. It can be extremely painful and distressing to the patient and those who are around them. I’ve known patients who try to close their ears to not hear voices. Of course you can’t stop the voices by closing your ears. Some clients listen to loud music. Its painful to them and it’s very painful for us to watch them.”

According to Graham Kippling there have been a lot of articles in papers published recently which have shown “more and more strength for the hypothesis that cannabis use, particularly if started as a teenage person- at that sort of time- and continues unabated, there is a very stronger risk of mental illness developing- psychotic conditions and schizophrenia. And people are really unaware of this effect perhaps until they stop using cannabis. They might use it for years and they get thrown into prison and they can’t get cannabis. They find that when they withdraw from cannabis they get very irritable, short- tempered and even psychotic… It stays in the system after regular use for about a month.”

Mr. Kippling was expressing his personal opinion though, and when pushed on the question of whether a medical condition such as Cannabis Psychosis officially existed he say no. He though believes there is such a condition; “It’s the sort of thing where you get a few addiction people, psychiatrists in a setting, you will find some disagreement but they’d all generally agree that it does lead to mental health problems.” He is definitely against legislation and draws the comparison between Cannabis Psychosis and alcohol; “If you’re drunk you’re psychotic. It’s temporary induced psychosis. Lack of insight really. Your behaviour is out of the norm, it tends to run against all the norms of behaviour in society and you have no insight into how your behaviour, and what effect you’re having on other people. You’re psychotic.”

Governments recognise that with all drugs the best prevention is through education.

author by peripheraldisorderpublication date Tue Aug 29, 2006 16:18author address author phone Report this post to the editors

while i agree with the post above it still does not tackle the crucial issue at hand. As it stands thousands of young men and women are being criminalised for the use of a widely available drug. It is common sense to most people with an understanding of social and recreational drug use that by making something illegal does not remove the product being sold, it simply pushes it underground into the hands of ruthless drug dealers whom are free from collective control and responsibility. It is widely accepted that the free hand of the market is an illusion, all markets have control indicators , the only area that the unfettered and unregulated market exists is the criminal under- world, and we all know that it would be better to have anything we put in our bodies beit food or drugs to have standards and regualtions. How do we stop GMO's - changing the owenership of production and regulating the standards of trade, the same applies to drugs. Th e drugs trade is here to stay, prohibition of anything while there is a demand for the service/ commodity does not work, the drugs trade needs to be regulated, and legalisation is the first step towards achieivng this.

author by s.publication date Wed Aug 30, 2006 16:13author address author phone Report this post to the editors

'While it has been proven that people’s genes determine to a large extent whether they develop schizophrenia, with cannabis users and schizophrenia the link seems to be unnecessary'

This is a false statement. and I challenge you to provide scientific evidence .

author by S.publication date Wed Aug 30, 2006 16:15author address author phone Report this post to the editors

'While it has been proven that people’s genes determine to a large extent whether they develop schizophrenia'

it is this part of the sentence i was referring to as pseudo

author by Darren Mac an Phríorapublication date Thu Aug 31, 2006 01:57author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Has it not been shown that schizophrenia is heridatary to a large extent???

I thought that everyone knew that it was.

author by Darren Mac an Phríorapublication date Thu Aug 31, 2006 02:06author address author phone Report this post to the editors

If you're referring to the link with cannabis, you can read the below article. Alternatevly you could actually search in google for the research that is there. Or do you need other people to do it for you?

www.timesonline.co.uk/article/0,,3561-1565337,00.html

author by citizen_664732publication date Sat Dec 23, 2006 15:15author address author phone Report this post to the editors

A bit late in the day to contribute to this I know.

To begin with I completely agree with peripheraldisorder. If cannabis for example (which is not dangerous and i'm reluctant to say "drug") was regulated users would not have to deal with criminals. If alcohol were illegal i'm am sure that there would be shootings to butrtess up territories of dealership and with that money.

I really believe that the "war on drugs" is a war on social class. Its people from the poorest areas of Dublin who are the dealers and gunners.
I doubt that you would often see a well off young man from fox rock dealing drugs (unless it was for popularity among peers). He doesnt need to. He has money, choice of education and a good quality of life that is never under threat. For some "dealers" drugs is a way out of poverty. A way for them to be independent. I way for them to live freely. If people dont feel like they have an equal stake in the world around them or that the world around them dosnt value them it hurts. Then they hurt back.

You are free to do what you want..... provided you can pay for it.

In addition i'm aware that there simply are just scum bags in the world. If they weren't shooting someone because of drugs it would be because of something else.

As for the whole . schizophrenia thing...... It dosnt' affect everyone. People can have adverse reactions to legal drugs too. It can be treated.
I'd like to see an Irish society were citizens were trusted and encouraged to do what ever they want responsibly. Wheter it be ecstacy, coke or pot. Alcohol just dosn't suit every body. Just like drugs, it can lead to a lot of health and social problems. Form those people who cant deal with it or have problems there is support available. We should all have the choice of what we want to put inside our selves. If we so happen to get fucked up because of it we can get better with help or with our own reasoning, will and sense of responsibility to ourselves.

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