Blair Anderson, on the hustings 'canvassing for opinion'

Blair Anderson, on the hustings 'canvassing for opinion'

Monday, October 12, 2009

Drinking Age Debate Flawed.

The lowering of the drinking age was done for very good reasons. These reasons are conveniently being dispensed with as if they have nothing to do with the current debate... Is one left to presume that alcohol has got more intoxicating, or human genes made us more susceptible to alcohol in these intervening years?

No... but one thing has changed. Drug Policy! When the 'drug we drink' was separated from the National Drug Policy formulation processes where highly recommended best practice was to treat ALL drugs 'independent' of legal status. Intense lobbying from the liquor industry saw the separation occur contrary to ALL the best advice, expertise and science.

Our DRUG POLICY FRAMEWORK is flawed. The Law Commission examination of Alcohol in separation from other recreational drug use needs to be more fully explored by the public and MEDIA has an important role to play in doing this. Cannabis for example, is SAFER than alcohol. On that fact alone the social policy on alcohol needs to be informed by cannabis policy. Likewise cannabis policy (also subject to scrutiny by the Law Commission) needs to be informed by Alcohol policy.

The new Restricted Substances Regulations (Oct6 2008) represents an opportunity to have that conversation but MEDIA have steadfastly avoided the implications of having R18 legally regulated recreational psychoactive soft drugs for sale under administration of the Ministry of Health while alcohol is all but banned. (Not that some folk wouldn't agree with...) Such a rule... as NOW exists would to all intents and purposes suggest that such drugs that should be regulated (ie: cannabis, khat, ecstasy, lsd) are indeed SAFER than Alcohol and this use of regulation and thus control would represent an informed, intelligent, science based approach that does more to solve the methamphetamine problem than symbolic bans on pseudoephidrine cold remedies or empty promises that 'treatment', if compulsory, will curtail problematic drug use.

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