GREENS’ RUSSIAN ROULETTE
THE Greens in announcing their policy to legalise cannabis are putting at risk the good health of future generations of young Australians. I accept the use of drugs is unacceptably high, and that cannabis itself is at the milder end of drugs that are available today.
But having heard Greens leader Richard Di Natale explain his policy, he was fundamentally saying: “We have lost the war on drugs, let’s try something different”.
Sadly, there is no guarantee that by trying something different, while we might reduce the income of the peddlers of cannabis, there is no evidence that the Greens’ experiment would not lead to more people having mental health issues.
To me that is playing Russian roulette with other people’s health. That is unacceptable.
For some young people, with developing and maturing brains any use of cannabis might have serious long-term effects.
We know that long-time users of cannabis are seriously at risk of increased levels of psychosis.
I have seen too many people over the past 20 years whose lives have been adversely affected by cannabis to want to see the drug treated as a normal consumption item. It is not, and its use for so many lead to the consumption of other drugs which are more potent and deadly.
There are, as we know, no guarantees in life. The first responsibility for educating our children lies with parents. But sadly, even the best of families, defined by their values not their wealth, have children spinning out and experimenting with drugs.
As you have heard me express many times, my axis of evil that contributes to mental illness: alcohol, drugs and depressive illnesses.
We often do not know where someone enters the axis as a result of alcohol, or drugs or depressive illnesses.
Suffice to say that creating the impression publicly that it is all right to take cannabis is publicly acceptable, is in my opinion the wrong message.
It is as if the Greens are attempting to be fashionable rather than responsible.
There is a new additive being put in other drugs that has lifted the deaths from drugs in Canada to frightening new levels. The drug is called Ventanol. It allegedly is coming out of China and it is 10 times more potent than heroin.
The point I am trying to make, is I have no doubt the peddlers of these drug products will always be inventing new concoctions.
My fear is that by legalising cannabis, marijuana, we are only risking more people experimenting with drugs and being led to more serious forms of such products. The Greens’ policy is high risk. There are no certainties from the result of such an experiment, no guarantees there will be less usage by community members or fewer deleterious side effects, but let’s try it anyway.
I fear the reverse will occur. That the use of marijuana will increase, the rates of mental illnesses will increase, and any number of resultant activities.
It is for these reasons that I have for so long supported the establishment of the medically supervised injecting facility.
I do not want to see people dying because of their habit. I want as best we can to rehabilitate as many as possible.
The last thing I want is to see is the number of people becoming drug users, dependent on drugs, their mental capacity reduced, or their lives put at risk, increase.
Mine is not a Liberal view, or a conservative one, but one borne out of many experiences over the past 20 years.
Just ask many parents of children who have died because of a drug overdose where their children’s journey started?
For some young people, with developing and maturing brains any use of cannabis might have serious long-term effects
Or those parents why their child’s brain has been fried or substantially reduced in capacity over time what was the starting point of that journey.
Sadly, for many it was experimentation with marijuana that led to greater use and then to other drugs.
Yes, we must do better, but it should be by education of our community, in particular our young, greater surveillance of those who produce or import the drug, and massive penalties for those caught and convicted.
Just as I oppose the advertising and promotion of sports betting because of the message it sends to young people, so do I oppose the legalisation of marijuana because of the message it will send.
I am not opposed to gambling as it is a choice that should be available to adults, but I am strongly opposed to the promotion of gambling products that suggest a person’s future will in some way be determined by how they gamble.
Messages are important, they create the community standard.
Di Natale might to some degree be right that we are fighting a tough fight on drugs. In that case, we need to do better. All of us.
The human cost is unacceptable, the financial cost to the community huge.
But education at home and in the community is the only answer.
It will never eliminate the risk entirely, but playing Russian roulette is no solution at all.
Have a good day.