Without the fullest description, the pill testing equipment at Canberra's youth festival on April 29 2018, was presented as basically state of the art. To seek confirmation,  I consulted a renowned  toxicology company, and was told Infrared spectroscopy will tell you little or nothing about the dose, a key life-saving consideration in determining toxicity, and that  only testing a 'scrape' of the pill for sampling is inadequate because more than 90% of the total drug in any pill is not uncommonly in less than half of the volume -  so the only way to determine the exact contents of any pill, especially from backyard/uncontrolled preparations, is to test the entire mass of the pill, which renders it user-resistant or rejectable.

I was also informed that High Performance Liquid Chromatography - Mass Spectrometry (HPLC- MS), which is never going to be a portable instrument, is regarded as the gold standard for pill analysis but was not used at the Canberra event. It requires a very stable surface, constant and non variable electrical supply, operating environment of 20-25C etc. The best possibility might be a purpose built, air-conditioned shipping container or the like, but that’s a very expensive proposition.Typically, on higher-end instruments, it will come with a probability score, but it is virtually guaranteed that anything less than about a 98% match is just a wild guess – an analogy would be saying chimps have 98% of the same DNA as a person, but they’re quite different animals!  Less sophisticated models won’t even attempt to give you a probability match – they’ll just say whatever they think is the closest match in their library.

. Given that  pill-testing was the first in Australia at a youth festival, and to my knowledge no other jurisdiction has plans for one, it may be helpful for these particular professional - sourced views to be available for public reference.

Colliss Parrett

Director (R'td) Durgs of Dependence, Australian Department of Health

Drug Policy Adviser, Australian Family Association (A.C.T.)

Fellow, Drug Free Australia

Member, Drug Advisory Council Australia

Member, The Dalgarno Institute

 

Notice of Liability Memo: To Canadian Parliamentarians, Canada Senators and

The Marijuana Industry.

This Notice of Liability Memo and attached Affidavit of Harms give formal notification to all addressees that they are morally, if not legally liable in cases of harm caused by making toxic marijuana products legally available, or knowingly withholding accurate information about the multiple risks of hemp/marijuana products to the Canadian consumer. This memo further gives notice that those elected or appointed as representatives of the people of Canada, by voting affirmatively for Bill C45, do so with the knowledge that they are breaching international treaties, conventions and law. They do so also with the knowledge that Canadian law enforcement have declared that they are not ready for implementation of marijuana legalization, and as they will not be ready to protect the lives of Canadians, there may arise grounds for a Charter of Rights challenge as all Canadian citizens are afforded a the right to security of self.

Scientific researchers and health organizations raise serious questions about the safety of ingesting even small amounts of cannabinoids. Adverse effects include risk of harm to the cardio-vascular system, respiratory tract, immune system, reproductive and endocrine systems, gastrointestinal system and the liver, hyperemesis, cognition, psychomotor performance, psychiatric effects including depression, anxiety and bipolar disorder, schizophrenia and psychosis, a-motivational syndrome, and addiction. The scientific literature also warns of teratogenicity (causing birth deformities) and epigenetic damage (affecting genetic development) and clearly establishes the need for further study. The attached affidavit cites statements made by Health Canada that are grounded in scientific evidence that documents many harms caused by smoking or ingesting marijuana.  

Putting innocent citizens in “harm’s way” has been a costly bureaucratic mistake as evidenced by the 2015 Canadian $168 million payout to victims of exposure to the drug thalidomide. Health Canada approved thalidomide in 1961 to treat morning sickness in pregnant women but it caused catastrophic birth defects and death.

It would be instructive to reflect on "big tobacco" and their multi-billion-dollar liability in cases of misinformed sick and dead tobacco cigarette smokers. Litigants won lawsuits for harm done by smoking cigarettes even when it was the user’s own choice to obtain and smoke tobacco. In Minnesota during the 1930's and up to the 1970's tobacco cigarettes were given to generally healthy "juvenile delinquents' incarcerated in a facility run by the state.  One of the juveniles, now an adult, who received the state's tobacco cigarettes, sued the state for addicting him. He won.

