Tag Archives: drugs

Jobcentre Busy-Bodies To Outrank Healthcare Professionals In Treatment For Addictions

Iain_Duncan_Smith_pissedJobcentre busy-bodies could soon have the power to force people in treatment for drug or alcohol problems to take up full time ‘work related activity’ if they are unable to beat their addictions quickly enough.

The DWP has published guidance on the support (stop laughing) that will be offered to people claiming Universal Credit who have a dependency on drugs or alcohol.  Claimants will be given six months to undergo what the Jobcentre calls ‘structured treatment’ during which period they may not be required to look or prepare for work.  After this has elapsed however it will be a very diferent story.

The guidance warns that any further treatment will only be taken into account in a Claimant Comitment if Jobcentre advisors agree this if the best way for a claimant to achieve their ’employment goals’.  This truly chilling move means that the newly named ‘work coaches’ will be able to demand someone attends workfare raher than continue with treatment for their condition.  Jobcentre staff have no adequate training to make these decisions but they will now have more power over patients than the medical professionals treating them.  It is not hard to imagine some jumped up sanction happy Jobcenre twat deciding someone who has relapsed needs a short sharp shock of forced work which they will possibly fail to attend and end up being sanctioned for.

Of course the Jobcentre cannot actually stop anyone attending treatment.  But if a counselling or support sessions happens to clash with what they’ve decided you should do that day then you may face benefits being stopped for choosing getting better over ‘work related activity’.

The good news is that Iain Duncan Smith’s plan to force people into treatment seems to have been quietly abandoned, at least officially.  The document states that: “You will not be forced by your work coach into receiving treatment.”

It does not say what will happen if you refuse treatment.  It all sounds a bit like so-called voluntary unpaid work schemes.  There is a danger that if someone doesn’t agree to go into treatment then they may end up being sent on workfare instead.

Whilst some people with dependencies can lead functional lives the stark fact is that the most chaotic drug and alcohol users are not fit for work.  And they won’t get fit for work within six months.  Some people have to wait that long to get into rehab.  Whilst the pampered rich may be able to check into a plush private clinic and then go back to their warm homes and affluent lifestyles, the poorest face long waiting lists, shit housing, and now, the likelihood of benefit sanctions.

If there were any grown ups at the DWP then they would understand that addiction is a serious and complex health problem which cannot always simply be fixed in six months.  An adequate social security system needs to accept this and not drive people into the ground if they are unable to work.  Employers are hardly rushing out to hire people with current drug and alcohol problems anyway.  There are two million people without these problems desperately looking for work after all.

But a realistic approach to how society handles addiction would not get Iain Duncan Smith any pats on the head from the Daily Mail.  So instead the Government is adopting policies based on lazy tabloid stereotypes which will do more harm than good.  And cost more money in the long run.  It’s enough to drive you to fucking drink.

You can read the guidance at: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/universal-credit-support-if-you-are-dependent-on-drugs-or-alcohol

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The Tories on Drugs

Theresa May on drugs : “I have a very tough view on drugs.

I think there are far too many people who think drugs is something you can do without it having an impact, but it does have an impact.”

May was responding to this week’s call from the chair of the Advisory Council for the Misuse of Drugs, Prof Les Iversen, that people caught in possession of drugs should not face criminal records.

David Cameron on drugs: “I’m allowed to have had a private life before politics in which we make mistakes and we do things that we should not and we are all human and we err and stray.”

Boris Johnson on drugs: “It was jolly nice.”

Louise Mensch on drugs: “Although I do not remember the specific incident, this sounds highly probable… since I was in my twenties, I’m sure it was not the only incident of the kind.”

Francis Maude on drugs: “It was hard to go through Cambridge in the 70s without doing it a few times.”

Oliver Letwin on drugs: “At Cambridge, I was a very pretentious student. I grew a beard and took up a pipe. On one occasion some friends put some dope in a pipe I was smoking. It had absolutely no effect on me at all. I don’t inhale pipes.”

Tim Yeo on drugs: “I was offered it on occasion and enjoyed it. I think it can have a much pleasanter experience than having too much to drink.”

