Pubdate: Mon, 03 Aug 2015
Source: Morning Bulletin, The (Australia)
Copyright: APN News & Media Ltd 2015
Author: Kerri-Anne Mesner


SOME find "getting high" a great rush and an escape from their 
stressful and frustrating lives, while others have paranoid 
hallucinations or worse.

Recently, the New South Wales Government announced the first medical 
marijuana trial.

It comes as ongoing media stories focus on drugs in Australian society.

As someone who has lived in five states in this country, reporting in 
each of those on drugs, and having been a teenager who tried 
marijuana, I have to say I agree with some aspects of the 
legalisation argument.

I had both good and bad times with cannabis.

This could be the reason why I was only an "experimenter" versus some 
that ended smoking it every weekend for years... even into their mid-30s.

I was around people who dropped ecstasy and those who snorted lines 
of cocaine. These people were adults and knew the risks they were 
taking with drugs.

But I guess that "invincibility" factor played a role in their 
decision to ignore the risks.

I've lived in the Australian Capital Territory and South Australia 
where there are laws enabling people to grow plants and use marijuana 
recreationally. My observations of the drug use and crime in those 
societies indicated that legalising marijuana for recreational use 
was beneficial. Those who did smoke or injest marijuana did so in moderation.

Whereas those I came across in other states would "overdo it". I've 
had one guy "green out" on me and pass out. That was not a fun 
experience, particularly because I didn't know what was going on and 
if what was happening was a medical emergency where I should call an 
ambulance or not.

Watching a program on TV the other night about drugs in Australian 
society, which had a panel of people from all aspects of the debate - 
recreational drug users, people who work with rehabilitating addicts, 
parents of kids who died from drugs - I couldn't believe my ears.

The recreational users on the ABC show Australians on Drugs and their 
excuses for taking drugs was "beyond reality" of being acceptable excuses.

"It's like taking Panadol. It makes you feel better." What the? 
And... then there was the excuse of being frustrated with the 
authorities of today not listening to late teens and early adults who 
have "experience and knowledge" that could be of use.

Ha! That's called society love. Some people are willing to listen to 
others and some have their ears shut to all other opinions not in 
line with theirs. And that is in all levels of society.

So back to the discussion about legalising drugs in Australia.

One expert suggested that by legalising these party drugs, it would 
take the stigma of being "wrong" and the adrenaline around doing 
something illegal (this is very much like teenagers smoking, ditching 
school, not cleaning their rooms  it's something they feel they can 
control and do in the face of authorities and test the boundaries).

The recreational drug users said they would prefer to buy their drugs 
from a pharmacy where they feel safer in what they are buying, which 
would be possible if the drugs were legalised.

I get that point of view. There have been many reports over the years 
of different things added to the mix when drug which have led to the 
deaths of unsuspecting drug users.

But Anna Wood's father has made a great point - you simply do not 
know how your body is going to react to the party drug. My own 
experience has shown me that each time I smoked or ingested cannabis, 
the reaction was different.

The biggest problem with making a decision like this is that society 
now wants statistical data and evidence before anything is done.

We are quick to react with "oh no, too many people are dying from 
taking these drugs. We must make it hard for them to get their hands 
on it so they will stop taking it". This is obviously not working.

While drugs are illegal, the criminals preying on addicts and others 
wanting to test the boundaries will continue to take "short cuts" 
while manufacturing the drugs and pull the addicts further into the 
criminal world to pay off drug debts, etc.

And for the sake of those people who have found relief from pain 
related to medical conditions through cannabis oil - just legalise it 
already. I couldn't imagine anything worse than discovering a pain 
relief method that works (as a migraine sufferer, I know the perils 
of pain relief medication not working) and then being told you can't 
use it because it is illegal.

Or being told you can't administer it to your child who is in agonising pain.
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