By Robbie Meredith BBC News NI Education Correspondent - 16 March 2018
A new pilot project to introduce American-style 'drug courts' to Northern Ireland is being developed.
They are courts aimed at keeping drug users out of prison and getting them into treatment.
A senior American judge is in Belfast to advise local judges, politicians and others working in the criminal justice system about how they operate. Gregory Jackson was appointed to the District of Columbia Superior Court in 2005 by then President George W Bush.
Judge Jackson said drug courts were not about punishment.
"If you successfully complete the programme, you're done - you're out of the criminal justice system," he said.
Drug users and even some small-scale dealers are offered a way to escape prison and a conviction
"We average on any given day between 75 to 125 people participating in the drug court programme.
"Our graduation rate is around 50% to 60%."
That means that over half of those who begin the treatment programme complete it.
And they literally graduate, with special ceremonies held in courthouses to recognise their achievement.
The statistics are impressive.
Drug courts in the USA have been shown to reduce crime by 45% in comparison with other sentencing options.
According to Judge Jackson, they also save the public purse between $3,000 and $13,000 dollars per person.
Yet he admits that getting the public and politicians to recognise that they are not a 'soft option' has taken time.
SARA BRITTANY SOMERSET March 12, 2018
The United Nations International Narcotics Control Board (INCB) recently issued its 2017 annual report, and the takeaway with regard to cannabis is clear: The INCB is deeply concerned with the spread of adult-use legalization.
Countries pursuing legalization are acting in 'clear violation' of the UN's 1961 Single Convention on Narcotic Drugs, says the International Narcotics Control Board.
The report contains stern warnings, accusing countries like Uruguay of acting in “clear violation” of global drug control accords.
The Board, which monitors compliance with international drug control treaties, is made up of individuals, not U.N. member states. That’s meant to protect it from political pressure. The Board’s charter also stipulates, however, that it must include individuals with “medical, pharmacological or pharmaceutical experience.” That means Big Pharma is well represented, while advocates for cannabis legalization—whether medical or adult-use—have no seat at the table.
International drug control treaties, signed by most member states decades ago, are meant to prohibit the proliferation and non-medical use of dangerous drugs. Cannabis is specifically covered under most of the treaties.
However, in recent years countries like Uruguay have legalized and regulated the non-medical use of cannabis. Canada is planning to legalize later this year. In the United States, nine states and the District of Columbia have implemented some form of adult-use legalization.
That does not sit well with the INCB. “Governments and jurisdictions in North America have continued to pursue policies with respect to the legalization of the use of cannabis for non-medical purposes, in violation of the 1961 Convention as amended,” states the Board’s 2017 report.
Warnings to Uruguay, Jamaica
The Board strongly cautioned Uruguay, which legalized cannabis nationally in 2013, and currently sells cannabis in pharmacies, that the nation is “acting in clear violation” of the drug treaties.
“The limitation of the use of controlled substances to medicinal and scientific purposes is a fundamental principle to which no derogation is permitted under the 1961 Convention as amended,” the INCB report says.
The U.N. board members also criticized Jamaica for legalizing cannabis for religious use three years ago. Cannabis is considered a religious sacrament among adherents of the Rastafarian religion. Rastafarians take their spiritual name from Ras Tafari Makonnen Woldemikael, (Emperor Haile Selassie I, of Ethiopia). Selassie is considered a direct descendent of King Solomon.
While the U.N. claims to promote global religious tolerance, the INCB strongly disagrees with the religious nature of the rasta cannabis ceremony.
“The Board reminds the Government of Jamaica, and all other parties, that under article 4, paragraph (c), of the 1961 Convention as amended, only the medical and scientific use of cannabis is authorized, and that use for any other purposes, including religious, is not permitted,” the report states.
INTRODUCTION AND AIMS:
Data are lacking on drug use among gay and bisexual men (GBM) in New Zealand. We establish a baseline estimate of drug use and investigate associations with sexual health and HIV risk.
DISCUSSION AND CONCLUSIONS:
Drug use was common in this sample of GBM. Polydrug and methamphetamine users had especially high sexual health needs, but risks remained elevated among GBM consuming other drugs. Drug harm reduction programs and HIV prevention should target GBM with problematic drug use. Limitations include an inability to attribute causation. [Saxton P, Newcombe D, Ahmed A, Dickson N, Hughes A. Illicit drug use among New Zealand gay and bisexual men: Prevalence and association with sexual health behaviours. Drug Alcohol Rev 2017;00:000-000].
13/2/18Bottom of Form Mixing Alcohol and Marijuana Amplifies THC in the System
Three news stories exemplify the tragic results of mixing alcohol and marijuana before getting behind the wheel of a moving vehicle. Most recently, a suspected-DUI driver crashed into a California Highway patrolman in a parked vehicle on Christmas Eve. Andrew Camilleri, 33, died instantly. He left behind a wife and three children.
A driver who drank alcohol and smoked marijuana killed CHP Officer Andrew Camilleri, on Chrstmas Eve.
A New York teen admitted that he used both marijuana and beer before the crash that killed his 16-year-old friend on August 31. Another 14 year-old in the vehicle was injured. Authorities have charged the teen with vehicular homicide and vehicular assault. Yet, the teen claimed that he didn’t feel that he was ‘messed up.’ He said that he had taken 3 or 4 hits of a joint, and drank from two partial cans of beer. But when driving, he “encountered a deer on the road and swerved to avoid it,” leading to the crash.
January 29, 2018 - According to a recent study, the use of weed or tobacco cigarettes is connected to the increased risk of psychotic-like experiences, which could include hallucinations or delusions.
The study, published by JAMA Psychiatry, is entitled “Association of Combined Patterns of Tobacco and Cannabis Use in Adolescence With Psychotic Experiences,” and analyzes data from a longitudinal cohort study of more than 3,300 teens.
While both marijuana and tobacco smoking were associated with psychotic experiences, they found that the risk was greater with weed.
"Individuals who use cannabis regularly have a 2- to 3-fold increased risk of a psychotic outcome," researchers from the University of Bristol wrote
Taking Action - Stopping Ice
United Nations Office of Drugs & Crime: Drug Prevention & Treatment
Medicinal Cannabis –
Access to medicinal Cannabis Products (TGA)
Access to medicinal cannabis products: steps to using access ...
Presentations, Statements & Conference Resources from WFAD 2018 Forum