George Osborne on drugs:

The law on drugs: “The maximum sentences for possession of each class of drug are:

  • up to seven years in prison or an unlimited fine (or both) for a Class A drug
  • up to five years in prison or an unlimited fine (or both) for a Class B drug
  • up to two years in prison or an unlimited fine (or both) for a Class C drug

Why Iain Duncan Smith Is Wrong Again On Substance Misuse

There’s no shortage in the Tory party of people who could tell Iain Duncan Smith a few things about drug use.    David Cameron, Boris Jonson, George Osborne and Louise Mensch have all happily indulged in the past despite the heavy criminal sanctions that surround using drugs.  Working class people regularly face arrest, court appearances and even jail for doing the type of things Louise Mensch laughed off as little more than tabloid gossip recently.

But there is a world of difference between a bunch of braying toffs hoovering up lines of coke and the experience of working class people who are living with a  drug or alcohol dependency.

Iain Duncan Smith’s plans to strip benefits from those that Jobcentre staff diagnose as being drug or alcohol dependent shows a shocking ignorance of how addiction affects, and very often destroys, people lives.  As Kerry Katona (no doubt an avid reader of this blog) said on This Week last night, addiction occurs as a process of ever declining events, it is not a lifestyle choice.  No-one sets out to be a heroin addict or 24 hour a day drinker.  And few people wish to stay that way.

Most addicts, whether hooked on illegal drugs or even fags, know they should quit.  Many spend half their lives talking about it.  But the truth of addiction, particularly if you happen to be poor, is that there rarely comes a period of stability when that desire can be translated into action.  This is compounded by the woeful lack of treatment for both drug and alcohol dependency, which despite Iain Duncan Smith’s latest shambolic scheme, are currently being stripped to the bone by government cuts.

Even most smokers could understand that to make a major lifestyle change, which giving up an addiction represents, requires a degree of financial and emotional stability.  People don’t tend to give up fags in the middle of a messy divorce, or following a bereavement.  For the same reason, should someone end up on the streets, or even lose their job,  they are likely to increase the amount they drink or use drugs.  Increased stress, anxiety or depression makes people use more, not less, because substance misuse is a way of escaping from reality.

This is why you can’t bully people out of an addiction.  When someone is using drugs or alcohol chaotically then making their lives worse will not make them stop.  It is likely to do quite the opposite.  Stripping away someone’s benefits because they use drugs or alcohol will only increase the pressure and desperation they feel. Sex work, small time dealing,begging and petty crime will all be used to fill the financial gap, with all the additional chaos these things can bring.  Iain Duncan Smith’s Plans could not be more perfectly designed to drag people even further down the path to substance misuse, poverty, homelessness, exploitation and into the ever waiting arms of the criminal justice system.  You do not give someone a hand up by kicking them whilst they are down.  And even the most ruthless piece of Tory scum should be able to do the sums.  It’s far cheaper to keep someone on benefits than it is to lock them up.

People need a safe space to make the decision to quit and to enter the process of recovery.  That means stable housing, a support network and an income that is at least adequate to pay the bills and put food on the table.  It may even mean a maintenance dose of methadone, or even heroin.  It also usually means some form of treatment.  Like all mental health conditions, effective treatment varies from person to person, so that could mean therapy, residential rehab, peer support or even (recent comments acknowledged) one of the 12 Step provisions such as Alcoholic Anonymous.

Only when these things are in place does anyone stand a chance of getting better.  Knee jerk solutions like stripping benefit payments or enforced and unsuitable treatments will only lead people further down the road of addiction and despair.  Once again Iain Duncan Smith is laying the foundations for disaster by reveling in his ignorance of substance misuse.

The above pic is widely believed to be David Cameron off his tits at an illegal acid house party in the late 1980s.  The youtube video it is taken from is still available at: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=f5RLNdWQPps

Iain Duncan Smith – Is He Pissed?

Iain Duncan Smith has revealed he is as ignorant of his own policies as he is about substance misuse with his latest outburst threatening to cut benefits from drug users and heavy drinkers.

In a sign of his increasingly bizarre and challenging behaviour IDS has decided that Jobcentre staff are qualified to judge whether someone drinks too much or takes drugs.  He wants to give officials the power to force drug or alcohol users into treatment or have benefits sanctioned.  Has the Secretary of State forgotten that his new Universal Credit system is designed to be digital by default?  Does he expect Jobcentre staff to diagnose problem drinkers over an internet connection?

