‘Cannabis harm’ report: Exaggerated

I read a press release, stating that a Police report, into ‘Drug Harm’ from Cannabis was proved to be extremely over exaggerated:

‘Auckland man (name removed) has uncovered the truth behind a police cannabis report’

‘Ministry of Health officials tried to get an intelligence report on cannabis harm recalled because of “significant concerns” about its quality but police refused.’

‘The report, “New Cannabis” : The Cornerstone of Illicit Drug Harm in New Zealand, said cannabis was getting stronger and more prevalent and was putting more than 2000 people a year in hospital.’

‘It was produced by analyst (name removed) of the National Drug Intelligence Bureau, a police-led agency also involving Customs and Health.’

‘Senior police lauded the work as the first real assessment of cannabis harm, but sources say controversy around the way it was released led to a major review of the governance of the National Drug Intelligence Board.’

‘Last week, it was revealed sociologist (name removed) of West Auckland spent five years getting hold of the data used for the section of the paper dealing with hospital admissions. His research showed the figures had been exaggerated 10-fold.

‘Now, further documents obtained under the Official Information Act show that Ministry of Health officials warned that the report would harm the NDIB’s reputation.’

This was followed by this:

‘(name removed), acting team leader of the ministry’s National Drug Policy, emailed bureau chief (name removed) in January 2008, saying there’d been inadequate consultation and asking that all copies be recalled.’

‘(the team leader) said the paper’s sources were one-sided and “not particularly authoritative”.’

‘He said the overall theme of “new cannabis” being more potent was inappropriate as it was a contentious issue not backed by evidence in the report.’

‘(He) said parts of the assessment were inaccurate, it inappropriately criticised other countries’ drug policies and could be “perceived as having an agenda“.’

‘It also had the potential to “negatively affect the reputation of the NDIB for producing high quality intelligence assessments”.’

‘Detective Sergeant (name removed), acting head of the NDIB at the time, wrote back saying while there could have been better consultation and peer review, the report would not be withdrawn as to do so would “impact on the bureau’s reputation”.’

‘He said the bureau’s job was to provide “authoritive intelligence and advice on illicit drugs” and the report “does precisely this at a strategic level“.’

‘He added: “It also supports decision-making at an operational and tactical level”.’

‘That contradicts a statement provided to (the media) last week from current NDIB head (name removed), who said the paper was “never intended to be an operational document to inform drug enforcement operations”. (He) said the report was no longer referenced.’

‘(the study writer) said he was “gobsmacked” that health officials tried but failed to have the cannabis report withdrawn.

“The police have captured the bureaucracy – at some high level someone has given authorisation to run roughshod over the sister agency.”

‘He said police had “manufactured social harm that doesn’t exist”.’

* This again confirms that the War on Drugs is being bolstered (in NZ) by over exaggerated MISINFORMATION.. aimed at supporting the Police position to maintain the status quo, regardless of the TRUTH ! 😦

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