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CrystalMethBC - Meth Information Website: Government

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I would like to clarify a few issues regarding the Health Canada Medicinal Marihuana Access Regulations ( MMAR ) program.

Physicians do not "prescribe pot." Every Canadian citizen qualifies automatically for MMAR if they meet the Health Canada criteria-anyone providing evidence of a qualifying condition, and/or anyone who's been to a specialist for their condition. This has nothing to do with the doctor's views on the matter-patients either qualify or they do not.

Doctors authorize for MMAR by filling out forms declaring that the patient has the condition. This automatically authorizes the patient to possess and grow marihuana. The patient instructs the doctor as to the daily quantity and method by which they consume marihuana. This is much different than a physician prescribing a medication-where the doctor instructs the patient.

Although above the B.C. average, Chilliwack doctors underauthorize for patients needing MMAR. According to the World Drug Report issued by the UN Office on Drugs and Crime ( 2007 ), 16.8 per cent of Canadians, ages 15 to 64, smoked or ingested cannabis in 2006. It follows that out of 69,217 residents in Chilliwack, 11,628 would be users. Daily users are usually self-medicating for a range of conditions from depression to severe arthritis pain to cancer. In my large 4,500-patient practice, about 200 qualify for MMAR. Extrapolating from this, over 3,000 in Chilliwack could require access to medicinal marihuana and are not receiving the care they require. It is not about joints or THC. In cannabis, THC is only one of over 60 cannabinoids ( natural medicinal chemicals ). THC gets the user 'stoned' when it is heated ( smoked or cooked ). Cannabidiol ( CBD ) is a pain-fighting, anti-inflammatory cannabinoid that gives no high and can mitigate the euphoric effects of THC. THC is not active in its raw form whereas CBD is.

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Posted by cryadmin on Friday, February 03

GovernmentIt was a chance meeting aboard a quiet passenger ferry that would eventually send heavily armed police crashing through the doors of a Metro Vancouver home and forever change Canadian drug-enforcement policy.

The July 2011 raid was significant not only because it netted five arrests for suspected drug production but because it was the culmination of three years of lobbying the federal government to make illegal the possession of chemicals used to produce methamphetamine and ecstasy.

That chance 2007 meeting on the Bowen Island ferry between John Weston, now MP for West Vancouver-Sunshine Coast-Sea to Sky Country, and Cpl. Richard De Jong of the North Vancouver RCMP had all the makings of a Hollywood screenplay:

An aspiring young politician promises a veteran street cop he'll take the gloves off law enforcement to help them fight street-drug manufacturers if he's sent to the capital. "He offered to give me a legal education on illegal drugs," Weston told The Outlook, "knowing that I might be elected and knowing that he was right that I perhaps needed an education on something that was so important to young people and to families in the riding I now represent."

A promise kept: Weston goes to Ottawa and Cpl. De Jong's plea is echoed in the country's highest halls of power. But the barriers of bureaucracy went up and the new anti-drug bill that seemed a slam dunk for Weston became a lengthy battle of attrition with fellow politicians and lawmakers.

Meanwhile, in the time since that first ferry meeting, one of Weston's own constituents would literally become the poster child for ecstasy and amphetamine awareness. On May 28, 2008, Erin Spanevello of West Vancouver tried ecstasy one night and stopped breathing at the age of 21.

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Posted by cryadmin on Sunday, December 18

Ottawa - Injection site ruling re-ignites local debate
GovernmentThe speculation that a safe injection clinic could open in Ottawa has re-ignited the heated debate in the city about such sites. On Sept. 30, the Supreme Court of Canada ruled unanimously in favour of allowing Insite, Vancouver’s safe injection clinic, to remain open indefinitely. “During its eight years of operation, Insite has been proven to save lives with no discernible negative impact on the public safety and health objectives of Canada,” the court said in its ruling.

Dr. Mark Tyndall, chief of infectious diseases at the Ottawa Hospital, says he thinks this is a very important decision. “I expected this, but not with a unanimous vote,” he says. “Not only does this decision mean the clinic should be open, but it makes drug addiction a health issue, not a criminal justice issue.”