The marijuana industry, in making public, unsubstantiated claims of marijuana safety, is placing itself in the same position, in terms of liability, as the tobacco companies.
In 1954, the tobacco industry published a statement that came to be known during Minnesota's tobacco trial as the "Frank Statement." Tobacco companies then formed an industry group for the purposes of deceiving and confusing the public.

In the Frank Statement, tobacco industry spokesmen asserted that experiments linking smoking with lung cancer were "inconclusive," and that there was no proof that cigarette smoking was one of the causes of lung cancer. They stated, "We believe the products we make are not injurious to health." Judge Kenneth Fitzpatrick instructed the Minnesota jurors: "Jurors should assume in their deliberations that tobacco companies assumed a "special duty" by publishing the ad (Frank Statement), and that jurors will have to determine whether the industry fulfilled that duty." The verdict ruled against the tobacco industry.

Effective June 19, 2009, marijuana smoke was added to the California Prop 65 list of chemicals known to cause cancer. The Carcinogen Identification Committee (CIC) of the Office of Environmental Health Hazard Assessment (OEHHA) “determined that marijuana smoke was clearly shown, through scientifically valid testing according to generally accepted principles, to cause cancer.”

Products liability and its application to marijuana businesses is a topic that was not discussed in the Senate committee hearings. Proposition 65, requires the State to publish a list of chemicals known to cause cancer, birth defects or other types of reproductive harm. Proposition 65 requires businesses to provide their customers with notice of these cancerous causing chemicals when present in consumer products and provides for both a public and private right of action.

The similarities between the tactics of "Big Tobacco" and the "Canadian Cannabis Trade Alliance Institute" and individual marijuana producers would seem to demand very close scrutiny. On May 23, a witness testified before the Canadian Senate claimed that marijuana is not carcinogenic. This evidence was not challenged.

The International Narcotics Control Board Report for 2017 reads: “Bill C-45, introduced by the Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada on 13 April 2017, would permit the non-medical use of cannabis. If the bill is enacted, adults aged 18 years or older will legally be allowed to possess up to 30 grams of dried cannabis or an equivalent amount in non-dried form. It will also become legal to grow a maximum of four cannabis plants, simultaneously for personal use, buy cannabis from licensed retailers, and produce edible cannabis products. The Board wishes to reiterate that article 4 (c) of the 1961 Convention restricts the use of controlled narcotic drugs to medical and scientific purposes and that legislative measures providing for non-medical use are in contravention of that Convention....

The situation pertaining to cannabis cultivation and trafficking in North America continues to be in flux owing to the widening scope of personal non-medical use schemes in force in certain constituent states of the United States. The decriminalization of cannabis has apparently led organized criminal groups to focus on manufacturing and trafficking other illegal drugs, such as heroin. This could explain why, for example, Canada saw a 32 per cent increase from 2015 to 2016 in criminal incidents involving heroin possession….The Canadian Research Initiative in Substance Misuse issued “Lower-risk cannabis use guidelines” in 2017. The document is a health education and prevention tool that acknowledges that cannabis use carries both immediate and long-term health risks.”

https://www.incb.org/documents/Publications/AnnualReports/AR2017/Annual_Report_chapters/Chapter_3_Americas_2017.pdf

Upon receipt of this Memo and Affidavit, the addressees can no longer say they are ignorant or unaware that promoting and/or distributing marijuana cigarettes for recreational purposes is an endangerment to citizens. Receipt of this Memo and Affidavit removes from the addressees any claim of ignorance as a defense in potential, future litigation.

Pamela McColl www.cleartheairnow.org

This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

 

AFFIDAVIT May 27, 2018

I, Pamela McColl, wish to inform agencies and individuals of known and potential harm done/caused by the use of marijuana (especially marijuana cigarettes) and of the acknowledgement the risk of harm by Health Canada.

Marijuana is a complex, unstable mixture of over four hundred chemicals that, when smoked, produces over two thousand chemicals.  Among those two thousand chemicals are many pollutants and cancer-causing substances.  Some cannabinoids are psychoactive, all are bioactive, and all may remain in the body's fatty tissues for long periods of times with unknown consequences. Marijuana smoke contains carcinogenic (cancer-causing) substances such as benzo(a)pyrene, benz(a)anthracene, and benzene in higher concentrations than are present in tobacco smoke.  The mechanism by which benzo(a)pyrene causes cancer in smokers was demonstrated scientifically by Denissenko MF et al. Science 274:430-432, 1996. 