Just as importantly, is he even aware that many people need specialist medical support to detox from drugs or alcohol?  That stopping drinking suddenly can kill a heavily dependent drinker?  Or is he just blathering on about a subject he knows nothing about like the out of touch pub bore he is.

Once more IDS is dreaming up schemes that are completely unworkable in practice.  According the The Guardian a DWP source has said that they can diagnose drug or alcohol dependency by the number of Crisis Loans a claimant takes out stating:  “If you are applying for that up to 10 times a year then that is a sign of a chaotic life”.

Since according to the DWP themselves, no-one can claim more than three Crisis Loans a year and then only in exceptional circumstances, it appears this diagnostic criteria is pie in the sky.  Once again DWP Officials don’t appear to know their own rules.  And given that Crisis Loans are soon to be placed in the hands of Local Authorities as opposed to Jobcentre they seem similarly unaware of their own future policies.

Iain Duncan Smith will reveal his latest plans at a speech to Alcoholic Anonymous revealing worrying signs that he may be planning to send benefit claimants to get down with their ‘higher power’ at the notorious Christian cult.  Alcoholics Anonymous may want to consider the impact of hordes of benefit claimants, many of whom will doubtless be still drinking, noising up their meetings.

Support services for people with drug or alcohol dependencies are being slashed across the country.  If Iain Duncan Smith’s plans come to fruition, the end result will not be thousands of street drinkers or heroin users finding God and becoming good little citizens.  It will simply further impoverish people who already have very little and are likely to be forced into crime, prostitution or begging as a result.  You can’t bully people out of an addiction.  Doctors, substance misuse charities and health professionals should intervene now before Iain Duncan’s Smith’s deluded rantings cause any further damage to society.

Dr Hans-Christian Raabe: Homophobic Scum Tries to Win Back Job Dictating Drug Policy

Mad bastard Dr Hans-Christian Raabe is whinging in the Daily Mail again after being granted a judicial review to challenge Theresa May’s decision not to appoint him to the Advisory Council on the Misuse of Drugs.

Dr Raabe had initially been appointed to the committee in January last year when Theresa May decided to throw reason and objectivity to the wind and employ the Maranatha Christian cultist to advise on drug policy in place of a real scientist.

When it later emerged that Dr Raabe had co-authored a report attempting to link homosexuality with paedophilia and had previously deceived the Government by not revealing his links to anti-abortion campaigns, he was promptly sacked less than a month later.

This was all a huge embarrassment for the Home Secretary May who would rather her own backward and bigoted views on sexuality were kept firmly in the closet.

But now the intrepid Dr Raabe is back, claiming that he was the victim of a witch hunt and that he was called was called a ‘bigot, scum and a mad ba****d’ on the internet of all places.

Dr Raabe claims this isn’t true, he loves the gays but he couldn’t suck a whole one. Despite his previous utterances Dr Raabe says he would never discriminate against gay people, in fact he’s no doubt tried to cure many of them. The Maranatha Community, of whom Dr Raabe is a prominent member and has worked as a medical co-ordinator, have released this document discussing curing homosexuality.

It appears to argue that it would be unethical for a Doctor not to attempt to warn their patients of the evils of gayness:

“A doctor who is treating a smoker for lung and heart diseases would be considered irresponsible if he/she did not strongly emphasize to the patient the adverse effect of smoking and encourage him/her to quit. To advise a smoker to change his lifestyle and to quit smoking is considered to be good medical practice. However, to point out the dangers of homosexual lifestyle to a homosexual one risks being labelled as being “homophobic.”

This man isn’t fit to be a GP, let alone a government advisor.

Dr Raabe is been able assisted in his noble cause by James Dingemans QC, who calls himself a Human Rights lawyer but actually appears to favour the rights of non-existent sky pixies over human beings. He acted (and lost) for the couple who refused to rent out a room in their B&B to a gay couple. Another high profile case he lost was when he defended civil registrar Lilian Ladele who refused to preside over a Civil Partnership due to  her Christian beliefs. Here he is warning of the terrible dangers that might befall the church due to the Gender Recognition Act. No agenda there then.