The day the news broke about the decision, “Supreme Court” trended on Twitter. Politicians, including federal Green Party Leader Elizabeth May and Liberal MP Justin Trudeau, tweeted their excitement. However, not everyone shares the sentiment. Mayor Jim Watson spoke out against the idea the day the court made its ruling. “I do not support locating a safe injection site in Ottawa, and was very clear about this in the last election,” he said in a statement released by his office. Tyndall says he believes the mayor’s comment is “purely political, his statement is driven by his desire to protect what he has said before.”

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Posted by cryadmin on Sunday, October 30

News Articles: Vancouver Coastal Health surprised at federal government reaction to free crack

Health authority calls plan an extension of other harm reduction programs

A common crack pipe used in the Downtown Eastside.

A new pilot project to supply free pipes to crack cocaine users in the Downtown Eastside hasn’t even begun but is already sparking a lot of attention. Federal Justice Minister Rob Nicholson lashed out last week at the initiative by Vancouver Coastal Health, which will begin distributing new crack pipes sometime this fall as part of its provincially funded harm reduction strategy.

Gavin Wilson, the health authority’s director of public affairs, doesn’t see anything controversial about the plan, which is expected to cost between $50,000 and $60,000.

“It’s a little surprising,” he said. “I mean, we already give out needles. The provincial government has been funding mouthpieces for crack pipes for some time, we just haven’t done the actual pipe. We’re really just adding to the material that’s already out there.”

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Posted by cryadmin on Sunday, August 14

GovernmentThe City of Richmond and Turning Point Recovery Society have been quietly working on putting a women's support recovery centre in a single-family home near the old site of Steveston Secondary.

A group of neighbours are understandably concerned and have signed a petition, opposing the home.

Addiction raises all sorts of fears of the unknown and visions of trembling, disheveled drug addicts descending en masse onto a helpless family-oriented neighbourhood. But it's worth remembering that recovering addicts are far away from addicts.

The women who will be living in the house have battled addiction and are in a recovery mode, using the home as a final step in getting their lives back on track.

Turning Point, which will lease the facility from the city, has been a flashpoint for controversy in the community over the past 12 years.

Its first facility, a nine-bed group home on Odlin Road, opened in 1999 to hysterical opposition. There were claims drug dealers would take over the area and property values would plummet.

It never happened. Not only have the residents been no trouble, they've been community minded as well. They've helped build several community gardens over the past few years.

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Posted by cryadmin on Tuesday, July 19

Legislation: Crystal Meth DRUG PRODUCTION
GovernmentBackbencher law illuminates tough battle against synthetic drugs

On the final day of Parliament last March just before the federal election, a rookie Conservative MP from British Columbia pulled off a rare feat for a backbencher – he got a law passed.

John Weston won unanimous support in the House for a private member’s bill that comes into force Thursday. It is an amendment to the Controlled Drugs and Substances Act that police hope will help them in what so far has been a losing battle against the illegal manufacture of methamphetamines and ecstasy. <

“People were calling for something to end the scourge of crystal meth and ecstasy,” said Mr. Weston, who has supported drug-rehab programs in the Vancouver area. “The more I learned, the more I realized this was something really important.”

The new law for the first time makes it a crime to possess the tools of synthetic drug production – anything from chemicals to pill presses – if it can be proven they were intended for making illegal drugs.

Until now, while the import of so-called precursor chemicals was regulated, possession once they were in the country was not illegal – making Canada an attractive venue in the worldwide manufacture and smuggling of meth and ecstasy. “It’s going to give law enforcement an excellent tool that we never had before,” said Sergeant Douglas Culver, the national co-ordinator for the RCMP’s synthetic drug program. “Before we almost had to wait until the drugs were produced. This way hopefully some of the labs will never get set up and the drugs will never hit the streets.”

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Posted by cryadmin on Saturday, June 25

News Articles: Fighting addiction
GovernmentIt's not uncommon for someone to relapse on the way home from detox, says addictions counsellor Sue Donaldson of Pegasus Recovery Solutions. That's because they have nowhere to go.

Far more people come out of detox than there are beds at the next stage in the recovery process -the stabilization unit.

"They're bound to relapse," she says. "They aren't treated. All they are is detoxed."

Gaping holes in medical service delivery for addicts and alcoholics have been identified in repeated studies on addiction, including Victoria's 2007 Breaking the Cycle of Mental Illness, Addictions and Homelessness, and the 2009 B.C. Medical Association report Stepping Forward: Improving Addiction Care in British Columbia.