Health Canada Consumer Information on Cannabis reads as follows: “The courts in Canada have ruled that the federal government must provide reasonable access to a legal source of marijuana for medical purposes.”

“Cannabis is not an approved therapeutic product and the provision of this information should not be interpreted as an endorsement of the use of cannabis for therapeutic purposes, or of marijuana generally, by Health Canada.”

“Serious Warnings and Precautions: Cannabis (marihuana, marijuana) contains hundreds of substances, some of which can affect the proper functioning of the brain and central nervous system.”

“The use of this product involves risks to health, some of which may not be known or fully understood. Studies supporting the safety and efficacy of cannabis for therapeutic purposes are limited and do not meet the standard required by the Food and Drug Regulations for marketed drugs in Canada.”

Health Canada – “When the product should not be used: Cannabis should not be used if you:-are under the age of 25 -are allergic to any cannabinoid or to smoke-have serious liver, kidney, heart or lung disease -have a personal or family history of serious mental disorders such as schizophrenia, psychosis, depression, or bipolar disorder-are pregnant, are planning to get pregnant, or are breast-feeding -are a man who wishes to start a family-have a history of alcohol or drug abuse or substance dependence Talk to your health care practitioner if you have any of these conditions. There may be other conditions where this product should not be used, but which are unknown due to limited scientific information.

Cannabis is not an approved therapeutic product and the provision of this information should not be interpreted as an endorsement of the use of this product, or cannabis generally, by Health Canada.”

Prepared by Health Canada Date of latest version: February 2013, accessed May 2018. https://www.canada.ca/en/health-canada/services/drugs-health-products/medical-use-marijuana/information-medical-practitioners/information-health-care-professionals-cannabis-marihuana-marijuana-cannabinoids.html

A report published by survey company RIWI Corp. (RIWI.com) can be found at: https://riwi.com/case-study/measuringcanadians-awareness-of-marijuanas-health-effects-may-2018

The report measures Canadians’ awareness of marijuana’s health effects as determined by Health Canada and published on Health Canada’s website. RIWI data indicates: 1. More than 40% of those under age 25 are unaware that marijuana impacts safe driving. Further, 21% of respondents are not aware that marijuana can negatively impact one’s ability to drive safely. Health Canada: “Using cannabis can impair your concentration, your ability to make decisions, and your reaction time and coordination. This can affect your motor skills, including your ability to drive.” 2. One in five women aged 25-34 believes marijuana is safe during pregnancy, while trying to get pregnant, or breastfeeding. • RIWI: “For women of prime childbearing age (25-34), roughly one in five believe smoking marijuana is safe during pregnancy, planning to get pregnant, and breastfeeding.” • Health Canada: “Marijuana should not be used if you are pregnant, are planning to get pregnant, or are breastfeeding. … Long-term use may negatively impact the behavioural and cognitive development of children born to mothers who used cannabis during pregnancy.” 3. One in three Canadians do not think that marijuana is addictive. • Health Canada: “Long term use may result in psychological dependence (addiction).” 4. One in three Canadians believe marijuana aids mental health. • Health Canada: “Long term use may increase the risk of triggering or aggravating psychiatric and/or mood disorders (schizophrenia, psychosis, anxiety, depression, bipolar disorder).” 5. One in two males were unaware that marijuana could harm a man’s fertility • “Marijuana should not be used if you are a man who wishes to start a family.”

ClearTheAirNow.org, a coalition of concerned Canadians commissioned the survey.

Affiant is willing to provide further sources of information about the toxicity of marijuana.

Pamela McColl

www.cleartheairnow.org

This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Senator on a dangerous path with marijuana legalisation proposal

A recent proposal by Senator Di Natalie to legalise marijuana for recreational purposes leaves a lot to be desired: it is dangerous and lacks scientific research.