His losing streak is set to continue with this case against the Home Secretary as well, but it’s worth mentioning simply because the Tories are somewhat vulnerable to sex and drugs. Whilst Cameron pretends to be pro-gay, the truth is his cabinet is saddled with homophobic old pricks like Iain Duncan Smith who has voted against every piece of LGBT rights legislation since 1998.  Meanwhile Tory Liz Truss called on Question Time this week for those found in possession of drugs to be prosecuted and potentially imprisoned. Whether this should apply to the Prime Minister, George Osborne or Louise Mensch who recently admitted hoovering Class A drugs is unclear.

Government Tries to Hide Free Heroin!

The Government is insisting that the location of 26 sites in Hampshire used to grow opium poppies are to stay secret.

This follows a Freedom of Information (FOI) request from local newspaper, the Daily Echo which has revealed that leafy Hampshire is the heroin growing capital of the UK.

The poppies are used to produce morphine to sustain the high levels of drug abuse morphine use as a pain killer within the NHS.

The poppy fields should be easy enough to spot, drop us a line if you see one.

We wouldn’t mind seeing an FOI request on how many of the poppies ‘go missing’ between the field and the medicine cabinet.

It’s a rarely known fact that all poppies contain opium including the distinctive bright red, wild poppies that grow in the UK. Although they aren’t as strong as their Eastern cousin, the opium poppy, they can still be used to make a refreshing if vile tasting opium tea (google opium tea recipe)*.

It’s also little known that it is entirely legal to grow opium poppies in the UK for ornamental use, something encouraged by the government.

The Department of Culture, Media and Sports funded Plant Cultures website states:

“Opium poppies grow well in the British climate – why not try it?”

Which is the closest you’re likely to hear a government ministry supporting Brown at the moment.

*Disclaimer: the void accepts no responsibility for anything.

Mary Brett … a cause for concern.

Well it’s been some time comin,g but now feels about the right time to look at some of the ‘scientific’ information that talking about cannabis plan to distribute to schools and parents.  On the Talking About Cannabis website parents and children are invited to download a document written by one Mary Brett, spokesperson for Europe Against Drugs (EURAD … and we’re getting round to them).

Unfortunately facts seem in fairly short supply in this document. You really can’t blame poor old Brett, no matter how often she dishonestly refers to herself as a biologist her lowly BSc and career in an all boys Grammar School clearly marks her down as a teacher … and if her ability to construct a legible sentence is anything to go by then perhaps not a very good one.

Brett’s trick is to trawl through scientific studies of varying legitamacy and then present as fact results which even the original researchers ackowledge are as yet unproven.

Any studies which disagree with Brett’s opinion are studiously ignored, which is a shame for her because most studies do tend to disagree with Brett’s biased conculsions.

Let’s start with a quote from the Lancet (real scientists) who in an editorial in 1995 said:

The smoking of cannabis, even long term, is not harmful to health.”

Whilst the possibility that cannabis may have some link to psychosis remains an, as yet unproven concern, the scientific consensus regarding the physical risks of cannabis remain much the same as stated in the above editorial.

That doesn’t stop Brett though who claims:

“Just one joint per week will ensure a permanent presence of THC. Functioning of all the other neurotransmitters is affected New nerve connections cannot be made
Concentration, learning and memory are all badly affected.

There is now strong suggestive evidence from animal experiments and brain scans of humans that some of these cells may die. “

So let’s have the facts. The myth that cannabis kills brain cells is largely down to one study in the 1970’s in which three Rhesus monkeys were heavily dosed with cannabis and structural changes (not cell death) in the brain were observed.

This study was heavily criticised at the time and the results have never been replicated. Much larger monkey studies, one by Dr. William Slikker of the National Center for Toxicological Research (1) and the other by Charles Rebert and Gordon Pryor of SRI International(2),  failed to any evidence of physical alteration in the brains of monkeys exposed to daily doses of cannabis for up to a year.

Human studies of heavy users in Jamaica and Costa Rica also found no evidence of abnormalities in brain physiology (3).

So Brett’s claim that cannabis causes:

“permanent brain damage – slow, subtle, insidious and cumulative.”

and that

“Few children, using cannabis even occasionally, will achieve their full potential.”

have no actual basis in fact whatsoever. Anyone would think she had an agenda.