The BCMA recommended that 600 more treatment beds be opened by 2012, and service gaps eliminated.

"Whether in a detoxification centre, an emergency room or their own homes, individuals often make the choice to seek treatment only to be confronted with obstacles, a lack of space, a wait list with no certain date of entry, and even unanswered phone calls," the report said.

Those additional treatment beds have not materialized. Instead, with about 400,000 British Columbians suffering from addiction or substance abuse problems, there are fewer than 250 publicly funded adult residential treatment beds -and none on Vancouver Island.

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Posted by cryadmin on Tuesday, May 31

Legislation: Damage: Meth madness
GovernmentWE CAN'T understand why millions of Americans want to blank out their brains with dope. From crack cocaine to heroin to OxyContin to crystal meth, it's a billion-dollar criminal business. Almost daily, it seems, West Virginia police bust another secret meth lab and haul the chemical-cookers to jail.

Now, Oregon and Mississippi have mostly wiped out meth labs through a simple law change: requiring prescriptions for cold remedies containing pseudoephedrine. Oregon's new law was written chiefly by district attorney Rob Bovett. In a recent commentary, he wrote:

"The latest bad news from the world of methamphetamine is that makers of the drug have perfected a one-pot recipe that enables them to manufacture their highly addictive product while on the move, often in their car. The materials they need - a two-liter soda bottle, a few cold pills and some household chemicals - are easily obtained and easily discarded, often in a trash bag dumped along the highway."

Bovett said America's meth madness flared after 1976, when the U.S. Food and Drug Administration allowed cold remedies containing pseudoephedrine nasal decongestant to be sold over the counter, "inadvertently letting the genie out of the bottle. Afterward, the meth epidemic spread across the nation, leaving destroyed lives and families in its wake."

Sales of those decongestants soared to nearly $600 million a year, far more than required by snifflers. Most of the purchases were by illegal meth lab operators. Bovett continued:

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Posted by cryadmin on Sunday, November 28

News Articles: Ont. to table bill to track OxyContin, painkillers
GovernmentTORONTO — A bill aimed at curbing the abuse of the highly addictive painkiller OxyContin and other prescription drugs will be tabled in the Ontario legislature today.

The bill would allow the province to monitor prescription narcotics and other controlled substances, from painkillers to stimulants and sedatives.

Currently, the province only tracks drugs prescribed under a public program that funds medications for seniors, welfare recipients and the disabled.

The bill will expand that database, and issue an alert if someone tries to get the same drugs from different doctors or tries to fill a prescription at several pharmacies.

It would also identify doctors and pharmacists who are prescribing or dispensing too many drugs, which could lead to police stepping in.

Health Minister Deb Matthew announced the changes last month, saying she hoped the move would end a "crisis" of narcotic abuse spreading across Canada.

Posted by cryadmin on Wednesday, September 15

Dental school gets $1.86M to study 'meth mouth'
GovernmentThe abuse of methamphetamine — a powerful and highly addictive psychostimulant that is toxic to the nervous system — has reached epidemic proportions in many parts of the United States. The National Institute on Drug Abuse estimates that more than 10 million Americans have tried methamphetamine, while more than 1.4 million are habitual users.

Long-term use of the drug can lead to devastating medical, psychological and social consequences, including mood disturbances, violent behavior, an increased risk of contracting infectious diseases such as HIV/AIDS and hepatitis and higher rates of crime, unemployment and child abuse and neglect.

It can also result in a uniquely accelerated form of extensive dental disease known as "meth mouth."

Across all fronts, the economic cost of methamphetamine use in the U.S. reached a staggering $23.4 billion in 2005, according to the RAND Corp., but that doesn't even begin to account for the personal cost in the form of human pain and suffering.

So who should be on the front lines fighting the disease? Emergency room physicians? Law enforcement personnel? How about dentists?

While case reports and media attention surrounding the creation and abuse of methamphetamine abound, very little is known about the epidemiology of "meth mouth" or the underlying mechanisms that contribute to accelerated dental decay. Thus far, the lack of a knowledge base regarding the drug's oral health consequences has prevented dental professionals from recognizing the disease in its early stages and developing best practices for treating the condition.

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Posted by cryadmin on Friday, July 02