Dangerous because marijuana today has proven to be a harmful drug, especially when smoked, causing both physical and mental ill-health. To mention a few: It destroys young developing brains; is responsible for kids dropping out of school, is linked to psychosis and suicidal thoughts.

Poorly researched: Has the Senator been in contact with those who administer legalisation policy in the US? For example: the director of the Colorado marijuana policy has admitted that use has increased since legalisation. She is uncertain about the mental and other health impacts, saying: ‘Its too early to know’. Is this responsible public health policy?

Many trends in the US are showing some very concerning impacts in the  states that have gone down the legalisation path.

For example:

  • • Higher rates of marijuana-related driving fatalities.
  • • More marijuana-related emergency room visits, hospitalizations, and accidental exposures.
  • • Expansion of a lucrative criminal market.
  • • Increases in marijuana-related crimes and juvenile offenses.
  • • Increases in workplace problems, including labour shortages and accidents.

In the states that have legalised, 12-17 year olds use of marijuana has risen above the national average.

In Colorado:

  • crime has increased 11 times faster than the rest of the nation; and children with butane hash oil burn presentations have increased substantially in hospitals. In addition, Colorado currently holds the top ranking for first-time marijuana use among youth, representing a 65% increase in the years since legalisation
  • toxicology reports show the percentage of adolescent suicide victims testing positive for marijuana have increased

In Anchorage, school suspensions for marijuana use and possession increased more than 141% from 2015 (when legalization was implemented) to 2017.

In Oregon the marijuana black market is increasing, with 70% of sales in 2016 being on the black market; emergency room visits have increased 2000% for marijuana poisoning

We urge anyone who wants the latest trend data to read ‘Lessons learned from Marijuana legalisation in four US States’. https://learnaboutsam.org/wp-content/uploads/2018/04/SAM-Lessons-Learned-From-Marijuana-Legalization-Digital.pdf

Injecting Room: Illegal Drug Using Harms at Government Hands; Not Humane – Insane!

Permission empowered models of drug policy interpretation are driving demand for drug use – NOT prohibition models. A new small, but vocal contingent of drug policy interpreters is attempting, yet again, to further the utterly fallacious meme that ‘prohibition’ and ‘supply reduction’ are what is driving drug deaths in this country, not poor policy interpretation and use; interpretation and use that fosters a permission model for the very vulnerable and pop-culture informed community – particularly the young. The new logic; the new ‘sense’, weaponized by pro-drug propaganda and manipulative faux compassion pleas, attempt to create a diatribe for those contending for best practice option of demand reduction and recovery practices around illicit drugs.

Gary Christian, Secretary for Drug Free Australia, has pointed to the lack of success by the Kings Cross Injecting Centre (MSIC) in reducing overdose deaths in the Kings Cross area. He said, “Tracking of overdose deaths in the Kings Cross area from 5 years before the injecting room opened compared with the 9 years after the injecting room was opened showed no change whatsoever in the percentage of deaths in the area as compared to the rest of NSW. The KPMG review showed that Kings Cross had 12% of NSW opiate deaths before the commencement of the MSIC, and in the 9 years after it remained at 12%, such has been its failure to make any difference.” Evidence given to the NSW Parliament indicates that overdoses in the Kings Cross injecting room are 32 times higher than the overdose histories of those entering the injecting room, indicating that clients are experimenting with higher doses of opiates and cocktails of drugs knowing that if they should overdose in their experimentation, someone will bring them around. NSW Hansard records testimony from ex-clients of the injecting room who were rehabilitating from drugs that experimentation with higher doses of drugs is the reason for the inordinately high overdose rate in the room.

https://www.drugfree.org.au/images/pdf-files/library/Injecting_Rooms/InjectingRoomInsanity11.4.18.pdf

In a recent case against opiate manufacturers the State of Ohio alleged that drug companies should never place their desire for profits above the health and well-being of their customers or the communities where those customers live. Because they know prescribing doctors and other health-care providers rely on drug company statements in making treatment decisions, drug companies must tell the truth when marketing their drugs and ensure that their marketing claims are supported by science and medical evidence. The Defendants use promotional activities and materials that falsely deny or trivialize the risks of opioids while overstating the benefits of using them.

http://www.nejm.org/doi/full/10.1056/NEJMp1710756#t=article

The Australian pot industry desire for profits above the health and well-being of their customers or the communities where those customers live require

A wake up call on how very important it is for both clinical trials and labeling must be completed before Medical Marijuana comes on the market here in Australia.