Brett also gets very upset over the fact that THC is fat soluble (like many substances) and therefore tends to hang about in the body for some time. Brett claims:

“Airline pilots on flight simulators could not ‘land’ their planes properly even 24 hours and more after a joint”

As ever the truth is far less dramatic. Presumably Brett is referring to a pair of flight simulator studies by Leirer, Yesavage, and Morrow, which reported effects on a flight simulator performance up to 24 hours after using cannabis. (4)

Whilst the study did find some impact on pilot’s performance Leirer himself said the effects were “very subtle” and “very marginal,” and were less than those noted due to pilots ages.

A later flight simulator study by the same group failed to find any effects beyond 4 hours after using cannabis. (5)

So once again Brett has twisted the facts to suit her own agenda.

Onto the issue of whether cannabis is addictive Brett claims:

“More young people treated in the USA for marijuana than alcohol dependence”

What Brett fails to mention is that at least half of all young people in the US are in treatment programmes for cannabis due to court orders. It should also be noted that many parents and schools who listen to the hysterical ramblings of the likes of Brett may refer their children into treatment regardless of whether they have a problem.

Brett claims that physical dependance to cannabis is not as severe as heroin addiction because THC stored in the body reduces the severity of withdrawal symptoms.

Which frankly, is fucking nonsense.

There is no compulsive scientific evidence that cannabis can cause physical dependance. The study “Clinical Studies of Cannabis Tolerance and Dependence,” concluded that:

“When human subjects were administered daily oral doses of 180-210 mg of THC – the equivalent of 15-20 joints per day – abrupt cessation produced adverse symptoms, including disturbed sleep, restlessness, nausea, decreased appetite, and sweating.

The authors interpreted these symptoms as evidence of physical dependence. However, they noted the syndrome’s relatively mild nature and remained skeptical of its occurrence when marijuana is consumed in usual doses and situations.” (6)

Evidence has also been presented that suggests when humans are allowed to control consumption, even high doses are not followed by adverse withdrawal symptoms.(7)

Meanwhile national epidemiological surveys in the US show that the large majority of people who use cannabis do not become regular users.

In 1993, among Americans age 12 and over, about 34% had used marijuana sometime in their life, but only 9% had used it in the past year, 4.3% in the past month, and 2.8% in the past week. (8)

So once again Brett’s scare-mongering fails to match up to the scientific evidence.

The effect of cannabis on mental health is too large an issue for the scope of this document. We will note that the debate is not helped by Brett’s claim that:

“Cannabis increases the amount of the neurotransmitter, dopamine in the brain.
Too much dopamine causes schizophrenia.”

The dopamine theory of schizophrenia is just that, a theory – not a fact. It has largely been discredited as far too simplistic an approach and in any event the idea that cannabis causes an increase of dopamine in the brain has not been established beyond doubt.

Sex, shopping and chocolate all cause an increase of dopamine in the brain.

As for Brett’s comment that:

“Even on one joint per month or six weeks, a cannabis personality emerges.”

Which presumably is something that she just made up ‘cos it sounded good, long live the Brett school of science.

And finally Brett chucks in a few hand-grenades at the end claiming that cannabis causes head and neck cancers, the immune system is damaged and that babies born to cannabis using mothers are smaller, hyperactive and have behaviour and learning problems .

With regard to her claim that young people who smoke are developing head and neck cancers, the truth of this unfounded allegation can be found on EURAD’s own website:

“in a cohort study with 8 years of follow-up, marijuana use was not associated with increased risks of all cancers or smoking-related cancers. Further epidemiological studies are necessary to confirm the association of marijuana smoking with head and neck cancers and to examine marijuana smoking as a risk factor for lung cancer. ” (9)

The research which has been carried out suggesting cannabis may damage the immune system has typically involved lab animals being given huge doses of THC. According to a review on the subject by Dr. Leo Hollister(10):

“The evidence [on immune suppression] has been contradictory and is more supportive of some degree of immunosuppression only when one considers in vitro studies. These have been seriously flawed by the very high concentrations of drug used to produce immunosuppression. The closer that experimental studies have been to actual clinical situations, the less compelling has been the evidence.”

Once again Brett produces scant evidence as scientific fact.

And as to a risk to unborn babies, once again the evidence is far from conclusive with one study suggesting that cannabis use had a positive impact on birthweight during the third trimester of pregnancy with no adverse behavioral consequences.(11)

A further study of Jamaican women who had used cannabis throughout pregnancy found that their babies registered higher on developmental scores at 30 days, whilst experiencing no significant effects on birthweight or length. (12)

Finally Brett seeks to simplify and discredit medical cannabis with the dramatic claim that cannabis contains over 400 chemicals.

Brewed coffee contains around 800.

The rest of Brett’s leaflet contains brief details on the effects of other drugs, which although in some cases are not entirely accurate, they are not covered in anywhere near the same detail as cannabis.

Brett and her cohorts may wish to consider what the kids will make of this info after being subjected to a diatribe of dishonest and unscientific drivel on the subject of cannabis.

And those MP’s and charities which have offered Talking About Cannabis support may wish to consider whether they really support lying to young people about drugs.

Net-savvy teenagers can easily find all of the information presented above.

Are they likely to believe anything they are told about drugs at all if this kind of malicious propaganda becomes the norm in schools?

(1) William Slikker et al., Chronic Marijuana Smoke Exposure in the Rhesus Monkey, Fundamental and Applied Toxicology 17: 321-32 (1991).
(2) Charles Rebert & Gordon Pryor – Chronic Inhalation of Marijuana Smoke and Brain Electrophysiology of Rhesus Monkeys, International Journal of Psychophysiology V 14, p.144, 1993.
(4) V.O. Leirer, J.A. Yesavage and D.G. Morrow, “Marijuana Carry-Over Effects on Aircraft Pilot Performance,” Aviation Space and Environmental Medicine 62: 221-7 (March 1991); Yesavage, Leirer, et al., “Carry-Over effects of marijuana intoxication on aircraft pilot performance: a preliminary report,” American Journal of Psychiatry 142: 1325-9 (1985).
(5) Leirer, Yesavage and Morrow, “Marijuana, Aging and Task Difficulty Effects on Pilot Performance,” Aviation Space and Environmental Medicine 60: 1145-52 (Dec. 1989).
(6) Jones, R.T. et al, “Clinical Studies of Cannabis Tolerance and Dependence,” Annals of the New York Academy of Sciences 282:221-39 (1976).
(7) Stefanis. C. et al, “Experimental Observations of a 3-Day Hashish Abstinence Period and Reintroduction of Use,” Annals of the New York Academy of Sciences 282:113-20 (1976); Cohen, S. et al, “The 94-Day Study,” pp 621-26 in M.C. Braude and S. Szara (eds), The Pharmacology of Marijuana, New York: Raven Press (1976).
(8) Preliminary Estimates from the 1993 National Household Survey on Drug Abuse, Rockville, MD: U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (1994).
(9) Journal of Clinical Pharmacology, 2002;42:103S-107S
(10) Dr. Leo Hollister, Marijuana and Immunity, Journal of Psychoactive Drugs 20(1): 3-8 (Jan/Mar 1988).
(11) Nancy Day et al., Prenatal Marijuana Use and Neonatal Outcome, Neurotoxicology and Teratology 13: 329-34 (1992).
(12) Janice Hayes, Melanie Dreher and J. Kevin Nugent, Newborn Outcomes With Maternal Marihuana Use in Jamaican Women, Pediatric Nursing 14 #2: 107-10 (Mar-Apr. 1988).

Talking About Cannabis Link to Child Abusers

A quick update to remind Debra Bell and co that we’re still here and we’re not going away … not ever.

We’ve already mentioned that the National Drug Prevention Alliance accepted funding from the Drug Free America Foundation (DFAF), an organisation who in their previous guise of Straight Inc were linked to several cases of child abuse in the US.

For the stragglers here’s a quick reminder of Straight Inc’s treatment methods:

Samantha Monroe was 12 years old in 1981 when her parents enrolled her in the Sarasota, Fla., branch of Straight Inc., an aggressive drub rehab center for teens.

Barely a teen, Samantha also had no history of drug abuse. But she spent the next two years of her life Straight Inc. She was beaten, starved and denied toilet privileges for days on end. She describes her “humble pants,” a punishment that forced her to wear the same pants for six weeks at a time. Because she was allowed just one shower a week, the pants often filled with feces, urine and menstrual blood. Often she was confined to her closet for days. She gnawed through her jaw during those “timeout” sessions, hoping she’d bleed to death.