Please take the time to read this important paper regarding how very important it is for both clinical trials and labeling must be completed before a drug comes on the market here in Australia.

At the center of the company’s marketing aimed at physicians was a single sentence in OxyContin’s original label:

“Delayed absorption as provided by OxyContin tablets, is believed to reduce the abuse liability of a drug.”

Purdue’s marketing campaign relied on that sentence, which claimed OxyContin was believed to be less likely to be abused than other prescription opioids, according to depositions from various sales reps and physicians that were pitched on the drug. But that claim was not backed up by clinical studies.

Officials from Purdue Pharma, the company behind OxyContin, said in depositions from a 2004 West Virginia lawsuit that the company did not hold clinical trials to show that OxyContin was less likely to be addictive or abused. Purdue sales reps leaned heavily on that messaging of lower abuse potential to push the drug during the first six years following its launch.

After the meeting, in July 2001, the FDA approved a new label for OxyContin. The changes included adding a black box warning to the label signifying the drug’s serious or life-threatening risks, and removing the sentence “Delayed absorption as provided by OxyContin tablets is believed to reduce the abuse liability of a drug” from the drug’s label that the FDA originally approved in 1995. The label also said it lacked data to “establish the true incidence rate of addiction in chronic pain patients.”

“The stunning thing is that this was written in 2001. I mean, it's 2017, so we're talking 16 years later,” said Alexander of Johns Hopkins. “Since this time, the problem has only progressively gotten worse and worse, year over year. … And so even in 2001, you know, the alarm had already sounded about this stuff.”

https://www.marketplace.org/2017/12/12/health-care/uncertain-hour/opioid

Also  relevant to this is the article Leung, PTM, Macdonald, EM, Stanbrook, MB, Dhalla, IA & Juurlink, DN 2017, 'A 1980 letter on the risk of opioid addiction', New England Journal of Medicine, vol. 376, no. 22, pp. 2194-5, open access http://www.nejm.org/doi/full/10.1056/NEJMc1700150 .

ATODA's Research eBulletin, November 2017 issue, summarises it http://www.atoda.org.au/publications/research-ebulletin/ :

Could a letter-to-the-editor have initiated the western world’s opioid overdose crisis?
In 1980 the prestigious New England Journal of Medicine published a one-paragraph letter to the editor, titled ‘Addiction rare in patients treated with narcotics’. Its final sentence reads ‘We conclude that despite widespread use of narcotic drugs in hospitals, the development of addiction is rare in medical patients with no history of addiction’. Over the intervening years it has been claimed that this was a key driver of the high levels of opioid dependence seen in many western nations. To ascertain the veracity of this claim, Canadian researchers conducted a bibliometric analysis of correspondence on this topic in the Journal from the date of its publication (1980) until March 30 this year. They wrote that ‘We identified 608 citations of the index publication and noted a sizable increase after the introduction of OxyContin (a long-acting formulation of oxycodone) in 1995…Of the articles that included a reference to the 1980 letter, the authors of 439 (72.2%) cited it as evidence that addiction was rare in patients treated with opioids.’

Their data led them to conclude that ‘…a five-sentence letter published in the Journal in 1980 was heavily and uncritically cited as evidence that addiction was rare with long-term opioid therapy. We believe that this citation pattern contributed to the North American opioid crisis by helping to shape a narrative that allayed prescribers’ concerns about the risk of addiction associated with long-term opioid therapy. In 2007, the manufacturer of OxyContin and three senior executives pleaded guilty to federal criminal charges that they misled regulators, doctors, and patients about the risk of addiction associated with the drug. Our findings highlight the potential consequences of inaccurate citation and underscore the need for diligence when citing previously published studies.’

Estimating the Prevalence of Opioid Diversion by “Doctor Shoppers” in the United States

http://journals.plos.org/plosone/article?id=10.1371/journal.pone.0069241

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