She says that after she was raped by a male counselor, “the wonderful state of Florida paid for and forced me to have an abortion.”


We forgot to mention that Debra Bell also links to the same dodgy bastards on her website along with scientology quacks the Narcanon programme … and this is from an organisation that calls for a scientific approach to drugs education.

That’s all, expect more Talking About Cannabis news, plus details of how you can help derail this crazy bunch of cats soon.

In the meantime, say hi at myspace

Talking About Cannabis in False Charity Scandal!

received this morning …

Dear Johnny Void

Talking about cannabis

I am writing to provide you with the conclusion of our assessment into the concerns that you raised about the above organisation.

When we receive a complaint we first of all assess its seriousness so that we can decide whether we need to intervene. Not every complaint requires our intervention. It is the responsibility of the trustees, as managers of their charities, to deal with the everyday problems, disagreements and mistakes that arise in the normal course of running any organisation.

As a general rule, we will not use our legal powers to deal with relatively minor transgressions, or situations in which the trustees have made a mistake in good faith and are willing and able to put things right, under our guidance and supervision where appropriate. We also have a duty to ensure that the cost of our intervention will not be disproportionately high in relation to the amount of charity funds at risk.

From information provided to us we understand that the organisation had previously obtained advice from the Commission about making an application to the central register of charities held by the Commission and intend to make an application. There is information about the criteria for registration on the advice and guidance section of our website. Part of the criteria is that the organisation should have an income in excess of £5,000 and we are advised that currently the organisation does not have any income.

We have provided advice and guidance to the organisation regarding the requirements of charity law and the register of charities. I can confirm that the references to the organisation being a registered charity have now been removed from the organisations website.

We have concluded that there is no requirement for a formal intervention and we have closed our case file.

Thank you for bringing this matter to our attention.

Yours sincerely

Stuart Bullock
Assessment Officer

Yet More Bollocks About Cannabis

We feel a campaign coming on so the void is taking out the prohibitionists one muppet at a time.

It makes a change from shooting fish in barrels.

We’ll leave Debra Bell to fester in her ignorance for a while and move on to Mary Brett, UK spokesperson of ‘Europe Against Drugs!’ or EURAD for short.

EURAD exist to “promote education of parents, young people and other concerned citizens about all matters concerning drug abuse”.

They do this by talking bollocks.

Mary Brett, appears to be behind the ludicrous cannabis ‘facts’ on Debra Bell’s website having written what she calls a paper called ‘Cannabis: A Cause for Concern?’

It’s a paper only in the sense that it was once written down on paper and only a true fuckwit could give any credence to the unscientific diatribe presumably inspired by Brett discovering google and thinking she’d turned into fucking Einstein.

Brett has a BSc and some A levels plus frontline experience in the torrid world of the drug user having spent most of her life teaching in an all boys public school.

These impeccable academic credentials and gritty past have made her the darling of the scientific community. One scientist told the void: “Not since Mr Bunsen and Beaker has such an incisive mind come to the fore in modern science.”

Brett’s trick is to ignore the age old paradigm of balance and objectivity and driven only by personal prejudice and sheer hatred she bludgeons her way to the truth.

Brett believes that theory and fact are the same thing.

The thousands of studies proving cannabis to be safer than crossing the road are bypassed in favour of tabloid crankery and minor experiments with questionable conclusions.

Such is Brett’s dilligence at using search engines she has dragged up every myth, misconception, flawed study and out and out lie that has ever been written about the devil’s own plant.

The studies included which have more credibilty are presented as fait accomplis with a confidence that would make the original researchers shudder at their own lack of zeal in promoting proof of the terrible perils that await cannabis users.

Take the man who had a brain heamorrage just half an hour after smoking cannabis or Brett’s own brilliant insight that because cannabis has a mild analgesic effect it may stop someone from seeking teatment for heart disease until it’s too late.

This is Reefer Madness at it’s best folks and can be read here.

Taking our cue from Brett we’ve decided to write our own (much abridged) paper about cannabis as well.

‘Cannabis: A Cause for Celebration!’

Cannabis Cures Cancer!

“[THC] inhibited tumour-cell proliferation in vitro and decreased tumour-cell Ki67 immunostaining”; “THC does not facilitate tumor growth nor decreases patient survival.”
— Guzman M., et al., “A Pilot Clinical Study of Delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol in Patients With Recurrent Glioblastoma Multiforme,” British Journal of Cancer, July 2006

“A strong and statistically significant anti-tumor effect was observed … In particular, for a highly malignant human breast carcinoma cell line … cannabidiol and a cannabidiol-rich extract counteract cell growth both in vivo and in vitro as well as tumor metastasis in vivo.”
— Ligresti, Alessia et al., “Anti-Tumor Activity of Plant Cannabinoids with Emphasis on the Effect of Cannabidiol on Human Breast Carcinoma,” Journal of Pharmacology And Experimental Therapeutics, May 25, 2006

Cannabis: Safe to Smoke!

“We did not observe a positive association of [Marijuana] use — even heavy long-term use — with lung ca[ncer], controlling for tob[acco] smoking and other potential confounders.” Even lifetime use totaling 20,000 cannabis cigarettes did not result in an increase in risk of lung cancer.
— Tashkin, D.P., et al., “Marijuana Use and Lung Cancer: Results of a Case-Control Study,” Presentation at the 2005 Meeting of the International Cannabinoid Research Society Conference, 2005

Cannabis: The Aspirin of the 21st Century!

“The clinical potential of the cannabinoids is large; some people suggest that cannabis could be ‘the aspirin of the 21st century’ … Cannabinoids inhibit pain in virtually every experimental pain paradigm.”
— David Baker, et al., “The Therapeutic Potential of Cannabis,” The Lancet Neurology, May 2003

Cannabis Stops Alzheimer’s

“Our results indicate that cannabinoid receptors are important in the pathology of [Alzheimer’s Disease] and that cannabinoids succeed in preventing the neurodegenerative process occurring in the disease.”
— Ramierz, Belen, et al., “Prevention of Alzheimer’s Disease Pathology by Cannabinoids: Neuroprotection Mediated by Blockade of Microglial Activation,” The Journal of Neuroscience, February 25, 2005

Cannabis Cuts Depression!

“A new neurobiological study has found that a synthetic form of THC, the active ingredient in cannabis, is an effective anti-depressant at low doses.”
Dr. Gabriella Gobbi, Journal of Neuroscience, October 24, 2007

Cannabis, it’s safe to drive folks!

“Evidence from the present and previous studies strongly suggests that alcohol encourages risky driving whereas THC encourages greater caution, at least in experiments. Another way THC seems to differ qualitatively from many other drugs is that the formers users seem better able to compensate for its adverse effects while driving under the influence.”

H. Robbe. 1995. Marijuana’s effects on actual driving performance. In: C. Kloeden and A. McLean (Eds) Alcohol, Drugs and Traffic Safety. Adelaide: Australia: HHMRC Road Research Unit, University of Adelaide. Pp. 11-20.

Cannabis Legalisation to Cut Crime

“It can thus be argued that legalisation of drugs would lead to a reduction in crime, freeing up tax payer money that would have otherwise been spent on the prison service and enforcement of drugs laws.”


Cannabis/Schizophrenia Link Bollocks Say Researchers

Schizophrenia risk is not influenced by variations in the cannabinoid receptor (CNR1) and alpha7-nicotinic acetylcholine receptor (CHRNA7) genes, say UK researchers.

They also found no evidence for the purported effects of cannabis use on schizophrenia according to variation in the catechol-O-methyltransferase (COMT) gene.

Schizophrenia is associated with an increased use of tobacco and cannabis, with evidence suggesting that patients may use the drug to alleviate neurophysiological symptoms. The benefits of these substances are thought to be mediated through their effects on CHRNA7 and CNR1, respectively, notes the team. ”


So there you go, biased, unbalanced and utterly unethical, the void is proud to have adopted the Mary Brett school of scientific research.

What’s worrying is that Talking About Cannabis plan to distribute Brett’s insane meanderings to schools and parents across the UK.

Come back TalktoFrank, all is forgiven.

Talking (even more bollocks) About Cannabis
Talking (bollocks) About Cannabis